We've set out to learn more about blogging from the people who know it best -- our users. I’ve really enjoyed your responses to our #bloggerasks tweets over the past two weeks, and spent a good amount of time reading through the blogs and posts that you’ve sent us.
Something that always astounds me about blogging is how the core experience of sharing stories pulls together an incredibly diverse group of people. The emphasis you all put on connecting with each other really speaks to the power of community among bloggers.
Here are some of my favorite responses to the question, What’s the best blogging advice you’ve ever received?
“Write to build community; link to others and participate in the conversation” (@LisaSpangenberg)
“To blog consistently, respond to comments, and to read and comment on other people's blogs (especially those who read mine).” (@kelblogg)
“To not only be active within your own blog but on others' as well - leave comments, but don't spam!” (@OnceBittenBlog)
Although it’s important to keep your readers in mind, most of you tweeted about staying true to yourself, and writing about what you love. @Mistylovesvamps said it best: “don't be a slave to stats & followers.”
The balance between writing for yourself and becoming part of a community can be difficult at first - even a little scary - but it’s worth it. And if you’re still on the fence, consider the best blogging advice @Shakestweetz received: “Hey, you should start a blog.”
Missed our #bloggerasks? Keep an eye out for future tweets, and for my posts on your responses. Have even more blogging advice? Let us know - leave a comment!
For more than a decade now, the Blogger team has watched our community of users grow dramatically and have had the pleasure of seeing some truly amazing blogs along the way. Here on Buzz, in addition to keeping you updated on new features, we’re going to focus on engaging with our user community and connecting more readers to exceptional blogs.
On Buzz, you can be expecting a variety of new posts, such as:
A revolving showcase of funny, interesting, beautifully designed, creative, and just plain awesome blogs.
Guest posts from other successful Blogger users.
Re-shares of interesting posts from your blogs.
Personal posts from members of the Blogger Team, so you can get to know us better.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be asking you to submit quality blogs that you enjoy reading. Each week, I’ll post a sample of the best blogs I’ve found within a certain theme (food, design, sports, etc) or, that incorporate a recently-released feature. I encourage you all to nominate blogs that don’t necessarily have an established following, since we’d like to promote new bloggers who could benefit from more interactions with other bloggers and more readers. Also, we’ll be sure to credit the nominators, so you’ll be getting a readership boost, too!
Please say hello via comments, and tell the Blogger community a little about yourself. Also, look out for the first request for blog nominations coming soon.
Posted by Bruce Polderman, Product Manager One of the things I often hear is how challenging it can be to generate ideas for topics to write about. This may be especially true for popular blogs when you feel as though your followers are eagerly awaiting your next post. Sitting down and staring at your computer with the hope of feeling inspired can result in disappointment. On my blog for example, I have a mix of posts that were authored be me, and articles that I've discovered elsewhere that I think may be of interest to others. Like many of you, there are times when I have things that I’m eager to write about, and other times when I just want to share something. If this sounds familiar, you may find the “Blog This!” Chrome Extension of interest. It enables you post to your blog from any web page with just one click. The Extension is available on the Chrome Web Store under the “Blogging” category.
When you install the extension, a button will appear on your browser toolbar. Simply click the button to open Blogger in a new application window.
The new post is pre-populated with a link to the web page you're on, as well as any text you've highlighted on that page. Edit the post to your liking and post it instantly to your blog.
A few months ago we introduced mobile templates to Blogger in Draft. Today, we’re excited to announce that not only will these templates be available to everyone, we’ll be supporting all 27 Template Designer templates. We invite you to make your blog smartphone-friendly by going to the Dashboard > Settings > Email & Mobile tab and enabling the mobile template option.
Blogger mobile templates are mobile-optimized versions of our Template Designer templates. If you are using one of these templates, when you enable the mobile template option your blog will begin rendering using the mobile version of the same variant. Even if you are not using a Template Designer template, or using a heavily-customized version of one, you can still enable this feature to have your blog start rendering in a generic default mobile template that we have created.
Some of our feature highlights:
Preview: Get a glimpse of how your blog will be displayed by clicking on the Mobile Preview button. You can also see it on your smartphone by scanning the QR-code.
Automatic redirection: Viewers will see the mobile version of your blog when accessing from smartphones*.
Template support: We are now supporting all 27 templates. Some gadgets are also supported**.
Mobile ads: Mobile AdSense ads will be displayed at the top of the post pages and at the bottom of the index page if the blog has an AdSense gadget or in-line blog ads.
Comments and videos: Viewers on smartphone devices will be able to make comments and watch videos.
We hope you enjoy the mobile templates. As always, we would love to hear from you so please let us know what you think through our feedback form, and stay tuned for future improvements.
*WebKit-based mobile browsers are supported for this launch. **Supported gadgets/elements in this launch: Header, Blog, Profile, AdSense, Attribution.
“+1” is often used as a digital shorthand for “this is pretty cool.” It’s also a way for friends, contacts, and the rest of the world to find great things on Google search. Google launched the +1 button back in March as a way to help share web content and make search more personal and relevant. For more information about the +1 button, you can watch this short video:
Since Google made this feature available, web publishers and bloggers have been asking us how they can add the +1 button to their sites, including Blogger blogs. Today, we’re excited to let you know that you can add the +1 button to Blogger blogs with just a few clicks.
To add the +1 button to your blog, you’ll need to enable Share buttons on Blogger. To do this, go to Design > Page Elements on your Blogger dashboard, find the Blog posts area, click on Edit, and select the “Show Share Buttons” option. If you are already using Share buttons, the +1 button will automatically show up as a new share option.
By adding the +1 button to your blog, you’re providing an easy way for your visitors to recommend your posts to their friends right from your blog. Here’s how it works: Let’s say you blog about biking. One of your readers, Tom, finds your recent post about mountain biking interesting, and clicks on the +1 button. Now, when Tom’s friends and contacts search for biking or mountain bikes and your post appears in Google search results, they might see an annotation showing that Tom +1’d your post, helping your content stand out.
[Example of how a blog post +1’d by visitors appears on the Google search results page]
We hope +1’s will help your blog stand out better in search results, which could increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to your blog. Now, that’s indeed a big +1, isn’t it?
Update 6/10: We've updated our gadget's Terms of Service and you will need to agree to these new terms before you can add or continue to use the gadget.
We know that most of you blog for the sake of sharing your thoughts and opinions, however a little side income is like an unexpected gift. Today we’re releasing a new gadget that allows your readers to directly contribute to your blog. The gadget can be added to any part of your page, but we’ve formatted it to fit best in the sidebar.
Setup is only five simple steps and should only take a few minutes of your time; just follow the steps below:
Be sure to enable the HTML API by going to the Settings tab, clicking the integration link and unchecking the “My company will only post digitally signed carts” checkbox. Also, copy the Merchant Id for use in step 5.
Back in Blogger, on the Design | Page Elements tab click “add a gadget” where you wish to place the Support gadget.
Add the "Support My Blog" gadget from the gadget gallery.
Customize your support button settings. The Checkout Merchant Id is the one you copied down in step two. Save and you’re done!
Your supporters can now contribute to your blog. Clicking on the support button will direct your supporters to Checkout to complete the transaction. For an example of the support button in action, please visit the following blog:
Update (5/31 7:45PM PST): We've published an incident report on Blogger Status.
Update (5/15 10:55PM PST):Blogger should be back to normal for the vast majority of people affected by this issue -- if posts are still missing, please check your drafts (you may need to republish). We are in the process of restoring comments made during the affected period from 7:37am PDT on 5/11 to 1:30pm PDT on 5/12. If you still have other issues, please contact us via the temporary form we’ve set up for this particular issue. Thanks again for bearing with us, we’re deeply sorry for the inconvenience we caused. We’ll share an incident report later this week.
Update (5/14 5:37 PM PST): We're making progress restoring comments, some blogs with a lot of content are taking a little more time. Thanks for bearing with us.
Update (5/13 7:46PM PST): Nearly all posts since Wednesday are restored, now bringing back comments from last couple days. We expect the comments to be back this weekend or sooner.
What a frustrating day. We’re very sorry that you’ve been unable to publish to Blogger for the past 20.5 hours. We’re nearly back to normal — you can publish again, and in the coming hours posts and comments that were temporarily removed should be restored. Thank you for your patience while we fix this situation. We use Blogger for our own blogs, so we’ve also felt your pain.
Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday we returned Blogger to a pre-maintenance state and placed the service in read-only mode while we worked on restoring all content: that’s why you haven’t been able to publish. We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11th, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring.
Again, we are very sorry for the impact to our authors and readers. We try hard to ensure Blogger is always available for you to share your thoughts and opinions with the world, and we’ll do our best to prevent this from happening again.
Posted by Eddie Kessler, Tech Lead/Manager, Blogger
April showers bring May flowers, and updates to Blogger! Here's the run down of the latest changes available to everyone right now:
Add location info to your posts with geotagging
Geotagging has been available for a while on Blogger in Draft, but is now available to all users with today’s release. To add location information to your blog posts, simply click the Add Locationbutton in the bottom right of the new post editor. This will bring up a new window that displays the familiar Google Maps interface and you can search, drag, zoom, and drop markers for the location of your choice.
Once you’ve settled on the location you want to add to the blog post, just click Save and the information will automatically be added to the footer section of your published post (if you don't see it, you'll probably have to enable the Location option in the Blog Post widget which is normally defaulted to 'on'.)
We’ve made a few small updates and bug fixes since the original Draft release, most notably the ability to remove location information after publishing and the addition of a placemarker for pinpointing location info.
Refreshed interface for image and video upload
Clicking the “photo” or “video” upload buttons will now display a sleeker, updated picker. We’ve also made it draggable so you can look back at the post editor if you need to.
A pair of Known Issues are now fixed
Users posting comments from non-Google accounts should no longer see the intermittent bX errors that occurred last week.
The intermittent errors which were preventing the browsing of archives via Newer / Older navigation links has been fixed.
Posted by Brett Wiltshire, Product Operations (This message only applies to a tiny fraction of users who haven’t logged in to Blogger since 2007. If you’ve logged in to Blogger at least one time since 2007, you won’t be affected and can disregard this message.) There was a time early on in Blogger’s life where we had our own, custom account system for handling login authentication. Starting in 2006 all new Blogger accounts were created using the official Google accounts system, and then in 2007 we started the process of moving all of our legacy users over to the Google accounts system. Now, four years later, we’re finally at the home stretch of the transition. For a number of technical and operational reasons, we’ve decided to finally end our support for migrating legacy accounts and blogs after August 1st, 2011. So if you have a Blogger account and haven’t logged in since 2007, you will lose access to the account and associated content permanently unless you update to the Google Account system before August 1st.
Updating to the new account system is easy and should take just a few minutes. We really do value all of the content that has been created on Blogger and we hope that as many people as possible will reclaim their blogs. If you’ve been avoiding this task for a while, we encourage you to head over to the Legacy migration page and update your account.
We’ll be sending a similar notice later this week via email to all of the email addresses associated with the legacy accounts we have in our database. In a few weeks we’ll also make another announcement here on Buzz, with more specific updates on the transition.
If it’s been a while since you’ve checked out the Blogger YouTube channel, you may want to head over and have a look around as we’ve given the whole site a facelift. Beyond our shiny new theme and graphics, we’ve added thirteen hot-off-the-press videos that cover a wide range of feature walk-throughs, handy tips, and other fun stuff that the team has come up with. And this is just the beginning!
We had so much fun putting these videos together that you can be sure to see a lot more uploads in the future, as we want this channel to be an ever-evolving source of Blogger information.
The Blogger team would love to hear your feedback on the new YouTube page, and we’ve created a form where you can pass along your ideas for further videos and other ways we can improve our channel. Of course, you can always send us a quick tweet or drop us a line in the Feedback section of our Help Forum as well.
Either way, we hope you enjoy our revamped channel and we look forward to expanding it over time.