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Blogger Tip: Create a Dropdown Menu for your Labels

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Our sidebars can become cluttered easily with information and widgets, particularly if we have a long list of labels (categories) . Many Blogger users like using drop-down lists for long lists which minimizes clutter and enables information to be displayed in the sidebar neatly.

While Blogger offers a dropdown menu option for the Archives widget, we do not have the option to enable a dropdown list for our labels. So in this tutorial, I will explain a simple method you can use to adapt your regular Label list to become a drop-down list instead, offering a neat and concise solution which will minimize clutter in your Blogger sidebar.

What we will achieve through this tutorial

In this article, I’ll explain how to transform your Blogger label list from something which appears like this:

Regular Labels List for Blogger

To one which appears like this:

screen-shot02-jun-01Dropdown list, expanded view

This customization can be achieved in a few easy steps with minimal adjustments to your Blogger template code.

How to create a dropdown menu for your labels

Firstly, you should make a complete back up of your existing template. This ensures you can easily restore your current, working template in the event you make a mistake.

To make a back up of your current template, go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard and click the “Download Full Template” link near the top of the page. This will offer the option to save your current Blogger template as an XML file to your local computer. Be sure to save this file in a location you can easily find later.

Once you have made a back up of your template, you can proceed to edit your labels list and create your dropdown menu.

To proceed with this tutorial, you must ensure you have a “Labels” widget present in your Blogger template. If you do not have a Labels widget, o to Layout>Page Elements and add a Labels widget using the “Add a Gadget” link above your sidebar.

Go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard (if you are not already looking at this page) and ensure you have NOT checked the “Expand widget templates” box:

unchecked-box

Now using your browser’s search function, locate the following line in your Blogger template:

<b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='Labels' type='Label'/>

Highlight this complete line, and replace with the following code (copy to your clipboard and paste in place of the line above):

<b:widget id='Label1' locked='false' title='Labels' type='Label'>
<b:includable id='main'>
 <b:if cond='data:title'>
   <h2><data:title/></h2>
 </b:if>
 <div class='widget-content'>

<br />
<select onchange='location=this.options[this.selectedIndex].value;'>
   <option>Select a label</option>
   <b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'>
      <option expr:value='data:label.url'><data:label.name/>
         (<data:label.count/>)
      </option>
   </b:loop>
</select>

   <b:include name='quickedit'/>
 </div>
</b:includable>
</b:widget>

Now preview the changes you have made to your template. In place of the long, reular list of labels you should now see a neat drop down menu. If all looks well, you can proceed to save your adjustments to your Blogger template.

Making adjustments to your dropdown menu

Once you have created your dropdown menu for your labels, you will be able to move this widget to a different location in your template through the Layout>Page Elements section of your Blogger dashboard. You can also edit the properties of this widget to change the order in which labels are displayed by clicking on the “Edit” link for the Labels widget:

screen-shot05-jun-01

Here you can choose between displaying your labels in alphabetical order, or by their frequency (with the label linked to the highest number of posts first).

You can also choose to remove this widget altogether from your layout. However, if you remove this widget and create a new Labels widget, you will need to customize this again (using the steps outlined above) if you wish to create another drop down menu.

To alter the phrase “Choose a label to view” which is visible when the drop down menu is contracted, you will need to go to the Layout>Edit HTML pae of your Blogger dashboard and check the “Expand widget templates” box. Then search for this phrase in your template code.

Simply alter the wording of this phrase to something more suitable for your blog, being careful not to alter any of the surrounding code.

To clarify, here is the line of code where adjustments will be made. The text which can be altered is highlighted in red:

<select onchange='location=this.options[this.selectedIndex].value;'>
<option>Choose a Label to View</option>
<b:loop values='data:labels' var='label'>

Final thoughts

I hope you have found this Blogger tutorial useful and that this explanation will enable you to convert your regular Labels list into a dropdown menu with ease.

Please feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below.

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Amanda is a freelance blogger and web/blog designer. She writes about Blogger at www.BloggerBuster.com and maintains several other blogs on various subjects.

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7 Less Obvious Keyword Research and Content Analytics Tools

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Digital content has several powerful benefits over print content: It’s cheaper to distribute, it’s open and global (especially when it’s in English which most of the world can understand) and it offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand your audience better.

Actually, technology and digital content do wonders: Having both you can target your customers precisely when and where they are most willing to engage.

“Content and technology are strange bed fellows. We are joined together. Sometimes we misunderstand each other. But isn’t that after all the definition of marriage?”

To get an idea of how powerful digital content metrics can be, read and bookmark these articles:

Here are a few free or cheap content analytics options any blogger can afford:

1. UberSuggest

UberSuggest

UberSuggest is a free keyword research tool that offers quite a few cool content analytics features.

This tool is a bit broad but I felt it deserved a place on the list. It works by letting you put in key phrases and then gives you data on that and alternatives, including the power of that phrase on Google. You will be getting an idea of what phrases are already being cornered by competitors, as well as which ones are easier for you to target.

I also like this one as a content planning tool as I can find ideas for content related to an idea I had. I have come away from UberSuggest with my editorial calendar full many times.

2. Cyfe

Cyfe web analytics

Cyfe is not just analytics tool. In fact, you can use for anything under the sun, it’s a Swiss knife of business monitoring. And it has some cool analytics integrations that will make your analytics reports much faster and easier to access.

Use Cyfe to integrate your favorite Google analytics reports, monitor your social media growth, traffic spikes and more.

3. Tweriod

Tweriod might not be quite as relevant as it once was, but it is still a useful tool if you post a lot of content on Twitter. Find out what times your followers are most active. Discover optimal posting time. See what content was most popular and when.

All of this will help you use Twitter more effectively as a content marketing platform, as well as an engagement platform for one on one and influencer marketing.

4. Scoop.it

Scoop.it is pretty cool but the free plan is very limited. Basically you get a single page and up to ten “scoops” per day. Basically it is going to curate relevant content to give you insights into what is working well within your industry.

As an overall marketing tool, the professional version is a pretty cheap way to improve your ROI and get more bites when it comes to clicks. It is worth signing up for a free account and getting a taste of what they are about.

5. HotJar

HotJar

HotJar is a cool heat map generator allowing you to clearly see which parts of your content attract most attention.

Heat maps are pretty cool. They work by tracking what visitors to your site are spending the most time looking at and clicking on. Then it gives you a visual of hot and cold areas of your site, which can point to anything from design flaws to lackluster or thin content. You can try them out for free and get a more complete picture from both a website and content perspective.

Here are more options for data visualization which will help you understand your audience and analytics reports better.

6. Social Mention

Is your content being shared or talked about? Is your brand being mentioned? You can find out on Social Mention, which allows you to search for proof of that very thing and find out what people are saying about you and what you post.

It is a bit simplistic, but very helpful.

7. iSpionage

ispionage

Adwords and SEO keywords are a bit part of what you and other brands on competing for, not just customers. iSpionage gives you a look at what it is that those competitors are using and how it is working for them.

It is surprisingly affordable compared to many other similar tools and has a decent features list. I would definitely give this one a try.

Are there any other affordable content analytics tools except for the most obvious ones (like Google Analytics)? Please share them in the comments!

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Meet Daniel Cowen-Rivers of TravelWeekli.com

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Blogging can lead you to many opportunities. All established bloggers now have been through the phase of being a new comers. They have experimented one way or another along the process. Trying different things out does help in determining your own style and strategy.

We’ve interviewed bloggers covering various niches in Meet the Bloggers. For this episode, we’d like to introduce Daniel Cowen-Rivers. He’s a budding travel blogger. Read on to know more about his journey across the globe and a

1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?

Daniel Cowen-Rivers

I am a budding travel blogger who travels the world and shares my experiences and travel expertise via social media and through my blog. I got into blogging as I wanted to share my traveling tips and photos with others to make them travel more before global warming destroys the world.

2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?

I chose traveling to share my love of seeing the world and different country’s way of living. I also wanted more people to find out about the world we live in.

3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?

AdSense. I have a few paid ads but not that many as I am still new to the game. I’ve started blogging since February of 2017.

4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?

I did not know about DA and SEO that I know now is very important in order to get sponsored post.

5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?

The blogs are:

  1. Backpack With Me
  2. Bradley Bow
  3. Hand Luggage Only

6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?

The three services that I recommended using to help your blog are:

  1. Yoast  A blog in called SEO by Yoast. This makes optimizing my blog post easier to rank higher on Google search.
  2. OneNote – I’m constantly making notes for future articles. As I always have random moments where I’m going by my day and I just randomly have an idea for a blog article. I always carry my phone to write the note in OneNote.
  3. MailMunch is a plugin for WordPress that comes with email subscription templates that you can place in certain parts of your blog and I made mine as a popup.

7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?

Pick a niche category that you want your blog to be about. As well as this, one of the most important advice I have is one that you need to know when starting out, is how to improve your SEO and DA.

8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?

Just keep blogging! After a few months, I only got a few readers per day and I’ve thought to quit then. However, I’ve read that it takes people years to get enough readers to be a full time blogger. Just keep blogging and don’t stop.

9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?

I would use the money to gain more Facebook likes on my Facebook page that in turn will convert readers for my blog. This will be done by advertising the page and blog on Facebook.

10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?

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Three Resource Guides to Get Started with a Blog in 2018

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Blogging is one of the most powerful and effective ways to build a business, brand or content platform on the internet today. With more than a billion active websites on the internet today, it’s no longer about simply creating content, it’s now all about engagement and building a trusted following from an audience.

This can also be attributed to the massive use and success of WordPress as a CMS over the years.

While the concept of blogging is nothing new, there are still many people and businesses sitting on the sidelines. In this article, we are going to look at three of the best resources to help you not only get started with a blog of your own in 2018, but also how to find success in the process.

Follow each of the three steps and resources below, then begin to map out your blogging focus and content strategy.

1 – How to Start a Blog

There are currently more than 300 million blogs on the internet today. While this might seem like a huge number, there are still a lot of websites and businesses that don’t yet have a blog. At the same time, individuals, industry professionals, and anyone with a passion for writing or sharing their skill or expertise with the rest of the world, should also have a blog of their own. To see two great examples of what’s possible through the use of blogging, be sure to check out Wahaadventures and ThePennyHoarder. Both of these sites have become huge players in the world of financial and work at home resources. Not only that, they are also generating thousands of dollars in the process. Another great resource to consider following is this how to start a blog guide from WebEmployed, which not only walks through the process of how to start a blog, but also the many different ways to make money with one as well.

With all of that in mind… if you ever wanted to make money on the internet, blogging is a great way to accomplish. However, for that to actually happen — you need to actually get started!

The first step to getting started with a blog, is to simply find a reliable resource to walk you through the process step-by-step. The good news is that this is pretty simple, and there are no technical or design skills required — as long as you use the WordPress platform. WordPress is free to use and is often installed with just a click of a button through most web hosting solutions.

If you are looking for a quick and simple tutorial on how to get started with a domain name, web hosting, and also going live with a WordPress blog, be sure to check out BloggingTips’ Guide to Blogging. This resource has everything you need to walk through all of the steps mentioned above, in just a few minutes time, while also providing useful screenshots in the process.

2 – Building a Mailing List with Your Blog

Once you have your blog set up, the first thing you should focus your efforts on is creating high-quality content for your site and gaining valuable backlinks in the process. This is going to help with the SEO and organic search rankings for your site. As valuable as these components are to the long-term success and traffic of your blog, you will also need a content promotion plan in place to make sure you can keep bringing visitors back time and time again.

The sad truth is that more than 70% of the visitors that come to your site are likely never to come back. This has nothing to do with your content, but simply that there is already way too much information and website overload on the internet today.

One of the best ways to keep your audience coming back time and time again is to get them on your mailing list or newsletter. This is also quite easy to set up, as all you need is a reliable list hosting solution and an opt-in form on your site. With this structure in place, anyone can enter their email to join your list, which then allows the site owner to send out mailings at any given time.

To learn more about how to set this up, you can view this resource guide that highlights some of the top lead capture methods for getting subscribers onto your mailing. A subscription form is one of the most basic steps to getting started, but there are much better options to consider as well, such as popup windows, call-to-action buttons, and exit intent windows.

3 – How to Make Money with a Blog

Many people will start a blog with the initial goal to increase awareness and traffic to their existing brand or online business. However, what about everyone else who doesn’t already have a business or monetization method in place yet? The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make money with a blog, even if you don’t have anything to market or sell.

Some of the top blogs in the world today are generating millions of dollars every month simply by creating valuable content and finding unique ways to monetize their site and audience. The most common blog monetization methods in use today are affiliate marketing, Google AdSense, product creation, direct ad sales, or even selling services of your own.

To give you some examples of what’s working for other site owners and bloggers in the world today, check out these top millionaire bloggers. Each of their stories and monetization methods is unique. What’s also quite amazing is that each of these bloggers started from nothing and are perfect examples of what’s possible through blogging, while also being an inspiration for others.

How to Find Success with a Blog in 2018

Now that you’ve had the opportunity to view a simple three-step process of how to create a successful blog on the internet today, it’s time for you to get started.

Before registering a domain name and installing WordPress, be sure to think about the focus of your site, how it’s going to provide value to your audience, and also how you can monetize it in the process. If you already have an online brand or service to offer, you should already have an idea of how a blog can be great for business.

Starting a blog is easy, but finding long-term success is usually a struggle for most bloggers. This is often because new bloggers think content creation is going to send loads of traffic to their site. However, with so many websites on the internet, this simply isn’t the truth. You need to have an effective content creation and marketing plan in place to compete.

Read through each of the resource guides above and also think about your blogging content creation and marketing strategy before getting started. This will likely only take a few minutes of your time but will make a huge difference in the overall success of your site.

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