Syndicating Your Blog
Asite feed is an automatically updated stream of a blog's contents, enabled by a special XML file format named RSS (Really Simple Syndication). When a blog has an RSS feed enabled, any updated content publishes automatically as a special XML file that contains the RSS feed. The syndicated feed is then normally picked up by RSS feed reader programs and RSS aggregators for websites.
Activating Basic Atom Syndication
Blogger uses Atom for its blog syndication. When you activate Atom syndication for your blog, Blogger automatically generates a machine-readable version of your blog that most feed readers and aggregators can read.
If you'd rather use RSS syndication instead of Atom, use the FeedBurner service (www.feedburner.com).
To activate Atom syndication for your blog, follow these steps:
Take notice of the URL for your site feed. It's typically your blog URL with /atom.xml attached, like this: myblog. blogspot.com/atom.xml.
Activating Feeds for All Blog Comments
The new version of Blogger not only lets you syndicate new posts that you make to your blog, it also lets you syndicate all the comments that visitors make to your posts.
Start by going to the Site Feed page on the Settings tab, and clicking the Advanced Mode link. This expands the page, as shown in Figure 38.
Figure 38. Configuring advanced feed options.
Now you have three types of feeds to configure:
Each feed option has the same Full, Short, and None settings as found on the Basic Mode page.
How Popular Is Your Blog?
If you're hosting a blog, eventually you're going to get curious about how many people are reading it. Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't offer any built-in statistics or visitor counters. You can, however, utilize third-party hit counters and tools to track your blog's traffic. Some of the most popular of these tools include
To use any of these third-party tools, you have to add it to your blog's underlying code via the Edit HTML screenwhich we discuss next.
Advanced Customization: Editing Your Blogger Template with HTML and CSS
However, the ability to customize your Blogger blog doesn't end there. If you know how to code in HTML, you can edit just about any piece of the page's underlying HTML code. HTML editing is a powerful tool that lets you change anything on the pageproviding you know what you're doing, of course.
If you used HTML and Blogger tags to customize your blog in the old Blogger, you're in for a shock. The new Blogger doesn't use any of the old Blogger tags, which means you need to learn a completely new processand rewrite all your existing code!
Editing Blogger's HTML
If you want to edit the underlying HTML code for your Blogger page, here's how to do it:
Before you attempt to edit your blog's HTML, you should save a copy of the existing code to your hard drive. (Click the Download Full Template link to do this.) Doing so ensures that you have a full backup copy of your current blog templatewhich you can upload in case you make a mistake when editing the HTML code.
Understanding Essential HTML Codes
I won't go into all the intricacies of HTML here; I'll assume that if you're editing code, you know what you're doing. What I will do is point out some of the more important codes used to create Blogger pages.
First, know that Blogger uses CSS, so most of the font and color information is set at the very top of the code. Look for the code that starts with the following line:
Everything between this tag and the closing </style> tag defines all the elements used in the template's style sheet. When you make changes to the definitions within this section, it affects the look of the entire stylesheet.
The <div> tag denotes the various sections of your blog. For example, you'll find <div> tags for the header (<div id='headerwrapper'>, main content (<div id='main-wrapper'>, and sidebar (<div id='sidebar-wrapper'). Figure 40 shows the start of the sidebar section code.
Figure 40. The HTML code for the start of a blog's sidebar section.
The sidebar is the part of the blog where you'll probably do the most customization. There you can add new content or edit the attributes of the existing content and widgets. You can also edit universal font attributes in the Variable Definitions section at the very top of your template code.
I won't go into a lot more detail about Blogger's HTML code here because it's quite involved. That said, it's not that hard to figure out if you have any knowledge at all of HTML and CSS coding. You can find more information from Blogger online: help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=46870. If you're comfortable with what you see there, have fun coding!