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Most Requested Features for Blogger

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blogger-most-requested-featuresBack in April, the Blogger team created the Product Ideas for Blogger forum where Blogger users could offer their suggestions of the features and gadgets they would like to use.

The Product Ideas forum was open for a month and closed for new suggestions on the 14th of May. During the time it was open, the forum received over 1500 different suggestions and thousands of votes from enthusiastic Blogger users.

In today’s post, I’ll highlight some of the most popular suggestions, along with discussion of the likelihood that these suggestions could come to fruition and be integrated into the Blogger service.

An overview of the Product Ideas for Blogger forum

Product Ideas for Blogger was announced on Blogger Buzz in April, when Blogger users were invited to add their suggestions for:

  • Blogger features – general enhancements to the service
  • Blogs of Note – notable Blogger powered blogs which are acknowledged in the Blogs of Note blog and on Blogger’s home page
  • Gadgets – Blogger specific widgets which can be added to the layout in a few clicks, through the Page Elements section of the Blogger dashboard.

The forum was open for public viewing, though only those holding a Google account could log in to suggest a feature or add their votes to existing suggestions.

Voting on the Product Ideas forum was simply “For” or “Against” the ideas presented. There was no means to comment on suggestions or provide details about our degree of agreement/disagreement of an idea.

As there were no pre-existing suggestions, those who offered their suggestions were able to add any idea they liked. This meant that many ideas were duplicated due to different wording of the ideas presented, or the specifics of suggestions provided. Also, many ideas were submitted to both the Features and Gadgets sections of the forum. I suspect this caused some confusion among participants as to which ideas they should vote for or against.

However, despite these misgivings I believe that Blogger’s decision to open up the forum for suggestions to the Blogger interface will prove successful: by offering Blogger users the means of expressing their interest in certain features, the Blogger team have provided a sense of community participation and will hopefully implement some of the more popular suggestions in future enhancements to the system.

Let’s take a broad look at the more popular suggestions and consider the likelihood that these ideas will be considered.

Suggestions for new Blogger features

In this section of the forum, participants posted their ideas for general enhancements to the Blogger interface.

Improvements to the comments system

Suggestions for improvements of Blogger’s comments system appeared many times in the forum, and in many different formats.

Generally speaking, participants of the forum seem to feel Blogger’s existing comments system is too basic and suggest that comment avatars (particularly avatars), comment threading and integtation of a system like “CommentLuv” would vastly improve the system.

Furthermore, a better system for prevention of comment spam similar to Askimet would be much appreciated by the Blogger community. I was surprised that prevention of comment spam did not feature in the top tier of results once voting had closed for the Product Ideas forum, but when browsing through the hundreds of suggestions it was clear that this was suggested in so many different formats that a single clear suggestion was missed.

Will it happen? Based on recent integration of other Google services, I believe that any improvements to Blogger’s comment system may be based on Google Friend Connect. As some of you may already know, Friend Connect offers a means of commenting for any web page, including threaded comments and Google-based avatars; some creative Blogger users have already chosen to add this functionality to the comments section of their blogs. It is more likely that an adaptation of the Friend Connect comment box will be added than a stand-alone improvement specific to Blogger.

“WordPress style” pages for Blogger blogs

Participants of the Product Ideas forum voiced their opinion of this suggestion in many different ways, and I can attest from experience that this feature would be hugely appreciated by the Blogger community!

Rather than hide important pages of our blogs (such as an “About” page and contact details) in the archives, most Blogger users would relish the opportunity to add a selection of pages separately, without the date and year extention. As many have pointed out, this feature is available for those using WordPress and other blogging systems. Those who use Blogger create such “pages” by designing a post which is linked from the layout and hidden deep in the blog archives.

Will it happen? I suspect that great modifications to the Blogger engine would be required to accomodate this feature. Though I suspect it could be possible, I doubt this feature would come into effect in the near future. Yet with the demand from those using Blogger through the sheer number of votes for this feature..? We shall have to see!

New/Better Blogger Templates available through Blogger

The selection of default templates available from Blogger has not changed for the past 5 years when StopDesign was commissioned to design the templates with which we are all familiar. Although many designers have turned their talents towards designing “third party” templates for Blogger, many Blogger users would feel far happier if a new (or wider ranging) selection of designs could be chosen from Blogger itself.

Will it happen? I would hope there is the possibility of new designs in the pipline, though I strongly suspect that any new templates would offer new designs, but not improved functionality. Many recent third party templates offer functions which would be difficult to implement as default Blogger templates due to the nature of the code used to produce them. Default templates include code snippets and widget tags in specific places, enabling blog posts, widgetized sidebars and comment sections (to name a few aspects) in specific places in the template. It could be very difficult to manipulate functions for default templates for the millions of Blogger members who would use them.

Addition of a “Read More” feature (post summaries)

At present, when we publish a blog post with Blogger, the whole post is displayed on the home and archive pages of our blogs. There is no facility built in to Blogger which allows only post summaries to be displayed, and while there are several Blogger hacks to add this functionality, these can be complicated to implement.

Many suggestions on the Product Ideas for Blogger forum included the facility to summarize posts when required. If this was enabled through the Blogger interface itself (rather than by hacking our Blogger templates) this would prevent the need to selectively hide sections of our posts using JavaScript and CSS.

Will it happen? Again, I’m unsure of the implications for the Blogger engine, and how extensive modifications would need to be to support this feature. However, there is such demand for this feature to be added that I hope the Blogger team will certainly consider this.

Suggestions for new Blogger gadgets

In this section of the forum, participants suggested new Blogger specific gadgets which they would like to use for their blogs.

Visitor statistics (based on Google Analytics)

One of the most popular gadget suggestions was for a visitor statistics widget (to show page views) which is based on data from Google Analytics. This could prove useful for those who wish to display details of their readership.

Will it happen? I would think this is possible, since Blogger has integrated many of Google’s other services into the Blogger interface in recent months. More likely than this is the addition of Google Analytics data to the Blogger dashboard, as was hinted at in this post by WebProNews…

A popular posts widget

I suspect this gadget would be more popular among Blogger users if it was to come into action! At present, there is no reliable gadget or widget which Blogger users can add to link to their most popular posts. However, Blogger recently introduced the star ratings system which readers can use to rate posts. As yet a gadget to display the most popular posts based on these ratings has not been made available.

Will it happen? I believe that the Blogger team may already have looked into a solution to display the most popular posts based on this system. In fact it would be a natural progression of this widget, and I am surprised we have not already been able to use such a gadget for our blogs.

Another possibility may be to display popular posts based on Google Analytics data if (or when) this feature is added to our dashboards.

So… Will Blogger act upon our suggestions?

Last year, I asked Blogger Buster readers to suggest the features they would most like to use; among these was the addition of a comment form which – to our surprise and warm welcome – was implemented even before the poll had ended!

My thoughts are that the Blogger team do care a lot about how the system is perceived, and that the most popular (and attainable) suggestions will certainly be considered for future updates to the system. I was personally surprised to see the Product Ideas for Blogger forum opened for suggestions of new features as previously our suggestions were voiced through the Blogger help group, but I believe that the Blogger team created this forum to discover more about the opinions of the Blogger community so such suggestions can be acknowledged and acted upon.

What are your suggestions for new Blogger features or Gadgets?

Did you suggest a new feature/gadget or have a strong opinion about any of the suggestions posted on Product Ideas which would improve Blogger? Please feel free to let us know about your suggestions and opinions by leaving your comments below.

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1 of My Secrets to Being Kinda Prolific

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I have written hundreds of guest posts for this blog.

I have written about 1000 on Blogging From Paradise between posts and travel pages.

A few moments ago I checked my DA for a sponsored post opportunity. The business owner wanted to know blog domain authority before deciding to place a sponsored post on the blog.

Blogging From Paradise has a DA of 48 and 22,457 external links in.

Not super shabby.

I am kinda prolific.

If you want to publish helpful content frequently, just run with my most basic of tips.

Do not wait around for folks to read your content, comment on your content and share your content before writing your next blog post or guest post.

Do not wait to create.

Do Not Wait to Create

The old me – and most bloggers – became highly attached to any single piece of content I created because I feared the content would not register enough shares, comments, page views and sales. Fear drove me to share this piece of content in many places to boost my stats. All well and good but because fear drove me, I resisted my prolific nature, allowing worry and lack to goad me to do stuff that led to me being the farthest thing from prolific.

Eventually, I observed how bloggers who seemed to be in 10,000,000 places at once simply prolifically created a high volume of helpful blog posts, guest posts and videos. Success found these folks because they did not wait around for readers to check out their blog posts. Said bloggers moved on to writing and publishing their next blog post.

Acting abundantly – not allowing their fears to eat into their prolific nature – promoted these blogger’s success as they created generously, publishing a high volume of content across multiple platforms.

I finally learned of this secret and used it effectively when I chose NOT to wait to create.

Now I publish 3 posts daily on Blogging From Paradise. I also publish the odd guest post from time to time. My success accelerated and my online presence expanded when I decided not to get attached much at all to any one blog post, because the next blog post called me.

No sense waiting around for folks to read my stuff because they simply will read at their own leisure. My job is to keep creating helpful content to help readers build successful blogs. As I move in this direction, everything keeps expanding for me.

All because I chose not to wait to create.

Being Prolific Impacts Folks

Peep this tweet from my friend Corey Hinde of The Good Oil Marketing:

I am humbled by such kind words from an established, super successful internet marketer. This is pretty much what happens when you are prolific; you impact folks in a positive way, and you also expand your reach and help more folks, all because you refuse to hold back.

Tips to Be Prolific

  • Blog mainly for the fun of blogging
  • Nudge yourself out of your comfort zone daily
  • Surround yourself with prolific bloggers to feast on their creative energy
  • Do not wait to create
  • Beware getting attached to any one piece of content; promote posts freely across a wide range of channels but look toward the next blog post, guest post or video to create, in order to become incredibly prolific.

Guys; this journey gets a little uncomfortable at times but if you love fun and freedom more than you fear doing some uncomfortable things you will become a highly prolific blogger.

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How to Get Your Blogging Mojo Going if You Feel Hopelessly Stuck

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I lose blogging momentum sometimes.

You may be in the same boat, being human and all.

But if you regularly find yourself saying “I need to get serious about building my blog” over the course of years it is time to own this fact: you need to get your blogging mojo going before you become permanently stuck in a blogging rut.

I was rut-stuck here and there for many years, on and off. Maybe I didn’t quit blogging totally but I’d start blogging, then stop, and continue this process for weeks on end. Not good.

You can find your blogging mojo and get unstuck by following these blogging tips.

1: Pick a Dream that Makes You Feel Alive

I am led by my dreams, not pushed by problems, because I picked a big old dream a while back. I wanted to circle the globe. Bingo!

Since I wanted to travel the world more than I feared doing uncomfortable, blogging-building things, I built a rocking blog and kept on moving, keeping my blogging mojo going.

What is your dream? Figure it out. Hold it tight.

If you need inspiration watch my video from New Zealand. I filmed this one at Mount Cook a few months ago.

2: Feel Fears Fueling Your Struggles

Some folks believe they lack motivation to blog. Others feel they are lazy. But at the end of the day, if you are not acting, you are afraid of something or someone.

Laziness is fear manifest. So find your fears, by shutting a door and sitting in a quiet room, and if you feel the deep fears you purge the energies and proceed from an inspired, loving, persistent, energized space.

I kept putting off writing an eBook for many years. Turns out I was not lazy; I just feared nobody would buy the eBook because I saw myself as a loser who knew little. I also feared people would criticize me. But I went forward and wrote my first eBook to get out of my fear-rut and to keep on moving.

Some of my eBooks do not sell as much as others and people sometimes post negative reviews of my eBooks but since I do not fear these outcomes, neither have any power over me. I just keep expanding my success, helping folks and befriending blogging pros because I move forward, unburdened by many blogging fears I faced, embraced and released.

3: Study Persistently Energized Bloggers

I am no Tony Robbins but blog persistently from an energized space.

Each day I:

  • do 1 hour of deep yin yoga
  • exercise for 1 hour
  • usually take an icy cold shower
  • focus on having fun with my blog versus attaching to money or traffic outcomes

I have written thousands of guest posts, over 10,000 blog posts (old and new blogs combined) and I have also written over 100 eBooks. Toss in the thousands of videos I created over many YouTube channels (since closed) and you see I am a pretty prolific dude. An energized, prolific dude at that.

You’d be wise to see how I go about my energy ritual daily to take a few pointers. Consider deep yin yoga to open up your body, to open your mind and to form the habit of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Maybe meditating daily opens your awareness. Exercise is definitely a must, every single day.

Circulating your energy freely moves you from being fear-based, lazy and sluggish to being love-based, energized and prolific. I was once pretty dang lazy before I dove deep into energy work.

Wrapping it Up

Keep at it guys. I know this blogging journey feels scary sometimes but if you grab the right blogging resources and follow the above tips you will avoid common blogging ruts that appear to cripple most bloggers.

 

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1 Clever Way to Find Blogs for Reading and Commenting

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Have you missed me?

I dove full bore into promoting my eBook through blog commenting a number of months back. Toss in a prolific blogging campaign over at Blogging From Paradise and some serious video creation and you see I am a busy bee.

A few days ago I uncovered an incredibly neat and pretty clever way to drive traffic to your blog through blog commenting, via a neat method of finding new blogs for your collection.

The Problem

Do you feel stagnant, blog-reading-wise?

I did. For a minute.

Turns out I dug deep into my blogging comfort zone for too many years, reading and commenting on the same blogs week after week, month after month.

If you know anything about successful blogging you likely know that all blogging growth occurs well outside of your comfort zone. So I had to venture out of the familiar by finding new blogs in both the blogging and travel blogging niches because my readers gravitate to both.

Enter a cool method for identifying new blogs for reading and commenting.

Google Image Search

The other day a neat little idea knocked on my mind’s door; why not use a Google image search to find blogs in my niches?

5 minutes later I literally had an unlimited number of blogs for enjoying, commenting and for connecting with fellow bloggers.

The method is simple. Google a competitive keyword in your niche. Example; I Googled “blogging” to start my search.

I then clicked on the “image” link by the top of the page. A series of images popped up related to that keyword.

Some images link to business sites but for the “blogging” keyword, most images linked to well-read, reputable blogs. Perfect.

Blog by blog, I slowly worked through each image, clinking on the blog post URL related to each picture. After reading each post I published a personalized comment and retweeted every blog post, adding the #blogging hashtag for increased targeting on Twitter.

Why this Strategy Is So Powerful

I – like you – have run into stagnant blogging circles on social media and through forums. Even if new bloggers join sites like Facebook and G Plus daily you cannot access and unlimited number of new blogs on a daily basis through either channel once you become an established blogger.

This is not the case with a Google Image search because the sheer volume of new blogs – for competitive keywords – yielded through such a search boggles the mind. Even better? Ranking high for an image search usually indicates a high quality blog for reading, for commenting and for building friendships with top shelf bloggers.

Downsides

Some of these blogs linked to images are low quality offerings. Resist the urge to grab and scarf down rotten blogging low hanging fruit. Stick to quality blogs.

Some images point to business sites. I found this to be especially true when Googling major cities and islands around the world to find new travel bloggers. A high volume of images found during a search linked to tour operator sites. Sifting through tour sites or local chamber of commerce sites to find legit travel blogs requires a significant amount of time and energy.

Spending the time and energy to find new blogs is worth the effort but if you find some keyword image searches seem dominated by business sites – not blogs – feel free to try another keyword that may be linked to predominantly blogs for an image search on Google.

The Verdict

I only dove into this traffic driving strategy a few weeks ago but I noted new bloggers finding me daily through this approach.

If you are stagnating in familiar blogging circles commit 100% to this Google image search method. Reach out to new bloggers, build brand awareness and drive traffic through an easy to follow tactic.

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