Blog This! – I’m Not Giving up on Blogger

blogthisBlog This! – Chrome Web Store.

Although it feels like no one from Google is behind the wheel at Blogger these days. I still love Blogger. I’d like to use it but it’s not easy. Blogger is under developed and fairly ignored.

I think it began with WordPress snobbery.

There was a time when people either used Blogger or WordPress. A lot of people were using Blogger. It was simple, basic and you didn’t need to know a lot about HTML, scripts, plugins or themes. If you wanted to – you could work with extra code, themes and add-ons for Blogger too. But, ideally it was for people who wanted a site up without the hurdles of doing it all themselves.

You would think that would be ideal for most people. It was, for a time. Then came along the WordPress snobs. People who thought Blogger wasn’t good enough because WordPress let you do more and was gaining in community support with even more extras, gadgets and gizmos.

Blogger fell behind. It could have kept going, in second place but still strong… only Google put it on a back burner and didn’t keep developing it. There was a very big update with adding new themes, flexibility with themes and a lot more layout options. But, that was years ago.

I noticed a new post about using Blogger with your own domain, making it easier. But, that doesn’t give people a reason to use Blogger. It needs updates, new community and fresh ideas.

Please almighty Google, don’t let Blogger die!

Where Can You Still Find Blogger User Support

I will update this list as I find more resources.
powered by blogger

Good but Not Updated in Awhile

My Earliest Blog Post Date: April, 5th, 1998 (So Far)

blogaversary

Found this on the Wayback Machine today. I know I had other sites on Blogspot, Geocities, Tripod, Xoom, Angelfire and possibly other free hosting services but this is the oldest I have been able to track down so far. Nice to have the actual date. Glad I typed it in way back then. It seems much more important to me now than I would have thought then.

I know there was an older site on GeoCities. I began it when there were still communities and neighbourhoods. Wish I could remember the link for that one so I try finding it too.

Also, I deleted older sties on Blogspot and now I don’t remember what they would have been called either. One which I did happen to find has since been used by at least two other people. Which is only odd because Blogger/ Blogspot has said deleted sites would not be available for use again. But, it was thewriter.blogspot.com – it would have been in demand.

Long Ago in Another Blogging Life

I looked myself up on the Wayback Machine.  I wish I could remember the links of my old Blogger accounts and find them there too.  One I wrote during the divorce and then deleted at some point. It would be interesting to read all of that again so many years later.

Here is an old header image I had in another blogging life.

oldsite

I Used to Write on BackWash Kids

bwkids

If you also wrote for (with) the BackWash community network of writers/ columnists join us for a BackWash reunion.

Here is the content from the post above. In text for those who can’t read it from the screen captured image above.

Spin your Thoughts with a Journal

Do you keep a journal? Sometimes its called a diary, I think thats the old fashioned term. What you write in your journal is up to you. Be creative, rant about your family, chronicle your life, or just spin your thoughts on the web.

Keep your journal in a secret place if you don’t want anyone to read it. Or, if you feel like sharing you can read what you write to friends or even keep your journal online with sites like Blogger. Of course, you can do both. Have an online journal and another secret journal for just yourself.

Journals can be kept in plain notebooks or fancy lined paper books you buy in stationery stores like Hallmark. I like to write with a fine tip black pen but you can experiment with all kinds of pens and colours. Add stickers or stick in clippings from newspapers and magazines. If you really want to put in a lot of clippings have a look at scrapbooking. Thats another form of journaling but there tends to be less writing and more drawings.

There are lots of websites about journaling and scrapbooking. Have a look around and see which appeals to you.

Found my Old Blogger Profile

My old Blogger profile, found as far back as I could get on the Wayback Machine. I had a site on Blogger before 2004 but made the mistake of deleting it, thinking it didn’t matter. Really wish I had left it up. I don’t even remember my first account now to try to find it. Can’t keep everything! Even the Blogger profiles are gone now. Instead you just get taken to your Google Plus account. I wonder what happens to people who didn’t open an account.

 

Create a Blogger Wiki to Promote Your Content

Note: This was originally written for HubPages and the writers there.

When you write content on a site like HubPages you want it to be found by people interested in reading about your topic (niche/ genre/ subject matter). But, it can feel like you’re alone in a vast ocean, standing on a rock, jumping up and down, waving and waving without anyone noticing you at all. So, you need to build a platform which rises you a little higher and makes you easier to find.

The established ways to do this are to use social media, backlinks, and other worthy and less worthy ideas which people lump into SEO (search engine optimization). The problem with some of these tactics is the difference between attracting human readers versus attracting search engine bots which don’t actually read your content. Search engines won’t read your content, won’t link to your content and won’t refer friends and followers to your content. A search engine will only list your content for the real people to find. It does not endorse your content the way a referral from a real person can.

So, you need to do something more to bring people to your content. Keywords are not enough. Too many keywords will detract from your content because no one really wants to read that promotional content which is directed to SEO and not human readers. Too many keywords make your writing dull and bland.

Use Google Blogger to Create a Wiki Resource

Try opening a Google Blogger blog, pick a name which suits your content.

Write an introduction post and an about page.

Look for other content such as content curation feeds and RSS feeds relevant to your main topic.Some of them, like Scoop.it, will have widgets which display the content feed. Plus, this is another place you can suggest your own links to as you write new posts. So you will see your HubPages post appear in the feed on the widget you have displayed. This is especially nice because people reading your wiki will see you as an authority beyond the content you have created yourself. It’s like making yourself famous.

Create a few links to sites which you know are excellent references for your topic. You can ask for a link exchange with these sites – once your wiki is established, aged and seasoned a bit.

Now the part where your own content comes in.

Begin to post links to your HubPages posts/ content. Do not repost the content, just create an index. Sort your posts into subtopics branching from the main theme or genre which you write about. (If you write about several topics set up a fresh Blogger account and repeat the steps above for each topic).

Use your subtopics as post headers (titles) and add your links relevant to each subtopic in your topic/ genre. Check your links, make sure they are all going where they should be going – it is not too hard to miss something when you are cutting and pasting several links this way.

In your blog sidebar, over the links to outside reference sites, post links to each of the posts you have just created (the subtopics). Like building an index to your own subtopics in the sidebar.

In this way you are creating a wiki for your content which focuses on your HubPages content but not exclusively. A wiki is a personally created resource about one topic. Traditionally, a wiki is not run by just one person but several contributors sharing knowledge and resources. You can gather others to join you too. However, then you are sharing some of the limelight but building a wiki community is a great way to share your links among the community you create. So it is a trade off and something you can consider.

This idea does not work as well on WordPress.com because Blogger.com is Google’s own appendage blog site. So, it gets some preference.

It does take extra time and energy to create this kind of index to your HubPages content, but it will bring you to the attention of the Google and other search engines. Also, extra Adsense (which you can easily load on Blogger too).

Don’t let your wiki stagnate.

Maintain the blog, add your fresh HubPages content to the subtopics which you have set up.

Add new outside links as you find really good sites to refer people to.

Create an actual post for the blog once in awhile, monthly is fine. The post doesn’t have to be labour intensive. An update about the work you are doing to research your topic is a good post. Or, something you heard/ read in the news relevant to the topic. The point of keeping a monthly post is to show the site is active, at least once a month.

Link to this blog in each of your posts on HubPages. Just add it to the links with a note about it being your wiki or reference site for people who would like more information, etc.

Share the wiki.

The link to your Blogger wiki is one more link you can promote to social media, content feeds, and all the other routine places and ways you promote your content.

Creating the wiki is giving your content (on HubPages or any other sites you write for) an extra boost, another way to be found in the great, big ocean.

Participate Outside of HubPages

If you aren’t already involved in forums and other online communities within your topic make sure you get involved now. Join a relevant forum and be active. Daily is nice but not very practical. Aim for at least weekly and then read as many posts in the forum as you can and contribute. Of course, you can create a signature to use in the form with at least one link to your wiki or your HubPages link, both if possible.

From the comments on the original post:

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

@prarieprincess I got the idea as I was replying to someone else in the forum who was complaining about Google and traffic and etc, the same old stuff. I have never been overly reliant on Google for traffic. I like to look for my own ideas to bring in traffic/ readers.

One thing people writing here don’t quite understand is that HubPages is not buying your content/ articles. If they were there would be copyrights involved. HubPages is buying your social media skills and whatever else you do that works to bring in readers (traffic) to the site. HubPages sells ads which appear with your articles. We get a percent of that. So, in reality the whole thing is not about your content but aobut the traffic you generate here.

Knowing this it is a really good plan to focus on bringing readers from outside of HubPages into HubPages without focusing on Google. This is because once you are in the database at Google you will either rise or stay about the same. There isn’t a lot of point in putting all your eggs in that basket.

So, generating traffic in other ways is the key. I got the idea of the Blogger wiki because I had been looking at wiki sites that week and it popped into my mind that I already have all my old Blogger sites from when I began online ages ago. Why not use them for more than just leaving a trail of links. I know they still get traffic even though I have done nothing but ignore them for years.

Thus the Blogger wiki idea was formed. I added more ideas to what I could do with it as I went along. I don’t have a finished example yet. I’ve got so many projects I’m working on that I am hoping to get my nephew out sometime to help me move stuff along.

 

That Grrl  Hub Author

I have my own blogs with domains and paid hosting. But, you don’t have to go that way. I didn’t start out that way. I’ve been online more than ten years. I was online several years before making the commitment to paying for web hosting. So don’t feel you need to rush into it. A Blogger blog is still free for software and hosting and that will do just fine. More than that is just vanity – which is how they call it a vanity URL/ domain.

I would do both. There is no reason you can’t have an index of all your HubPages post in the sidebar of the blog. Then create individual posts with summaries and links at the end for each post too. This blog is your space to bring your content to the foreground, show it off and get it found. People are using the term ‘discoverable’ lately. and that is just what you are doing.

The only thing you should not do is copy your post and create the dreaded duplicate content. However, unlike at HubPages, on your own site you can have all the links you want. (HubPages gives you a notice if you link to the same domain more than twice).

Have fun with the blog, decorate it. Add widgets for social media which you use and of course highlight your posts here. Then do post the blog link around – use it for your signature in online forums and communities. Get the link around so people can find your content. This is how Google search bots will also find your content and consider it as important because there are links to it in a source outside of HubPages. Also, the link back from your posts on HubPages will keep the bots looking at your links and finding more of your content. They used to call them spiders because they follow links from one starting point to other directions, branching out from the starting point, spidering out.

How can you Help Another Blogger

Do your good deed for the day. You don’t have to be a popular blogger, an experienced blogger or spend a lot of time on giving another blogger a little help. This list comes from the SITS Girls forum.

Write a high quality guest post that will be useful to another blog’s readers

Leave helpful and insightful comments

Link to the blog and share your readers with them

Promote the blog in social media and start a social bookmarking campaign for them

Recommend to your readers to subscribe to their blog

Email the blogger with some suggested topics you’d love to see them cover

Introduce them to a potential advertiser

Share with them an affiliate program that has worked for you

Write an email telling the blogger how you found one of their posts helpful.

Perform a significant action for another blog. Don’t just leave a comment on 50 blogs; focus your energy on one other blog in your niche.

My Seven Links

MyTripBase started the My 7 Links project. It’s a blog meme but you can just pick your seven links and pass the idea along, or not. On Twitter, search for the #My7Links hashtag.

THE GOAL
To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

THE RULES
1) Blogger is nominated to take part
2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

This shouldn’t take you long to do – don’t over-think it!
– Your most beautiful post
– Your most popular post
– Your most controversial post
– Your most helpful post
– A post whose success surprised you
– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most proud of

I have way too many posts over more than ten years of blogging and writing online. Just the thought of going through and picking out seven is daunting.  I put this aside to get done (sometime last year) and did not get anywhere with it. But, I don’t want to leave it in drafts so here it is for others to take up the project. Good luck!

Create Your Own Unique WordPress Theme

WordPressNo matter how many WordPress themes I look at and try, I never find exactly what I want. But, I do find more things I would like to have.

When I ran my sites on Blogger I began using simple HTML and basic CSS. I learned how the Blogger code worked with the additional CSS and HTML I added. That was the beginning of my learning how to create my own blog themes (also known as templates and layouts).

A WordPress theme seemed a lot more complicated, at that time. Blogger isn’t as simple as it once was then. But, I still like Blogger for anyone getting started with blogging.

Design, Create, Make your own WordPress Theme

 

Why Should you Create your own WordPress Theme?

One reason for creating your own WordPress theme is to have something uniquely your own. There are a lot of blogs online now, many of them have the same look. They call them cookie cutters because they all seem to have been created with the same look, only small things like a different colour background to give them any unique look.

If someone is intimidated about breaking into the coding and making their own theme they can still take the baby steps and begin by changing their background to something of their own creation. Use a photograph you have taken. Get started with Gimp and other graphic software and create a design and images which you can use as the background, title bars, sidebar headers, etc. You can create hand drawn images and then scan them into an image file which you use on your blog too. There are simple, fairly easy options which will get your blog out of the cookie cutter style.

But, the best is still to create your own theme. Begin by tweaking whatever theme you are using now. Tweak to change the font, the colours for the text. Tweak to change how images are displayed in your blog. Look into other tweaks you can do. There are endless tweaks. As you tweak learn how the code works. What changes you make and how they end up working on the display of your blog.

Once you have been tweaking and feel fairly happy about what you know, get into the real mess and muck of creation – from scratch.

A bit daunted still? No fear. You can use frameworks to give you a base of operations. A framework is the basic code used for a simple WordPress theme.

Don’t sit on the fence forever with your framework. Dabble and play around and make your own theme. It doesn’t have to be rocket science or perfect. A theme evolves over time as WordPress versions change, as blogging itself changes and as your own needs change.

Next stop… once you have a theme consider selling it or offering it on WordPress.org for others to download free. A WordPress theme (if you hit on a unique design and keep it working) can be a great draw for traffic to your site.

I’m still at the dabbling stage with my own WP theme designing. I enjoy window shopping and looking at other themes. For now I’m running the Thesis Framework Theme on my main blog. Most of my other blogs are running on the Clear Line  theme.

Update: Thesis had a lot of changes when Thesis 2.0 came out. I don’t find it usable right now. It lost the user friendliness which was the main thing I liked about it. Since then I have bought Genesis, but, you may as well design your own theme from scratch if you have Genesis. Even the child themes you buy to run with Genesis are very much the same. If you want to make your own themes Genesis is ok, a base. But, if you want something to work out of the box you will find Genesis won’t work for you, unless you want it exactly as it comes.

I’ve looked at other themes and frameworks. I’m really reluctant to purchase any more of them. I have Catalyst with it’s Dynamik child theme and I find it complicated, a lot to read and then I still can’t make the small changes I want. I also have Headway but it has become a case of having to purchase more in order to get anything out of it. (Really disappointed with Headway which I have had since version 1.6 before they made it such a money grab).

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