Monday, May 2, 2011

Blogger Helpers' Search Tool - a customized search of Google Blogger experts

This article introduces the "Blogger Helpers Search Tool", which lets you search of a select list of blogs and websites that are known to provide excellent advice about using Google Blogger.  

The "Blogger Helpers Search Tool" (BHST) lets you search within a selected group of English-language websites that give excellent help and advice about Google Blogger.

You can find it by choosing "Search Blogger Helpers" from the menu at the top of this page.


There are over a dozen "blogger tutorial" websites and blogs that I regularly follow using RSS - because they're a good way to hear about new ways to use Blogger, and what's happening with other related products.

And even though Blogger-Hints-and-Tips is also about Blogger, the sheer range of
  • Features in Blogger
  • Ways to combine Blogger and other tools (eg Facebook, Twitter, Google Docs, etc etc)
  • Levels of experience and ability to understand "how to" articles
means that no one can possibly know enough to help with everything that can be done with Blogger.   So I see the people writing these other blogs as colleagues, not competitors.

Also, when I'm solving a problem in my own blogs, I often think "Ahh, yes, I read something about that".   But often I can't remember if it was Chuck in The Real Blogger Status, or GreenLava in Blogger Sentral, etc, etc.

Putting these ideas together, I created a Google Custom Search that applies all the power of Google Search to a select list of blog-sites that I've chosen because of the quality advice that they give.   I set the custom-search up yesterday, then applied the advice in Blogger Sentral's recent article about putting the search results in a page, which looks far better than the old way of showing them in a standalone page hosted by Google.

Who's on "The List"

To start with, I've put in BHAT and the helper blogs listed under "Recommended Blogger help sites" on my sidebar, because these are the ones I consult most often.

I plan to add more helper blogs to the list over time.  I haven't written down all the guidelines for what's included yet, but to start with, I'm looking for sites that:
  • Show the date when an article was published or last updated   
  • Are in good-enough English  (some helpers speak other languages too)
  • Explain things well enough that I want to subscribe to see what they're going to write next.
Of course I cannot guarantee that the search-results are all correct and up-to-date:   as with any Google search, you must carefully assess the results and judge if they are good enough for you.

How to check if a particular site is included

Use the tool to search for
Because there are no keywords, the results will list all pages on the site that that Google's index currently  knows about - if the site is on the list.

If the results say "Your search - site:YOUR-SUGGESTED-URL - did not match any documents", then YOUR-SUGGESTED-URL is not currently in the search-list (or Google hasn't indexed it - this is unlikely, except if Google has banned a helper-site).   

How to suggest a site to include

Leave a comment below, giving the name and URL of the site, and a few words about why you think it should be included.  

Related Articles

Blogger Helpers Search Tool

Setting up a custom-search for your blog.

RSS:  why it matters

Giving your blog a search-box

Linking blogs and websites

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