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Spacing- Intermediate

Ever wish you could add a space above or below an HTML gadget in your sidebar?

All you have to do is add "& nbsp;" before or after the code. (I added a space between the "&" and the "nbsp;" to get it to show up in this post. You will need to delete the space in order for it to work. I have circled it in red in the image below, so that you can see the way it's supposed to look.)

I have discovered that it's easier for me to combine html widgets by using a space. I like to combine related codes into one gadget to free up room on my 'page layout' page. For example, the button grab widget in my sidebar looks like this:

Notice how I put my button and grab box in the same gadget? I separated the codes with a space, which is circled in red in the image above. Easy peasy.

Have fun uncluttering your sidebars! :)

Adding Music To Your Blog-Intermediate

Music can definitely add a personal touch to your blog or website. As a beginning blogger, I loved my Playlist player. I enjoyed changing the songs depending on my posts. It totally rocked my socks.

Once I realized that many bloggers prefer a silent blogging environment, I figured out how to turn the autostart feature off and allowed my readers to choose for themselves whether or not they wanted to listen to my music.

I think my readership went up that day. :)

Anyway, I know there are several places out there where you can get a free music player for your blog. This tutorial focuses on Playlist, which is what I know best.

How to add a Playlist player to your blog:
1. Create a free account at http://www.playlist.com.

2. Build your playlist by searching for songs and artists. When you add a song by clicking on the + icon (circled in orange above), it will show up in your player on the right hand side of the page. A word of caution: listen to the songs and make sure they sound right before adding them to the list.

3. Once you have built your list, click on EMBED (located at the bottom right of your player-circled in red above)

4. Select option E: 'Get the code for any other social network, blog or personal website.'

5. You will be directed to a page that looks like this:

Here is where you will select your preferences. You’ll notice in the pic above, that I selected “No” for autostart. If you select “Yes” your readers will be able to hear your music automatically without pressing play. Personally, the autostart feature on these play lists drives me a little insane, especially when my children are napping and I forget to mute my speakers before diving into the blogging world.

6. Once you’ve made your selections, click on the big green Get Code button.

Now here’s where it gets a little bit tricky. If you are wanting to put your play list at the bottom of your blog, you can simply add it as an html/javascript gadget in your footer. But if you’re wanting to put it in your sidebar, you will need to tweak the code a little bit. I would suggest copying your player's code and pasting it into a blank Word or Notepad document.

To make your play list player fit your sidebar, you will first need to see how wide your sidebar is. To do this:

1. Copy the player code and paste it into a blank Word or Notepad document.

2. Log into your blog and go to edit html.

3. Scroll down to where you see 'sidebar wrapper'.

4. Look for the width measurement (circled in red above).

5. Go to the code and replace the default width measurement with the width of your sidebar.
For example: The width of my sidebar is 280px. I opened up the play list code and replaced the default width measurement (450 and 435) with 280 everywhere I saw it, which was in 6 different places. The above pic only shows four width measurements (underlined in orange), but if you scroll down within your own code, you'll see the other two.

6. Go to your layout page.

7. Click to add a gadget in your sidebar.

8. Click on html/javascript.

9. Copy and paste your newly modified code into the big box.

10. Save.

If it doesn't show up the way you want it to, then you probably missed changing a width measurement. They can be hard to find. It normally takes me a few tries before I get it the way I like it.

You may also want to make the player a little bit skinnier than the width of your sidebar. You can do this by lowering the width measurements to whatever you choose.

Have fun! And please select no for autostart. For me, pretty please? :)

***This tutorial is labeled as an intermediate one because even though you're not changing the HTML of your template, you are opening it up to get the width measurement. Caution should be taken not to change anything you do not want to change while you're in there. :)

***Susie over at 1st Floor Flat has a tutorial for adding a Mixpod player to your blog. Check it out!

Blogger Etiquette

It took me forever to figure out how to make my blog user friendly. It's something I'm still working on. For example, I've found that I can attract more readers by eliminating slow-loading widgets on my blog. I've also found that I can add things (links to other bloggers, for example) that make my blog a fun place to be.

A great blogging friend of mine named Jenners wrote an awesome post called Goldilocks and the Three Bloggers. I would love for you to check it out! It is chock full of light-hearted blogger etiquette advice. It is hands down the best post I've ever read dealing with this sensitive subject. As you read, you will probably see something that you can do differently to increase your readership. You may even cringe a little as you discover that some of the things that you have on your blog may be undesirable to others. I know I did. :)

Take from it what you will. Of course, there's no right or wrong thing to do when it comes to your OWN blog. Every blog is unique, which is what makes the blogging world such a great place to hang out. I wish I would have had access to the information in the following story when I started blogging, which is why I wanted to share it with you. Perhaps I would have done some things a little bit differently. :)

Related Posts:
Why You Should Show Your Email Address In Your Profile
Build A Friendly Following
Improve Your Blog's Loading Time

Before You Begin...

...I'd like introduce this blog and show you how to use it. :)

Being a blogger is a lot of fun. You get to meet new people, express yourself through your writing and share your cute little kiddos with the world. To me, though, it was kind of frustrating. I loved how everyone had their blogs set up with pretty designs. I loved the nifty little world maps. I wanted those! I just wasn't sure where to go or how to get them.

Through sheer trial and error, (and a lot of internet searches!) I was able to teach myself the tricks of the trade. Some things were easy to learn, some I still haven't gotten the hang of. The purpose of this blog is to help you maneuver around the blogging world a lot easier fashion than I did. Less time to figure things out equals more time to read the comments on your blog and enter fun giveaways!

I am simply a blogger who fell in love with HTML and all it had to offer. I use my self-taught skills to professionally design blogs for others. I do not have a degree in blog design (do they even make one?) nor am I wholly computer literate. I do not claim to know it all, but what I do know I like to share with others. When I learn a new blog tip, I cannot wait to water it down into normal language and pass it on to fellow bloggers. I love a challenge and am always on the lookout for ways to make our blogs better. :)

Most of my tips fall into three basic categories: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

If you are a brand new blogger who needs help with basic things, such as putting links in posts and maneuvering around the blogging world, then you will need to stick to the beginner tips. These can be found by clicking on 'Beginner' under the "Find Tips by Ability Level" title in my sidebar. Beginner tips can be done without risk of doing any damage to the template of your blog. When you are ready to move on, familiarize yourself with the parts of a blog and proceed with caution. I highly encourage you to create a practice blog to experiment on. Steer clear of advanced tips, which are labeled as such in the title of the post, until you've been blogging for awhile and have had success implementing intermediate tips.

Intermediate tips are for those who have been blogging for awhile and are familiar with the way Blogger works. Basic knowledge of HTML is recommended when implementing these tips. Beginners (and anyone else for that matter) who wish to try these tips should do so on a practice blog first. You should also download a copy of your current template before changing the HTML of your real blog. If you get stuck on one of the tutorials, try again. You will most likely not figure them out on your first try.

Advanced tips are for those who have played around successfully with the HTML of their template and feel comfortable doing so. They are complicated and require that the user know quite a bit about HTML before attempting them. These are NOT for beginners. You can really mess up your blog with advanced tips if you miss a step or if you go into them blindly. If and when you feel like you are ready to try an advanced tip, make sure you create a practice blog and download a copy of your template before you begin.

Make sure to follow these tips word-for-word, letter-by-letter. If you get stuck, (Ha!) when you get stuck, do not panic. Simply go back through the instructions very carefully and see what you might have missed. At the bottom of every advanced tip is a link to another site with a different set of instructions on how to do what you're trying to do. Read through them. Sometimes I find it easier to work with two sets of instructions rather than one. My advanced tips are time consuming and, for the most part, extremely frustrating the first time you try them.

This is a do-it-YOURSELF site. As much as I'd like to fix everyone's blogs, I simply cannot respond personally to every request for help. Every single one of my tips have been tried and successfully implemented by several different people. If you get stuck, I suggest starting completely over from scratch or using the search bar in my sidebar to search for help on another blog tip site. Take a break and come back to it. You can do this!

I highly suggest downloading a current copy of your blog's template before attempting to change your template in any way. Downloading the template will not save your header or items in your sidebar. You will have to back these up individually. I also recommend creating a practice blog or two (I have several) in which to test out your ideas and creations before putting them on your real blog.

There you have it. Go improve your blog!

Contact Me

Due to the overwhelming number of requests, I am no longer able to reply to emails asking for free blog help. Please refer to my help section for more information. 

If you have a simple blog related question, please ask it in the comment section below any of my tutorials so that many can benefit from the answer. Be sure to check the box beside ‘email follow-up comments to’ so that you’ll be notified when I have written a response. Thanks for your cooperation!

Need to contact me for any other reason? Click here to email me. If the link does not work for you, please click here for my email address. I look forward to hearing from you!