Saturday, May 24, 2008

Podcasting with Blogger Part One

I really wanted to include a section on the Enclosure link feature of Blogger in the Blogger:Beyond the Basics book, but ran out of space. Now I can take the time to give you all some extra info on how to use Blogger to promote and share your podcasts.
Setting Up Podcast Hosting
You still need to have somewhere to host your podcast. There are a lot of places to do this, and with regular web hosting packages running as low at $5 a month, you may want to consider just uploading the podcasts to a file folder. The big issues for podcasting are going to be:

  • Bandwidth - As your podcasts become more popular, regular downloads from a growing audience can eat up the amount of file transfer bandwidth you have. Monitor bandwidth usage closely.
  • Storage space - Podcasts are a minimum of 5mb on average, taking up as much as 20mb for a long podcast. Do some math based on how often you will podcast, and how long you expect each episode to run
  • Finding a good place to host a podcast - and preparing to move if your audience outgrows the location. There are many choices out there.
  • Gathering the right equipment and resources - If you're new to podcasting, check out for lots of tips
  • Distributing your podcast - Podcastpickle (, Podiobooks (, and of course iTunes are popular places to share your podcast with others. These distribution sites can also help grow your audience, since they are popular destinations.
  • Providing production notes and info on the individual podcasts and getting feedback - This is where Blogger comes in. You can use Blogger to link to your podcast files (one post for each episode) then include production notes about the episode, such as an overview of what the episode was about, who was involved, that sort of thing. It is also another way to promote the episode, since it will be crawled by search engines.
Blogging your podcast
Now that we have all the prep work done, lets use Blogger to share our podcast.
  1. To create a blog post for an individual podcast episode using Blogger, first login to Blogger and click the "Create" menu option under the Posting tab.
  2. Type the title of your post, then enter the link to your episode by clicking "Add enclosure link" under the Link field.
  3. You will need to type the URL (path) of your podcast episode. Then enter the type of file it is in the Mime Type field. You can add additional episodes to a single post by clicking the "Add enclosure link" text link.
  4. Type your production notes in the Compose content box, just like you would normally do for a standard blog post.
  5. Add some labels to your post to make it easier to find
  6. Set the posting options for your post. Click the Post Options text link located below the content box. You can set Reader Comments to allow/don't allow, manage Backlinks settings for the individual post, and the time for your episode, if you want it to appear at a certain time.
  7. Publish your post and let the fun begin.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Using OpenID to promote your blog

Did you notice the OpenID menu option on the settings tab of Blogger's admin panel? OpenID isn't just a great way to make it easier for visitors to post comments to your blog, it is also a way to seamlessly promote your blog on sites like Technorati. You can see in the screenshot below where I'm using this blog as my OpenID URL. The box below the url lists all sites which can see my OpenID URL. There could be social networking, bookmarking sites, or other blogs on this list. Notice I still need check up on a couple of the social networking sites I belong to, and make sure I'm taking advantage of OpenID with them.

Why OpenID with Blogger really? If you want to make it easy for people to find you and your blog in the blogosphere, taking advantage of OpenID will save you time and keep your identity consistent across multiple sites.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Presenting: Multimedia presentations for Blogger

Recently the folks at Blogger announced the ability to put mini-presentations into your blog. Don't yawn! You can put up presentations that have multimedia elements embedded in them, such as YouTube videos or scary glittery animations. It's easy - you can do it in less than 5 steps.

Let's give this a try. Now, if you've never gone to the trouble of Publishing a presentation with Google Docs before, it can be a little confusing, so I'll take you through it step by step.

1. Log in to Google Documents and create a presentation (New -> Presentation) then, after you have created your presentation it will appear in your documents list as shown in the screenshot below.

2. Select the Publish option from the drop down. If you're using a tabbed browser, the Publish screen will open in a new tab. Click the Publish button.

3. You will now have the option to share your presentation in a mini format. Choose your favorite size from the drop down, then select the code. Here is the sample code for my presentation:

4. Now you are ready to take the code and place in in your blog as part of a blog post, or into an HTML/JavaScript page element. Paste the code into the post or content section of the page element and save. Voila! All done in less than 5 steps.

Your presentation should display something like this one I whipped up this morning before I had enough coffee:

What does this really mean for users of Blogger? Now you can easily add demos or tutorials to your blog, or even little illustrated stories. Instead of having to upload a static image or figure out how to post a YouTube video, bloggers can quickly whip up a presentation in Google Docs or import an existing document, convert it, then upload it.

Will this be abused by spammers and your evil twin? Yes. Is it a new way to share with clients, friends, and archenemies? Oh, yes.