Book Review: Blogger – Beyond the Basics

Blogging is easy – blogging right is difficult! A little help is always useful if you are planning to blog right.. The book “Blogger – Beyond the Basics” by Lee Jordan proved to be my bridge from blogging to blogging brilliantly..

The book is for users who have just entered the blogging field and would like to create a name for themselves in the blogosphere. The book quickly ramps you up from beginner to an advanced level user with ability to derive maximum out of your blog.

Blogger This book is for those who want to use Google’s Blogging platform – Blogger. However, many tips in the book go beyond blogger and are generally useful for anyone. This is the first book that i have found in the market that covers blogging. Frankly I have also thought about writing a book on blogging but never went beyond the initial TOC.

The key to blogging (as you may have heard) is content. Without appealing content, a blog will not get readers. This book is about getting the platform right so that your content can create maximum impact. At one place in Chapter 9 the author does provide interesting suggestions on how to discover content that you could be writing based on the keywords.

The book starts by introducing a fictional business that wants to ensure its social presence in Chapter I. The next chapter logically dives into creation and customization of the site look. It is here that they cover conversion to a 3 column layout (my absolute favourite!).. The interesting part of the book is inclusion of 3rd party tools and sites apart from blogger platform itself making it relevant to the person rather than the tool.. chapter 3 is all about social bookmarking including introduction to quintessential feedburner.com.. The theory on blogging isn’t left out as it makes its appearance in Chapter 4 and covers blogrolls, backlinks and suggestions on how to get ur blog interesting.. The blogger platform let’s you extend the functionality e.g. polling, slideshow, 3rd party badges on the site using widgets.. if ur interested, they even introduce you to setting up ecommerce on blogger.. for the tinkerers, you can get ur fill by learning to create custom widgets! yes, it is not that difficult (but u don’t know that if you haven’t read this book :)).. Web 2.0 is driven by RSS and the guts are opened up for you in Chapter 6. by now, you are expected to know everything that is there to know technically about this platform..

so how about making some money like a pro? Chapter 7 gets u started with google adsense & leaves u with more options of making money $$.. Chapter 8 covers j0439350 analytics and measuring site performance with google analytics.. and if u thought adding the javascript was all there was to this chapter, you will be surprised by the comprehensive coverage of analytics here. Oh and they don’t leave you just yet.. the final pillar is the SEO and that is taken care of in Chapter 9.. some great tools and techniques are presented here and this is generic to all bloggers on any platform.. and if you are only running a blog, you are done with here. for all corporate honchos with their static corporate websites, the final chapter 10 covers integrating blog with their corporate website..

Since i have been a blogger user for long, this book proved extremely useful for me. The book is complete with required screenshots and contains code where required. The screenshots are useful and the code provided immediately relevant.

The language of the book is a tard dry but I am ok with it (after having read numerous technical manuals).

While the book covers a lot of ground I would have loved some case studies on popular blogs that would have customised blogger. Information on how regular users have found blogger useful for them would also have been a welcome addition.

One can only gauge the relevance of the book based on the impact it has had on one’s blog. For me I have implemented the following after reading the book:

  1. Converted my layout to 3 column and expanded my template to 1024 pixels
  2. Put up a comments feed (i had been looking for this for sometime now)
  3. Added a sitemap for the blog
  4. Verified the blog with google and live search webmaster tools
  5. Changed the blog XML Validation from Strict to Transitional
  6. Changed the Facebook profile from vertical to horizontal

I am sure that there is something for you in the book that is waiting to be discovered. really, this is worth a read if you are in the blogging world and are using the blogger platform!

and if you are in the Delhi/ NCR region, do remember to setup urself with fellow bloggers in Delhi at www.delhibloggers.in.. u can work out the finer details with other folks from the group…

MY RATING: 5 on 5

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Comments

Lee said…
Thanks for posting a review of the book on Amazon! It's always great to see what people have to say. This book was a lot of fun to work on and I hope many people find it useful.
valrossie said…
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