Friday, 24 August 2012

How to Set Up Your Blogger - The Absolute Basic Essentials

Looking to start your first Blog using Google Blogger but aren't sure about which widgets you should include or how to customize it to look the way you want?

While setting up your Blogger account isn't difficult to do, there are still some things you will probably want to make sure you include. Some are obvious, others, not so much. Here's everything you should do. You can either read this post, or check out one of the two videos.

The 2 Minute Version - Quick & Dirty! Here's what you need! You know how to do it!

The 10 Minute Version - A Fully Detailed Explanation! Where to go and how to set it up!

Setting Up Your Blogger

Step #1: Create the Blog

  • You will need a Gmail account to use Blogger, so if you haven't done so already go to and set one up.
  • Next, go to Blogger and click the "new blog" button.
  • Give your Blog a Title that you like (you can change this later), it's URL (the web address people have to type to find you online), and pick your template (you can change this and pick in more detail once you make your blog).
  • Hit the 'Create Blog' button.

Step #2: Customize the Template

  • Where you see your new blog created, click the drop-down arrow and press "Templates".
  • Take a look at the templates in this menu and pick one you like. You can preview it by clicking on it first. Hit the "apply to blog" button under a thumbnail to actually use that one.
  • Scroll up to the top and press 'Customize'.
  • Go to the Layout tab choose the bottom-left option for a two column view.
  • Go to adjust widths and make the entire blog 1200 px wide. Make each of the columns 200 px wide. You don't have to use these, but it's what I recommend.
  • Play around with the Background and Advanced tabs if you want to customize your blog further.
  • Once you're done all this, press "Apply to Blog" in the upper-right corner and then press "Back to Blogger".

Step #3: Customize the Layout

  • Go to the Layout tab and on the left column press the "Add a Gadget" button (directly above the column).
  • On the left column, add the following gadgets in this order (you can click to drag them around):
    • Popular Posts (set it to show max 5 posts)
    • Search this Blog
    • Follow by Email
    • Subscribe To
    • +1 Button
    • Followers
  • On the right column, add the following gadgets in this order
    • Blog Archive
    • Twitter Updates (if you have Twitter)
    • Adsense (if you want to monetize your blog
    • About Me (if you want people to know about you)
    • (and/or add a text field to type info about your blog)
  • Near the top of your layout tab where it shows the header with your blog name, click "edit" on this and add a short description about your blog. You can also replace this with a banner image if you have one.

Step #4: Add Disqus and AddThis

These are two powerful plugins that you need to get through third party sites. Disqus is a better commenting system for your blog (check out the comment system below if you don't know what it looks like). It also can increase your blog views. AddThis gives your readers more ways to share your content. You absolutely want both.

  • Go to the Disqus website and make an account if you don't already have one. 
  • Log in and go to your Dashboard.
  • Click "Add a Site"
  • Follow the prompts and choose to add Disqus for Blogger.
  • This will redirect you back to your Layout tab. DRAG AND DROP the Disqus widget into the bottom-right corner of your right side bar
  • From the Admin panel on your Disqus profile, also make sure the "Use Disqus 2012" box is checked.
For AddThis...
  • Click this link to take you exactly where you want to go.
  • Make an account and choose to add the widget for Blogger (similar to adding Disqus).
  • Again, it will take you to your Layout tab. Drag and drop the AddThis widget to bottom-right corner of your right side bar. It doesn't matter if it goes above or below Disqus.

Step #5: Configure Your Settings

  • Back on Blogger, go to the settings tab and choose the sub-tab 'search preferences'.
  • Add a search description for your blog. This is the first thing people will see when they come to your blog.
  • Click the "posts and comments" sub-tab and check the box that says "Anyone" can comment (this is needed for Disqus to work properly).

That's it! You're done! Hope this was helpful!