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Most Requested Features for Blogger

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blogger-most-requested-featuresBack in April, the Blogger team created the Product Ideas for Blogger forum where Blogger users could offer their suggestions of the features and gadgets they would like to use.

The Product Ideas forum was open for a month and closed for new suggestions on the 14th of May. During the time it was open, the forum received over 1500 different suggestions and thousands of votes from enthusiastic Blogger users.

In today’s post, I’ll highlight some of the most popular suggestions, along with discussion of the likelihood that these suggestions could come to fruition and be integrated into the Blogger service.

An overview of the Product Ideas for Blogger forum

Product Ideas for Blogger was announced on Blogger Buzz in April, when Blogger users were invited to add their suggestions for:

  • Blogger features – general enhancements to the service
  • Blogs of Note – notable Blogger powered blogs which are acknowledged in the Blogs of Note blog and on Blogger’s home page
  • Gadgets – Blogger specific widgets which can be added to the layout in a few clicks, through the Page Elements section of the Blogger dashboard.

The forum was open for public viewing, though only those holding a Google account could log in to suggest a feature or add their votes to existing suggestions.

Voting on the Product Ideas forum was simply “For” or “Against” the ideas presented. There was no means to comment on suggestions or provide details about our degree of agreement/disagreement of an idea.

As there were no pre-existing suggestions, those who offered their suggestions were able to add any idea they liked. This meant that many ideas were duplicated due to different wording of the ideas presented, or the specifics of suggestions provided. Also, many ideas were submitted to both the Features and Gadgets sections of the forum. I suspect this caused some confusion among participants as to which ideas they should vote for or against.

However, despite these misgivings I believe that Blogger’s decision to open up the forum for suggestions to the Blogger interface will prove successful: by offering Blogger users the means of expressing their interest in certain features, the Blogger team have provided a sense of community participation and will hopefully implement some of the more popular suggestions in future enhancements to the system.

Let’s take a broad look at the more popular suggestions and consider the likelihood that these ideas will be considered.

Suggestions for new Blogger features

In this section of the forum, participants posted their ideas for general enhancements to the Blogger interface.

Improvements to the comments system

Suggestions for improvements of Blogger’s comments system appeared many times in the forum, and in many different formats.

Generally speaking, participants of the forum seem to feel Blogger’s existing comments system is too basic and suggest that comment avatars (particularly avatars), comment threading and integtation of a system like “CommentLuv” would vastly improve the system.

Furthermore, a better system for prevention of comment spam similar to Askimet would be much appreciated by the Blogger community. I was surprised that prevention of comment spam did not feature in the top tier of results once voting had closed for the Product Ideas forum, but when browsing through the hundreds of suggestions it was clear that this was suggested in so many different formats that a single clear suggestion was missed.

Will it happen? Based on recent integration of other Google services, I believe that any improvements to Blogger’s comment system may be based on Google Friend Connect. As some of you may already know, Friend Connect offers a means of commenting for any web page, including threaded comments and Google-based avatars; some creative Blogger users have already chosen to add this functionality to the comments section of their blogs. It is more likely that an adaptation of the Friend Connect comment box will be added than a stand-alone improvement specific to Blogger.

“WordPress style” pages for Blogger blogs

Participants of the Product Ideas forum voiced their opinion of this suggestion in many different ways, and I can attest from experience that this feature would be hugely appreciated by the Blogger community!

Rather than hide important pages of our blogs (such as an “About” page and contact details) in the archives, most Blogger users would relish the opportunity to add a selection of pages separately, without the date and year extention. As many have pointed out, this feature is available for those using WordPress and other blogging systems. Those who use Blogger create such “pages” by designing a post which is linked from the layout and hidden deep in the blog archives.

Will it happen? I suspect that great modifications to the Blogger engine would be required to accomodate this feature. Though I suspect it could be possible, I doubt this feature would come into effect in the near future. Yet with the demand from those using Blogger through the sheer number of votes for this feature..? We shall have to see!

New/Better Blogger Templates available through Blogger

The selection of default templates available from Blogger has not changed for the past 5 years when StopDesign was commissioned to design the templates with which we are all familiar. Although many designers have turned their talents towards designing “third party” templates for Blogger, many Blogger users would feel far happier if a new (or wider ranging) selection of designs could be chosen from Blogger itself.

Will it happen? I would hope there is the possibility of new designs in the pipline, though I strongly suspect that any new templates would offer new designs, but not improved functionality. Many recent third party templates offer functions which would be difficult to implement as default Blogger templates due to the nature of the code used to produce them. Default templates include code snippets and widget tags in specific places, enabling blog posts, widgetized sidebars and comment sections (to name a few aspects) in specific places in the template. It could be very difficult to manipulate functions for default templates for the millions of Blogger members who would use them.

Addition of a “Read More” feature (post summaries)

At present, when we publish a blog post with Blogger, the whole post is displayed on the home and archive pages of our blogs. There is no facility built in to Blogger which allows only post summaries to be displayed, and while there are several Blogger hacks to add this functionality, these can be complicated to implement.

Many suggestions on the Product Ideas for Blogger forum included the facility to summarize posts when required. If this was enabled through the Blogger interface itself (rather than by hacking our Blogger templates) this would prevent the need to selectively hide sections of our posts using JavaScript and CSS.

Will it happen? Again, I’m unsure of the implications for the Blogger engine, and how extensive modifications would need to be to support this feature. However, there is such demand for this feature to be added that I hope the Blogger team will certainly consider this.

Suggestions for new Blogger gadgets

In this section of the forum, participants suggested new Blogger specific gadgets which they would like to use for their blogs.

Visitor statistics (based on Google Analytics)

One of the most popular gadget suggestions was for a visitor statistics widget (to show page views) which is based on data from Google Analytics. This could prove useful for those who wish to display details of their readership.

Will it happen? I would think this is possible, since Blogger has integrated many of Google’s other services into the Blogger interface in recent months. More likely than this is the addition of Google Analytics data to the Blogger dashboard, as was hinted at in this post by WebProNews…

A popular posts widget

I suspect this gadget would be more popular among Blogger users if it was to come into action! At present, there is no reliable gadget or widget which Blogger users can add to link to their most popular posts. However, Blogger recently introduced the star ratings system which readers can use to rate posts. As yet a gadget to display the most popular posts based on these ratings has not been made available.

Will it happen? I believe that the Blogger team may already have looked into a solution to display the most popular posts based on this system. In fact it would be a natural progression of this widget, and I am surprised we have not already been able to use such a gadget for our blogs.

Another possibility may be to display popular posts based on Google Analytics data if (or when) this feature is added to our dashboards.

So… Will Blogger act upon our suggestions?

Last year, I asked Blogger Buster readers to suggest the features they would most like to use; among these was the addition of a comment form which – to our surprise and warm welcome – was implemented even before the poll had ended!

My thoughts are that the Blogger team do care a lot about how the system is perceived, and that the most popular (and attainable) suggestions will certainly be considered for future updates to the system. I was personally surprised to see the Product Ideas for Blogger forum opened for suggestions of new features as previously our suggestions were voiced through the Blogger help group, but I believe that the Blogger team created this forum to discover more about the opinions of the Blogger community so such suggestions can be acknowledged and acted upon.

What are your suggestions for new Blogger features or Gadgets?

Did you suggest a new feature/gadget or have a strong opinion about any of the suggestions posted on Product Ideas which would improve Blogger? Please feel free to let us know about your suggestions and opinions by leaving 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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Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?

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Writing and self-publishing eBooks scares bloggers.

I piddled in my eBook writing pants until 2012. People told me I should write ’em. I looked for every reason in the eBook NOT to write eBooks. Nobody would listen. Nobody would buy. Nobody would care.

Turns out, people listen, buy and care enough to publish 5 star reviews for my eBooks. Look at the featured image for this blog post describing this eBook:

7 Tips for Writing Successful eBooks Quickly

I locked down five, 5 star reviews because I taught my readers how to write successful eBooks fast. But years prior, fear clouded my mind concerning writing eBooks to the point of me refusing to write one. You may be in the same cyber boat; but you better not miss the eBook writing boat. Lucrative profits serve as one part of the picture. Digging deeper, writing eBooks brands you, distancing you from the herd. Plus you feel good writing short reads and gain trust and extra credibility in the eyes of readers.

Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?

Fear is the core reason. Fear of failure, criticism or wasting time sit near the top of eBook-related fears. I did not know how to sit down and write the darn things. Fear arose in my mind; how would I do it? Who would teach me? Could I find the process? Would I need special editors? How could I learn the technical steps for conceiving an idea to shipping the eBook on Amazon? Tech stuff really scared me; I had no idea how to save Word files with different, web-based extensions, let alone creating covers with proper dimensions via Canva to meet Amazon’s diligent standards.

From my trip to Oman.

Rather than learn how to do these things I allowed fear to get the better of me, refusing to write eBooks. But during a trip to India I met a reader and friend who begged me to write eBooks for a while. He had been on me for a minute. Meeting in person, he finally convinced me to write and self-publish an eBook on a lesser known digital platform. Later, I went with Amazon, and never looked back.

I had to dive into and nudge through deep fears related to failing and being criticized because I believed nobody would buy what I offered in eBook form. As my friend convinced me, I waded through ideas like wasting my time, getting terrible reviews and promoting my eBook to the tune of zero sales. Did it feel good to embrace these fears? Heck no. But the benefits of self-publishing far outweighed a few unpleasant emotions experienced during these fear-feeling sessions.

Nothing to Lose Everything to Gain

Gain by writing eBooks; if you take experience with you, loss is impossible. Even if you sold not a copy you take valuable writing, marketing and selling experience with you any time you write and launch an eBook. But if you generously help people and make friends, you will sell eBooks and help more people, reflecting gain back to you in physical form.

Digging even deeper, facing and releasing fears associated with criticism and failure benefit you across the board with your blogging campaign. Apply that same fearless nature to other aspects of your blog to boost your blog traffic and profits.

Write and ship.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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1 Tip for Being an Intelligent and Prospering Blogger

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My eBook: 10 Tips to Be a Smarter and Richer Blogger

possesses an interesting cover for anyone not familiar with my eBooks.

For anyone familiar with my 100 plus eBooks, my cover is par for the course. Every single one of my eBook covers has been personally snapped by me. Images of paradise preserved by yours truly fit my brand, blog and eBook covers perfectly. Blogging From Paradise means retiring to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. Sometimes I visit islands. Sometimes I visit mainland spots. In all cases, my eBooks and courses – as well as my blog – bleed travel images because this approach fits my brand and is unheard of in the blogging tips niche.

I totally respect any blogging tips blogger who posts featured images for their blogs and eBook covers consistent with content titles. Imagine a light bulb and dollar sign for the above eBook cover, for starters. But I went with a photo I snapped in gorgeous Rawai Bay in Phuket, Thailand for my cover image. Why? Nobody else on earth uses their travel photos as eBook covers and featured post images in the blogging tips niche. If nobody else does it and the move completely aligns with my brand message, this is the starting point for being an intelligent and prospering blogger.

Smart and Prospering Means Different

Every successful blogger I follow sticks to basic fundamentals but deviates from the norm in some regards. Different means bigger bucks and smarter prospering because readers notice that different flavor stepping away from normal. Folks enjoy my covers and blog post images, even though the content and eBook title technically have nothing to do with travel images. Guess what? Adding my brand logo aligns the eBook cover with my blog and brand. People clearly see I am about blogging from paradise. Why not add travel images to each eBook cover?

From my trip to Oman.

I follow a high number of basic blogging rules; create value, build connections, be generous and have fun. But if you do EVERYTHING just like most bloggers, you get lost in the herd. Nothing makes you stand out if you do not choose to stand out with at least one element of your blogging campaign. I stood out with eye-popping eBook images I snapped myself, in a blogging tips niche. How do you stand out? Ask yourself the question. Be straight with yourself to answer.

Bigger Profits from a Smarter Energy by Being Different

Cindy Crawford kept her mole. Muscle Man Arnold kept his accent. Steve Jobs made computers and peripherals outrageously expensive and designed quite weirdly compared to other computers and peripherals. Guess what? Crawford, Arnold and Jobs are legends who we won’t forget for a long time. Different makes you a serious fortune because people notice folks who stand out in some way, shape or form. This different approach bleeds intelligence; why work your butt off if you look just like the next guy and offer a mimicking service?

But Make Sure You Follow Some Fundamentals

Steve Jobs did not attempt to make computers out of cardboard. Arnold did not try to speak German in Hollywood movies. Cindy Crawford did not try to rewrite the foundations of modeling by wearing a fake beard of photo shoots. All icons followed basic rules for their industries because being too far out in left field usually makes you forgettable, or, impossible to spot. Follow blogging fundamentals to stay in the game but find that one thing that distances you from the herd.

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Why Should You Help Other Bloggers Succeed?

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If you build it AND if you help other bloggers build it, then they will come.

We have all seen the famous line from Field of Dreams rehashed many times, regarding blogging. Building a blog solo ain’t good enough. Platitudes of content being king and networking queen get bandied about, and I do not disagree.

But I wanted to put a spin on the line; if you build your blog and help other bloggers build their blogs, THEN people will visit your blog, hire you, buy your stuff and endorse you.

A few moments ago, my friend and power house blogger Julie Syl Kalungi tagged me on Facebook with kind words.  She mentioned a common mistake we both see often; bloggers pitch us content with nothing else to show for the pitch, other than mediocre or OK content from an unknown blogger. If it were that easy to get featured on Blogging From Paradise or on Julie’s blog, we would both place 5 to 10 to 20 guest posts daily, or a helluva lot more.

Of course, landing features on established blogs is not easy at all. But struggling, failing bloggers mistakenly believe it *is* as easy as tempting pros with a helpful post, or some other lukewarm incentive, and wonder why they never get featured on top blogs. Plus bloggers do the silly thing of offering a $1 or $3 bulk discount for 25 posts. Having a poverty consciousness makes you do silly things.

Anyway, these strategies NEVER work because the pitching bloggers are trying to build it – aka their blogs – before building other blogger’s blogs. Build your blog and other blogger’s blogs. Grow your friend network. Be genuine. Be generous. Help. Expect nothing. Ask for nothing. As you help other bloggers succeed and improve your writing skills, something neat happens; you befriend a bunch of skilled bloggers who boost your traffic and profits through endorsements, promotions, by buying your stuff and by hiring you.

From my trip to Oman.

This is why you should help other bloggers succeed. Make friends. Profit. 100 is better than 1.

100 Is Better than 1

I learned years ago the efforts of 100 blogging buddies beats my individual efforts. I am not super connected to 100 plus blogging buddies, but at least that many folks promote me or endorse me routinely across a wide range of channels. Imagine how much 100 bloggers can expand your reach, compared to your individual, singular efforts?

Why do 100 plus bloggers help me out? I have helped thousands of bloggers grow their traffic and profits over a decade online by commenting genuinely on their blogs, by promoting them on social media, by endorsing them, by promoting them on my blog, by inviting them to guest post on my blog and by guest posting for them.

I benefit too, of course. This marks my 6th guest post of the day. As I promote my 71% blogging course discount (use the discount code in the first paragraph) across a slew of these guest posts I gain profit potential and boost my blog traffic too. But I also drive free, passive traffic through each guest post. My 3 blogging buddies living in India who I guest post for wake up to free, passive traffic. I help them succeed. My blogging buddies help me succeed by giving me platforms for reaching their readers.

Do you see why building it and helping other bloggers build it makes you incredibly successful over the long term?

Julie became a wildly successful blogger by generously helping other top bloggers succeed. Now, her blogger friend network expands her reach far and wide.

Give What You Want

Do you want money? Help other bloggers make money. Promote them on your blog. Link to them. Buy and review their eBooks. The number of friends you make by being generous will astound you. As this loyal tribe grows in size and scope, and helps you make more and more money, you will be even more astounded.

Blogger Outreach Resource

Are you looking for bloggers to help? Buy my eBook:

27 Influential Bloggers to Follow

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