Nov 11, 2012

How to customize your new Blogger blog?

So you just started blogging? You have decided a name and completed atleast a single post? Just in case you haven't, you can get a step-by-step guide on how to do it in Beginning to blog using Blogger and Writing your first article in blogger.

Now is the time to make it look better... I have compiled a list of things to make it look better and improve the experience of you as well as your readers!

Get to know the Blogger Home:

Go to Blogger Home and select your blog. Fiddle with the links on the left and get to know what each and every one of them does.

Connect your G+ Account:

Since you are on blogger, you must have a Google account. Connect your G+ account with your blogger profile to make a lot of things easier in the future (like G+ pages and Google Authorship).

Make Facebook and G+ pages:

Just writing on your blog won't do. You have got to make people know that your blog exists. The best way to create pages for your blog. Go to this link to create a Facebook page. You can create a G+ page for your blog through the Google+ link on the left panel of Blogger Home.

Add gadgets in 'layout':

If you have fiddled with the controls of Blogger as I mentioned above, you must have encountered 'Layout'. The gadgets I would like to add are: Pageviews, labels (after a few posts), +1 button, blog archive and popular posts. You can add a Facebook like button as a Gadget. Select HTML/Javascript as the gadget and paste the following code below, or customize the code here.

Change (and finalize) template:

Click on template on the left panel, and then Customise. Change the background and styles here. You can add custom CSS as well. Go to the next step only if you are happy with your present template. This is because changing the template after you have embedded the new comment system, will make the comments vanish and you would have to add the comment system again!

We are about to change the HTML of the blog now. Proceed with caution. Take a backup of your existing template in case anything goes wrong. You can do so by going to Template, and clicking 'Backup/Restore'.

Change Title:

The title of a page is in this form by default - "Blog Title: Post Title". This also appears in Google search. If your blog name is long, it hides part of the title. For example, "Transcendental Tech Talk: The Expressionless- Fact or Fiction?". Google would hide part of the title in the search results. Here's how to make it in the format "Post Title | Blog Title."
Go to Template, and instead of clicking Customize, click on Edit HTML. A warning follows. Click Proceed. Search for <title><data:blog.title/></title>, and replace it with this(and save the template):

Add Disqus comment system:

The title says it all. Go to the Disqus site and do the necessary.
Note: If you change the template, you need to add the disqus comment system again!

 Bookmarking gadget:

There are two bookmarking gadgets that I like in particular. The first one is a sliding heart. Here's what to do. (Courtesy:
Go to Edit HTML and paste this code just below </head>

Then place this before </body>
A second type of bookmarking gadget, which I like a bit more, probably because of its simplicity is a jquery auto hide widget. You can get it here.

Add Facebook Page and like button to end of posts:

Go to Edit HTML and check 'Expand Widget Templates'. Search for '<b:if cond='data:post.hasJumpLink'>'.  Just below it would be a '</b:if>'. Paste this code below that.

Sign up for Google Authorship:

Again, you would need to connect your G+ profile to go for this. Apply here. You would see that your name and G+ picture appears near the search results for your blog in Google search. Ain't that cool?

Now, it took a hell lot of time making this blog post. Do not forget to click 'like' below, if you have managed to read the whole post!

Liked this post? Have any suggestions? Just let me know. Feel free to comment below!

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