Crochet Jewellery from Jezzabell13 a member of the Craft Blog UK Flickr Group (blog - Isamo Crochet)
Making it easier to follow your blog and using Google Friend Connect
Almost all blogspot blogs display a little follower box. It's one of the default widgets that appears when you set up - and perhaps the one that intitially gives us the most worry.
You may find yourself using this little widget as a measure of your success. Once you have a good following it's easy to dismiss how important this feels when you first start out with a blogspot blog. With each follow it's an affirmation of someone having appreciated your work, a little nod to say "hello, I was here, I liked what I saw and I'll be back"
In this post we'll look at where to put your follower box, how to increase follower numbers and why we should all relax a little about how many blog followers we have. I'll also explain how to create a dedicated follow me blog page later in the post.
How do I get more blog followers
The simple answer is you need to promote your blog and you need to have good content. Find places where you can add relevant links to your blog posts, in a spam free way. Use your existing networks, such as twitter, facebook, the folksy forums or nings like UK Handmade to draw peoples attention to your blog and get some instant followers.
Where should I put my follower box?
Estimate the average length of a post of yours and ensure your follow box is placed in a sidebar within this area. So if someone clicks on a link to a post of yours will they be clearly presented with an opportunity at some point during reading the post to click 'follow'. Readers can also now sign up by email, a great new featured gadget from blogger - add it to your blog today! I have mine already.
Don't hide it all the way down at the bottom because you are embarrassed you only have a handful of followers, everyone has to start somewhere.
Crochet Barefoot Sandals from Jezzabell13 a member of the Craft Blog UK Flickr Group (blog - Isamo Crochet)
Are blog followers blog readers?
NO! Check your analytics, 200 followers does not mean 200 unique hits for every post! They are just people who have given you a polite nod to say "I liked that" - the more blogs you follow yourself the more you will realise how impossible it would be to read every post from everyone that appears in your feed reader ( I have some tips for managing your blog reading so you don't miss your favourites here).
Make your titles snappy and interesting and your leading image a good one to ensure people are tempted to click through from feed readers and search engine results. I often outline what the blog post is about in the first few sentences to give people an idea of what's in the post. This also gives you an opportunity to use more of the relevant keywords to improve the chances of your post being found in the serps (search engine results pages)
Should I worry if no one is following me?
No, it's not the mark of a succesful blog - the number of visiters, the number of pages they look at and the length they stay is a better mark of a successful blog. Look at the posts I wrote on the Folksy blog all about understanding google analytics for help with using this free service, or use the stats tab in your blogger dashboard to get an overview. Showing lots of faces in a follow gadget does give an instant, 'this is popular' message to people landing on your page for the first time, so it does help to make your blog look buzzing.
Try not to get obsessed by follower numbers, write great posts and promote them, people will begin to naturally follow your blog. Posting messages everywhere saying 'please follow my blog' can be tiresome, but there are certainly forum discussions where this is completely acceptable in many crafty online hang outs.
[All below now out of date!]
Go to your dashboard and click on Posting, then click on the 'Edit Pages' tab. Click on add new page. Write a short welcome message or add any text or images you want to appear here just as you would for a normal blog page (see here if you don't know anything about static blog pages). Alternatively you could add the follower box to your 'about me' page if you already have one.
Open a new tab in your browser and visit http://google.com/friendconnect you should be able to sign in and add your blog details - the overview page will show your blog name and number of followers if you are signed in correctly with google (as in the image above). Click on 'add the members gadget' and follow the instructions for creating a gadget, you can make the gadget up to the width of your blog - bloggers standard width is around 660 px. Once you have finished customising your gadget, selecting colours to match your blog, click on 'generate code' at the bottom and copy the code.
Now head back to your newly created page, you must change to html (rather than compose) mode and paste in the code and click publish. I always choose 'no gadget' and link pages manually rather than add them to my sidebar or top navigation bar - but that's up to you.
You can now copy the url from that page and add it as a link at the foot of your posts. You can also automatically add it to every post by adding it to your blog post template. You can find this in the blogger dashboard, go to settings and then formatting and it's at the bottom.
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