Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adding features that will allow others to be notified when you add a post

So, now that you have started to write a few posts, you'll want to make it easy for your family and friends (and even those that have stumbled upon your blog) to access any updates. This is actually very easy using blogger.

Some blogging software require that you know HTML code. Sometimes, it is just a matter of going through the steps and receiving a "code" which you cut and paste into the blogging software. But thankfully, many blogging platforms (software) have digital wizards who have already figured out how to code so you can easily put links to twitter, facebook, or ereaders that your readers can use to share your post.

Think of it like this: You like a post on something you read. Now, you can email it to your sister or a friend, but that means you have to cut and paste the URL address from your browser into an email, then send the email. Or maybe you communicate with them through facebook. You can cut and paste the URL into facebook (IF you have one) and share the content that way.

But an easier way is to include a link that allows your readers to share on google+, facebook, twitter, or pinterest just by clicking on the link in the menu area of your blog. YOU don't have to have facebook or twitter, but your readers may use that to share posts that they like. So you should make it easy for them.

Integrating buttons and apps onto your blog menu

The first step to sharing your blog posts is to make sure feeders to ereaders (i.e. Ipods, Kindles, Nooks) are turned on. If you go to settings, then click on "other". Make sure the setting for Allow Blog Feed is on "Full". This means others can subscribe to your blog.

Another option is email your posts automatically to your family and friends. You do this my clicking on Settings again, and then clicking on mobile and emails. At the bottom, it says "Email posts to". Now, if you click on Add, you can add email addresses where you want the posts to go to. This can be very time consuming though, since you will need to manually type in each email you want to receive the post. However, if you want to limit who gets the post (as many bloggers do when they are just starting out, until they are comfortable with others reading their posts), this is a good way to share.

However, an even better feature is to add a "gadget" or app which has all the coding done for you. If you go to "Layout" in the menu, you will see a sample of how your blog looks. Included will be a label "gadget" in various parts of the menu. You decide where you want to put links and features for your readers (although I'd put "subscribe", and links to facebook, twitter, and pinterest up towards the top left to make it easy for your readers to share and/or follow you). Click on "gadget" and a pop-up box with different gadgets will come up. Scroll through and click on the one(s) you want to place in each section of the layout. Don't forget to "save" it once you have clicked on it (save is on the bottom). After you have added a gadget and saved it, another box with "save" will pop up above. Follow the same process.

After you have added your gadgets, apps, and/or links, click on View blog at the top of the page. If you don't like how it looks or you don't like the placement, go back to layout and click on edit. You can also drag different gadgets (put your cursor on the gadget and right click using your mouse or finger pad, then keeping your finger down on the mouse/finger pad drag it to where you want it on the webpage).

Using Labels

Finally, once you want to start gaining a broader readership outside of you family and friends, you should use "labels" or "tags". These are key words that search engines pick up when you search for something on google or yahoo. You are helping the search engines find your blog. So, for this post, I will be using the "label" blogging, sharing, gadget, blog share, subscribe, & labels. Anyone who types these words in the search will find this post (although it may be 135987 on the list out of 1.2 million results!). The more your post is shared and read, the higher on the list it will show up.

Labels also are a way for your readers to search your site. I also use labels to revisit ideas I had written about previously. All of my posts are "categorized" since the labels show up on your post list for your blog.

To add a label, click on "labels" in the menu to the left. It is useful is you keep a list of the labels (categories) you want to use and use those consistently. If you capitalize some words or connect them, the same label will show up as two different categories, so make sure you are consistent with spelling and format. Some blogging software only allow one word for a label. In blogger, you can have more than one word. However, you need to put a comma between words to create a separate label in a series. If I typed "blogging sharing gadget blog share" without the comma, that becomes one label in blogger. Someone would have to type that exactly if they were searching for something like that to read. Fortunately, when you begin to type the label, previous labels you have used on your blog will show up below the box and you can just click on the previously used label.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ok Prof. I know you are busy with your collegiate life, and I have a house to clean but you don't see me shying away from asking questions so here goes; I can not always get to my actual GMail account Rubyhanks2u@gmail.com.  Wow if you punch in gmail there is this guy that looks like the hunky model on the cover of those bodice rippers you like to read...oops did I reveal too much?  Anyway, how do I have a conversation with some of the people who have sent me a comment without having it post on the blog.  Also, how do I have an on-blog (?) conversation with someone?  I did stumble on how to add some folks to my circles...I will save my thoughts for a later post on who in the Ukraine would want to read this blog...thinking vodka may be involved...