Day 4

Today, you'll learn about optimizing your blog in order to gain the most money.

You'll see how you can change your template to a completely different one.

You'll discover how to insert pictures in your blog posts.

And finally, you get the option to make your blog more search engine friendly. I say “option”, because you might want to leave it as it is for now. More about that later.

How to Change Your Template – And What to Look For

If you're perfectly happy with the template you chose, when you created your blog, you might not even be interested in changing it.

Please read this section anyway. You might be better off with another template, if you want to make money with your blog.

What to Look for in a Template

A few conditions have to be met in your template, and those are:

  • A light background (behind the text area).
  • A plain background without pictures or patterns (again – behind the text area).
  • Preferably no buttons in the sidebars.

A dark background behind the text is difficult to read.

And if you have patterns or pictures in the background (behind the text) you cannot blend in your AdSense ads later.

I also prefer a template that will show teasers only on the front page. On day 1, I chose the template called Dynamic, and it shows the full blog post on the front page, even though I've added the Jump Break to the text.

How to Change Your Template

We'll choose from the templates that are available from your Blogger dashboard. You can get other templates from the Internet, but it's a little more complicated, and you have to be careful not to get a template with a link to casino sites or other things.

So we'll stay safe.

Ready?

Log into your dashboard at Blogger.com.

Locate the arrow besides the Post list icon, and scroll down to Template.

Lo and behold! Plenty of awesome templates!

If you click once with your left mouse button on one of the templates, you'll see a bigger example.

If you like it, you can click on Apply to Blog. If you don't like it, you can close it by click on the X in the upper right corner.

I'm going to pick one of the Awesome Inc. templates.

You can click on View blog on your dashboard to admire the result.

How to Insert Pictures in Your Blog Posts

Pictures says more than a thousand words, and even though you might love to write as much as I do, pictures are great for many other reasons.

Your readers will like them.

Studies have shown that when people read newspapers, they read the headline and the text beneith the pictures.

People look at pictures, and they make a nice break in the stream of text.

But before we can add pictures to our blog, we need to find some. And it matters where you get them from.

Where to Find Pictures for Your Blog

There are three ways to get pictures for your blog:

  • You can take them yourself.
  • You can buy them from Stockphoto sites.
  • You can find them at free photo sites.

Let me be honest: The first two options are the most secure. But you'll probably go for the third option. That's what I did until lately. Not because I'm a cheapskate (oh, no, me?), but because – well, it's a lot of money, often. At least it was until I discovered some cheaper sites with great pictures.

For this workshop, we're going after the free photos.

You can find them – legally – here by using the options I have in the right-hand column on this blog. See picture below:

You cannot click on the picture, but you must locate the “search for free images here” area in the right-hand column.

There an extra place you can find free pictures, and that's at sxc.hu

When you've found pictures for your blog, save them in a folder on your hard desk.

I have a folder called “home pages”, and inside that folder, I have a folder for each of our domains. I also have a folder called “Blogger”, and inside that folder, I have my blogger blogs.

The pictures I'll use for my toddler blog will be put inside “home pages” -> “Blogger” -> “Toddler-Parenting”.

How to Add a Picture to a Blog Post

When you have saved your picture, it's time to add it to a blog post.

Obs! If the picture is wider than 600px, you might want to reduce its size. You can use a photo editor, like PhotoShop or even Paint, to reduce its size. You'll probably find this function in the Edit menu -> Image size or in the Image menu -> Image size.

I'm going to edit the picture I found and make it 400px wide.

Log into your Blogger account, and click on Go to post list (the icon just to the right of the orange Create new post button).

Choose the blog post you want to insert a picture in.

Click with your mouse on the spot where you want to insert the picture. I recommend that you do it after the jump break. You'll probably have AdSense ads on top soon, and having a picture there as well, makes the blog look skewy.

When you've clicked on the spot where you want the picture, click on the Insert image icon on the toolbar.

Browse to find your picture, and click on Add seleted. And voupti! Your picture is inside your blog post.

If you click on your picture, you'll see a toolbar popping up. You can use it to place your picture differently, add caption and even change the size of the picture.

Update your blog post, and you're done.

Do Some SEO Magic to Your Template (Advanced)

You can skip this area for now, if you like. It's better to do it, but if you think it's too much to learn at once, I would rather that you would get back to this later.

Okay, for strange reasons, Blogger (owned by Google now) is not build for search engines.

The scripting language we use for making homepages is called HTML. You might already know that. In case you don't, then here is some very basic knowledge that you normally don't have to know anything about, because it's all made for you on the blog.

Get the Right Headline Tags in Your Templates

But here it is.

If you have a headline in HTML, the code that makes it a headline is this: <h1>

You start the headline with <h1> and end it with </h1> – everything between <h1> and </h1> is shown as a headline.

The most important headline on a site is marked by <h1>.

If you have a text with subheadlines, you go “down” in the hierarchi. Just beneith <h1>, you have <h2> and then <h3> etc. until <h6>

Let me show you below:

Headline h1

Headline h2

Headline h3

Headline h4

Headline h5
Headline h6

Google, and other search engines, use these tags to decide whether something is important or not. A headline is supposed to be more important than some words in a text, and a headline h1 is more important than a headline h3.

For strange reasons, Blogger uses <h3> for the most important headline on the page. Most templates for Blogger use <h3>.

In order to show Google and the rest of the bunch that your headline is important, you have to change it to <h1>. I'll show you how to do it, and you'll see that it's an operation that only takes a few minutes.

This is how you do it, and we'll take some precautions so you don't have to be afraid to ruin your blog.

What you're going to do now is to make a copy of your existing template, edit the code and upload the new code.

  1. Log into your Blogger account.
  2. Go to Template just as described earlier.
  3. Click on the button Edit HTML below the active template.
  4. Blogger will show a warning on your screen. Click on the button Proceed to boldly go where no man…
  5. Click next to Expand Widget Templates to add a checkmark.
  6. Click inside the code you see, and press Ctrl+A to select it all, and Ctrl+C to copy everything.
  7. Open up Notepad or a similar text editor. Don't use a word processor. It will add ugly code to the text.
  8. Paste the code into Notepad (Ctrl+V) and save under the name Template-old.
  9. Create a new Notepad file, and once again paste the code into this. You now have two copies of your templates.
  10. Search for “h3” and replace with “h1”.
  11. Once you've done this (and you should have found several h3-tags), select everything (Ctrl+A), copy it (Ctrl+C), and paste it back into your template on Blogger (Ctrl+V), thus overwriting your old template.
  12. Click on Save template.

If you're in any doubt about this procedure, then please ask in the comments.

The next picture illustrates point 3 above:

And this one illustrates point 5.

That's it! Your blog will now be more visible in the search engines. You will not be able to see the difference in the browser, but the search engines sniff the code behind, and they will notice the difference.

That's it for today. Remeber – as always – please ask questions in the comments if you're in doubt about anything.

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