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Blogger as website
January 23, 2014
9:38 pm
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George Harper
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My RV club has a WordPress website, and I volunteered to take it over. However, it is way harder to learn than Blogger which I already know how to use. I see that with Blogger “pages” I might be able to build a website for my club. We post our member’s contact info and pics on the site, and WordPress lets us password protect this member information. Could I somehow protect this information if put on Blogger?

 

Thanks

George

January 24, 2014
2:35 pm
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MrsGeek
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George,

This website (geeksontour.tv) is done with Wordpress.  It is MUCH more capable than Blogger and, yes, that means MUCH more difficult.  For most clubs, I think a Blogger blog works great – ease of use is such a HUGE benefit.  Anyone can learn to use it, so club websites don’t languish when the one webmaster is busy or even leaves the club.  Here are a couple of examples of RV related clubs using Blogger:

http://escapeeschapter10.blogspot.com/, http://www.frustratedmaestros……ogspot.com

http://www.palmcreek.blogspot.com … on this one, I set up one ‘umbrella’ site, then the list of links are all individual blogs for each of the different clubs at this large RV resort.  I helped a few people learn how to use it and they’ve been off and running ever since 2007.

As for making some information private, this is one of those things that Wordpress has built in and Blogger does not – but, where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I recommend making a second blog and making it private to members only.  Then link that blog to the main one (kind of like the palmcreek example above)  

How many members are in your club?  <100 – I think you can work with Blogger.  Another option is a great club management site called http://www.groupspaces.com It has everything you need for a public website, private members’ area, calendaring and group emailing, and forum.  It does have a fee, but for <500 members its just $15/mo.

January 24, 2014
9:06 pm
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George Harper
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I am so appreciative of such a thoughtful and complete answer. I am looking forward to researching your answers. Since I already have a blog (which I learned from one of your seminars several years ago) I know how to use Blogger and am really excited with the prospect that I may be able to do the club website with it.

Thank you.

George Harper

January 29, 2014
4:39 pm
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MrsGeek
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Please post the link if you do create a club website with Blogger, OK?

Oh, and I forgot to mention … much of the content of the Wordpress site will be transferable to a blogger blog as well.  You have to jump thru a few hoops, but it may be worth it if keeping the old stuff is important.

January 30, 2014
9:32 am
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George Harper
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Will do.

 

I am impressed with how Group Spaces has anticipated the needs of clubs such as member database, forms, ability to pay dues online, newsletter, and website. I set up a free account just to see what I thought of it, but I was very disappointed with how the website I created looked. I uploaded a home page pic, but it was postage stamp size. In Blogger the same action would have resulted in a big pic across the top of the page.

 

So, I then started building a Blogger site with header pic and added a page. Looks much better. But now I’m wondering what I should do about Blogger accounts. I used one of my Google accounts to set up the site. I should have created a Google account for the club. Do you think I can change the site account, or will I have to rebuild the site with a different account?

I’m going to need to add a secure page for member information and will link that page to another Blogger account that is private as you have suggested. Will that mean that members will have to have a Google account to access the site, or will they only need the login?

 

Thanks

George Harper

January 31, 2014
7:07 pm
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MrsGeek
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If you think groupspaces might fit your needs, I wouldn’t write it off so quick because of your website header image experience.  For example, here is the groupspaces-created website I helped set up for a club of mine … http://wecftl.com/.  I think it looks great.  And, it is incredible the sophisticated things that can be done with no knowledge.  Especially for the private information.

To give people access to a private blogger blog, yes, they will need to have a google account.  You need to invite them using the email address associated with their google account.  This can be problematic.  It’s fine for small groups only.

January 31, 2014
8:43 pm
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George Harper
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Yes, your WEC Groupspaces site does look good. Looks like you worked around the lack of big photo header by putting a big pic of the board just below the header. I see you have a custom domain name. Is Groupspaces hosting it?

Regarding using Blogger, I’m having trouble understanding what you mean by “inviting” members with their Google account e-mail address. Could you say a little more about that? Invite members to do what? I have envisioned that our Blogger club site would have a page with a link taking people to a private Blogger site. To view the information on the site the member would have to know the blog login, which we could e-mail to the member list. I am missing something.

Thanks

George Harper

January 31, 2014
11:10 pm
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MrsGeek
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ahh – the devil is in the details!  What you’re missing is exactly how a blogger blog is made private.  You can’t just assign a password and tell everyone the password.  What you do is enter the emails of the people who are allowed to view the blog.  The only way blogger will recognize that someone belongs to one of those emails is if they are logged in to their google account, and that email is attached to their google account.

Here are the official blogger instructions: https://support.google.com/blo…..2673?hl=en

February 6, 2014
9:54 am
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George Harper
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Sorry for the delay. Been moving out of the Keys and are at TY park in Hollywood for two nights.

OK, I see how to set up a private blog to link to for member info. Another issue I’m wondering about is the fact that to start a Blogger blog you have to have a Google user ID and e-mail address. If I give up the position as webmaster and had the job to another member, I would not want them to use my Google account. How could I handle that? Would the new webmaster have to rebuild the blog from scratch in order to use his or her Google account to administer the blog/website?

Thanks

George Harper

February 6, 2014
1:43 pm
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MrsGeek
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That part is simple.  Just add the new webmaster as an author and give him/her Admin rights.

February 24, 2014
9:55 am
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George Harper
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I am plugging along on my club’s website. Right now I’m seeing what I can do with Blogger. The site is, southeastcountrycoachers.blogspot.com

You will see I have set up several pages at the bottom of the header pic. My problem is that the first one, “About Us” seems to be different from the others in that I can’t enter text into it. When editing “about us” only “edit and view” are shown. Edit only allows changing the name of the page, not entering text. If I edit the other pages, they show “edit, view, revert to draft, and delete. Even not signed in you can see the difference in the pages by clicking on them. If I edit the other pages they open to a text entry page.

I want to enter text in the “about us” page, but unlike the other pages, there is no text entry page. Why is the first page, “About Us” different from the other pages, and why can’t I edit it by entering text?

Thanks

George Harper

February 24, 2014
10:54 am
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MrsGeek
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I do see all of your pages. You have 6 “Pages” (Join.., Rallies, e-news.., Reports, Contact, & Tech Info)  The last one “Member Directory” is a link to another blog.  The first one, About Us, is actually your blog.  Although Blogger provides for making static pages, it is still a blog at heart and the first page, the Home page, is reserved for showing your most recent blog posts.  So, the way to have something show up on that first page – normally called “Home” but you got it renamed to About Us – is to create Posts.  This will always be the page that is selected when you just type in the site address: southeastcountrycoachers.blogspot.com.  From there, you can click on Rallies, Reports, etc. and see the other pages, but it is the recent blog posts that show when you first go to the site.

If you look at the URL of each “Page”, you will see /p/ before it … /p/rallys.html etc.

Hope that helps.  

If you REALLY want one of the static pages to be the Home page … here is an article I found on how to make a static page as your home page with Blogger.

February 24, 2014
9:14 pm
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George Harper
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Very helpful. Thank you. I understand now about the home page being for posts, and I have renamed it “Home Page.” I then added back a static page “About Us.” I now have eight static pages, but when I did that the last one “Member Directory” disappeared. I guess there is only so much room to display the pages horizontally as I chose. However, I wonder where that page went? I read you can have as many as 20 pages in blogger.

February 26, 2014
9:02 am
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MrsGeek
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I’m not sure why your last menu dropped off.  When I add more pages than will fit in the one row menu, it creates a second row and adds the new page below.  I can’t find any settings to tell it not to do that – maybe it’s the template you’re using.  Or, maybe somehow you unchecked the ‘Show this page” option.  To see that, click on the tools icon to the right of the menu.

Or, just change the name of Member Directory to “Members”  That will probably fit.

February 27, 2014
8:57 pm
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George Harper
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Your message let me know that the page should be there, so I had an idea and it was right. If you open “layout,” at the top of the page on the right there is a message, “To change columns and widths, use the Template Designer.” When you open Template Designer, there will be a block above your blog. Choose “adjust widths” there. It allows you to adjust your theme pic so there is no side bar filler with birds and the whole space is taken up by the pic. I widened my pic and when I did the last page “Member Directory” popped back in. The only problem is that my width selection seems to change itself from time to time.

Now I can get back to work filling out the pages enough to see if I am going to be satisfied with blogger as my club’s webpage.

Thanks for the help.

 

 

February 28, 2014
12:31 pm
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MrsGeek
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Good job!

Yes, the width setting should allow the menu item to fit on one line, but – if it doesn’t fit on one line it should open up a second line.  I don’t know why it didn’t for you.  But, better to be on one line anyway :-)

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