October 04, 2007

Create "Wordpress" style pages for your Blogger blog

A few people have asked how I created "Wordpress style" pages which are accessible from the header section. Since I will be making much use of these pages in the near future, I thought it best to explain how Blogger users can create their own blog pages.

Wordpress blogs can include blog pages; these are often used to provide an "about" page or contact information. Such "pages" are separate from the main blog: they do not appear on the main page or archives, and links to these pages from within the template are usually created dynamically. However, updates to Wordpress pages are still included in the blog's feed.

Although Blogger does not currently use blog pages in the same manner as Wordpress, we are still able to mimic this in our blogs with a little effort.

The blog pages you see in my blog are actually regular blog posts which I have make links to from within the template itself. This is how you can create your own:

  1. If you haven't already done so, change your "Enable post pages" setting to "on" in your Blogger dashboard. This is done in the Settings>Publishing section, and enables each blog post to appear on it's own page.
  2. Next, you will need to create your "blog pages". To do this, just create a regular post with the title and content you wish to offer as a blog page. For example, an "About" page could be titled "About this blog" with the content being a description of your blog.
  3. Since we cannot omit this post from the archives pages, you will want to consider how easily a reader could find this post within the archives! Usually I change the publishing date when I create post pages to a much earlier date: this ensures that the page does not get mixed in with regular posts so easily, and since such pages are usually "timeless" (they are not news items or contrained by current events) I doubt many readers will care about the date featured on this particular page.

    To change the posting date of a post, so it appears much further back in the archives (and not on your main page), click on "Post Options" near the bottom of the post editing box, and alter the date manually in the right hand section.
  4. Once you have created your post and changed the date (if you prefer to, that is), you can publish your post. You will need to publish this post in order to discover the permalink to this post so that you can then link back to it from your header or sidebar. A "permalink" is the URL of a particular post page. You can find the permalink url for this page in your browsers' address bar.
  5. To find the permalink for the blog page you have just created, you can either locate this page in your archives, or go to "Edit Posts" in your dashboard click on the "View post" link for this post. Once you have the permalink, paste this into your favorite text editor for later use.
  6. Now you will probably want to create the link to your post page somewhere in your template. The easiest place to place this link is in a widget in your sidebar or footer (though if you are confident in HTML you can also place this elsewhere).

    To create a regular text link to your blog page, you could use a simple text widget. Write the link text you would like your readers to see, then highlight this text. Click on the hyperlink icon in the editing page, and paste your blog permalink into the box which pops up. Save the widget, and then look at your blog to see the new link to your blog page.
  7. If you would prefer to use an image to link to your post page, you will need to create an image to use as a link, and host this on an external image host. Then create an HTML/Javascript widget, and insert your image using the <img> function, like this:
    <img src="http://the-url-of-your-image.com/yourimagename.jpg" />
    Then to make this image become a link, you will also need to add anchor links around the image, like this:
    <a href="yourpermalinkurl"><img src="http://the-url-of-your-image.com/yourimagename.jpg" /></a>
  8. Save your widget and then view your blog to see the image link to your blog page.

You can repeat this for any number of blog pages you would like to create for your blog. As I mentioned before, the only disadvantage is that these pages will appear in your archives, and they will also be published in your blog feed. However, I'm sure the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks of this method, since these blog pages can provide an useful information about your site for your readers.

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