Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting Started with Blogger

This post is about things you need to think about when you're getting started with Blogger.  It's not about blogging in general, just about tool-specific issues for Blogger, Google's free blogging tool.

First things first

Once you've decided to use Blogger to make your blog, there are some basic issues that you need to consider as soon as possible.

1  Understand the basic concepts

Every computer tool has its own way of organising things.   When you think about how to write your blog, it's helpful if you start with an understanding of Blogger, blogs and bloggers, Posts, Pages and screens.

2 Decide which account to use

If you are writing a personal diary, travel-blog or similar, it's fine to use your personal Google account.

But if you are creating a blog for a club, or organsation or business (even your own small business that you might want to sell one day), or a blog that you might want to hand over to someone else one day, then you should think very carefully about what Google account to use.   In fact, I recommend creating a separate account (done by setting up a Gmail account) just for the blog.

If you're not convinced, read this article about transferring blog ownership, especially the parts that cannot be transferred as yet.

3    Control who can see the blog

Most blogs are open so that anyone can find them, and read them.

But if you want to stop a blog being found by search engines, or by random people looking at Google's list of blogs, then the best time to set this up is before you've written any posts.   You set it up in the Settings tab inside Blogger.

For even more control, you can make the blog Private, and choose to only invite specific people to read it.  Do this in the Settings tab, too.   But note that:

4   Decide whether to help the search engines

There are lots of books, articles and websites about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - and plenty of people who will tell you that it's the most important thing you can do, ever.

Now, if you want search-engines (Google etc) to bring readers to your blog, then you may want to investigate some of these later on.   But in the meantime Google have published a general "getting started with SEO guide" - and I've explained how Blogger users can put their suggestions into practise.

But you also want to think about the reasons why SEO may be irrelevant for your blog, too.

5    Get a template to match your blog

Each Blogger blog has a formatting-template that controls how it looks.

After you have written 2-3 posts, try using a changing to use a different template so that your blog's design matches your goals.

To change the template go to Dashboard > Template and choose one.

You could spend a long time "tweaking" your template to make the blog look "just right".   If this is important to you, then do it!  But most readers are more interested in the content, so you need decide how much time to spend doing this vs writing new posts.

What next?

There's no "right way" to use Blogger or make a blog:  the next steps are up to you.

Look around.   Experiment.

Keep an eye on Blogger Buzz (where Google announce new features), and on the Blogger product forums (where you can ask for help when you get stuck).  

Have fun!

Related Articles:

Getting started with SEO for blogger users

Assessing an idea for a new Blog

Changing colours in your Blog

Linking your Blog to the Social Networks

Managing Pictures

Restricting your blog's  readership may not be as secure as you'd expect.

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  1. I am new at blogging and perhaps this question may seem stupid. I started a blog about 2 months ago on I am completely dissatisfied with the lack of customer support and inability to add widgets or HTML codes. I want to set up up a new blog on Blogger on the same topic. Can I transfer posts or somehow link the old blog to my new blog? I have some followers and don't want to lose them. Thanks.

  2. I suspect you'll need to copy and paste the posts over (don't forget to delete them from, or Google sill see it as duplicate content).

    Then just put a new post or Orble, telling you followers where to find you now.