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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Setting Up a Blog Roll

I've recently spent the last couple of hours trying to figure out how to set up a blog roll of all my favorite bloggers.  Isn't that supposed to be easy?  You'd think so.  However, after spending hours online with Blogger Help and doing searches in Google using various key words, I finally managed to figure it out, and here's the final product:

(You can see this up top too, but I thought that it deserved its own picture and tutorial.)

There is a gadget in blogger called Blog List that will post all the bloggers that you are following (either alphabetically or the most recently updated, depending on what you want).  It's actually very useful, and I wouldn't actually have to type a list of all the blogs I followed all the time.  However, you can only post it on your sidebar.  I didn't want it on my sidebar, but on another page or horizontal tab under my header, and that's what made it so much harder.  At first, I thought I could just drag the gadget under my header, but that turned out looking really weird, and it basically listed all the blogs I followed underneath my header (not like in a nice, condensed page).

While searching on Google, I came across an article called Create a Custom Feed Reader with Blogger Blog List, which you can find here.  The author basically created a website on Blogger, added the Blog List gadget, and got rid of everything else, making the Blog List the only thing you could see on that site.  I thought that it was simply genius, but I couldn't seem to figure out all the html stuff she was talking about (a computer science person I am not).  Nevertheless, I gave it a shot, so follow the first two steps on that site, and here's how I "strip[ped] the Blogger blog layout of everything that isn't necessary."  Please note that I am using the newer version and not the classic to set everything up.

1.   After I got rid of every gadget that I didn't need, by clicking on the Layout > Edit > Remove buttons, I'm left with my header, Navbar, Favicon, Blog Posts, Attribution, and of course, my Blog List. Click on Template Designer that's located just above the Navbar.  You should see this:

I just clicked on the Simple template since that is what my original blog layout uses.  If you have a complicated, custom layout design however, I'm not really sure if everything will be setup correctly, but give it a try, and if it doesn't work just follow the steps I'm using.

2.   Next, click on Layout, and select this for the Body and Footer layout:

Click on Apply to Blog, and once that's saved click on Back to Blogger on the top right.

3.   Go back to the Layout page so that you can arrange your gadgets to look something like this:

The most important part is probably that My Blog List is on top of Blog Posts.  You can arrange your sidebars, headers, and footers as you like.  However, if you want your Blog List to show up on your original blog as a tab beside the Home page (like I did on my first picture from above), you'll need to add the gadget Pages.  For me, as you can see I put it under my Header.

4.  Click on Pages > Edit, and change your Home tab to Blog Roll (or whatever you want to call it; this is just basically to say it's our Blog List).  Click on New Page and select Web Address.  Label the Page title Home and copy and paste your original blog's web address.  Click on Save.  Move your Home tab so that it comes first.  Finally, for Show pages as, I choose Top tabs.  It should look something like this:

Click on Save arrangement on the top right.

5.   Log out of your Blog List blog, and log into your original blog.  Follow the instructions from Step 4, except you want to copy and paste the web address to your Blog List and save it as a tab.  Now you're done!  ^_^  Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

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