Initial Setup of a Blogger Blog


Starting a blogger blog was a breeze. We did not need to install any scripts or make any databases. There were no file editing at all. It was as easy as signing up for an email account. We just entered a few details and that was it.

This is not the end of it. A number of customization and update in the settings need to be done. These are required to give our blog a personal touch. We want our blog to act and look different from many of those out there. We want to customize the colors. We want to change how things are displayed. We want to change some settings. These are some of the first tinkering needs of our blog. This post deals with the initial settings of a Blogger blog.

Here are some of the first things that you might want to do after starting a Blogger blog:

Make a First Post

The first thing that most people do is make a first post and see how their blog look. It is like a trial post for the blog. The first post gives the initial idea of how it is like to blog. It also gives us ideas about how we want to customize our blog. So, a “Hello World” or similar “Lorem Ipsum” post is one of the first things that we want to do with our blog.

Create Initial Pages

A blog requires some pages like the about us page, contact us page and even a terms of service and/or privacy policy page. All these pages are created once. They don’t need frequent updates. So preparing the content for these pages and posting them as new pages in Blogger is one of the important things. Some people might want to hold of the terms/services/privacy policy pages for later. But it is more effective to get these one time things done with.

Tinkering with the Settings

Settings can be changed on various areas of the blog. Some of the important once in Blogger are:

In Settings > Basic

  • Title: Fixing a nice standard title for your blog. The domain name and the title of the first page will create a recognition of your blog among visitors.
  • Description: Adding the default description of your blog.
  • Privacy: Set whether you would like to list your blog in search engines. The default option works great. You add your blog to blogger directory as well as allow search engines to list it. Unless you are starting something really private, the default option works.
  • Blog Readers: Public is the best option for this. You want your readers to be everyone from around the world. If you only want your friends and other invited people to read it then choose one of the private options.

In Settings > Posts and Comments

  • Show at Most: Number of posts to show in a single page. 10 seems to be a popular option for this but you can go with any amount that you like.
  • Post Tempate: Adding some default text, styles and html that will appear every time. This is not required for most of us.
  • Showcase Image with Lightbox: Select “Yes”. All the linked images in your posts will display a bigger version of the image in a really cool sliding layout.
  • Comment Location: Embedded/Full Page/Popup Window/Hide. Embedding comment in a page is the best option.
  • Who Can Comment: Select “Anonymous” to allow everyone to comment in your posts. Watch out for spam.
  • Comment Moderation: Sometimes for posts older than 14 days is a good option. Double check your email address for moderation requests.
  • Word Verification: Turn on for captcha to be on but it is kind of difficult. Turn it off if you are ready to fight spam yourself.
  • Show Backlinks: “Hide” in this option.
  • Comment Form Message: To include a special message like “No spamming” in the comment section.

In Settings >Mobile and Email

Visit this option to post via mobile SMS or email messages. This can be left out for later.

In Settings > Language and Formatting

The default language options are good enough unless you plan to write your blog in a completely different language.

  • Language: Change the default language of your blog. Site messages in the blog will be displayed in that language. Writing the post in another language is your duty.
  • Post Transliteration: Automatic translation of your posts to another supported language.
  • Time Zone: Select the proper time zone for your site. You can choose time zone based on your location or the location of your target visitors.
  • Date Header Format: Change how dates will be displayed in your blog. Choose formats like Jan 13, 2013 or 01/13/2013.
  • Time Stamp Format: Change the time display format like 5:14 AM or Monday, July 1, 2013. The default one is preferred.
  • Comment Time Stamp: The default one is good enough but change it if you want.

In Settings > Search Preferences

  • Meta tags – Description: This will be used as your meta description of your main blog page. Templates can be customized to use meta tags for the desired pages. The description will be the two lines of text that will be displayed in search engines when your blog’s home page comes up. So, give a nice and detail description of your blog in around 150 characters.
  • Custom Page not Found and Custom Redirects: Add an error page message. Custom redirects are normally not required in a new blog but if you are moving between your blogs, make use of it.
  • Custom robots.txt: I prefer setting the robots.txt with the following value:
    User-agent: *Disallow: /*?*This disallows search pages with queries. But normal label pages or the first pages of labels are allowed.
    Custom Robots Header tags: Leave it disabled.

In Settings > Other

  • Importing/Exporting and Deleting Blog: These are normally not required in a new blog unless you are moving blogs.
  • Allow Blog Feed: I set this to “Short”. This creates a short description of the post in the feed.
    Other feed settings are mostly used when the blog has some content. Leave these out for later. You can edit the “Post Feed Footer” section to link your website in the footer of the Blogger post feeds.
  • Google Analytics: The last from the settings. If you want your Google Analytics code to be automatically placed in the Blogger template then use this. Enter values like: UA-2523238-1.

Template and Layout

Another important initial setup of your blog is setting the template and layout. Blogger itself has some nice default templates. The Dynamic Templates available in Blogger are a hit. There are thousands of sites out there that offer download of Blogger templates. You can see my list of top five here. Also, there are more sites which list good blogger templates. Searching for the template that you like and starting your work on customizing the template is very important.

Another thing to set up is the layout. Layouts relate to the way a blog is presented. The widgets that you want to use like top posts, recent comments, new posts, search box, subscribe to us etc need to be selected. You also need to create a neat menu for your website and add links to it. Finalizing a template and deciding where to put widgets may take time for some.

Logo: Another important part of setting up a new Blogger blog is creating a logo. You can upload a logo that matches your blog’s header area, you blog’s name and your blogs overall design. It must highlight and promote your blog’s brand name.

Create Social Profiles

Another thing to do outside of Blogger but for the Blogger blog is to create social media profiles. Profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn etc are important. Google Plus integration can be automated with the blog in such a way that new posts are automatically posted to Google Plus profile or page. You can also add Facebook like box, Twitter follow widget and Google Plus follow widget in the template of your blog. In each post, you can also add sharing options to these social networks.

Google Plus Commenting System?

Blogger also offers Google Plus commenting system for BlogSpot blogs. This means that members of Google Plus will only be able to post comments. This can allow for increased exposure of your blog via the Google Plus social network. Some just prefer the default commenting system while other prefer third-party commenting system. Disqus commenting system and Facebook commenting system for websites are popular.

See: Facebook Commenting System Vs Bloggers Default Commenting System for a comparison of those two.

Deciding on a domain name

Blogger blogs are even better when they are used with custom domain names. So selecting a domain is an important task. If you are running with a blog address like http://yourblog.blogspot.com then getting yourblog.com based on its availability is the smart choice.

Analytics and Webmasters

Creating a Google Analytics, Google Webmasters and Bing Webmasters account is important to analyze the performance of your blog. You can use another analytics or visitor analysis scripts if you want. Placing their codes in your blog from the start and submitting sitemap of your Blogger blog to Google and Bing Webmasters is a good practice. A sitemap can be submitted later when content creation process starts.

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