Blogger – Customising Sidebar Gadgets

Over the last week or so we have been looking at how to create and customise a free blog hosted on Google’s free blogging platform, Blogger. By now you should have a free blog that has a unique customised look and really sets it apart from the crowd. Today I’m going to show you how you can customise your sidebar gadgets so that you have some really useful content there also.

The first thing you need to do is logon to your Blogger Dashboard using your Google account details, then click on the name of your blog. In the screen shot below I would click where it says “My Cat Blog”. Then you need to select “Layout” from the left hand menu.

Blogger Dashboard

You should now have the layout configuration page. This page is a very powerful as it can help you to completely change the look and feel of your Blogger blog. You can add navigation menu’s, links back to your favourite pages and add gadgets to your sidebar. From this page you can even add advertising to your Blogger blog, but I wouldn’t recommend this until your site is established and getting a good visitor rate. Here is what the layout configuration page looks like:

Blogger Layout Config

This interface is extremely intuitive to use, so I think that most users wouldn’t have any trouble navigating their way around. However, here are a couple of customisations that I would recommend you do:

  • Click on the edit link in the “Navbar” box and turn it off. This will remove the Blogger banner from the top of your blog. This really annoys me personally and I always turn it off.
  • Consider adding the following gadgets to your sidebar:
    • Google+ Badge – This will let your visitors know that you are on Google+ and how to follow you.
    • From the “More Gadgets” menu on the left of the add gadget window, add “Share It”. This allows your readers to share your article(s) on their social networks.
    • Translate – This will let users that aren’t using Google Chrome to translate your blog to their native language. After all, the internet is global.
    • Popular Posts – This will show readers a collection of your most popular posts.
    • Search Box – It’s always really useful to give visitors the option to search your blog.
    • Follow By Email – This will allow users to subscribe to your blog so whenever there is a new post, they get an email.
    • Text – Add this and place a little bit of information about yourself and the blog in here. You should remember to remove the default “About Me” gadget if you decide to do this.
  • Customise the Attribution (footer) gadget. This will allow you to add a copyright statement, or anything else you might like to add.

Here is what my Cat Blog looks like now that I’ve customised some of the gadgets:

Kevs Cat Blog

Sadly we’re coming to the end of this series about Blogger, but look out for our last post about how to get your blog noticed. After all, what’s the point if you don’t get any visitors?

Blogger – Customising Sidebar Gadgets
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