Thinking about starting your very own blog, but don't have the knowledge or money to start one? If that's the case then perhaps you should consider using Blogger, the free blogging platform from Google.
The good thing about Blogger it doesn't require you to have any knowledge about HTML or any fancy coding. All you literally have to do is write about your chosen subject hit the publish button and bingo, it's on the Internet. Oh yeah, and don't worry about things like web hosting or a domain name, as these are also provided free of charge.
Unfortunately, just like all things computer and Internet related, it can take time and patience to get to grips with Blogger and understand all the features it offers.
In this guide we are going to try to explain everything the blogging platform has to offer and how to use them in a step-by-step process.
Let's get things rolling.
Once you're on the Blogger homepage, one of the first options you will see is to create a "New Blog" on the left-hand side. Click on the button to create a new blog.
After that, you'll be given the option to choose the "Title" and "Address". For example, if you're intending to create a technology rated bog, then try to think of a technology related name and address. Bear in mind the web address is a free subdomain and means the address you want may not be available and therefore, you may have to be a bit more creative with the name. You then have to choose a predesigned template which will give your blog a much more polished and professional look. You can change or customise this afterwards.
Once your blog has been created, you'll be presented with a new page with several options on the left-hand side. In this guide we going to go through each option and give you an idea of what they do and how you can best use them. For quick access purposes, and once you're familiar with Blogger, you can "create a new post", "view posts" or view your blog via the top toolbar which will always be displayed once you login and select your blog.
As the name suggests, this option allows you to add a new post to your blog. You basically add your post title and then write about your chosen subject. You also have a host of options via the top toolbar, such as changing the text font, text size, adding an image/images, page break and adding links, et cetera.
You also have options on the right-hand side, such as "Labels" which allows you to add a label (example SmartPhones), which then gets displayed with the post which enables users to find other posts with the same subject matter. Other options include "Schedule", "Permalink", "Location" and "Options".
Once you're satisfied with your post, you can either hit the Publish, Save or Preview button which is located near the top right-hand side.
Overview provides you with basic information such as page views, comments awaiting moderation, publish comments and if anybody is following your blog, et cetera.
This option basically displays all the post you have published and the ones you have saved as drafts. If you hover your mouse pointer over the desired post it will give you the option to edit, preview or delete.
This option shows the number of comments that have been made on individual posts on your blog. You have the option to remove comments or mark as spam. Blogger has a automatic feature that blocks spam, but you may find that a few get through.
Stats provides information such as overview, posts, traffic sources and audience. For example, overview provides the number of visitors you have received either on a daily or monthly basis. Posts provide information on how many visitors have visited individual posts. Traffic sources will tell you where your traffic is coming from and audience will give you details such as the country your visitors are coming from and what browser and operating system they are using.
Earnings is an option that allows you to sign up to Google AdSense, which then displays relevant ads on your blog. Your blog first needs to qualified to be accepted into this program. If your blog contains useful, unique contents, with no sexual material, then you should be accepted. The amount of money you can earn via AdSense will totally depend on your blog subject and the number of visitors it attracts.
Campaigns is an option for you to sign up to Google AdWords. AdWords is a paid ad platform that allows you to buy ad space, which then gets displayed on Google Search and other sites running Google AdSense. Unfortunately, Google has made it extremely difficult for young sites to achieve a fair ranking within their organic search results, therefore and very conveniently in Google's favour, you may be forced to buy AdWords if you want any significant traffic. For example, if you wanted to target a keyword such as laptops, you could create an ad and have it displayed every time somebody searches for that keyword on Google search or visits a laptop related website. The costs of ads will vary considerably depending on their popularity and how frequently you want them displayed.
Layout essentially enables you to customise your blog.
Some the options include the following:
Favicon is the little picture icon you see at the top of your browser when you open a website. You can upload your personal favicon by clicking on the edit button.
Navbar is a bar that's displayed at the top your website and provides things like a search box and the ability to add new posts, et cetera. You can choose from several different colours or completely disable the Navbar.
Header enables you to add a blog title, blog description and upload a header image for a personal look.
Sidebar which will be positioned on the left or right hand side is exactly the same as cross–column with the ability to add a gadget to the left or right side of your blog.
Main allows you to add options to your blog post. For example, if you click on the edit button you will be given options such as choosing to display a date, time, the author's name, and things like social media buttons, et cetera.
Footer allows you to add a copyright tag which will be displayed at the bottom of your blog.
Bear in mind the options for layout will vary depending on the template chosen.
Template allows you to either choose a new website template or customise your current one. For example, clicking on the customise button will give options that include templates, background, adjust widths, layout and advanced.
Settings include several options. These include:
Basic allows you to choose if you want your blog listed on Blogger, whether to make it visible to search engines or you can even change your sub-domain name. You can also choose whether to make your blog available to the general public or only to private readers. There's also an option to "Set up a third-party URL for your blog" which allows you to use your own custom domain name which will be hosted free on Blogger.
Posts, comments and sharing allows you to choose the number of post that are displayed on a single page or who can comment on blog posts. You can also choose whether comments are automatically approved or whether they require manual approval.
Email allows you to add your email address and receive messages every time a comment is posted on your blog.
Language allows you to select the language in which a blog is written in such as English (United Kingdom) and your current time, such as GMT.
Search preferences allows you to add things such as a meta tag description or custom error pages.
Other gives you options such as the ability to import or backup your blog contents, delete your blog, add a blog feed or add a adult warning if it contains adult material.
That's the basics of Blogger, which will hopefully help you set up your very first blog. This page will be updated from time to time with new information, so stay tuned.