Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blogger-HAT Lite: quick updates about Blogger and related tools

Introducing Blogger-HAT Lite - quick notes about changes in other products that are important for Blogger users to know about.

Today, I'm officially launching Blogger-HAT-Lite - a new blog where I share quick notes about changes in product other than blogger, which I think Bloggers may be interested in, or definitely need to know about.

All Blogger-hints-and-tips readers are invited to visit the site, subscribe by RSS or subscribe to by email.

More than just buzz ...

Blogger-HAT-Lite is not about repeating brigth-and-breezy announcements from other services.
Instead, it aims to:
  • Filter these, so that only ones with (possible) implications for Blogger users are reported
  • Suggest questions that need to be asked and issues that need research about the effect on Blogger integration
  • Link to information about related topics - especially ones that talk about consequences that the people making the original changes may not have thought about.

... but less than fully-researched articles

I started Blogger-Hints-and-Tips for my own notes about Blogger, especially  problems that I couldn't find the answers to by googling.

It was also a test-bed for tools like Analytics that I wanted to use on my main blog, but needed to try elsewhere first. After installing it, I notice that other people were looking for the same answers - and when they googled, my notes were what they found.

I quickly found that the most interesting topics were about making Blogger "play nicely" with other products, rather than Blogger itself.  At the same time, I aimed to spend 15 minutes/day answering questions in the Blogger Help Forum - to say thanks for all the help I received when I was getting started.

Typing the same answers over and over got tedious, and when I found something new later on that would have changed a previous answer, it wasn't feasible to find the earlier answers and update them. So I started writing articles about things that people were asking for help with, so I could just link to the article from the discussion.

So I started researching and writing longer articles with the background, solution and the wider  consequences (what will you see? what do your readers see? what else do you need to think about?).

These articles can become out-dated due to changes the other product, that I might not notice. So I started reading the official announcements about Picasa, AdSense, Analytics, Gmail, Maps, etc - so that I knew what was changing, and could think about the effect on my own blogs, and Blogger-Hints-and-Tips.
Right now, I have 230 potential article topics, and 130-ish articles that need updating for the new Blogger interface - just as the recession has eased and I have a full-time day job. Simple math shows that I'm not going to be able to write articles that meet my research standards, in the time now have. And I keep seeing new things that I'd would love to explore but know I won't get around to.

So Blogger-HAT-LITE is:
  • A home for quick notes about these issues
  • A way to keep track of interesting things I see,and 
  • A place to share interesting-but not-fully-researched updates with my readers.

What's covered

Blogger users could use hundreds of other products in conjunction with theeir blogs. Any spammer could set up a feed-based site that searches other sites for the word "blogger" and reposts the results.

Instead, I've selected a group of products to monitor: ones that I use and recommend, and which I a know a lot of Blogger-users use. So far the list includes:
Google Custom Search Engines
Google Affiliate Network
Webmaster Tools (Webmaster Central)

And these (currently :-)  non-Google products:
Amazon Associates

More will be added as I start using more products, or discover announcements-blogs for existing ones (eg Google Maps).

Are there any other tools you would like me to keep an eye on, so I can think about whether changes in them affect Blogger? Leave a comment below ...

Stay up to date

You can visit the Blogger-HAT-Lite now (don't expect stunning graphics etc - this is a site for news, not design).

Or sign-up to read the Blogger-HAT-Lite RSS feed in a feed-reader , or  get updates email.

The most-recent articles from Blogger-Hat-Lite are in a widget here on Blogger-Hints-and-Tips: it's currently in the sidebar just under the subscription options, but may around as I experiment with things.

For the moment, I'm not going to give it a separate social media presence: I'm planning to share both Blogger-hints-and-top and Blogger-HAT-Lite updates in the existing Facebook or Google+ pages and Twitter account. (This may change if enough people ask for it, though.)

Thanks for reading, I hope you find the new site useful.

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Other products that bloggers use with their blogs

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  1. Very very needed, clear and complete. So nice of you, Mary. Hope it will be a Through Guide, enlighting to Non-Tech like me. Why not, please, about also G + ?
    Thanking You with all Regards.

    1. Sorry, I just don't have enough time to look at G+, and besides it's not clear how some things will work there yet.

  2. P.S. See Please. Hope you also cover, priority. E.g.
    1. How to maintain a blog error free.
    2. Present options and working of Commenting System- which is better ?
    3. How to select a working Gadgets (i.e, without more gadgets same purpose ) ?
    Thanking You again with Regards.

    1. I do have an article about gadget coming soon, it might be a while yet, though.