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Renovating And Upgrading
Your Blog Design
Once your blog is up and running for a while you will invariably find that you want to make some changes to it. Maybe you want to make a simple change liketurning the blue type to green type or maybe you want an entirely different template and look to your blog. Most all changes you can think of to make to your blog can easily be done with a little Blogger experience under your belt.
As you learn and grow your blogging and HTML skills, you will undoubtedly discover new and innovative things you can add to your blog to make it more appealing to your reader, and ultimately make you more money as well. Always be on the lookout for new and innovative things you can do with your blog and ways that you can use it to generate income for you.
To simply update the look of your blog you can use different templates. There are a million and one options out there for free or cheap templates you can use with Blogger. Because Google’s Blogger is an industry leader for blogging many people develop skins (cool background images) and templates for use with it. Playing with new templates and skins can be fun and you can end up with a really great unique looking blog as well. Your blog is simply an extension of you and your business so you will want to take some time and change it around from time to time.
If you want to play around with other templates for your blog you might consider playing around with a temporary blog. This way any changes you might make will not have any effect on your main blog. This allows you to decide if you like the changes or not, before you implement them. This can save you a lot of time and frustration when you are just starting out and learning to work with Blogger templates and settings.
You will also want to always back-up your current template before you make any changes. This is very important. You need to always be
able to easily go back to your old template if you do not like the new one. You do not want the hassle of trying to figure out what went wrong in the change. It is much easier to just revert back to your old template and then try again with the changes.
If you change templates you will also need to copy and paste some of your code from the old template into the new one. Things like AdSense and your personal links will need to be manually put on your new template from the old one.
Backing-up your template is not just an option; you really must do it each and every time before you make changes to your blog. This will save you a lot of valuable time and frustration.
It is also very important to decide if you want your blog to look “professional” or have a more homemade feel to it. You want your blog visitors to feel they get value from reading your blog. Will the
value of your blog be in providing your readers with an education or more in providing your readers with entertainment? Are you writing as an “expert” in a field? Do you want to be known for your
professionalism and experience? Or, do you simply want to share your
human experience and provide a bit of entertainment to your readers?
Assume for a moment that I have a blog with the topic of business ethics. As my primary business I am a consultant on business ethics. I want to be known as an authority on business ethics. I use my business ethics blog to promote my primary business, while also enjoying some revenue from AdSense. On my blog I post professional articles and opinions. With this blog I would likely want a very professional appearance. I want to appear to my readers very professional and as if I am doing well in my chosen profession. I would use a very corporate and professional looking template for my blog to convey this to my readers. I would also choose not to post pictures of my children and pets on this particular blog.
Now, assume for a moment that I have another blog on the topic of self-reliance and living off the land. I live in this way in my personal life and I want to help others to be able to as well. I want to be a friendly resource for people who are interested in living as I do. I want other people to be able to relate to me and share their experiences with living off the land. On this particular blog I post stories about my home life and thoughts on how to get the most from simplified living. While this blog can also be a monetized blog with AdSense on it, I would probably want it to have a more “homemade” feel to it. My visitors aren’t thrilled with “corporate and stuffy” so I don’t want my blog to appear that way to them. I would use a
colorful earthy template and probably post photos of my children and homestead on this blog.
As you can see in the two examples above, the way your blog looks should have a lot to do with its function and purpose. Getting the right feel and look to a blog is very important in having your readers feel at home and visiting it often. You want your readers to see your blog and understand its purpose and direction easily.
Vlog and Moblog – The Future of Blogging
With ever emerging cell phone and video technology capabilities, we are now seeing vlogs and moblogs come onto the blogging scene. Vlog stands for “video blog” and is a blog which incorporates moving video images into it. Moblog stands for “mobile blog” and refers to a blog which allows the blogger to upload video and photos taken with a camera phone or to even call in a post to their blog from their cellular phones.
The goal of these new blog forms is still the same – get visitors to come see what they are all about and then keep them loyal and returning day after day, week after week. This can be an easier task when your blog contains video and updates “from the field” via your cellular phone. Just think for a moment about all of the interesting things you could put on your blog. You could post about your vacation, while you are still on vacation, and have pictures on your vlog for all to see before you return home.
Vloggers and mobloggers are now using their vlog and moblogs to create their own news and radio stations. Imagine being out for a night on the town and a witness to something newsworthy. You can shoot the footage with your cell phone and upload it almost instantly to your vlog or moblog for the world to see. You could have your
images up before a traditional news crew could even arrive on the
scene, if they even made it there to witness the news in action.
Other vloggers and mobloggers are creating their own short films with the same technology. Some use a webcam and record their own video shows with them, edit them, and post them to their moblog or vlog. This can allow them to create their own instant programs or short movies. Think of the possibilities to being able to do this and the amazingly large audience the internet can bring you to watch what you have created!
The software industry is starting to see the value in the ability of people to create these special enhanced blogs and is creating software to make the process cheaper and easier. There are now affordable options available for video creation and editing which are simple enough for most people to learn and use.
Create an RSS Feed
By creating an RSS feed to your blog you can essentially syndicate your blog, much like comics and television shows syndicate their content.
What is an RSS feed? RSS stands for “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication” or “RDF Site Summary” depending on the version that is being used. RSS is essentially a way to stream up to the minute news and updates on your blog around the world via the internet.
Readers of RSS streams use a content reader program called a feed reader or aggregator. These can be downloaded free of charge online with the most popular ones being News Gator or Bloglines.
The feed reader, or aggregator, checks websites where the user has subscribed to see if there is any new and updated information and if the site has been updated then the feed reader will copy that new information so that the reader can read it. The purpose of the aggregators is so that the reader does not have to keep checking a site to see if it has been updated, the reader, via the RSS feed, does it for them.
Adding RSS feeds to a Blogger blog is a very simple thing to do. Simply go to the Blogger Dashboard, then to Settings -> Site Feed and enter in whether you want full post syndication or only a short bit of your post to syndicate. You can then add a syndication button to the front page of your blog and that is all you have to do. By doing these simple steps your visitors can subscribe to your RSS feed and will know when your page has been updated!
For a monetized blog it is best to leave the syndication to the short syndication option. This shows your readers that your site is updated, but they will still have to visit your site to read your entire messages.
This insures that they will be seeing your Google AdSense ads and possibly clicking on them. You want to tease them with the RSS feed information to ensure they come to your blog and read the rest of the message.
Alternatives to Blogger
While blogger is a great option for creating a blog and monetizing it with AdSense, especially for beginners, it is not the only blog host online. Some other popular options include WordPress, Moveable Type, and TypePad. Each blog host offers their own set of options and variety. Some blog services require payment while others are free of charge like Blogger.
While starting with Blogger can be a great way to get into blogging, you may find at some point you would like to move your blog to another provider. This is fairly common practice and simple to do. You will however have to develop some HTML skills to be able to move your blog to another format because the Blogger templates generally only work well for Blogger.
I can’t help but wonder what the next generation of blogging will look like. The possibilities are pretty endless when you think of all that is possible online today. And with this growth and change in technology will always come new and more innovative ways to make money with a blog.
The best suggestion I can make to you on the future of blogging is to try and keep up with the emerging blogging trends and get into something as soon as you can see a way to generate income with it. Do it before other people flood the market and you will have a nice income from your blog for years to come.
You should also support the blogging community by participating in other people’s blogs, and helping those new to the medium. There is plenty of revenue to go around and it’s a nice thing to help out other people along your life’s path.
Best of luck to you and happy blogging!
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