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we can blog itMany of us have blogs that we update regularly to keep family and friends updated, to act as a portfolio for a business or for the lucky few – to provide an income from advertising. I keep mine mostly for fun and to showcase my writing.

However, I’d say somewhere in the region of 90% of the Blogger blogs are underperforming or have simply been abandoned. The free blogging platform, while good, doesn’t have much in the way of taking your blog to the next level. In this article, I’m going to discuss a few Blogger tips and tricks you can use to spruce up your blog in a single afternoon.

I don’t want to start changing all the work I’ve done to my blogs and website in the past few weeks so for the purpose of this article I’ve created a test blog on Blogger seen here in the screenshot below; pretty bland right?

blogger tips and tricks


It’s painfully obvious to any visitor that your blog is just another lame project that barely gets worked on if you’re still using minimia black with hopes of getting high readership. You have to make it look attractive and inviting. Not like it was made in Soviet Russia.

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There are tonnes of Blogger templates available but I’d suggest this site. It has 120 really beautiful templates on offer that will rock your personal blog. Once you have found the theme you like, download it using the download link. There will be an .XML document in that file which you’ll upload later.

blogger tips and tricks

Go to your blogs editor at Blogger and select “˜Layout‘. Then, select “˜Edit HTML‘ from the tabs along the top. You see the window in the screenshot above. Click the button that says “˜Download‘. This will download a copy of your existing theme to back it up in case something goes wrong later.

Then, upload the .XML document that you downloaded earlier and click “˜Save‘.

Your new theme will then be displayed on your blog. There may be some missing gadgets which you can replace later. These would have had to be moved because of the new template design.

Getting Rid of the Blogger Toolbar

blogger tips and tricks

Across the top of all Blogger blogs there is that annoying toolbar (pictured above). Not only is it obviously there to get others to create their own blog but it also links to other blogs and is downright unattractive and unprofessional. By uploading a new theme, you’re getting rid of your blogger toolbar for good as the HTML which displays the blogger toolbar will be erased.

However, if you haven’t uploaded a new theme, a quick change to the HTML will get rid of it.

Paste the following under the blog credits in the HTML near the top as seen in the screenshot.

#navbar-iframe { display: none !important; }

google blogger tips

Adding Promotion Buttons

Adding promotion buttons to your site (such as “˜Tweet’, “˜Digg’ and “˜Stumble’ can really increase your traffic, not to mention make your blog look better. For this example we’ll focus on Twitter, but by adding the HTML code for any other buttons below them will work just fine if you want Stumble, Delicious, Digg etc.

Click the “˜Expand HTML’ box above the HTML editor and use “˜CTRL + F’ to find this line in your HTML:


When you have found it, paste this code below it:

<div style=’float:right; margin-right:10px;’><script type=’text/javascript’> tweetmeme_url = ‘<data:post.url/>’; </script> <script src=’’ type=’text/javascript’> </script> <script type=’text/javascript’> digg_url=&quot;<data:post.url/>&quot;; </script>

Click “˜Save Template’ and your button should appear on each post like mine here in the screenshot. You can add any valid promotion site’s HTML under this. Most are available on their website or can be found by running a Google search.

google blogger tips

You can see that with a new theme and promotion buttons our blog is starting to look much better with less than twenty minutes work.

Affiliate Widget

Now that your blog is look in sharp and is being promoted, it’s time to gain a little revenue and make it look even more professional. Affiliate sites are a much better way to earn money than AdSense for most blogs and they look way better than the bland Google ads.

Go to the Amazon Affiliate Site and sign up for the service. They’ll have to check out your blog first, but once they’ve done that you can start adding widgets like the one in the screenshot below that will earn you money.

google blogger tips

On the affiliate homepage you can see the option to add a widget or a banner as pictured in the screenshot below. Select what type you would like and customize it by selecting products from Amazon. While you get a percentage (around 5-6%) of the sale from your widget, don’t be tempted to put expensive items on your widget. People don’t just see a laptop for sale and decide to buy it.

Think in the context of your blog and the people who will find it. If it’s a blog about tennis, look for tennis accessories or DVDs; something cheap that they don’t have and can’t just walk to a shop and get. Odd gadgets or helpful books also bring in high revenue.

blogger tweaks

Once you have finished customizing your widget, copy the HTML given in the screenshot above (yours will be different – you can also see red rectangles where I blocked out my personal affiliate code).

blogger tweaks

Then, go to the “˜Layout‘ section in Blogger and select where you want to add the widget. The top of posts and the sidebar are good areas. Select “˜Add a Gadget‘ in the appropriate slot and paste the HTML into the HTML gadget as shown. Your widget will now appear.

So in just an afternoon you can transform your mediocre blog into a great looking site that will have subscriber counts soaring. I’m a firm believer of “˜the proof is in the pudding’ so to have a look at the final MUO test blog I used for this article – click here.

What tactics and tips do you use to make your blog look better?   For some more ideas, check out Mark’s articles on 6 essential websites to get your blog noticed 6 Essential Websites to Help you Get your Blog Noticed 6 Essential Websites to Help you Get your Blog Noticed Read More .  Aibek also discusses 12 no-crap tools to make your blog better 12 No-Crap Tools to Make Your Blog Better 12 No-Crap Tools to Make Your Blog Better Read More .

  1. Marius
    December 16, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Very helpful tips. Thank you very much

  2. Dana
    December 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for helping me get rid of the navbar, I've been looking to do that!

  3. Temitope
    November 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    They say first impression lasts longer. It is sure that what people see on your blog the first day they visit will determine if they will ever come back.

  4. Mohammad
    November 15, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you so much for this blog. It helped me :)

  5. JohnG
    November 13, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I can't get the Amazon Affiliate Gadget to work in Firefox. You can't see it at all, except for the Gadget title. If I add and then view it in IE 8, it looks great,except some of the other sidebar items are messed up.

  6. Blogidy
    October 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Great post. I have not heard that you can remove the navbar, I'm gonna remove it right a way from one of my blogs.

    October 30, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Thanks it's nice idea for next better

  8. Grey Hornet
    October 25, 2009 at 12:20 am

    It seems that after the site went down for maintenance, this trick doesn't work anymore? It was gone when I did it yesterday but today the navbar is back. Any idea why?

  9. Software
    October 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Another great post.
    Thank you for the information, Its good to see such quality posts.
    Im subscribing to your blog.
    Keep them comming.

  10. Robson Diogo
    October 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    me some tips to improve my blog. thank you very much

  11. Ryo
    October 20, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Isn't it forbidden by the given rules of to delete the navbar?

  12. raj
    October 16, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Very helpful.

  13. vasiauvi
    October 16, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    @Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware- if I eliminate the blogger toolbar how can I log in?The authentication area is disappearing,no?

    • Dean Sherwin
      October 17, 2009 at 5:34 am

      Simply go to and log in there ;)

      • vasiauvi
        October 18, 2009 at 4:02 am

        This is clear but for me for example is much simple to log in directly from my blog. But you have right, it's looking a little bit ugly with the pannel.
        P.S. it's a great site MakeUseOF

  14. Ishan@ILoveFreeSoftware
    October 16, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Nice and simple explanation. "Getting Rid of the Blogger Toolbar" is something that every blogger definitely needs to do. It is surprising to see how many Blogger blogs are out there that still have this blogger toolbar at top.

  15. Charax
    October 16, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    or you could do what I did for a friend, and just move the blog wholesale to WordPress on a high-traffic free host. Theming is easier (not that theming on blogger is hard), no top bar and you can do whatever the hell you like, affiliate-wise

  16. Carlton Northern
    October 16, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Really nice article. These are all things that I've wanted to do but never did because I knew the research involved in doing them would take much longer than one afternoon.

    • Dean Sherwin
      October 17, 2009 at 5:35 am

      Glad you liked it ;)

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