Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blogger 201


I'm a self-taught, amateur blogger myself, but feel that this information I'm about to give you could qualify as Blogger 201 instead of 101 because 101 Bloggers are the ones that are simply typing some text and hitting post. No pictures, no links, no design or heading. Basically, nothing to grab my attention and therefore nobody that I read has a blog like that. I feel comfortable complaining about that type of blogger here because you are all better than that! Congrats...you've graduated from Blogger 101 in my book!

Anyways, I get asked fairly often about my header, pictures, or just regular blogging questions in general. So if you are a non-blogger, you may want to just skip this one as it won't do a whole lot of good to you. But while you non-bloggers are here, let me explain the "Follower" thing to you since that's another common question. And then, feel free to leave and not read the rest - I'm giving you permission just this once!


Q: I clicked "follow" on your blog, but it still doesn't alert me each time you post. What am I doing wrong?

A: Technically you did nothing wrong. From what I could tell, the Blogger people sort of threw this option out for everyone to use, but it's not explained very well. You are following me as long as your happy little face is showing over there in that box --->, but you will only get alerts in 1 of 2 ways (that I know of at least).

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For 'Follow Option 1': If your homepage is not iGoogle.com, it should be. It consolidates all of the information that you choose to see instantly each time you sign onto the internet. You can have boxes for weather, email, Facebook, movie times, etc. There is an option for pretty much anything. My favorite option, and the relevant one to us here, is the 'Google Reader' box. As soon as a blog entry is posted from any blog that you have clicked the "Follow" button on, it will show up here. Did you wonder before how I am able to keep up with the hundred or so blogs I follow? This is how. Super easy and convenient, and whether you are a blogger or not, iGoogle is very useful!

For Follow Option 2: This is a fairly new addition and I technically haven't tried it out yet. But, it looks like the idea is that you type in your email address in that handy dandy box there and voila! It should email you any time anything new is posted.

And for those of you that I know in real life and not just in cyber life, I will continue to share the majority of my blogs on Facebook after I post them, so if neither option appeals to you, there's always my shameless self-promotion on Facebook. That is the way my dear Mama keeps up with my blog, so that is not going to end unless I go over to her house and set up an iGoogle page for her.

[Peace-out non-bloggers!]

Q: How do you make your header each month?

A: Easy. I have this link saved for any future reference should I need it, and I just copy her instructions word for word.

She really made it extremely easy to do, and I'm not going to recreate her instructions, but I'll just add my two cents about it. If you have a blog design from a third party website, or if you are using Blogger's "new" design template, there is an extra step you must do to get all of the formatting just right to follow her instructions exactly. She added a section about this at the very bottom and it is asterisked. If you do use Blogger's new design template, I think it will work just about the same, but I have no first hand experience with that because I refuse to switch over! I have my blog dimensions and columns set just so, and I do not want the hassle of sorting through a bunch of HTML code again to get it just how I want it.

Q: How do you get your pictures to post so big?

A: In the great picture disaster of 2010, I switched all of my pictures over to be stored on a site other than Blogger. I chose Flickr after testing out pretty much every photo sharing site that there is. So, I have not used the "Blogger" photo upload function in about 1 year and a half, so my experiences based on that may be very outdated and could possibly have been resolved by now, but I highly doubt it.

In the old picture uploader, you could only select 3 sizes: Small, Medium or Large, and then you chose how you wanted to align it. For me though, the large simply still was not big enough. I prefer my pictures to stretch out as wide as the column allows. I hate having to click on pictures to see them more clearly or largely on other blogs, so I make them as big as they can get on mine. Also, there was little to no control over the order that the pictures were placed in once uploaded, and on top of that, if you dragged the picture to move it to the appropriate place in your blog, the link would become broken and your readers could no longer click to enlarge your pictures. Again, all that may have been corrected, but I'm not switching back to find out.

Since I chose to use Flickr, I'm only going to talk about that here. But I'm sure it's the same concept for any other photo-sharing site. & here is where it gets a little complicated. On Flickr, after you upload a picture, there is a drop down box that gives you your sharing options. To post the picture in your blog post, you select the 'Grab the HTML/BBCode' option, click in the box with the code, and copy it.

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Then, you flip back over to your blog post, choose the 'Edit HTML' tab at the top of the editor, and paste this code wherever you would like the picture to appear.

That tricky part I was talking about has to do with the picture's size. Since I have the columns of my blog set up just so by tinkering with the HTML coding, I know the exact width of the actual blog post section of my blog. I have that set to 640 because that is one of the size options that Flickr gives, and it makes things easier. If you do not know the exact width of the blog post column of your blog, it may take some trial and error to figure this part out. But once you know your width number, you are set!

I feel much better about my pictures being stored on another site besides Blogger because knowing Blogger's history, there can and will be issues. This eliminates any issues they can and will have with my pictures at least.

And finally regarding the pictures: you don't have to go back to the beginning of your blog to switch all of your pictures over to another site; I'm just a crazy person and decided that's what I wanted to do. You can leave every picture you've ever had on the Blogger server, and then from this point on use another site and it would work all the same.

Now, this isn't a question I've gotten, but I just figured this out for myself yesterday and thought I'd share. Sadly, I can't think of any more questions I've gotten so if I left something out, feel free to leave a comment and I'll add to this! Having trouble leaving comments lately? Lemme 'splain how I figured this one out.

For the past couple of weeks, sporadically I would not be able to leave comments on other blogs that are hosted on Blogger. I would read the blog, click to add my comment, type out my comment, choose the "Google account" option to identify myself, and try to then post the comment. It would then go to a new screen asking me to sign in, which I would then do. After sign-in, it would re-direct me back to the comment box where I might have to enter the CAPTCHA word. After hitting post, it would then take me back to sign in once again, and over and over it would do this and would never actually post.

After getting frustrated, I googled the issue. The first fix I came upon worked so I figured I'd share. When asked to sign in, unclick the "Remember Me" box. That's it! I don't know why Blogger has to be so temperamental sometimes, but at least I can work around it for now.

That's all I've got for Blogger 201 for now. Hopefully it wasn't too dumbed down or too wordy or too anything. Please correct me if I misspoke about anything - I am self-taught and an amateur as it is, so it's quite possible!

And again, if you have any extra questions or need extra clarification, let me know and I'll help in any way I can! Happy blogging!


MillerMama said...

So...I am FAR too lazy to try most of these things but I have been having the comment issue on every blog but yours (you are just too special). So I'll have to see if that box is checked. Blogger is so full of glitches.

MillerMama said...

It worked! You're my hero...I guess I could have been my own hero if I'd just Googled it myself.