Sunday, January 23, 2011

Elements common to every page

Different pages display different content, but the design of your blog is constant throughout.

So it is that your readers, as they click through your blog, get many visual cues that they have not left your blog even as the content changes. Header, sidebar, gadgets, footer, color scheme, and typeface do not change.

This is valuable to you and your readers, and something that Blogger ensures without any work required on your part.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gadgets in the footer

The horizontal region in your blog's footer, after the end of your posts, is sub-prime real estate.

Gadgets you place here do not compete for your readers' attention but will only be seen by those who make it to the bottom of the page.

If your left or right sidebar region is longer than the length of the posts shown, there will be a blank gap between the posts and the footer-area gadgets.

Gadgets anywhere add to load time and subtract from the available page-size quota.

My own rule of thumb is that any gadget so unimportant as to belong down here is not worth including at all.

Some exceptions could apply.

Your call.
« Gadgets over posts Index Appendices »

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gadgets on top

Be especially discriminating about what gadgets you put in the horizontal region below your title and tagline and above your blog posts.

After your title, this is the first thing your readers will see.

Every time they visit.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sidebar and other gadget areas

Most blog templates include a column on the left or right hand side where you, the blog author, can put photos, text, links, and many automated blog gadgets. Some have sidebars on both sides.

Sometimes called widgets, these gadgets can be dragged to horizontal positions at the top of the blog (just under, but not in, the title-and-tagline block), and the bottom of the blog (in the footer of every page).

Your sidebar, and the gadgets you add, appear on every page of your blog.

There are no end of gadgets; if you are talented you can even make your own. Two of the most popular ones are "About Me" and "Archive," which are include by default in new blogs.

These and other gadgets can add tremendous value to your blog, helping your readers to find content that interests them. That makes your blog more useful and fun, which over time translates into more readers and followers.

However, these benefits do not come free. Consider well the hidden costs of adding gadgets.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blog title and tagline

They introduce and frame your blog. New readers read or skip your blog because of them.

Are you getting full value out of your title and tagline?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Search-results pages

Searching your blog for a word or a phrase in Blogger's navbar (or from Blogger's sidebar search gadget) generates a dynamic page of those posts that include the search phrase.

The results of this search take the familiar form of all of Blogger's dynamic pages: Posts, in reverse order, spilling automatically into archived pages if needed.

But there is a big catch. Ironically for a company that is synonymous with search, this feature does not work reliably or predictably and Blogger seems unable to fix it.

(Check out Google's Custom Search as an alternative.)

« Static pages Index Header, title & tagline »

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Static pages

In the beginning was the blog, made of posts.

Archive and label-search pages helped readers to find the posts they liked.

In late 2009, in response to popular demand, Blogger added static pages: Blog pages that do not comprise any posts at all.

Typical uses include an "about this blog" page, or an extended profile of the blog author, or an index of blog content.

Blogs are limited to no more than 20 static pages each.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Label-search pages

In the begining the blog page comprised blog posts. It was good, but we needed more.

Labels, and their related search pages, provide one of the most useful and powerful features of Blogger blogs: the ability to characterize posts, and to group like posts together on a separate page.

This is something you can't do using Blogger's static pages feature.