Oct 25, 2007

Domain Name and Hosting for your Blog

Having your own domain name lends a look of professionalism to your blog. I serve as webmaster for many websites and traffic to these sites that have their own domain name receive considerably more traffic than those hosted on the blogspot sub-domain. Not only do visitors give them more respect but it appears that search engines do as well. Since Blogger and the blogspot domain are owned by Google, other search engines tend to ignore them which can greatly impact your traffic numbers.

Notice that Blogatech is hosted on blogspot as it's subject matter is geared towards providing information on using Google's Blogger, but I'm sure it would have generated more traffic if I had originally created it under it's own domain. If your serious about blogging or your blog is business related, bite the bullet and invest in your own domain name and private web hosting, it will pay you in the long run. Domains are only $10 a year and some hosting providers give you a free domain with an account. Good hosting is really not that expensive, running between $6 to $10 dollars a month. If your creative you can actually make money with your hosting. By publishing ads on your site, the additional traffic generated will subsidize or pay for your hosting expenses. With the right hosting service you can host multiple domains on one account so that you could sell space on your account allowing you to host that cooking blog that your Aunt has been wanting or a business site for an acquaintance. They can have their own dot com domain names as well.

If you decide to use private hosting, you should shop around to find a host that provides you with the services you want and remember the least expensive is not always the best deal. I have used bluehost.com for the last several years and highly recommend them. They allow me to host as many sites as I want on one account, give me more file storage space and bandwidth than I could ever use, along with an easy to use control panel and simple ways to add all types of software such as blogs, forums, CMS, shopping carts, chat and more. Another big advantage to private hosting is access to a massive amount of statistical information on traffic to your site. Bluehost is one of the services that gives you a free domain name for the life of your account and I've found that if I have any problems, I can get advise from other users in there forums and you can actually get a support person on the phone when you need help.

When choosing your domain name, there are several things to take into consideration:

  • You want a name that is short as possible. People are more apt to remember a short name and this will help with return traffic.
  • Incorporate keywords into your name. For example, if your blog is about food, you want the word food in your name. This helps with optimize for search engines giving you more traffic.
  • Choose a domain that ends with .com if possible. This is the extension that most people are familiar with. If the name you are dead set on is already taken, your next choice would be the .net extension. The other extensions are less know and will not generate the traffic of a dot com.
  • Be careful how your construct your name. There is a site called "Who Represents" where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… is http://www.whorepresents.com/. I don't think this is really what they had in mind. Also be sure you have your name spelled correctly when you apply for it.

When naming a site, I start with a list of keywords related to the subject of the site and then I start brainstorming while using my hosting service's domain name checker to see if the name I have in mind is available. Once I have what I believe to be the perfect name I usually sleep on it overnight, sometimes what seems like a great name late at night is not so hot the next day.

I hope these tips are of some help to you and good luck with your name search.





Sep 21, 2007

Blogger Play

One of the creative folks at Blogger has been playing with a feed that displays images as they are being uploaded to Blogger. IT has been running on a monitor in the Blogger offices for quite awhile. Now they have released it to the public.

Play Blogger

It's very interesting and entertaining, check it out!

Sep 16, 2007

Widget Box Blidget

Here is a great way to add any blogs feed to your site. Just create a Blidget

Sep 6, 2007

Recipe for a seat by yourself

Found this in my e-mail today, had to post.


If you are sitting next to a loudmouth, a jerk or just an irritating person ----- on a plane, train or in a coffee shop-----follow these instructions:

1. Say nothing, but quietly and calmly open your laptop case.
2. Remove your laptop.
3. Start it.
4. Make sure the annoying person sees the screen. (Aim it just enough for them to see)
5. Close your eyes and tilt your head toward the sky (or ceiling)
6. Then click on this link:

http://Boortz. com/mp3/archive/ countdown. swf

They won't bother to say good-bye.

Aug 13, 2007

Let's say I break into your house…

Found this in my e-mail box today:

A lady wrote the best letter in the Editorials in ages!!! It explains things better than all the baloney you hear on TV. Her point:

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration.

Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests. Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave.

But I say, “I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).” According to the protesters:

You are Required to let me stay in your house.
You are Required to add me to your family's insurance plan.
You are Required to Educate my kids.
You are Required to Provide other benefits to me and to my family.
(My husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm a hard-working and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house.
And what a deal it is for me!!!

I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.

Oh yeah, I DEMAND that you to learn MY LANGUAGE so you can communicate with me.

Why can't people see how ridiculous this is?! Only in America . If you agree, pass it on (in English).
Share it if you see the value of it.

If not blow it off......... (along with your future Social Security funds, and a lot of other things).

Aug 11, 2007

Browsing Blogger's Profiles

At one time when you went to a Blogger's profile you could follow links under different areas of interest and find fellow bloggers with similar interests. This feature was discontinued when New Blogger was put into place. Good news! Blogger has again enabled this search feature. Maybe it's time to fill out your profile questionaire. Read more here...

Jul 28, 2007

Header Images for Blogger

By far the most popular posts here at Blogatech are about creating custom headers. I try to provide instructions on how to modify template code to position graphics but you may also need help with obtaining good quality graphics to start with.

I ran across this site, Free Web Page Headers,they offer many high quality 800x200 JPG's that are perfect to use as header backgrounds. Check it out, you may find something that will fit perfectly into your blogs design.

Jul 16, 2007

Google Buys FeedBurner

For those of you who are not familiar with FeedBurner, it is a Chicago-based company that provides RSS feed distribution for bloggers. Their tools help bloggers promote and monetize their blog content for the internet. Just recently Google closed a deal to acquire FeedBurner, the details of which are closed to the public but I'm sure there are a couple new millionaires if not billionaires in the world.

If you that have been offering several different types of feeds for your Blogger blog, you can now redirect all your feeds to your FeedBurner account so that you get a more accurate view as to the number of feed subscribers that you have.

If you would like more information, read this post on "FeedBurner Integration for Blogspot Blogs". There is also a Blogger Quick Start Guide that has been updated to include all the necessary info for redirecting your feeds.



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Jul 11, 2007

Attention Grabbing Blogger

It's not very often that I find a blog that captures my attention. More often than not, as I'm surfing the blogisphere it seems that every blog post is the same crap re-written and re-worded. It has been passed from blog to blog so many times that when you see it, you start gaging and the race to click the next link you can find is on.

Recently, I stumbled across Gabrielle and the Tech.Chick.Blog. This is not your average blog. I noticed her Mybloglog avatar, which you see a larger version of above. Can't imagine why it caught my attention. Must have been the use of html tags that I'm so used to seeing all day long.

I started watching her photo slide shows while playing online poker. You know the multi-tasking thing. Bad idea. This young lady is so strikingly beautiful and the photographer so creative with composition that I'm sure I lost a hundred bucks in ten minutes due to a lack of concentration.

I also spent some time reading some of her posts, no really I did. She is quite humorous and interesting. If I was still handing out Blogatech's "Blog of the Week" awards. This one would be a winner for sure.

P.S. If your looking for a t-shirt like Gabrielle's, you can find one here.


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Jul 10, 2007

Adding a page to blogspot

Here is a question I see posed quite often, how do I add a new page to my Blogspot blog, such as a contact page? Recently a friend asked me the same question, he wanted a separate page for a time line of events.

The traditional solution for this if you have private hosting is to add a sub-page to your domain name. If your domain url is http://myblog.com, you would create a new page called http://myblog.com/contact.htm and upload this page to your server. Using Blogspot you don't have access to the server where files are saved, so we have to utilize another option.

Since Blogger allows you to create multiple blogs, the solution is to create another blog with a similar name to your main blog, such as, myblog-contactpage or myblog2.
The name is not really important but merely provides you with an address you can link to. Here is an example: http://myblog-contact.blogspot.com. The drawback to this method, is that this new page will not be associated with your blog when indexed by search engines. For just a contact page or other single page use, this is no big deal. I doubt people will be searching for Joe Blows contact page anyway.

Your second page can be formatted anyway you chose. You can use a copy of your original template so when the link is visited, the transition from one blog to the other is seamless and will appear as if both are from the same blog. Another option for styling is the stripped down second page like I have done in the example. I removed the header, sidebar, post date, title and post footer from a Minima template so that all that is left is the post section where you add your information. I also left the footer where I included a Adsense ad.

If you wish to use a stripped down version of Blogger's Minima template, you can find a copy here. When you create your new blog, it will by default be the new layouts type. The stripped version posted here is a Classic type, so in order to use it you will have to follow a few steps:


  1. Open the control panel of your new blog. Under the Template tab select edit HTML.

  2. At the bottom of this page you will see a text link labeled Revert to Classic Template. Click it. Click ok on the warning.

  3. At this point it will either ask you to select a Classic Template style or pick one automatically. If you have to choose one, any will do.

  4. Then it will take you back to the Template window that you are used to seeing. Select the entire template code in this window and delete it. Then paste the template code that you find in the link above and save the changes.

You should now be good to go.

Jun 3, 2007

Creating Expandable Divisions

This is an experiment of code written by Harry Maugans which by using CSS and Javascript you can easily create a expandable portion of your post.
Click Here to Read More.


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May 22, 2007

Angelina Jolie and Ebay To Go

Ok, so you found something cool on Ebay. A sexy photo of Angelina Jolie half naked. Or maybe a genuine home movie of Paris Hilton and Jessica Simson having a wild lesbian affair and you want to incorporate it into your blog. (notice the shameless keyword spamming).

Ebay has come up with a new widget that lets you showcase any active auction. It's really easy to set up. When you find a auction you want to use, simply copy the auction's item number and head to Ebay's To Go Site.

Following the instructions you will be asked if you want to display a single, multiple or search auction widget. You are then prompted to enter the item number or you can browse ebay to select an auction. The next step is to enter a search term for what type item you want to display after the 120 day period when a normal auction is removed from the system. You are then given the code to use to embed the widget on your blog or website. It's that easy and free, check it out.

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May 4, 2007

May 3, 2007

Cool Clock

While surfing today, I ran across a page that is constructed using DHTML which is a combination of technologies used to make a HTML page dynamic versus the static display associated with most web sites.

This page is a great example of such and shows a 24 hour clock in motion. check it out.

Apr 30, 2007

New Twist on Social Book Marking

Wists works like a visually oriented social bookmarking site. Using a toolbar button added to your browser you can select any image on a webpage and instantly create a thumbnail to associate with a book mark. Once you have compiled a wish list of items like I have, you can add the needed code to embed your list of images to a website or blog. as you add new images your feed is automatically updated.

Using widgets, Wists provides you with several stock formats for your feed or you can customize the output to match your site design. If you click on a image in my display above you are taken to a larger view that shows my complete Wists list and it gives you the option of visiting the site that the image was captured from. You can search other Wists by tags that are applied to every thumbnail that is created.

You could use Wists to create all kinds of visual lists. A birthday wish list or a list of any line of products from any store on the web. Create thumbnail image galleries of your favorite things like I've done above. I'm sure you could find many creative way to use Wists to enhance your blog.

With Wists being in it's beta stage I expect to see many new features added to make it even more useful soon.



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Apr 29, 2007

Adding Page Elements to your Header

In the new layouts template of Blogger you have the ability to add page elements to your sidebar but the default settings don't allow you add elements to your header.

Basic Layouts Menu


You can create a new "add a page element" box to the header by altering a couple of items in your HTML template. To do this, go to the Template/edit html tab. With the expand widgets template box checked, find the following code:

<div id='header-wrapper'>
<b:section class='header' id='header' maxwidgets='1' showaddelement='no'>

Change the maxwidgets to '2' and showaddelement to 'yes', then save your changes. Now go back to the Page Elements menu and it should now look like this:



Now you can add any of Blogger's standard options into this box, such as a html/java element or picture. For an example checkout the header of my poker blog where I used this method to add a row of dropdown menus to the header.


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Apr 28, 2007

Blogatech's Site Map

Complied 04-28-07

add-bookmark-this-page-scriptadding-chat-to-your-blog
adding-forms-in-blogger adding-link-to-us-banner
deleting-about-me-profile drop-down-menus
free-content image-resizing
logo-header name-your-blog
navigation-bar scrolling-news-feed
selecting-templateslide-show
technorati-tag text links
visitor-tracking-tools blog-of-week-05-29-06
blog-of-week-06-05-06 blog-of-week-06-12-06
blog-of-week-06-19-and-06-26-of-2006 change-world
create-favicon creating-links-in-blogger
custom-header-option free-music
image-hosting image-mapping
more-blog-tools practice-safe-browsing
record-traffic-numbers search-engine-optimization-what-is-it
use-terragen-for-custom-header background-images
blog-of-week-07-03-06 blog-of-week-07-10-06
blog-of-week-07-17-06 blog-of-week-07-24-06
creating-tag-clouds free-topsites
improving-traffic simple-custom-header
add-cool-sites-to-your-blog blogger-anatomy
blogger-beta monster-blog-sack
organized-chaos problem-inserting-images-in-blogger
add-google-calendar-to-your-blog blogger-faq
google-buys-you-tube put-google-maps-on-your-blog
tooltips blogger-tips-1002
dpols-add-polls-to-your-site free-graphics-program
list-of-posts-about-creating-custom-headers page-rank-testing-tool
tell-friend-button user-name-and-password
add-custom-header-in-new-blogger are-you-listed
blogger-tip-1002 code-jam-2007-latin-america
google-blogs google-gadgets
new-blogger-supports-custom-domains new-smiley-sign-maker
publicize-your-blog-feed why-download-firefox
double-your-search-power how-to-create-tabbed-menus
html-tips i-dont-like-new-blogger
link-icons what-is-pinging
adsense-leaderboard-in-new-blogger blogger-help-pages-big-picture
more-seo-tools new-features-for-layouts-templates
use-blogger-and-agloco-to-make-extra-money adding-background-images-to-blogger
basic-html-creating-image-link best-feed-reader
custom-search-engine-for-blogger read-blog-get-cold-beer
using-blogger-to-host-webcomic


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Apr 25, 2007

Custom Search Engine for Blogger

With Google Co Op Beta you can create a custom search engine with the capabilities to search within a specific area of interest that out preforms any other search engine on the planet. Now just imagine how this could increase you traffic numbers if the word got out that you have this tool on your site.

Co Op let's you specify which sites you want to include in searches. It allows you to change the look of the results page to match the look and feel of your site and even associate your adsense for search to this engine so that relevant ads are displayed in search results. Now that has serious potential to increase your adsense revenue

The beauty of building a custom search engine is that it is a work in progress. At any time you run across a site that has content that pertains to your subject you can bring up a marker menu from your toolbar that allows you to instantly add this site to your search engine. You can also tailor a specific site so that it's content is associated with certain keywords that you assign.

For example below you'll find a search engine that I started geared towards finding tips, tricks, tools and information on Blogger's software and how to go about customizing your blog. It's in it's infancy but I hope to get it to a point that bloggers will point to it as the ultimate source for Blogger information.

Below is it's introduction and granted it has along way to go but as an example I ran a search at bloggerforum.com using their sites search engine. I searched using the phrase "adding links to Blogger" and here are the results:



Now enter into Blogatech's search engine below the phrase "blogger forum adding links to blogger"






Google Custom Search

You will get much better results than you get at their own site. Also use this search for any other information you want about Blogger and I think you will be impressed with the results. Take a minute and bookmark this post and comeback any time your looking for anything associated with Blogger. I think you will find this search engine just gets better and better.

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Apr 19, 2007

Adding Background Images to Blogger

A main aesthetic in site design involves adding background images to the various elements of your blog. In this tutorial we are going to add background images to the body of our blog but the basic principals would apply for adding them to your header, sidebar, main post area or any other block element of your site.

For starters you will need to take into consideration the size of the image you're going to use. A smaller image that tiles will cover the entire background and won't slow down your site's load time like a larger image would. How you want your image to display is another consideration. Will it be in a fixed position? Do you want it to repeat on the left side of your blog as the page is scrolled down or should it just display at the top corner. You will see that with CSS you have complete control of how and where your image will display.

Once you have decided on a image to use, you will want to size it appropriately and upload it to a hosting service. If you need further information on preforming these activities just click the highlighted text to visit a post on these subjects.

Next we are going to access our Blogger template editor. In the style section of your template you will find the body selector. In this example we are using the Minima template but these instruction would be similar with most Blogger templates. Be sure to make a backup copy of your template prior to making any changes so you can revert to your original template if something goes wrong.

In the example we are going to use the image below and start by taking the address that Photobucket gave us and add it to the body selector of our style sheet.

Image



The address we got from Photobucket:

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j38/stratman4u/chaosback.gif

Our original body selector code:

body {
background:#FFF;
margin:0;
color:$textcolor;
font:x-small Georgia Serif;
font-size/* */:/**/small;
font-size: /**/small;
text-align: center;
}

Example using no-repeatIn this first example we are going to place the image so that it won't repeat and by default it will display in the top left corner. We only need to change one line form the above code.

Change this line of code:

background:#FFF;

To this:

background: url(http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j38/stratman4u/chaosback.gif) no-repeat;

Here is the results:





Example using repeat
By changing our one line of code to this:

background: url(http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j38/stratman4u/chaosback.gif) repeat;

We get this:



We can go one step further and add a white background to the outer-wrapper selector by adding one line of code as shown in blue below:

#outer-wrapper {
background:#FFF;
width: 660px;
margin:0 auto;
padding:10px;
text-align:left;
font: $bodyfont;


We would end up with this:





Example using repeat x,y
If you want the image to repeat horizontially across the page, we again change the one line of code in our body selector to read:

background: url(http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j38/stratman4u/chaosback.gif) repeat-x;

Results of repeat-x:



Lastly, changing our code to that below displays our image vertically up and down our page:

background: url(http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j38/stratman4u/chaosback.gif) repeat-y;

Results of repeat-y:






Besides the background: property that we used above that lets us set one or several attributes in one declaration, you can use these other indiviual properties to style your background as well:

background-color:(Possible Values) #000000, transparant; (where #0000 = a hexidecimal color code)

background-image:(Possible Values) url, none;

background-position:(Possible Values) top left, top center, top right, center left, center center, center right, bottom left, bottom center, bottom right, x-% y-%, x-pos y-pos;

background-attachment:(Possible Values) scroll, fixed;

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Apr 10, 2007

Read a Blog :: Get Cold Beer

Blog about your Blog is sponsoring contest where you can win a mini refrigerator. To enter, all you have to do is subscribe to their RSS Feed and then leave a comment under this post.

As soon as they get 200 subscribers they will draw for a winner. Which of course is going to be ME!

I still need you to sign up so we can get to the 200 mark, I'm tired of drinking warm beer. Besides you have nothing to lose as the site has very interesting content and is updated quite frequently.

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Apr 7, 2007

The Best Feed Reader

Over the last year I've tried several news readers for keeping track of blog and websites that I find interesting. Google's Reader has definitely been the cream that has risen to the top.

With it's great navigation features that let you instantly add websites feeds to your list, it has become a tool I would be lost without. Besides the full interface that gives you feed search and management controls you can add a reader gadget to your Google home page for a quick list of feed updates.

Take a quick tour or visit Google Reader's instruction pages and blog to get all the info you need to get started.


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Apr 5, 2007

Basic HTML, Creating a Image Link

The basic format for hyperlinking from a image is as follows:

<a href="URL" title="YOUR LINK TITLE"><img src="YOUR PICTURE"S URL" alt="BRIEF DESCRIPTION" /></a>

The above link has several different items you need to add in order to create the link you want. First in red is the URL or address of the page you want to come up if the link is clicked.

The item in orange is not required but can be added to display a text description that displays when a user hovers their cusor over the link. (Try it below on the "read this post" link. Just hold your cursor over the link)

The item in blue is the address of the image that you are using to link from. This is the direct link address a hosting service such as photobucket gives you when you upload your image and it will begin with http://. For more info on hosting and unloading images read this post.

The last item to add is a alternate description for the image. This is for viewers that have images turned off in their browser as well as providing information to search engines that have no way of knowing what a photo or image is without this description.

Apr 3, 2007

Using Blogger to Host a WebComic

group photo of the bench comic template
I've been working on creating a webcomic using Blogspot as a host. I started off with a Classic Minima template and altered it to displays each new strip at the top of the page. I added a I-frame of another blog that allows me to add news or notes for a specfic strip. I sized the main portion so that it utlizes the entire page width, which enabled me to add three sidebars that display below the footer. This created a area to add links, character bio's and Adsence. Check it out here

Also, if you want to help with my drive to get traffic, links to http://the-bench.blogspot.com are very much appreceated. You can easily copy and paste this code to your side bar to produce a text link to "The Bench"

<a href="http://the-bench.blogspot.com">The Bench(Webcomic)</a>

By placing a link to this site you are entitled to use any of the strips you like on your own blog. Thanks for the support!

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Mar 31, 2007

New Features for Layouts Templates

Blogger has added two new options to use when adding page elements. The Newsreel option lets you automatically add current headlines from Google News to your blog. The Video Bar option lets you display clips from YouTube and Google Video for your readers to watch without leaving the page. Both of these can be accesses form the add page element menu and make it very simple to add these items.

new blogger options, newsreel and video bar

Mar 19, 2007

More SEO Tools

Search Status is a free Firefox add-on that displays the Google page rank and Alexa rating of every site you visit. These items run continuouly in your status bar at the bottom of your browser and can be disabled if needed. The additional features can be accessed from a icon menu as seen below.





These additional tools are great for comparing data of other similar sites to yours. Such as what keywords and meta tags they are using to gain the Google Page Rank they have achieved.

The show backward links and indexed pages tool is another great feature for getting a list of who is linking to your site and what pages are indexed by each of the major search engines. Click Here for more information and a download link

Mar 16, 2007

Use Blogger and AGLOCO to make extra money

I recently joined AGLOCO as I'm allways looking for new ways to earn additional revenue from my blogging efforts. I am now promoting it to you because I like the idea and I want you to share in what I think will be an exciting new Internet concept.

AGLOCO’s story is simple:

Do you realize how valuable you are? Advertisers, search providers and online retailers are paying billions to reach you while you surf. How much of that money are you making? NONE!

AGLOCO thinks you deserve a piece of the action.

AGLOCO collects money from those companies on behalf of its members. (For example, Google currently pays AOL 10 cents for every Google search by an AOL user. And Google still has enough profit to pay $1.6 billion dollars for YouTube, an 18-month old site full of content that YouTube’s users did not get paid for!

AGLOCO will work to get its Members their share of this and more.

AGLOCO is building a new form of online community that they call an Economic Network. They are not only paying Members their fair share, but they’re building a community that will generate the kind of fortune that YouTube made. But instead of that wealth making only a few people rich, the entire community will get its share.

What's the catch? No catch - no spyware, no pop-ups and no spam - membership and software are free and AGLOCO is 100% member owned. Privacy is a core value and AGLOCO never sells or rents member information.

So do both of us a favor: Sign up for AGLOCO right now! If you use this link to sign up, I automatically get credit for referring you and helping to build AGLOCO. http://www.agloco.com/r/BBCN7937

Thanks for helping us both!

Mar 9, 2007

Blogger Help Pages, The Big Picture

I've tried to compile a site map for Bloggers help pages. While this list may not be total, it covers most of the main content. Go ahead and browse, select a subject, your bound to learn something new about Blogger. I know I did.