You've put together a blog on Blogger.com. You've been posting steadily for a few weeks or months now. You've built up a small but devoted following and you feel like you've finally got the hang of this blogging thing. Now you want more advanced features. More useful tricks. More information. Maybe even some cash in return for all this blogging work.
Luckily, Blogger has quite a few features that can help you out. Find out how many readers you have, post to your blog from your mobile device, add other writers to your blog and create a blogging team, and run ads to generate income. We'll cover all that in this article. Consider it Blogger 102.
From the Blogger admin page, you'll find a tab on the left called "Earnings." This lets you link your blog to your Google AdSense account. AdSense automatically detects the subject matter of your blog posts and displays relevant ads to the reader. You then can earn money (usually a few cents) per click or ad impression.
You can customize where AdSense ads appear on your blog, change the font and colors of text ads, and restrict some ad categories from appearing on your blog. Once you're signed up and your ads have been active for a few days, you'll see statistics -- including how much you've earned -- in the "Earnings" tab.
Go to the "Template" tab and hit the Customize button. From there, you can adjust virtually every parameter of the template you've previously installed. You can change the width of the main column and the sidebar, adjust background images and even move various blog elements (header, footer, sidebars) around.
The Advanced tab lets you customize the font, size and color of every last blog element, from links to headlines, post text, and everything in between. There's no need for your blog to look like a cookie-cutter copy of anyone else's. Don't be afraid to think outside the box!
One of the most important things to any blogger is, "How many people are reading what I put here?" Blogger makes that incredibly easy to find out. You don't need to install any kind of tracking code or plugin. Just head to the "Stats" tab and you'll see how many page views you had today, yesterday, in the last month, and since the blog was created. You can also check on traffic per post, and where your traffic comes from.
It's possible to break down the stats even further. If you want to know what country most of your readers are from, or even what browser or operating system they use, all the info is available in the "Stats" tab.
Blogger is integrated with other Google services, which makes adding videos to your blog posts pretty easy. There's a video button at the top of the "Create a new post" form. That opens a selection box with multiple options. You can search YouTube for a video to embed in your post, or add a video of your own that you've already uploaded to YouTube. Alternately, you can upload a video directly from your computer – this video will be hosted by Google Video, and isn't searchable or publically available, unlike videos uploaded to YouTube (it will still show up in your blog post if you embed it there).
Finally, there are options for uploading video from your Android phone (which requires a free app) or from a webcam.
Blogger Buzz is simply a blog about Blogger. That might seem a little too meta, but it's actually really useful. It's filled with posts from the people who work behind the scenes on Blogger explaining how to use Blogger features, announcing new features as they become available, and offering tips on how to get the most out of your blog.
If you're serious about using Blogger, or just want a few tips and tricks to make running your blog easier and more fun, you should probably bookmark Blogger Buzz.
Keeping a blog updated can be hard work if you're doing it on your own. If you can assemble a team of bloggers, not only will the blog have more content, but you'll benefit from diverse ideas and writing styles. How do you make it happen?
First, the blog should be created by one person under a main Google account. Then, go to the "Settings" tab and the "Basic" subtab. Under Permissions is an option to Add Authors. Add authors by entering their email addresses – they'll need to have Google accounts for this to work, but if they don't, the invite will let them create one.
Then you need to decide what level to assign to the other authors. If you make them administrators, they will have full control over the blog. They can change the options, adjust the template, and add or remove authors (in addition to making and editing posts). Authors who aren't admins can still create and edit their own posts.
If you're a mobile blogger, you'll be happy to know that you can update your blog with your phone. It doesn't even have to be a smartphone, it just needs the capability to send and receive text messages. You just have to send a text to BLOGGR and you'll get a registration code that you can use to either create a new mobile blog, or link to your pre-existing Blogger blog.
Once registered, you can send photos and text to your blog via text message. The whole process and list of commands can be found at Blogger on the Go.
Google+ is Google's social network. It's fully integrated into Blogger (there's a "Google+" tab on the admin panel). There are some cool benefits to linking your blog with your Google+ account. You can easily share your blog posts with your Google+ friends, and they can share them more easily as well.
It's also easier to see how people are reacting to your posts. You can see who gave your post a "+1" and see who shares your post (and who subsequently reshares it).
Google+ is, above all else, a way to stay in contact with friends and associates, you can have active discussions about your blog posts or even host Google+ hangouts and chat with your readers live.
Picasa is Google's photo sharing site. As you might have guessed by now, it's linked to Blogger. Whenever you upload an image to use in a Blogger post, it goes into its own album in your Picasa account. You can also pull images directly from your Picasa albums to place in your blog posts. Since Picasa has its own built-in image editor, this offers an easy way to tweak and organize your images, all with easy access from your Blogger admin panel. You can even tag and share the photos in your posts with your Google+ social circles.
Widgets are small scripts or applets that can be built into your blog, giving it extra functionality. You can add them to your blog through the "Layout" tab. This will show you a mockup of your blog's layout. In various sections, you'll have the option to "add a gadget." "Gadget" is Google's term for its own in-house widgets. They have plenty of very useful ones, including gadgets that will let readers translate your blog into other languages, display recent posts from Twitter feeds, show your most popular posts, and create a slideshow of photos.
You can also add third party widgets. The "add a gadget" dialog has an "Add your own" option, which allows you to input the URL of any custom widget designed for use with Blogger.
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Author's Note: 10 Blogger Features You'll Find Helpful
The extent to which Blogger is integrated with Google's other services, most of which are free, is a major selling point. If you're worried about selling your soul to Google, this might have the opposite effect. Most of us probably have Google accounts already, so there aren't very many hurdles to using Blogger.
- Blogger.com. "Blogger on the Go." Blogger Mobile. (Aug. 25, 2012) http://www.blogger.com/mobile-start.g
- Google.com. "Using Picasa Web Albums with Blogger." (Aug. 27, 2012.) http://support.google.com/picasa/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=61627
- Google.com. "Create a Team Blog." (Aug. 27, 2012.) http://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=41440