Sunday, November 6, 2011

Blogspot Editorial Calendar Solution: Google Calendar!!

I think I may have stumbled upon the answer to something that have Google searched at least 5 times, always hoping that the results will be different.  (They never are.)

Using an Editorial Calendar

It is highly recommended by many professional bloggers that you use an editorial calendar.  When I was just blogging as my heart led, on My Journey to Authenticity, it wasn't really that important.  But as I gradually become more enmeshed in the blogging world, and started to write guest posts, started this blog, and signed on to be a contributing writer for another blog, I realized that I was NOT going to be able to keep all of the deadlines in my head.

I have to be honest with you.
I had some pretty serious, pretty green, WordPress envy.  Bloggers on the WordPress platform have access to an Editorial Calendar Plugin.  Right in their blog writing site.

So I searched. And searched.

And I tried no less than five free online calendar sites.
But not one of them compared to my first love in online calendars: Google Calendar.

I use Google Calendar at work to manage the 4 different bands that I teach and their incredibly different schedules.  I love it.  But the LAST thing I wanted was to add ANOTHER calendar to that account.

And to be honest?  I really didn't want to have yet ANOTHER browser window open so I don't have to log in and log out (the whole "switching accounts" thing doesn't always work for me, since ALL of the google apps don't switch . . ).  Because I have my primary gmail account, then I have one for the elementary school, and one for the high school, and one for each of my blogs.  That is FIVE gmail accounts.  Oh mylanta.
Anyway.  I remembered that I could just download the Opera web browser, and now have been loading up my new "EDITORIAL CALENDAR" with the posts I plan to write, the tasks I need to do, etc.  I am already motivated and excited.  

You can see all of the colored boxes representing all of the blogs that I write for.  All of the ones in green aren't hard for me to remember, because my primary bog is on a schedule. But the contributing posts definitely need to be in there!  Seeing it, in beautiful customizable colors?  Bliss.

So I am just putting the topic of each post on the day I plan for it to go live.  

In this picture, I have clicked on the post and added any details that I want to make sure that I remember to include -- I need my students to remember when the concert is, so I slyly mention it somewhere in the post.  (As well as write it on the white board in my classroom, email, and mention it every day.)  So you can see how helpful this can be.

So I am pretty excited about using my favorite Google Calendar as my editorial calendar.

And the best news?
Since Blogger is owned by Google, it just works. 

Have fun!
Shoot me any questions as you have them!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Making your content POP with pictures!

You write great content.

You lose sleep thinking of the perfect witty phrase, or profound statement.
We want your message to come across loud and clear.

You know how it is  - - your RSS Reader is full, and you are trying to get through all of the posts your friends have written.  There is a post that just leaps out from the page.  The pictures are engaging. You want to interact with the post - tweet it, or comment on it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Creating and Adding a Favicon to Blogger Blog

Favicons are the ultimate.

Chances are, you have at least seven browser tabs open at this very moment.  If that is the case then you are probably seeing quite a few different favicons right now!  The icons that show up at the top of the browser that help all of us helpless multi-taskers keep track of what tab is what?  Those are favicons.  It is a melding of the term "favorites icon," because clearly five syllables is too hard to say.

The new Blogger format supposedly makes it ridiculously easy to add a favicon to your site.

And with some images, it really is.

I have tried numerous different images, and here is my tutorial.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Switching to Disqus or IntenseDebate for your commenting platform

One of the best moves that you will ever make for your blog is switching comment platforms.
While Blogger is improving all the time, there are two platforms available that will change the way you interact with readers.

I have used both of them, and like them equally, for different reasons. Depending in your niche, you will find people gravitating heavily toward either Disqus or IntenseDebate.

Disqus.  No frills, but ease of use.  Reply to comments directly from email with a very clean format.

IntenseDebate  More bells and whistles.  Reply to comments directly from email, though they appear on post with strange symbols.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Make a Blog Button and Grab Box

There are two excellent tutorials that I will direct you to for making a blog button for your blog, and a grab box, so that you readers can easily grab the code to that they can display your button their blogs.

The first tutorial is by blogging expert, Amy Anderson.  Her tutorial about making a blog button is clear, concise and easy to figure out.  You can find it here.

Now to create a nifty box underneath your button, so that your readers can grab your code, I will send you here.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Layout Design Basics

The Blogger (in Draft) Layout screen is a thing of beauty.

It is clean, elegant, and very easy to understand.

Let's talk about the screen shot above.

As you can see, my blog is using the layout with the blog posts on the left hand side,  with a sidebar on the right.  The actual layout is cannot be changed from this screen - - - only customized.  Changing the layout (reverse the blog post area and sidebar, for example) can only be done from the Template area.  (See left hand list on screen shot.)

If Blogger does not already have the gadget that you want, then you can add nearly anything that you can think of by simply adding a gadget called "HTML/Javascript."   It allows for the freedom to create custom graphics, blog buttons, follow me buttons.  Anything!

Blogger Help!

So you want to learn more about taking your blog to the next level?

You have come to the right place.
I have discovered, through multiple different sources, how to do some really awesome things with my blogger blog.

I will point you in the right direction!