Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blogging 101 (Part Five)

I can't believe we're at #5 and I still haven't run out of stuff to teach you! Who knew an artist could learn this much about blogging?? This time I'm going to teach you how to make tabs under your header using Pages. We'll go step by step and make it feel simple. This tutorial was requested by a reader and I'm happy to oblige.

Ok, first, Blogger has a place for you to put information that you don't want to be in your regular dated blog posts. Blogger calls them "Pages". They're static, stand on their own places where you can put information that your readers may want to access without scrolling through your blog. For instance, I have six static pages...
  1. Blog Hops
  2. Artist's Play Room
  3. Networks & Rings
  4. What I'm Reading
  5. Mr. Linky Help
  6. Cool Tools
As you can see, the Pages are informational and probably something my readers may want to go back to again and again. 

Pages can go two places, either in your sidebar like mine are or on the top of your blog as tabs under your header. Now, I'll readily admit that I wish my Pages were under my header as tabs instead of in my sidebar. There's one problem with my doing that though, let me show you...

(This is my header now, Pages in my sidebar...)
(This is the horribleness when my Pages
are added as header tabs!!)

I actually don't get pretty tabs, I get this strange "pulling up" of the translucent overlay to include the ugly link-tabs that don't look like tabs! Each is a link but it looks HORRIBLE. I just hope for anyone that wants to use Pages as tabs that you don't have a template like mine. If there's anyone out there in Blogland who knows the tweak to "fix" this I'd be forever in your debt. In all probability it's a quick fix, that is, IF I had any idea how to do that. 

(This is what I wish my tabs would look like!)
I'm unsure what would happen if I changed the original basic template I used from Blogger when I added my custom template over it. I could change the simple original to one with tabs but would I be able to get my complete blog "Look" back. I love the way my blog looks and ONLY want to change the tabs. **Sigh**. I hate bumping my nose up against something I can't just research my way out of. I mean, that's how I learned all this stuff about blog tweaking, I read it on the internet when I wanted to do something and didn't know how. Anyway, pity party over, on to teaching you how to add your own pretty tabs to your blog!

First, we want to decide what we want to put into tabs so it's always available and readily accessable to our readers. What would readers access multiple times? How about your "Rules & Regs" or "About Me" or "My Favorite Supplies" or "Art Challenges". Think about what you want to share again and again or stuff you want readily available for your readers. Also, is there questions you get a lot? Do your readers ask about the supplies you use to make your art? I know Dion Dior gets that question regularly. She uses Twinkling H20's and Silks (see both in my sidebar) and her art is spectacular. Do you host a continuing series like my Artist's Play Room and you'd like to have a place to send readers who have questions about that? You can even just do a "My Art" page or a "Buy My Art" page, even better, lol.

(Click to see a larger view)
When you decide what you want in your tabs you need to create the static Pages that the tabs link to. To do that we go to your dashboard or what I call the "Back Room" of my blog. (If you have more than one blog, click and go through to the posts list of the blog you want to add your tabs to.) What you'll see is something like the above when you click through to your blog's Back Room.

Now, on the left hand side you'll see the "Pages" link, click that. That'll bring us to the "Pages" section of the Back Room for your blog. Here you'll be able to create your pages for your tabs to link to, you'll be able to tell Blogger where you want your tabs to be displayed (in your sidebar or under your header) and you'll be able to rearrange their order, like if you want "About Me" before "Favorite Art Supplies". When you want to see your pages, edit them, make them hidden or even delete them always come here.

When you click through to the "Pages" section you'll see  what's on the left. Now we want to add our pages. So, click New Page and select "Blank Page". Now you have a blank post-like page where you can put your information. You have all the functions that you use to write a blog post but this will be your first static Page

I like my Tabs to have capitalized titles so that means that the title I put in the Page I'm building would have to be CAPITALIZED. Also, remember that a short title is going to look much better than a long ungainly one, try to think of the absolute shortest way to say what this tab page is about. Like instead of My Favorite Supplies, instead use Supply List or  Art Supplies or just Supplies. It's ok to use slightly larger titles if you're only planning to have a few tabs under the header but if you're like me, you have quite a few tab pages. I personally think it looks ugly to have two rows of tabs, they're never the same length so I think it looks sloppy. (if you fill one line of tabs as wide as your blog and still have tabs left then a new line is created under the first.)

Ok, onward. Put the info you want to impart to your readers into your Page. When you're done click "Publish". Now when you go to your Pages section from your dashboard you'll see that you have "Home" and "ART SUPPLIES" (assuming the Page you created was ART SUPPLIES, lol). If you're capitalizing all your Tabs then go in and click "edit" under "Home" and make it "HOME" instead, now they match, lol. Keep adding pages until you've made all the tabs you're going to want.

Now you'll probably have a list of Pages just like me. I guess we better tell Blogger what you want to do with all our tabbed Pages. See the area on the right where it says "Show pages as"? Ya, in the pink circle, lol, click there and you can choose to either make your tabbed pages appear in your sidebar like they do on my blog or you can tell Blogger to put them just below your header as tabs or you can even make them hidden. The reason you'd make your pages hidden is if you want to make direct links to them manually. For instance, I have three Pages hidden because I've manually linked them other places. At the top of my sidebar I have links to BIO, ART, & BUY and I have Pages that I've linked to those icons.

Here's how you'd make and use hidden pages. Once you've made your Pages and told Blogger where you want them displayed, go to your blog by clicking "View Blog" up at the top of your "Pages" page. You should now see your tabbed pages either in your sidebar or under your header, depending on how you told Blogger to display them. Now, click the tools icon to the bottom right of the tabs or sidebar gadget with your pages in them. This will open the gadget that holds your tabbed/linked pages. You'll see all your pages and you can now choose which Pages you want to display and which you want to be "hidden". Just check or uncheck the list on the left to hide or show that tab. Remember to scroll down and click save to save your changes!

(This is the gadget that opens when you click the tools icon in the lower right corner)
Now that you have the Pages you want hidden, we have to manually link them to what you want to link them to. To do that we have to get the URL for each Page. Go back to your Back Room and go to the Pages section again. You'll notice that each Page gives you options to "edit", "revert to draft" or "delete" that page. You can also just click on the title of a Page and that's what we want to do. Now that you're on your specific hidden page, we want to go to your address bar where you see the URL (starts with http://...). We want to copy that address then link it to whatever you want to link it to. Please go here to learn how to create links to pictures etc.

I don't think I've ever told you how to create a simple text link though, so here it is. It's just like making a picture link but you don't need the picture code!! So first you tell Blogger that this is where you want the link to go when you click it (the green part is where you'd put your Pages URL), then you tell Blogger what text to show as the link. It looks like this...

And this is what the above will look like...

My Biography

One thing you can do with Pages is reuse a blog post and make it a static page. For instance, I did this last week with "COOL TOOLS". I published the Cool Tools blog post then I added it to my Pages links in my sidebar because I knew readers would want to refer back again and again to these tools and I also wanted to be able to add to it as new tools came along. It's easy to do this. What you do is go to your blog post in draft and click the HTML tab at the top left. Now highlight ALL the code and copy it.(NOTE: to copy code in HTML mode you cannot use the right click "copy" function of your mouse, you must use the Edit tab in your browser's header to copy the code. Don't ask me why, it just doesn't like you to use right click functionality to deal with code, weird I know.)

When you have all the code of your blog post copied then go and open a "Pages" page. Go into the HTML section and paste the code in (once again NOT using right click paste). Add a title (Remember, make it short!) and save it. Now you can move your new Page up or down the list by dragging it.

Oh, and by the way, one last thing I wanted to mention. If you have your tabbed pages in your sidebar like I do, you can always go under "Layout" when you're in your Dashboard and move the Pages gadget to wherever you want it to be in your sidebar. :o)

Well, that's it my bloggy friends! Next time we'll be handling Social Media buttons and subscriptions etc. Won't that be fun?? Okie dokie pokie, I'm outta here, gonna go do something fun like watch Coronation Street. I'm a new addict. Damn British shows! Hehehe.


If you're looking for the latest APR just click the button in the sidebar. It will always bring up the latest Artist's Play Room for you to play in!

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  1. Wow, I actually think I can do this at some point! Thank you for your mighty effort in explaining all of this.

  2. I have actually been doing up pages this week... kind of wish I had read this first... might have made for less swearing and cussing... you make it sound so applicable and maybe now I will finally get my pages up and running
    and start getting my blog looking the way I want it.... you are a legend my dear!!!!

  3. ok, i have a headache now. probably because it's late at night and i'm having to think - haha! actually, i've been wondering how to do this - so your post is timely and much appreciated. i hope to set aside one whole day just to work on my blog. thank you so much, jenn, for putting this all together :)

  4. Thanks SOOOOOOOO Much Jenn! You're brilliant :) MY blog is an WIP as we speak xX Fi


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