Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Two-in-One Feature:Doing Your Blog Readers a Favor and Blogging When You TraveI

As many of you know, I recommend blogging as a way for authors to keep their names before the public and to increase loyalty among followers. I've been traveling lately (and plan to do so again) which has caused me some problems with keeping my blogs active. Prill Boyle is the ultimate blogger (http://defyinggravitynow.blogspot.com) for those of us reaching, well . . . a certain age and I asked her to share with me (and you!) how to make the wonderfully useful blog index found on her blog and to do the post-dating that she does when she travels so that her blog doesn't go fallow. Here's her answer:

I'd be happy to share with you and your readers how to post-date entries and make a label list (which I prefer to call a "Blog Index"). The first I do to help myself; the second I do to help my readers.

Post-Dating Entries

1. While in either the "Compose" or "Edit Html" mode of Blogger, click on "Post Options" at the bottom left of your screen.
2. In the "Post Date" and "Time" blanks, fill in whatever date and time you'd like your post to appear.
3. Now click on the "Publish Post" button. Your post will not be published until the date and time you've specified.
This is an extremely helpful feature. Blog traffic is much higher when you post regularly, but you might not have the time and energy to post as often as your readers would like. This way you can write several posts at one sitting but space out their publication. You can also have your posts appear when you're away.

Creating a Label List:

To create an index of subjects addressed on your blog, first you have to create labels for your posts.
1. In Blogger, you create labels in either the "Compose" or "Edit Html" mode.
2. After you finish typing a post, simply fill in the "Labels for this post" blank at the bottom of the screen. Keep in mind that any label you choose will end up on your label list. I believe that it's best, therefore, to put yourself in the mind of your readers and think about what labels would be useful to them.
Once you've created a few labels, there's a second, amazingly useful tool that you can use to add to, subtract from, and/or change both your list and your individual labels. To manage your list, do the following:

Managing Your List:

1. On the Blogger Dashboard, click on the "Edit Posts" tab near the top of your screen.
2. On the left-hand side of the screen, you should see a list of all the labels you've created. To the right of this list, you'll see an inventory of all the posts you've written arranged from newest to oldest.
3. To delete a label from your label list, click on the label itself.
4. Then on the list of postings that appear, select any or all of the ones you no longer want to have that label.
5. In the drop-down menu box titled "Label Actions," scroll down to "Remove Label" and click on the label you want to remove. It's that simple.
6. Play with this same function to teach yourself how to add labels or change them. (It's a similar process for both.)
Once you're happy with the list of labels that appears on the left side of the "Edit Posts" screen, you're ready to create a label list that will appear on the sidebar of your blog. Here's how to do this:

Creating a Label List/Index on Your Blog Sidebar

1. Go onto your Blogger dashboard.
2. Click on the "Layout" tab (at the top of the screen)
3. Click on "Add a Gadget" (on the right-hand side of the screen)
4. Scroll down the list of gadgets until you see "Labels."
5. Click on the "Labels" button.
So, if you don't use Blogger or Blogspot, you may be able to adapt Prill's methods to the service you use. And, do drop by to see her blog. It seems only right! You can also find prill was www.prillboyle.com
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal." Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com and AuthorsCoalition.blogspot.com, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.

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