December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all Blogger Buster readers a very Merry Christmas!

December 15, 2008

Blogger's new Geotagging feature (and how to use it!)

The Blogger team have added a new "Geotagging" feature to Blogger in Draft which enables you to add a location to each of your blog posts. This will then display in your post-footer section (near your post labels, timestamp, etc), and will act as a link to a page on Google Maps where readers can learn more about the location.

Here's an example of how this would appear, as taken in screenshots from the explanatory post on the Blogger in Draft blog:
When you click on the linked location, this will open a new page from Google Maps which shows you the exact location which the author has attributed to the post, like this:

RSS support for Geotags

Your post locations will be included in your blog's RSS and Atom (XML) feeds using GeoRSS which is a web standard for Geotagging. This is important as it allows feed readers, map readers and search engines to associate your posts with particular locations. For example, if you tag your blog posts "New York", these posts can be found more easily by those searching for content based on the New York area.

How to tag your posts with a location

In order to Geotag your posts (add a location) you must create or edit your post through Blogger in Draft. This is because this feature is still experimental, and has not yet been rolled in to the main post editor.

When you create (or edit) a post through Blogger in Draft, look to the left of the Labels area to see the "Add location" link:

This will bring up a pop-up box which appears like this:

Type the location you would like to add in the search box near the top of this pop-up box, and press "Search". You may need to refine your search by adding more details (eg: country, city name, street address) in order to find the location you require.

Once you have found the correct location, you can zoom in (for more accuracy) if you prefer, and finally save your location.

Important: once you have geotagged a post, you cannot remove this tag!

If you do need to remove your geotag for some reason, Blogger recommends that you copy the content of your post and create a new one, then delete the old geotagged post. At present, this is the only way to "remove" a geotag, though it is more of a workaround than a proper solution ;) I suspect the Blogger team will enable us to properly delete or edit a post's geotag before this feature is rolled out for the main post editor.

How to make your Geotags appear beneath your posts

The first step to making Geotag links appear beneath your posts is to enable this setting in the Blog Posts widget.

To do this, go to Layout>Page Elements while logged into Blogger in Draft, and click the "Edit" link for the Blog Posts widget. On this pop-up page, you will notice a new checkbox for "Location". Ensure you have ticked this checkbox, and save your changes.

If you have recently changed your template to a default Blogger theme (or have recently started a new blog), this simple change of setting will enable you to see Geotag locations beneath your posts straight away. If you are unable to see your Geotags after this change of setting, you need to follow one of the instructions below instead.

Since this is a new Blogger feature, your existing template may not currently include the code required to make geotags appear for each of your tagged posts.

If you use a default Blogger template, the simplest way to enable the Geotags for your posts is to pick a new template. Simply go to Layout>Pick new template in your Blogger dashboard and choose the template you would like to work with. This can be the same template you are currently using.

This method refresheds the template code and adds the section required to make the Geotags appear in the post footer section. Alternatively, you could "Revert the widget templates to default" on the Layout>Edit HTML page of your blog. This has the same effect as choosing a new default template.

If you use a customized or third party template, you will need to add the code required for the Geotags to display manually by editing your template code.

To do this, go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard and ensure you have checked the "Expand widget templates" box.

We need to add the required code to the "post-footer" section of the main blog posts widget. The easiest way to locate this section is to use your browser's search function to find the following line of code:
    <div class='post-footer'>
    <div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'>
 If you cannot find either of these lines in your template code, search for "post-labels", "post-icons" or "timestamp" to locate the appropriate section of your template instead.

Once you have located this section of your template, you need to add the following section of code:

<span class='post-location'>
<b:if cond='data:top.showLocation'>
<b:if cond='data:post.location'>
<a expr:href='data:post.location.mapsUrl' target='_blank'><></a>

Be sure to add this outside any other tags! If you did find the <div class='post-footer'> tag (or similar) in your template, the safest place is to add the code immediately after this line.

Then preview your template. If all is well, you should now see Geotag links appear beneath any posts you have Geotagged with a location (though none will appear on posts which have not been tagged).If you have made any errors when adding the code above, you'll receive a message that your template cannot be parsed. In this case, simply "Clear edits" and attempt to paste the code again.

Is Geotagging a useful feature for Blogger?

I personally feel that Blogger's integration of this new feature will prove very useful for a large proportion of the Blogger community. So far the comments I have read on the introductory post for this new feature have been very positive, and it seems many creative coders have already expanded their ideas for how Geotagging can be intrgrated for widgets and other useful features.

However, this may not be a feature which is beneficial for us all. Here on Blogger Buster, for example, the location where these posts are typed does not complement the content and has no added benefit for readers (I like to think the content posted here has international appeal!).

What are your opinions of Blogger's new Geotagging feature? Will you be using this feature to complement your own blog posts?

Please feel free to let us know your own opinions and comments by leaving your message below.

December 09, 2008

ThemeForest's $25,000 Giveaway - Your chance to get a premium Blogger theme for FREE!

As many of you will be aware, I also design premium Blogger templates which are sold through a relatively new site which offers premium quality site and CMS templates. To help promote and raise awareness for the site, Envato are offering a $10 credit to the first 2500 commenters - a total of $25,000!

This $10 credit could buy you one of the premium Blogger themes available on the site, or any other of the quality site templates, Photoshop source files or CMS templates available.

To qualify for your free $10 credit, simply visit this post over at PSDTuts (also part of the Envato network) and follow the steps. You will need to be a registered member of ThemeForest to qualify for your credit, though it costs nothing to join (ie: you don't need to credit your account in order to become a member).

If you've been considering trying out a Premium Blogger theme or are just interested in what ThemeForest have to offer, why not spend a few moments to comment and qualify for this great offer? Be quick though: only the first 2500 commenters will receive their credit :)

December 03, 2008

A Simple Snow Effect Widget for Blogger Blogs!

Here is a simple snow effect widget which you can add to your Blogger powered blog in just one click! This widget does not use images to generate the snow effect: instead it uses plain white text (full stops and apostrophes) to act as snowflakes which trickle down the page. You can see this widget in effect here on Blogger Buster over the holiday period.

Click the button below to add this widget to your Blogger powered blog:

This widget was created using the Snow Effect Without Images script by Kurt Grigg which is distributed by Dynamic Drive.

This widget has been tested in both IE and Firefox and also in complex Blogger templates which use many other JavaScripts. Unlike other snow effect scripts, this simple non-image based widget works just fine!

I hope you enjoy using this festive decorative widget in your Blogger blogs! Please let me know your opinions or if you experience any trouble installing this widget by leaving your comments below.

December 01, 2008

Christmas is coming...

... So over the next few weeks I'll be posting some festive Blogger tutorials (and possibly a festive themed template or two!).

In the meantime, why not check out my latest post over at Blogging Tips: The Festive Toolbox, which offers a great range of resources to help you decorate your blog for the holiday season?

If there are any particular festive customizations you would like to learn about, please let me know by leaving your comments below.

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Browse through the Archives

All existing posts are still available to view while I'm working on the site, albeit seen in a much simpler interface. Feel free to browse through the archives to find tutorials, templates and articles to help you build a better blog:

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