Although we have been able to post to our Blogger blogs using mobile devices for a few years now, the service was never quite perfect. Many bloggers outside the US were unable to post by SMS due to cellular network restrictions, while posting by email had certain issues too (such as the lack of including images in posts).
However, this past weekend the Blogger team have made a massive update for mobile bloggers, creating a simple, easy and user friendly service which we can use to post to our blogs using our mobile phones using SMS, MMS or email.
Now if you log into Blogger in Draft, you will notice two new icons beside each of your blog names. If you have not set up either email or mobile phone posting, both of these will be in a muted color; for a service which is set up for use with this particular blog, these icons will be highlighted:
Blogging vis SMS and MMS
To set up your mobile phone and post by message to your blog, click on the phone icon beside your blog name in your Blogger dashboard; a pop-up screen will appear which looks like this:
This allows US residents to link their handset for SMS posting by texting their unique code to 256447.
If you live outside the United States and use an MMS enabled handset, you can choose to link your phone via MMS instead. Simply click on the MMS link on this pop-up page to be presented with a slightly different screen:
In this case, you need to create an MMS (multimedia) message including your unique code and send this to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Blogger has not yet verified if the code should be inserted into the “subject” section or the actual body of the MMS message. When testing this for my own blog, I included the code in both areas.
Once you have set up your mobile device for either SMS or MMS, all messages which you send to 256447 or email@example.com (depending on your message type) will be posted to the blog you have linked to your handset.
Blogging by email
If you have more than one blog, or are experiencing difficulties linking your handset to your Blogger blog, you may want to choose to blog via email instead. Most modern mobile phones allow you to send emails using your handset, so check your phone’s user manual if you are unsure.
To set up email posting for your blog, click on the envelope icon beside your blog name when viewing the Blogger dashboard. A pop-up screen like this will appear:
In this section, you can add secret words to complete your unique email address which can be used to post articles to your Blogger blog. This email will considt of the following format:
Once you have chosen your secret words, save these settings. Then you can create a post in your email editor to send to your Blogger blog for publication.
Creating the title for your post
When using email to post to your Blogger blog, the subject line of your email will become the title of your post.
Adding images to emailed posts
Now it is possible to attach an image to your email which will be posted along with the body of your email as your post. Your picture will appear right at the top center or your post, beneatht the title and before the main body of your article. As far as I can tell, it is currently only possible to attact one image for each post (though I will experiment and update this article if I discover something new!).
If you use an iPhone, you may be interested to try using the BlogPress app for posting to your Blogger blog rather than using Blogger Mobile. Using BlogPress, you can add multiple images to your posts, and can even attribute labels to your posts. This is currently priced at $9.99 and is available through the Apps Store.
Limitations and issues for mobile blogging with Blogger
I personally have found this new system for mobile blogging to be easier and more user friendly than before. However, I must say that there are some limitations and issues you may encounter when attempting to register your handset for mobile blogging.
- Non-US Bloggers cannot post by SMS. Networks outside the United States are not currently supported for SMS posting. Also it should be noted that Bloggers using the T-Mobile network cannot currently send SMS posts to Blogger.
- MMS may be difficult to set up. Personally I have been unable to verify my mobile phone number to post by MMS yet (though I have been assured by other bloggers in the UK that this is possible). I think this may well be a network issue, rather than a problem at Blogger’s end.
- Not all networks are supported. You can check if your mobile network supports MMS sending to Blogger on this page. I can’t be sure when this list was last updated, so it’s worth trying to register your handset at least in case your network has not been added to the list of successful providers yet. You can also request your carrier to be accomodated using the form on this page.
- You can only link your phone number to one blog. Once you have successfully linked your mobile phone number, any messages sent to Blogger will appear as posts on the blog you have linked it to. There does not seem to be the option at present to link your device to more than one blog, or to disconnect this number from the particular blog.
- Labels cannot be added when using Blogger Mobile. Instead you will need to edit your posts after sending them, through the Blogger dashboard.
What can be said though is that the updates for mobile posting are currently “in draft” and not available through the regular Blogger dashboard. This enables the Blogger team to update the service and resolve any issues related to this service before they are rolled out to the main Blogger interface.
If you have experienced problems using the updated Blogger Mobile service, the Blogger team invite you to post details of this in the comments section of the introductory post (be sure to include details of your mobile carrier, the method you used to post and your blog’s URL).
What do you think about mobile posting with Blogger?
Have you used your mobile device to post to your Blogger blog? Do you think this is a useful addition to Blogger’s array of services for bloggers? Let us know about your experiences and what you think about this update by leaving your comments below.