Getting under the hood – Modify settings of your blogger blog
In some of the previous posts, we took a look at how to start up with a blogger blog, and how to make some changes to your blogger blog, after selecting a suitable template for your blog. This time around, we will get under the hood, to further modify some key settings for your blogger blog. This time around, we will be using the Settings page in your blogger blog;s dashboard. This page hosts a number of tabs, which in turn contain key settings for tweaking some features of your blogger blog. From changing the blog’s title or the url altogether, to changing the number of posts visible on the homepage, to changing how the posts and comments are visible on the blog. This section contains a lot of settings you will definitely need to be in control of your new blog. So, without any further ado, let us dive deep into the settings page.
Shown above is the Basic settings page. This page allows you to make some changes to your blog’s title, it’s description (a small introduction about your blog, displayed in the page header of your blog, underneath the blog’s name, then it’s privacy settings, which lets you change whether the blog is added to blogger’s blog listings, and whether search engine bots can access/crawl it. Apart from these, under the Sub-section Publishing, you can modify the url of your blogger blog, and alternatively add up a custom domain name, you purchased. We have done a post on how to add up a custom domain name for your blogger blog. You can take a look at the post here.
Further below, the Permissions sub-section allows you to add members to your blog, useful for those who are in a collaborative partnership for blogging, also, helpful when you intend to allow guest authors “guest post” blogposts on your blog. You can provide different levels of access to people, using their email addresses, which, once done, will send a confirmation mail to the person asking him/her to accept the role, of Author or Admin. Moving further down, there is something named Blog Readers, which lets you set the privacy settings of your blog, which decides whether your blog is visible and accessible by everyone, just a few selected members handpicked by you, or just the blog authors, ofcourse, apart, from you, the blog admin, or any other admin(s) you chose.
Moving forward to the next tab comes up the page to modify key elements governing the display of blogposts and comments in your blog. Here you can set the number of posts/days of posts, visible on your blog’s homepage. For this particular instance, it is always advisable to keep this number under control as letting in too many posts/days in the home page might make the homepage unnecessarily heavy, and making the number too less will mean that many visitors will miss on many of your posts, as it is generally known that a lot of people close the website from the home page. The page also shows something named Post Template, which lets you specify custom code for formatting your blogposts, again, independent of your blog’s template. This can help you with a lot of customizations, when you are doing changes to post formatting, and font faces, sizes and colours. The Showcase images with Lightbox option lets you choose whether blogger should display your images as a separate overlay as a navigable gallery, in case your blogpost has multiple images, or should it open in the tab itself if the option of No is selected.
Now we come up to Comments section which manages how comments on specific posts are taken and displayed. And who all can comment on your blogposts. Considering the fact tha comments are a really important part of blogging, and that most bloggers do consider the number of comments as a measure of how successful their blogs are, putting a check at commenting is something worth considering, even if yours is just a new blog. This page lets you decide whether you want your blog visitors/readers to navigate down to another page to post comments on your blogposts, or that they can do this on the page itself. Also, you can decide whether anonymous users which includes everyone capable of using the internet, can post comments on your blogs, or some registered users using the OpenID API, which includes accounts of a number of participating web services including Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter to name a few, or someone having a google account can only comment on your blogposts. Beyond everything, you can choose to let only people who are members of your blog to be allowed to post comments on your blog. This is particularly helpful when your blog has too many subscribers or when you intend to receive comments from just a handful of people. Comment moderation is equally important in today’s time when spammers are always on the lookout for selling fake medication and all kinds of stuff to you. They find posting comments on blogs rather good to make their point and reach out to people. This, however might come down in bad taste for you when, say, for example, one of your most popular blogposts shows comment and links to some cheap and fake viagra. Here comes the role of comment moderation. While blogger does have a good comment spam blocking system in place, which eventually filters out most of the spam messages, there are instances when one of these hits your blogpost, and this is where manual comment moderation comes in. Blogger gives you ability to moderate comments manually, and to do this, you have various options to set the comment moderation and comment display in blogposts. The options available for comment moderation are – Always, Sometimes, and Never, which, as their individual names suggest, put up all the comments for manual moderation by the blog admin before publishing the same on the blogpost, sometimes ask you to manually moderate a comment, based on the conditions specified by the options you selected, and Never ask for any manual comment moderation, which means that a comment once posted will directly be published on the blogpost, or will be sent to spam comments (if the blogger’s comment filters suspect it to be spam). The system learns from the activities, and once you mark a comment by someone as spam, such a comment will always end up in your spam box. Then, you may make your blog visitors fill up Captcha to further restrict spam comments, by changing the options under Show word verification.
Further down, under Mobile and Email, you can set preferences to do blogging by your registered mobile phone over SMS/MMS and also, by sending an to a predefined email ID, which you can set on this page, to be published, saved as draft on your blog, this comes in hand when you are unable to access your blogger dashboard for posting blogposts, and thus can manage posting on your on the go with the help of your mobile or email. You can also set a few more options like setting an email address to notify you of any comments posted on your blogposts, and also, choose to get yourself a copy of blogposts published on your blog, on your email.
Then comes the tab Language and formatting which manages settings like blog languages, timezones, transliteration settings, and formatting of dates and times on your blog. It is usually advisable to set the timezone as the one your country/region follows.
Next page is Search Preferences. The page is quite dangerous, as if something goes wrong, it can screw up your blog’s visibility to the search engines. So, one must proceed with caution, unless they know what exactly they are doing and that if something goes horribly wrong, how to correct the issue, as this page deals with Custom robots.txt and header tags for search engine bots, which directly pass on instructions to search engine bots regarding the blog, and if something goes wrong, your blog might not be available for th search engine bots to crawl and hence make available in SERP’s. This page however does have an important tool which deals with custom redirects, something is quite important in the web arena. We have done a post about custom web redirects here. You might find it useful for something on the other related to blogger. You can add meta tags that are nothing but keywords help search engine bots determine the contents of the page. This way, search engines can find the contents of your blog more efficiently, and hence your site may be displayed better in search engine rankings based on the keywords the user searches for.
Finally, the Other tab, gets you a few more options and more control over your blog. This is the screen to look for when you want to import another blog into your current blog, which uses an XML file to import the contents, or export your current blog to either keep it safe, or to import it somewhere else, or some other platform, again this option creates an xml file with the contents of your blog. Please bear in mind that both these options work on blogposts and don’t do anything with the blog’s template. There is a different option under Templates tab to import/export blog templates. We will take a look at that in one of the upcoming posts. Apart from importing and exporting blogposts, you may choose to Delete a blog, for reasons you better know. Again this removes the blogposts only, and not the entire blog. If you want to delete a blog, it can be done from your Blogger Dashboard. Then comes the settings to manage the Feeds (RSS/Atom) feeds for your blog. Further, you may define whether your site contains adult contents, since this is somthing Google has prretty stringent policies about. You are supposed to declare if your blog contains adult content, that should be kept away from minors, as this will give the visitors a warning and confirmation about the content and whether they wish to go to your site or move away. Finally, it’s the Google Analytics’ Analytics Web Property ID: a string that is provided to you when you sign up on Google Analytics to track the usage of your blog, and create a web property to track down a specific site. Once you key in the property id here, Google Analytics starts tracking down your blog and it starts displaying in your account accessible at www.google.com/analytics.
With that, we have done away with a quick tour of more customizing settings available for your blogger blog. You may choose to check out one of the many followup posts, explaining one or more features in detail, to understand them better. Do let us know how did you find the above post. and how helpful it was to you in getting over the customizations in your Blogger blog.