Blogger's special features: updates

I often advise bloggers to create their blog on Blogger as It has numerous features, that too completely free. I had published a series on the often ignored but very useful features of the Blogger platform.

All the features given there are still available on Blogger; just the links to use them appear in new places. So, I won’t repeat the content again but add to our earlier suggestions. I have avoided tweaks and tools that need caution and technical knowledge.

There are a few new widgets that Blogger has added, and these relate to Google+ integration. Adding Google+ button / Google+ badge / Google+ followers’ thumbnails on the blog is likely to improve your social networking. But I am not sure of it unless you use Google+ as your main social networking platform.

When I talked about Dynamic Views in an earlier post, I had advised that bloggers should refrain from using this option as the blog lost more value than it gained by using it. I am still not convinced  about that, but I also agree that Blogger has been working hard to restore functionalities of the standard blog in dynamic views. It has restored some widgets in the sidebar and now displays Adsense ads too in dynamic views. You can also customize a blog’s appearance to some extent within a dynamic view.

Settings menu [Settings> Search Preferences> Meta Tags] allows you to put a description meta tag. This is a useful SEO tool. You should write a description of your blog in the given text-box in such a way that it clearly tells search engines about the key content of your blog.

In the Post menu [Post>Edit], Search Description tab in the right-hand column gives you additional facility to tell search engines about your post. You should post relevant keywords here. This function is also available on Pages.

Within the settings menu, you also have the facility to put the Google Analytics ID [Settings> Other> Google Analytics]. Google Analytics is a very powerful tool provide by Google for site analysis. When you sign up for this [Google Analytics link here], you get an ID that you need to paste in the box provided under the Settings menu.

Google Analytics tells in detail how, from where and when people visit your blog, what search terms they use and so on – in a much more detailed way than the Stats menu of Blogger. This information can be used to improve search and Adsense performance of the blog.

Blogger also gives you the facility to give your posts a more meaningful URL. For example, if I wrote a post in March, 2012 on ITB with the title ‘Mentionable items on a photo blog’, it would automatically name the post something like this:

Look at the last part of the URL; it does not tell what the post talks about unless you see the full title of the post. Here comes the customizable URL option of Blogger: In the Post menu [Post>Edit], on the right column, there is a section named ‘Permalink’ and under it, there are two options: the automatic option is the default option and the other one is ‘Custom Permalink’. If you want to customize the post URL, type the desired URL here and click on ‘Done’ button. 

In the present example, if I wrote the following URL in the given box, it will reflect the content of the post much better – more so, to search engines: 

Note that you have the liberty to change the last part of the URL only. You can use only dash, underscore or dot in addition to alphabets and numbers in the URL.

For bloggers using the Blogger platform in the US and the UK [not in India and other countries yet] and interested in earning through blogging, there is more good news. You can allow Blogger to give affiliate ads with your posts. For this, you need to have an Adsense account where you are given choice for affiliate ads. Select the types of ads relevant to your post and there you are: earning a few bucks if someone makes a purchase through your post’s affiliate ad link.

Blogger allows transliteration. As of now, our experience with computer-based automatic translation / transliteration has been awful, and so I do not recommend bloggers using translation widget on the blogs except when the blogger is convinced that the blog really needs translation facility, however rudimentary it may be.

A blog can convert stress into happiness, believe it!

When one is excited, sad or depressed...
  • How do you come to terms with yourself after your boss has badly scolded you for a big blunder that occurred in company accounts, even though you had hardly a role in it?
  • What do you do when you feel bored of everything in life, and you feel like breaking your head against a wall?
  • You are extremely happy with your performance and there is nobody with whom you can share the best aspects of that success.
Happy, unhappy and uninteresting moments in our life come again and again: some pass by and some leave you either hyper-excited or frustrated. In either case, you need to give vent to your feelings so that you do not end up doing something injurious or stupid but return to your normal self.

Blogging is a great way out for immediate calming or nerves as well as long-term emotional well-being!  Personal blogging we mean, not the professional or corporate one.

How about making the blog the 'virus vault' of your life's anti-virus program?

Use your personal blog as your punching bag. Make it the place where you spit out hatred, greed and guilt so that they don’t damage your pancreas, liver and kidney. Make it your secret vault where to give vent to your nastiest feelings so that they don’t come in the way of your experiencing the beautiful aspects of life.

In times of stress, even if it is over-excitement due to a great achievement, write down whatever comes to your mind. Abuses and expletives, threats and submissions, curses, painful details, unspeakable acts, bitter feelings about the relationship that the other person didn’t value, ambitions that you can’t share even with your husband/ parents/ girlfriend, confession, a plan of action,... If that does not satisfy you, put ugly photos and videos. Morph your boss's photos to look like a moron, put a shoe over it and animate the shoe to hit the boss's head. After putting the photo or sketch on the blog, remove it from elsewhere; give it a befitting caption full of slangs. Make the font extra-large and ugly. Record an abuse [or a song in your broken and shrill voice] and put it on the blog...

Save the post. If composing the post has made you even more excited, write another post. At the end, when you have had sort of orgasm, leave the keypad. Don’t publish the post(s) yet. Don’t be in a hurry to put in action if your post has a plan of action. Don't email the video or audio to your friends or enemies. Not yet.

If you have a deep-seated sense of emptiness or depression / remorse / anger or hatred / excitement, keep writing such posts till you can no longer write them.

Look at these posts when the excitement has subsided. Not necessary on the same day: it can wait a week or a month. Tell yourself before opening the post(s) that these were written when you were disturbed and you will use the post(s) only if they are harmless to publish. Ask yourself this question again and again, till you are convinced that you are making a sensible choice.  

In ten out of ten cases, you will have dealt with the emotional event moresensibly than you could do so otherwise; in eight cases, you would know how much poison [or over-estimation, ego etc] your mind had accumulated and needed to be washed away; in five cases, you would get valuable insight about how to deal with such situations in future or not to repeat the mistakes that led to that situation; in two cases, you would have written some of the best writings in your life – maybe with some editing.

Is it not a win-win situation? Don't blame us if it works wonders for you; we didn't discover blogging.

In this earlier post, you can see our take on blogging and living happily ever after.