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How to create an “Admin Control Panel” in your Blogger template

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Hiding the Blogger nav-bar is one of the most popular customizations for Blogger blogs. The advantage of this is that your blog design does not immediately appear to be powered by Blogger, and it is very useful for designs where the appearance of the nav-bar distracts from the overall design of the blog.

The only downside of removing the nav-bar is that the admin links for “New post”, “Customize” and “Log Out” are no longer visible. When the nav-bar is visible, blog administrators can create a new post or customize their layout with just one click; when the nav-bar is hidden, many more clicks are required to access the dashboard panel again.

In this post, I’ll explain how you can easily add a “Admin Control Panel” widget which enables one click access to the main sections of your dashboard if you have hidden the Blogger nav-bar from your layout.

First things first!

There are two things we need to do before adding the control panel to our Blogger template:

  1. Make a back-up of the existing template
  2. Find our unique Blog ID number

Let’s go through both of these in order.

Make a back-up of your Blogger template

As we are adding code directly to the Blogger template for this customization, it is omportant to make a back-up of the existing (working) template code.

Then if we do make any major errors, we can easily restore the original working template to our blog.

To make a back-up of your Blogger template, go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard, and look for the “Download full template” link near the top of the page.

Clicking on this link will prompt you to save your existing template as an XML file to your computer hard drive. You can change the name of the file and choose the location to ensure it is easy to find if you need to use this later.

Locate your unique Blog ID number

To create the admin control panel, we need to use your unique Blog ID number, as this will form part of the URL required for admin links.

To find your Blog ID number, log into Blogger and ensure you have accessed the dashboard you intend to work with.

While you are logged in, access any page of your Blogger dashboard and take a look at the address bar in your browser:

Locating your Blog ID number

Locating your Blog ID number

Within the URL you will notice a string like this:

blogID=XXXXXXXXXX

Where XXXXXXXXXX is the unique identifier for your blog.

You need to make a note of the BlogID number for the blog you wish to work with so we can add this in the links for your admin control panel.

Adding the control panel to your template

The Admin Control Panel will only be visible when the owner/author of the blog is logged into their relevant Blogger account. It is invisible to blog readers, similar to the “edit post” and “edit widget” links which are only visible while you are logged in and viewing your own blog.

To add the control panel to your Blogger template, go to Layout>Edit HTML and do not check the “Expand widget templates” box.

Then search for the following line of code (or similar):

<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar' preferred='yes'>

Immediately before this line, paste the following section of code:

<span class='item-control blog-admin'>
<h2>Admin Control Panel</h2>
<a href='http://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=BlogIdNumber'>New Post</a>
|
<a href='http://draft.blogger.com/blog-options-basic.g?blogID=BlogIdNumber'>Settings</a>
|
<a href='http://www.blogger.com/rearrange?blogID=BlogIdNumber'>Change Layout</a>
|
<a href='http://www.blogger.com/html?blogID=BlogIdNumber'>Edit HTML</a>
|
<a href='http://www.blogger.com/moderate-comment.g?blogID=BlogIdNumber'>Moderate Comments</a>
|
<a href='http://www.blogger.com/logout.g'>Sign Out</a>
</span>

Replace all instances of BlogIdNumber with your unique BlogID.

Once you have done this, preview your template. You should not see any of the code for the Admin Control Panel appear in your template during the preview! If all is well, you can then proceed to save your template.

Now take a look at your blog. While you are logged in to Blogger, you should notice your control panel appear above the widgets in your sidebar.

If you log out of Blogger and look at your blog, you will not see the control panel appear (this is also how your readers will see your blog).

<h3>How this works</h3>

The code for the control panel is wrapped in span tags with the class of “item-control blog-admin”. These CSS classes are not included in your Blogger template code, but are instead added in when your blog pages are generated by Blogger’s external scripts.

These classes also apply for your post and widget editing icons (the familiar pencil and wrench icons) which are invisible to readers of your blog.

The links will still be visible if a reader views the source code of your blog. However, these links are only accessible by the administrators of the blog. If anyone else attempts to access these pages, they will be asked to log in to their own Blogger account and would be unable to make any changes to your own blog.

How to hide the Blogger nav-bar

If you do not already hide the Blogger nav-bar in your template, you can achieve this in just a few simple steps:

  1. Go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard.
  2. Locate the closing &lt;/b:skin&gt; tag
  3. Just before this tag, add the following lines of code:

    #navbar-iframe {
    height:0px;
    visibility:hidden;
    display:none
    }

  4. Then save your template

These few lines of CSS code hide the Blogger nav-bar from the design. The code is still present in the source code, and all functions generated by the nav-bar will still work.

Your opinions?

I hope this tutorial will be useful for those who hide the Blogger nav-bar and still require easy access to the main functions of their Blogger dashboard. Please let me know your opinions or offer suggestions for improvement by leaving your comments below.

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Amanda is a freelance blogger and web/blog designer. She writes about Blogger at www.BloggerBuster.com and maintains several other blogs on various subjects.

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7 Habits That Can Make You a More Efficient Blogger

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Starting a blog is exciting, whether you’re using it as an extension to promote your current business or you’re just trying to maintain the blog as a personal endeavor. In any case, part of your success will depend on your ability to write new blog posts at an efficient rate; if you aren’t producing new blog posts fast enough, your audience could lose interest in your content. Similarly, if it takes you too long to write a new blog post, your profitability is going to decrease.

The solution is to focus on improving your efficiency as a blogger, so you can accomplish more in less time and end up with more raw content as a result.  

The Best Habits to Improve Your Efficiency

These are some of the best habits to improve your efficiency as a blogger:

  1. Dress professionally. If you’re working from home or blogging in your free time, you’ll be tempted to wear the most comfortable clothes and lounge in the living room while writing. But if you want to be successful and work efficiently, it’s much better to dress professionally and establish a professional work area. The idea is to treat your blog work like it’s your job. You’ll take your work more seriously, and you’ll be less inclined to follow distractions. It may also change how you think about your work and how you approach problem-solving.
  2. Practice good hygiene. While you’re at it, make sure to practice good hygiene—especially if blogging is your full-time job. The most obvious habit here is to shower regularly, but you’ll also want to keep your clothes clean, take good care of your environment, or as 14K Gold Teeth suggests, clean accessories like custom gold grillz. You’ll feel more professional in your environment and will have less clutter to distract you.
  3. Stick to a routine. Routines are vital for improving your efficiency. They help you establish consistent processes, which you can follow to save time and refine your habits. They give you something predictable to work with, so you aren’t scrambling to figure out what to work on next. They also reinforce your most productive habits, so you can continue working without thinking too much about it—in other words, they’re procrastination-busters.
  4. Set a strict schedule. While you’re developing your routine, try to create and stick to a strict schedule. For example, you might set a timer for one hour to read the latest news, a half hour designated to preparing an outline, and another hour to finish your full first draft. These temporal limitations help you avoid Parkinson’s law, which states that the amount of time it takes to do a task will swell to fill whatever amount of time is allotted to it; in other words, the tighter you set your timetables, the more efficiently you’ll be motivated to work.
  5. Keep an editorial calendar. Create a high-level editorial calendar as early as possible, and stick to it the best you can. This will help you ensure your high-level goals and priorities never fall out of your sight, and make sure you never run out of work. Set target dates for drafting and publication, so you’re always working toward something, and jot down your new topic ideas whenever you get them.
  6. Stay organized. This should go without saying, but the vast majority of new bloggers suffer from not being organized. They read new material that could serve as inspiration for a new post, but lose the original article. They set goals for themselves, but forget them or change them too frequently for them to take effect. Create a system for taking notes and keeping track of your high-level priorities, and stick to it.
  7. Keep reading on a regular basis. Reading is one of the best ways to consistently and reliably improve your writing, so make time for it in your schedule. Reading work like yours can help you generate new ideas, improve your vocabulary, and increase your fluency, so you can write faster.

Learning and Improving

It’s a good idea to track your time while working on blog-related tasks. It will allow you to gather data on your productivity habits, and ideally, see how they improve over time. If there’s a particular task that takes up a disproportionate amount of your time, you can drop it or focus specifically on improving it. If you notice a strategy is making you more efficient in one or more areas, you can use it more frequently or apply it to different areas.

In any case, the real secret to becoming a more efficient blogger is committing to improve over time. Pay attention to how your habits develop, and continually refine your approach.

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Oh, Now I Get It! How to Explain Complex Topics to Your Audience

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Technical writers have a great number of skills, but perhaps the most important is the ability to adapt your language to the level of comprehension your audience has. A highly technical and complex article can overwhelm readers or even bore them.

“But it’s impossible to delight my readers and keep them engaged when I’m talking about the

IEEE 802.11ac principle of broadband technology,” We hear you cry. And, we get it. Turning a technical article into a sexy piece of content can feel like a daunting task, but it’s not mission impossible.

Here are a few content creation tips that will help you explain complex topics to your audience in a delightful manner.

Imagine That You Are Explaining the Subject to a Non-Tech-Savvy Friend

One of the most important things when creating technical content for a more broad audience is consistency. So, as much as possible try to use the same tone, level of knowledge, complexity of vocabulary, and so on. The easiest way to calibrate your writing style is to imagine that you are writing for a friend or a relative that has nothing to do with your area of expertise.

Imagine you are trying to explain a particularly complex topic to them, in a friendly and light discussion. How would you approach the subject? What elements you think would bore or frustrate them?

What helps you in the real world is adapting your style and vocabulary to the other person’s knowledge. You know that you don’t have to explain what an Internet browser does, but you might have to tell them more about the coding behind it when discussing responsive web design, for instance. Use common words and keep them engaged with a lighter, friendly style.

Adapt Your Vocabulary and Structure

Let’s take a look at how you can flip your technical writing to be more approachable. First of all: use concepts that your audience is familiar with or at least has a general idea about them.

A good start is to check what search words visitors use when browsing your website. You will identify commonly used terms that are related to the technology that interests them. Use those keywords yourself to keep visitors on your page.

Also, be careful about the structure of the text when writing online, especially when you are trying to explain something complex. Make sure to split your text into readable chunks. You can also help the reader understand the subject better by using titles and subtitles to separate the main ideas of your article.

Build up the Knowledge of Your Audience, from General to Detailed

Once you have established a common language and vocabulary between you and your target audience, start methodically presenting your topic, from general level information to more detailed aspects. Applying this rule will help you readers understand the topic better without wasting too much time. Online readers tend to ignore content that is, irrelevant or hard to understand.

While it is important to get the basics straight before getting deeper into your subject, make sure to summarize the purpose of your article at the very beginning, as it will let your audience know what they will learn about after going through it.

Use Style Tools That Help Your Audience Relate to the Topic

The fun part of writing about technical topics for a general audience is getting creative with it. Because you can’t use the “boring,” “stiff” technical jargon, you must come up with expressive comparisons, examples, and analogies. You can even evoke anecdotal evidence to support the facts since they are highly relevant for many of the users.

Helping them relate to the topic you are writing about is the key to grabbing their attention. Use day to day examples for the systems and processes you are describing, or mention the best-known similar thing. Give them examples of possible situations when they can come across the topic you are writing about and enable them to talk about it themselves.

Ultimately, is all about correctly identifying the level of knowledge your audience has. Encourage them to comment and ask any questions and keep the conversations alive.

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IT Management Solutions: What is the Key to Improving Employee Efficiency?

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There are many ways you can improve your employees’ efficiency. From decluttering the workspace to encouraging a stress-free environment, there is a whole range of things you can do to make your work life run smoother. One such technique you need to adopt for your company is an IT management solution.

What Does It Do?

An IT management solution such as SysAid takes all of the day-to-day programs that a business will use and consolidates them into one easy-to-use package. Every employee should be able to log on and complete all their work without having to leave the initial program.

It can contain such subsections as project management, customer relationship management, billing and invoicing, and a whole host of other features.

Why Should Employers Implement Such a Solution?

A system such as this allows managers to have better visibility over the company as a whole. They will be able to tell if an employee is completing their daily tasks to the best of their ability and will also allow them to see where they are lacking.

The data from the completion of these daily tasks can easily be tracked and analyzed to see where employees are struggling with efficiency. With some adjustments, efficiency can then be improved in these areas.

Project Management

One of the key reasons to install an IT management solution is for the project management aspects. A good project management program lets all employees know where they are with their projects at all times. Whether you are just working on the project or a project manager, you will be able to see the stage that the project is at and all the steps and processes that still need to be completed.

This collaborative nature helps improve speed and efficiency and stops the project becoming grounded in a lack of communication. If you are not yet using a project management system, you will notice that many small but important problems like misuse of resources will be greatly reduced.

Customer Relationship Management

By having your customer service staff use one portal for all their needs, you will see a great improvement in efficiency when it comes to handling customer enquiries. An IT management solution can contain a database with all your customer’s information. This means that if a case needs to be passed from one team member to another, there is little to no chance of any relevant information being lost in the transfer. Everything should be in place in the one database.

Invoicing and Billing

Keeping your various accounts and invoices in different places can lead to items being forgotten or double-charged. By using an IT management software, your managers and accountants will be able to successfully keep track of all costs and reduce unnecessary spending. This will improve efficiency as multiple enquires are not being made to complete invoices and other reports.

There are just some of the ways an IT management solution can improve your business. If you feel you need to improve your company’s efficiency, consider implementing one today.

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