Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Eight Steps to a Better Blogger Blog

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I love reading blog posts about blogging, and I am always striving to make my blog better. Along the way I've picked up a mountain of tips and tricks so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've used over the (nearly three!) years I've been writing Where is Harriet. I don't think they are necessary for a good blog, but they are all things I wish I'd known how to do sooner than I did!

I've read quite a few posts recently about how great Wordpress is, and I don't doubt that Wordpress blogs are pretty lovely, but good old Blogger is still my prefered platform, it's just so easy to use, and I've never had any major problems with it.

I'd love to know what your best blogging tip is, Blogger related or otherwise. I'm always looking for more ways to improve my site, so please do share if you've got any good ones! These are mine:

1. Get a Favicon. See the little image next to the URL in the browser bar when you type it in? That's a Favicon. I used Favicon.cc to make the little star you see next to mine (unless you're reading this on Bloglovin!) and I much prefer it to the old blogger 'B' that comes as standard.

2. Get your own domain. I moved from whereisharriet.blogspot.com to www.whereisharriet.net just before Christmas and I haven't looked back since! It doesn't cost much, I think mine was about £15 a year, and blogger makes it really easy to redirect your blog there. There's an option under Settings > Publishing to buy a domain through them, or if you buy from someone else they normally have fairly easy instructions to follow.

3. Make you blog wider. I used to get really irritated with how narrow the standard 'minima' template is in blogger. I have a wide screen laptop. and before that a pretty massive desktop screen, so it seemed silly that my blog took up so little space in the middle of the screen. If you're interested in making your blog wider too then this is a great guide to changing the width of your blog.

4. Get rid of the blogger nav bar. I personally never really used or liked the Blogger Navbar being at the top of my blog so I got rid of it pretty easily using this guide to getting rid of the Blogger Nav Bar.

5. Loose the border. Another thing I'm not a massive fan of is the border that blogger automatically puts around photos. It's just personal taste really, but this is a good guide to getting rid of the border around photos in blogger.

6. Use Link Within. This is how you get the 'posts you may also like' boxes at the bottom of each post. It's great for new blog readers, as it's a good way to persuade them to explore your blog a little more.

7. Google Analytics is free and I personally really like keeping up to date with where my traffic is coming from, and what posts are most popular, along with hundreds of other useful and not so useful stats about your site.  Checking your statistics can get very addictive though!

8. Remove comment verification. I comment on a lot of blogs, and after a while comment verification (where you fill in the annoying gobbledegook letters and numbers in order to post a comment) gets old. And really annoying. I got rid of mine a while ago and I really haven't had any issues - the blogger spam catcher is pretty good at stopping spam anyway. To get rid of comment verification in blogger go to Settings > Comments and it's the tenth option down. You can always turn it back on if you have spam issues after all.


So there you go, my top eight tips! What are yours?

58 comments:

arnique said...

I really hate comment verification as well. I think Google needs to work on the lag time involved. I've once had to refresh three times in five minutes to post a comment. Sometimes I just forget about even writing one!

Kate said...

I liked this, i was expecting another one of those posts about how to get more followers and what you should and shouldn't blog about! Thanks for the favicon.ico link! xo.

Rachel said...

Points 3 and 8 duly noted! You're right, comment verification is rather annoying x

ellieand said...

Harriet this is absoloutely brilliant! Apart from getting rid of the verification code, I didn't really know how to do anything else, so big thanks! x

Peacock's Hat said...

I'd like to get myself a favicon at some point, they're so pretty!
I changed the width of my blog too because that really used to irritate me too, and also got rid of comment verification.
Although,I must admit, I don't really agree with getting rid of the Blogger nav bar- I hate it when I go onto blogs without one and I want to follow but there's no follow button. I realise this is probably me being a pleb and I can do it through Google Friend Connect, but I just find it easier if that follow button is there.

Mercedes- Ms Purple Make-up said...

This was really good! Thanks.
Maybe in my case I always follow people with good quality photos. I don't have a fancy camera myself but I take the best photos I can of products and make-up looks. I don't really see the point in uploading a photo of a swatch when the picture is blurred and totally off focus. It's just useless to me.
X

maddie said...

Absolutely loving this post!
Thanks so much for all the links- I've already done away with the blogger nav bar and am wrking on the rest!

xxx Maddie

Kate said...

I love your blogging guide & it's nice to have tips from somebody so down to earth too.

dinoprincesschar said...

the comment verification is really annoying.
if you get your own domain, is there a limit on photos etc which you can upload?

Tass said...

Comment verification sometimes puts me off from commenting especially since I read blogs at work on my iPod touch, so the process is longer. It's even more annoying when you have verification and then it has to be approved. Have one or the other, not both!

I think the best tip is to have good photos. They don't need to be taken on an expensive camera at all, just as long as they're clear and in focus and not too big or small.

Another handy tip is to enable the mobile template for your blog so people can browse easier on their phones x

Carrie said...

These are great tips, thanks for posting them, especially no.3 - I've been trying to work that one out for ages!
I hate word verification too it feels like such a waste of time.

Leia said...

Awesome post Harriet! I've wanted a favicon for such a long time but never knew what it was called, so I didn't know how to get one! All these tips are incredibly useful.

Leia

Sarah said...

I enjoyed this! Glad to know that I'm on the right track. ;) I can cross out everything on your list! Hehe.

Another point would be to actually blog about one's own life every now and then? It's more inclusive and genuine, allowing the readers to get to know a little bit more about the blogger. I enjoy reading posts about the blogger themselves. :)

Thanks for sharing! x

daisychain said...

What a fab post,
time to get rid of word verification!
Also thinking about self-hosting but is it a big hassle? x

Rosie said...

this is a really helpful post!
thanks :D
Rosie xo

Hannah said...

this is wonderful harriet, ive been wondering how to get those little pictures next to the url for ages now so im going to check it out. been thinking of removing my blogspot as well but going to have to wait a while until i use up my old business cards lol!!


Bow Dream Nation xx

MJ said...

COMMENT VERIFICATION NEEDS TO DIE! Also, I've tried the LinkWithin thing now - will have to wait and see if I like it!

gee said...

HOLY CRAP..i HATE that damn word verification.
i do not see the point of it.
wonderful post love.. :P
xoox

Lottie said...

this is genius! have saved it as a favourite :)

Pop Champagne said...

haha yeah I agree with you I don't like the narrow blogs either, and domain name is the best, also hatee word verification, or people who use disqus, cuz that's just an extra step needed to post a comment!

ellio100 said...

This is great! You've got me wishing I was either on blogger or smart enough to sort out my own domain!

Maria said...

I agree with all of these things! Going to finish revamping Frills 'n' Spills soon so I can get it looking a bit more sleek :)

Maria xxx

Jen said...

Such great tips Harriet - thanks for sharing! I'll be doing all of these (except the comment verification - don't think I've ever had that on!). x

vint junky said...

Oh agreed, i hate verfification and it hates me!
I'd add change your domain to your own EARLY. I've done it with typepad and they will not redirect links to my new .co.uk as other platforms do, so anyone gathering stats for my .co.uk name just gets links and pageviews to that domain and not all the old links in etc...it's driving me crazy!!!
Also weird but my stats went up with i removed link within and just posted 3 or 4 posts per page. Maybe it was just coincidence though
x

Kimberlee said...

Thanks for the tips! I took the verification off, so hopefully there won't be spammers hitting me up!

Lulu B said...

Brilliant Tips, Im not very techy so this will be interesting for me to do xx :o)

Nicola said...

I agree wholeheartedly about comment verification!

I like borders around pictures I'm afraid, but I'm going to take your advice about removing the nav bar. I don't suppose anyone uses it.

Penny said...

loved them!i ll give favicon a try!it was my favourite!thx for sharing dear!

Style Eyes said...

Thank you. these are amazing tips. i am definitely going to put some of them into action especially the making the blog wider.

Lauren said...

As a new blogger, I have to thank you for a wonderful post. All of your tips are quick and easy to make and have the potential to make big impact. Thank you, thank you!

Winnie said...

Great post Harriet! I'm definitely looking into getting my own domain- and will do eventually! I'm also tempted about getting rid of the verification codes too but at one point I had a crazy amount of spam! Awesome tips!

isis said...

Thank you for posting all of this! You have so much great advice. Some of the things I always wondered about, like the favicon and the navigation bar.
It's kind of funny how I found your blog, Sometimes when I view my own blog I like to click the "next blog" link just to see where it takes me and It took me to this! Best random blog ever!!
I am following♥

MissRockwell said...

Yay!!! I added the link within element to my blog. Thanks for the good info!

http://thriftyandshameless.blogspot.com

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Zoé said...

Thank you very much for all these wonderful tips. I have only been blogging for 6 months so these are help a whole lot! Would you have a tip to get people to read your blog, or to advertise it. Thank you! :)

PinkBow said...

this is a fab list harriet. word verification...i just left a comment on leia's, as she also mentioned this. i have tried to remove mine but when i do, it stops emailing me comment notifications :-(

Libby, Vintage Aplomb said...

What a helpful post! I'm checking out some of those links now...Thank you! Also, I love the suit and shoes you are wear above :)

the clothing menu said...

Agree with all of these! I also purchased a template to make my blog a little prettier and customized some of the colors a bit. I then added widgets, like one that features my Twitter feeds, and some badges linking to my Facebook page so people can connect to me beyond just my blog.

Allie (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

Yay for a fellow Blogger blog! I have been blogging for almost 6 years and I know people are on the Wordpress train, but Blogger has treated me well. Thanks for the tips, off to get those stupid borders off my photos!

A Heel in Mint said...

Thank you so much for this post! It was very helpful. I made a lot of changes to my blog. xx

Vixie said...

Great suggestions, I have tweaked bits of my blog now, and I feel so much better! Thank you!

Raquel said...

These are great tips. I completely agree on the word verification, it's so so annoying!

Kavery said...

Thank you for writing this post. After reading ad nauseum how great Wordpress, Tumblr etc.etc. are, it's bliss to read one on getting more out of Blogger.

Nicole said...

Thankyou so much for the Link Within link.
I've seen it on so many blogs and could figure out how to put it in mine.

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Please leave comments I suggest that on the issue

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Jamila Sahar said...

really helpful comments and great ideas! i agree blogger is great, i was able to submit two blogs in a couple hours where i spent weeks working on and i am still working on understanding wordpress. i am a fan and will keep following for more great ideas, many thanks !

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