In the last tutorial – Blogger Tutorial (3/6): Writing Your First Post, we learned about writing our first post, attaching photos, and embedding videos. It is time to take things to the next level. In this “action-packed” episode, you are going to propel yourself from a beginner to semi-pro with the 9 free essential tools for a blogger! With these added elements, your blog will be more fun and exciting, while increasing your reader interaction. Need I say more? Let’s begin:
Like mentioned in the last tutorial, Blogger provides the capability of attaching photos to your blog post. Your photos will be uploaded to the Blogger server and kept there, randomly. Photobucket provides a way for you to keep your photos in an organized manner. First, you upload all related photos to one folder, say “Finland Trip”. Then, you could easily use them for your posts.
Like Photobucket, Flickr is also a photo repository.
Besides giving you the option to share the photos in your Flickr account to your Blogger blog, you could also first edit your photos. Flickr Edit is powered by Picnik which gives you powerful editing capabilities. Resize, crop, red-eye reduction, you name it.
3. Chat Box
Everybody needs a CBox (Chat Box). You need to provide an area for your readers to gossip, haha! It’s a quick way to let your readers ask you a question; respond to your readers, etc. It also keeps the history of your chats so that you could refer to them if you want to. It’s in html, no java nor flash required. Simple yet great.
Statcounter is an invisible web tracker that will help you monitor the traffic to your blog. By invisible it means that your reader will not know that they are being “tracked”. Haha, it is not something illegal, by all means. The best thing is it is really free, no advertisement whatsoever. You get to have a detailed report on where your readers come from, what browser they are using, which post they frequent the most, and so much more.
Even a hit counter to show daily or accumulated visits (Detailed reports showed below).
5. Search Box (Install from Blogger Gadget)
Search boxes have become a necessity for blogs. It will be so much easier for your readers to look for a particular post amongst your humongous archives of posts. Just provide an easily accessible corner of your blog to put this. Your reader simply needs to type in some keywords, and the script will automatically crawl through your blog and presents the matching posts. It is powered by Google Search.
6. Recent Comments (Install from Blogger Gadget)
“Recent Comments” is a gadget that allows you to show latest reader commentary on one column of your side pane. The motive that many bloggers start implementing this is to encourage readers to engage in discussion on the posts you have written. If a reader sees another reader commenting on something, he/she might feel want to participate too and the chain goes on. This is definitely a good way to attract your readers to come back to your blog for updates.
7. Facebook Badge
Since July 2009, Facebook’s official user count has already reached 250 million! Almost everyone has a FB account nowadays – your friends, family, colleagues, even your bosses. By adding a FB Badge, you could show your current FB status on your blog. Your readers will know what you are up to lately and if they like, they could also easily add you on their FB from there. Get to know more friends, expand your social circle!
8. Twitter Updates (Install from Blogger Gadget)
Every now and then, instead of writing a full-blast post, you might want to update your readers about your current mood, things you are doing, and whatnots. If you have a twitter account, you might be doing just that already! Now, it is easier than ever to integrate your twitter update straight to your blog. Your reader could now track your presence, every second, haha. “Going shopping now, blog laterz..”
9. Google Translation Gadget
The translation tool is something really awesome – totally translate your blog to another language! This might only be an extra add-on for your blog but you might never know how useful it really is to your readers. Powered by Google Translate, this gadget gives you a dropdown menu so that your blog could be translated to a language of your reader’s choice. I do not know many languages but I tried with Chinese Language and Bahasa Indonesia and it’s “freakingly” accurate. Salute to Google Translate for this.
Do you feel powerful already? Try enrich your blog with these addons today. In the next entry, we’ll be talking about how to apply custom templates to your blog (instead of using the boring ones Blogger provides, haha). I’ve also narrowed down some great places for you to get free quality custom templates. Don’t miss it!
About the author
E-quan graduated from Technological University of Malaysia as an Electrical and Electronics Engineer.
He is now attached with an MNC specializing in power and automation technologies. In his blog (Confirm Cekap), he describes himself as a full-time procrastinator although in reality, he is “not”. He likes 80’s music especially Cantonese pop songs. He plays the Electone and wishes to own a grand piano (amongst the many things he would like to own) soon.