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Creating “Static” Pages With Blogger

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Blogger Static PagesStatic pages are a useful way of offering your readers information about your blog. Unlike WordPress, Blogger does not feature the ability to create pages. This presents a problem for those using Blogger to publish their blogs as “about”, “contact” and even “archive” pages have become the norm among blogs and are often sought after by blog readers.

However, there is a way to work around this problem: by using a post as the basis for a page, you can create the sense of static pages in Blogger and link to these in the navigation section of your template. In this post, I’ll explain the method many Blogger bloggers use to successfully create “static” pages in their blogs, along with a few ideas for pages you may like to create.

Creating your “Static” Pages in Blogger

The blog pages we can create in Blogger are not truly pages; instead we can use a blog post as a “page” and backdate the timestamp so that the page does not show up in recent feed entries.

To create your Blogger page, simply fire up your post editor, write your title and any content you would like to appear in the page. You can make your post appear more “page like” by using headings where appropriate and inline CSS to add some style.

Altering the post options

While you may like an “about” page to appear as a recent post entry, the illusion of a “static page” in Blogger is best created by backdating the post. This ensures that your post will not appear as a recent entry in your archives or blog feed.

To backdate your post, look for the “Post Options” link beneath your post editor. The section which appears will allow you to backdate your post to whatever date you prefer. I tend to backdate pages to a date before the first post written on my blog. Then if a reader does go back through your entire archives, these post pages will seem to appear in the right place!

The post options section will also allow you to prevent comments being posted on this particular page, and also to hide any backlinks. Most WordPress powered blogs do not allow such features on the static pages, so changing the settings for these features on your “static pages” may be an option for you to consider.

Linking to your Static Pages in Blogger

Once you have created “static” pages for your Blogger blog, the next step is to provide links to these pages in an easily accessible place in your template. You will probably have noticed that WordPress powered blogs may feature a navigation bar above or beneath the main header section, which is often the first place a reader will look to find links to your blog’s important pages. This can easily be duplicated in Blogger templates too.

There are many different ways of adding a navigation section in Blogger. In this post I will explain the easiest (and most functional) method which takes only three simple steps to complete.

Adding a Simple Navigation Section in your Blogger template

  1. Go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard and locate the following section of code:

    <b:section class=’header’ id=’header’ maxwidgets=’1′ showaddelement=’no’>
    <b:widget id=’Header1′ locked=’true’ title=’Testing Time of Day Background Script (Header)’ type=’Header’/>
    </b:section>

    Change the line in red to this instead:

    <b:section class=’header’ id=’header’ maxwidgets=’2′ showaddelement=’yes’>

  2. Next add this section of code just before the closing </b:skin> tag in your template:

    #header ul li {
    display: inline;
    padding: 0 5px;
    }

    Then save your template.

  3. Finally, go to Layout>Page Elements in your Blogger dashboard. You will see that you can add a new page element above your header.

    In this section, add a new “Link List” widget, and add the links to your “static pages”, using the site name as the text you would like to appear for your link (eg: About, Contact, Archives).

The easiest way to locate the URL for your blog pages is through the post editing section of your Blogger dashboard. Skip through to the earliest pages of your archives until you find the date section to which you have backdated your posts. In the left hand column you can choose to “View” each page. You can either view the page and copy the link from your browser’s URL bar, or right click on the link and choose to save the link to your clipboard.

Pages you may like to add to your Blogger blog

Here are a few ideas of the types of pages which may be beneficial to include in your blog:

An About Page

It’s almost scripture that a blog should feature an “About” page, so this will probably be the first static page you would like to add to your Blogger blog.

Here you could include general information about your blog’s format, subject matter and any other relevant information which your blog readers will find useful and enlightening to know.

A contact Page

If you would like to provide an accessible method for your readers to contact you, then a “contact page” is a must!

I use Kontactr to generate a Javascript contact form in my Blogger blogs so readers can email me directly from the page. This is a free service which seems to have no limitations on the amount of forms you can create, or the number of emails you can receive.

WebFormDesigner is an alternative solution with much more options for configuration. Again, this is a free service, though I have to say this is not as reliable as Kontactr!

An “About the Author(s)” Page

This would be similar to an “About” page, but with more focus on the blog author (or authors), including any information which adds credibility to your blog.

An Archives Page

This is a little trickier to implement in Blogger as there is no template we can use to add links to previous posts. However, an archives page can prove very useful for your readers in who may wish to read through previous posts or locate an article of interest.

Perhaps the best method you could use to add an archives page in your Blogger blog is to add an archives widget to your sidebar, then copy the links to your archive pages manually into your post page.

I used this method recently to add an archives page for Blogger Buster which also includes links and descriptions of my main categories. If you’re interested to read more about the process I used, take a look at this explanatory article.

A Subscription Page

Having a dedicated subscription page in your blog si a very effective method of converting readers to subscribers.

Here you can add links to your blogs feeds and email subscription page, even including images to add style to the post. Explain to your readers the benefits of subscribing, and highlight the ease of unsubscribing too. For readers who may be unfamiliar with RSS and feed subscriptions, explain what blog feeds are and how they may be of benefit to them.

Tim Ferris presents a great example of a dedicated subscription page by detailing seven reasons for readers to subscribe.

A Popular Posts Page

Highlighting your most popular posts in a page is a useful method of providing value for newer readers, which in turn may offer an incentive to subscribe (or at least stay on your blog for a longer period of time!).

Similarly, a table of contents/important posts could be used as an aid for discovering useful posts which may not otherwise be linked from your home page.

Final thoughts

Once you understand how to create seemingly “static” pages for your Blogger blog, you could indeed choose to link to any important page you like. Such pages are useful to ensure your blog template feels more “polished” and professional, and also helps ensure readers are better able to navigate to important sections of your content.

Have you created “static” post pages in your Blogger blog? If so, what methods have you used to link to these pages? I’m sure other readers of this post may like to see other examples of how this may be achieved, so please feel free to leave your comments below.

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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