Some of you know that in my “day” job, I’m an Internet marketing blogger. Occasionally, I come across something cool enough in my line of work that I have to share it with you here.
Last week, a Google-watching blog, Google Blogoscoped, reported this week on features coming up for Blogger—and a lot of them are pretty cool. Like other beta features (a search box, future posting), they’re currently available on the Blogger Draft site.
The latest features, ranked by order of coolness (IMO):
- Comments form embeddedable below the post. Can you believe it? Soon (well, now if you want to switch to Blogger Draft) even Blogger blogs can have the comment form right on the post page, rather than a “Post a comment” link. Google Blogoscoped explains how to get this feature on Blogger Draft now: go “to Settings -> Comments, and in the Comment Form Placement segment check the “Embedded below post” box. Click Save Settings to approve.”
- Integration into Google Webmaster tools. A link in the Dashboard takes you to Google Webmaster Tools. Now, you may not be familiar with Webmaster Tools (and if not, let me know and I’ll be happy to write about it!). The short story here is that Webmaster Tools helps you to interface directly with Google to see any problems with your site in the search engine index, to see keywords people use to find your blog in search results, and to see their click data (though I still recommend using a separate analytics package like Google Analytics). If you don’t want your blog listed in search engines, this isn’t really as useful .
- Exporting and importing your blog. Not only will this make it WAY easy to backup your blog regularly, it may also make it easy to move to a new blogging platform if you so choose. Posts, comments, etc. will be downloadable as XML files. This is under Settings, as Import blog and Export blog.
- A new post editor with new image handling. Google says, “When you upload an image to the new post editor it will appear as a thumbnail in the image dialog box. That way, you can upload several images at once, and then add them into your post at your convenience.” Very nice.
- Star ratings. Personally, I don’t find this one as interesting, but it could definitely be useful for getting feedback from your readers on what kinds of posts they like. It adds a five-star rating system and readers can rate the post. You can then see the average rating for each of your posts. This feature is under Layouts, at Edit at your Blog Posts element. Select the Show Star Ratings box.
If you don’t want to switch between regular Blogger and Draft, you can now also make the Blogger Draft site your default dashboard. But if you don’t mind switching, you can make these changes in Blogger Draft now and still post from regular Blogger with the changes intact.
If you always want to stay on top of new beta-stage features for Blogger, head on over to the Blogger in Draft blog and you’ll always be in the know!