Tag Archives: blogging-tip

Blogger Finds the Happy Feed Medium

I’ve long said full feeds are the best option for bloggers and readers. But for some posts, a full feed isn’t the best option—and now Blogger users have even more feed options with the addition of Jump Breaks in the feed.

Jump Breaks have been around since September 2009 (announced on 09/09/09). Up until a few days ago, you could use Jump Breaks on your blog to truncate posts displayed there. Write a long post, but don’t want it making your homepage load so long? Insert a Jump Break a few paragraphs in, and the main page of your blog will only display the post to that point, with a link to see the full version.

To insert a Jump Break, you can click on the Edit HTML tag and enter <!– more –> . Or, in the Compose tab, you can click on the Jump Break button:

Now you can use the same function in your feeds. To enable the Jump Breaks in your feed, go to Settings > Site Feed. By “Allow Blog Feeds,” select “Until Jump Break.”

You can even customize the “Read more” text. Go to Design > Page Elements. Under Blog Posts, click Edit.

Then just change the Post Page Link Text in the popup window:

Why would you want to use Jump Breaks?
There are a lot of reasons to use Jump Breaks in your feed and on your blog. For example:

  • To cut off a long or image-heavy post that would take a long time to load.
  • To customize when and where you publish a “snippet” or “preview” feed.
  • To keep your homepage from getting too long.
  • To display a larger variety or number of posts on your homepage.

On other blogging platforms
If you use WordPress, this all might look a little familiar: you can also split posts in WordPress with the <!– more –> tag. You can type that in the HTML version of a post, or just use the more button: in the Visual tab or the HTML tab . You can even customize the text of the link it inserts, if you’re feeling ambitious.

In TypePad, you can split posts if you’re a premium subscriber.

What do you think? Do you or would you ever use this function? Why or why not?

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Where do you get stuck blogging?

Blogging isn’t always as easy as it looks. Now in my fourth year of blogging, things are a little different (as I’m sure many of you “old timers” can attest).

I still get a lot of ideas for posts. Sometimes, they’re thoughts that come out of the blue, and sometimes they’re good enough that I can just hang onto them until I’m ready to write them (I did that with yesterday’s post on hard work for about a week and a half). Some are inspired by others’ posts, others by my every day life or pictures I’ve taken of the kids.

Once I get a good idea, especially if it’s inspired by another post, I write up a little draft of it. Sometimes it’ll be nothing more than a phrase or a link.

And usually, that’s about where they stay, sometimes even after I write the post on that topic. So right now, I have over 100 unfinished blog post drafts.

On the one hand, hooray! I have so much stuff to write about! On the other hand, boo! I don’t want to go through 100 posts looking for something I feel like writing about today (especially not if I have to read something first!).

So today I realized, that’s where I get stuck blogging—taking it from idea/draft to post. (And it’s not like my every post is a masterpiece that I spend days crafting.)

Confession: I wrote this post a couple days ago and thought I posted it. I was all sad because I didn’t get any comments. Then I was checking something on the site and discovered . . . I never hit Publish. What a great illustration of this, LOL!

So today I’m turning it over to you for a little help. How can I take more drafts to posts? Where do you get stuck blogging? What blogging questions do you have?

Photo by Shovelling Son

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The 7 Best MamaBlogga Blogging Tips

I’ve been blogging about blogging here on MamaBlogga for almost two years. It was the Ultimate Guide to Migrating from Blogger to WordPress that started it all, but that’s just a one-time move (hopefully). Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of advice for bloggers. In honor of this week’s best-of Works for Me Wednesday (now hosted by We Are THAT Family), I’m highlighting my best blogging tips ever!

hayden-17-months-035small
A little blogging help here, Mom?

1. “Guest blogging also helps to build relationships with other bloggers, introduce you to new readers and increase your subscribers.”: Get the most out of guest blogging

2. “Blog branding, in practical terms, is providing a unique experience for your blog visitors as well as promoting your blog’s name, look, feel and mission throughout the Internet.”: 7 Ways to Brand Your Blog

3. “‘Stickiness’ on a blog (or website) is getting visitors to stay longer, read more, subscribe and leave comments.”: Increase Your Blog’s Stickiness (with a free guide to increasing your blog’s stickiness, “Get Your Visitors to Stick!“)

4. “Here’s some of the collective wisdom of MamaBlogga readers on making photo posts GREAT!”: How to Make a Photo Post Great from the comments on Making a photo post

5. “How much do you really know about your visitors? . . . [This information is] easy to find, use and understand with a free web analytics package (software installed on your site that tracks what visitors do on your site)—no coding, just cut and paste.”: Quick Guide to Google Analytics for Bloggers also available as a free PDF

6. “FeedBurner is an excellent blogging add-on service that makes your feeds more accessible to readers and easier to subscribe to. Plus, you can move your feed easily when you move to a different blog address without losing any subscribers”: 5 Steps to Getting Started with FeedBurner (and for the more advanced, Seven Ways to Master FeedBurner)

7. “No matter what you define as blog success, it’s important to set out at least one specific goal for your blog so that you have something to work for and can see how far you’ve come.”: Setting goals for your blog

What’s your best blogging tip, in this post, in another MB post or (best of all) one all your own?

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New features coming for Blogger (available now in Draft)

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!

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Creating category feeds

Do you read a blog that you love to see their posts about gardening, but could care less about their posts about dog grooming? You (or the blogger) can remedy this problem by offering category feeds, or RSS feeds (What’s RSS again?) of individual categories on a blog.

Most of us already know how to use categories on blogs—we use them on our own blogs to break the content up by major subject; we use them on other people’s blogs to learn what they write about, to navigate their content and to find posts on a particular subject.

The general convention for most blogs is “Categories” are the larger topics of the blog and “Tags” cover narrower topics or subtopics. Blogger, of course, just has to be different and use “Labels,” which usually seem to function as both categories and tags, since they don’t give you any other option.

By creating category feeds, you allow your readers to pick and choose which topics they want to read about. This could be good for you—you get to target readers who are most interested in this area of your blog, while not risking losing them because of the stuff that they’re not so interested in.

Creating Label Feeds in Blogger

from Blogger Design

To create a label-based feed on Blogger, the feed address is:
http://YOURBLOGNAMEHERE.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default/-/YOURLABELNAME

Obviously, you’ll have to change the blog name and the label name to match what your blog. This will give you the address of an RSS or Atom feed that you can offer to your readers. Note that label and category feeds can be burned with FeedBurner.

Creating Category Feeds in WordPress.com and WordPress.org

For once, it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re using a self-hosted or WP-hosted flavor of WordPress. To create a category-based feed with WordPress, the feed address is:
http://YOURBLOGADDRESS.com/category/CATEGORYNAME/feed/ (or http://YOURBLOGADDRESS.wordpress.com/). (You have the option of using something else for the first /category/—some blogs choose to use /archive/, etc.)

You’ll have to change the blog address and the category name, but appending /feed/ to any category page (or, incidentally, any tag page, too) automatically gives the address for the RSS feed. (Want Atom? add /feed/atom/ instead.)

Once again, category feeds can be burned with FeedBurner.

Creating Category Feeds in TypePad

As I generally like to say, TypePad, being evil, makes this difficult—or at least relatively more difficult than the other standard platforms. However, if you can create a new index template as part of an Advanced Template Set (does that cost extra?), then you can create a category feed.

The full instructions are available from Six Apart, and require you to cut . . . and paste (can you believe it?!) and change the listed category to whichever category you’re looking for. Follow the directions carefully, and your feed will be at the address you specified when you created the new index template.

And, one more time, category feeds can be burned with FeedBurner.

Conclusion
This is, of course, an individual choice—but if your readers (or you as a reader) really want to, they can create these feeds (and even burn them in FeedBurner) themselves.

Please note that it would be wrong to “steal” another blog’s category feed and burn it, and especially to promote your burned version of the feed elsewhere on the Internet. I don’t think that any of you gentle readers would do that, but you never know what the Internets might bring in here.

More Works-for-me Wednesday

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