Blogger:easy economical web solutions for Small businesses. Get online and running in record time using Blogger.The free website building and hosting functionality of Blogger are a boon to small businesses for creating a website presence with customizable features.
Blogger, a tool by Google, is becoming increasingly popular for small business websites. With Blogger, businesses can create a professional blog, niche product website or even a full website presence. I highly recommend the free website building and hosting tools, available through Blogger as an option businesses should consider.
Want a professional domain name? You can choose to register a domain through a domain registration company such as Names pro for $12.88 CDN a year or less, and point it at Blogger, for a very professional finish.
Blogger is easily integrated with numerous other free online tools and social media sites, due to its popularity. Easy integration helps you readily extend the reach of your business.
Since Blogger is part of Google’s holdings, it is very search engine friendly, which can help your site “get found” more readily by potential clients.
Free Website Template Set up with BloggerBlogger blogs can be set up in minutes. Simply sign up, select a site name, and and choose an existing template design. Customizing the standard Blogger options will result in a more professional looking web presence.
Here are a few simple steps for creating a small business website using Blogger template design options.
- Choosing a custom template design. When initially signing up for Blogger, select a temporary blog template from standard built in options. There are many different free templates available through Blogger, in which you can insert a “Pages” widget for Navigation and a slide show widget to create a feature images section. On the other hand , you can search for “Free Blogger Templates” on any search engine to find sites offering many downloadable designs from simple to sophisticated . Most templates are fully customizable with Blogger features. Select an option that most closely resembles a standard website layout with a navigation bar and feature images section.
- Uploading a FREE template. In the “Design” section of Blogger, select “Customize HTML” and upload new template in .xml format. If you are testing a new template design, remember to download and save a copy of the previous template if you have already made edits or customizations.
Customize Your Blogger Template for a Website Presence
Whether you chose to use a free blogger template, or seek out another free template, most elements can be readily edited and personalized, using the “Design” tab in Blogger. Customize your new Blogger template layout to closely resemble the style and look of a professional website using these tips.
- Insert a custom logo. Click on Most Blogger template designs will include instructions on how to replace a sample logo by either editing the Blogger “header” element or editing the URL used in the template design. Choosing a template that allows you to upload your company logo in the header page element is an easier option if you are not familiar with editing HTML. If you do not have a company logo, create a free simple text based logo in Picnik or another image creation suite.
- Insert your images in the template design. Personalize your site by replacing stock images in the header banner, or rotating images,with images relevant to your business to brand the site as your own. This can be done by clicking edit on the individual page element, or by editing the image URL used in the HTML within the template. An image URL can be obtained from free photo sites like Flikr (creative commons has free photos), or from the URL of an image one of your Blogger posts.
- Choose appropriate Blogger gadgets and widgets. Blogger offers a multitude of widgets or “gadgets” that can be inserted with a click into your design. Choose an HTML box,rather than a text box for easy modification later. Special widgets more likely to be found on a website include: pages, social media plug-ins, web sharing tools, Google adsense, banners from affiliate advertising, and accreditation or partner logos. Other helpful free widgets can easily be inserted by copying and pasting html code into an html widget. Avoid using blog widgets that make your site look more like a blog, such as games, or that widgets that lead people away to a different site.
- Set up pages for categories. Feature posts by category on pages created using the “pages” widget to give your site a user-friendly navigation similar to websites.If you want to use labels to increase SEO by interlinking posts,choose a few broad labels to display and change the title to “Topics”, and use “Also see:” vs. “labels” in posts.
- Write in the third person. Blogs are personal, and written in the first person, use a professional third person tone for your posts.
- Customize the post appearance. Do your customers need to know who wrote the post, or when it was posted? Edit the post body to create a more business like blink. Be sure to opt into the social media sharing tool. Choose to show the quick editing tools (only signed in admins can see them)You may also wish to choose to only display one post on the first page for a more site-like appearance, or designate an alternate page as the landing page using a little HTML magic.
- Set up a Contact form Having a contact form, not only appears professional, but allows you to integrate queries into a data base.Set up a simple Contact Form using Google docs, and link it to your “Contact Us” page.
- Remove the Blogger bar This can be done by editing the HTML code as seen on Ruby’s Roost Cafe and Pastry Shop
- Replace Blogger’s favicon with your own logo This requires a bit more HTML coding, but it makes a more professional appearance on your tab. See White House Hotel
Blogger template designs with easy plug-in widgets, can provide a budget-wise solution for small businesses looking to establish a a web presence.
For assistance implementing any of these steps, contact us.
This article is based on: Customizing Blogger to Use as Free Website Builder, Hosting Tool by Diane Seltzer at Suite 101 (accessed Feb.21,2011)