When you first sign up for a blog on a site like Blogger, there is a wide variety of options made available that allow you to reach out to your readers. From customizable templates to imbedded videos, audio and advertising, the new blogger seemingly has the world at his or her fingertips. That warm and fuzzy feeling eventually starts to wear off though as new ideas pop up that may not be immediately covered by Blogger's built-in features.
Luckily, Blogger and essentially any other blogging platform allows its writers to add any number of open source add-ons to their blogs for enhanced features and interaction with readers.
The single greatest thing you can do for your blog is turn it into a profitable outlet for your daily writing. Google's very own AdSense add-on is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do this. The best part is that it is incredibly easy to add AdSense to your blog through the interface provided by Google in Blogger.
All you need to do is sign up for an AdSense account using the same login ID you currently use for Blogger. Go to the template page of Blogger where you will find a visual layout of your site. Click on any of the "Add a Page Element" links on the page and you will be asked how big you would like your ads to be, how many to place, and what background colors they will have. It is quick and easy and integrates directly into your account.
The templates page is a great place to find and make a great deal of changes to your blog, the best and most visible impressive add-on being a new template. The code for your template can be located here, within the Template tag of your blog settings. To change your template, all you need to do is find a new one that you like and copy the code.
While Blogger comes with a couple dozens templates already installed, there are thousands more options available almost anywhere you look on the Internet. So, despite what Blogger may want your site to look like, you can make almost any changes you want, assuming you can find someone who has built a template to match your desired look.
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This simple add-on can be found within Blogger's own Buzz page, the company blog that announces new changes and updates to their website and services. To find it, look for it just below your list of blogs on your dashboard.
This new add-on makes it easy for you to stay in the conversation loop after you comment on a post. Blogger now gives you the opportunity to receive an email every time someone comments on the same post. This way, if you ask a question of the post author, you will get instant notification of their response without having to check back on their blog. To use this feature you will need to have a Google account which will insure that someone else can't provide your email causing your to receive email that you didn't request.
Another great way to make a few dollars from your writing, Amazon widgets allow you install links to products on Amazon that your readers may be interested in buying. Sign up for a free Associates account with Amazon and you can then install these widgets with your own Associate ID number and get commission for any sales made through your site. It is a great way to make relevant ads on your site linked to posts you have written.
Bookmarking Buttons (Digg, Delicious, Facebook, etc)
These are almost required in today's age of social bookmarking and networking. By default, the only way a reader can interact with you on your blog is through the commenting feature. However, you can install simple button links on your site to services like Digg and Delicious where they can bookmark your posts and share them with millions of other social bookmarkers. To add these buttons to your page, visit the websites for Digg or Delicious and search for buttons and links after signing up for a new account. They install easily within the code of your template (which these sites will guide you through doing).
There are countless additions you can make to your Blogger blog through widgets and third party applications. When someone has an idea, someone else has probably already created an application to serve that idea. The best way to find new widgets is to search Google for "Blogger Widgets" or "Blogger addons" and search through the listings provided. You can do wonders with your blog with the right resources.