Knowledge is good only if it is shared. As a new blogger, I had learned to change the Web template, and found out the tips, tricks, hacks, and tweaks of altering the Blogger template, customizing CSS, widgets, layout, blog design, inserting JavaScripts, HTML codes, Google AdSense, and other settings the hard way, through many trials and errors. For the purposes of this guide, I had started with the old Blogger “Minima” template. As I made the changes or learned something new, I had documented them. Before changing any template, please remember to save a copy of the current template. After editing the template, preview it, and save it when you are satisfied with the change. Hope this guide will help those who are finding the way around, just like me.

Search Tips for New Bloggers

We have extended our month-long vacation by a couple of days. We shall be posting articles the moment we return. We noticed that Google had updated the Page Ranks. New bloggers who have been waiting anxiously for this can check their blogs' Page Ranks. We have the PR checker link in our SEO Tools - Search Engine Optimization article.

The blog we created recently in Aug 2007, Blogger FAQ and Help, has also got its first Page Rank, a PR4. All our blogs are now ranked:-

Tips for New Bloggers - PR6
Business Fables and Management Lessons - PR4
Famous Motivational and Inspirational Quotes - PR4
Blogger FAQ and Help - PR4

Thanks to everyone for the support!

Apr 19, 2007

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Chat Box, Shout Box and Google Talk

The chat box you see on the left sidebar is one of the many FREE interactive tools you can get for your blogs. Call them what you like – tagboard, message board, chat box, chatter box, message box, shout box – they have one thing in common i.e., promoting interaction by allowing your visitors to leave messages or chat with one another. While it is true that your visitors can leave comments on the individual posts, there may be occasions when they have something to say that does not relate to the posts. A chat box will come in handy.

There are quite a number of service providers but we shall comment on the few that we think you can consider trying out. You can search the web for more. The key factors that we looked out for are simple configuration, nice colors and design, guard against comment spam, and ease of use. You may see advertisements in the free plans, but they are usually not that obtrusive and you can probably live with that. These providers may offer paid services as well, with extra features or bigger storage space for your messages. Our advice is to start off with their free service and monitor the usage of your chat box before upgrading your basic plan.

Cbox

Chat Box, Shout Box and Google Talk

We used their chat box for this site primarily because they have the essential features we wanted and the design looks sleek. Sign up with them, and begin configuring your chat box. Under the “Cbox Options” tab, configure the Display, Date and Post Options. Note that under “Post Options”, there is an “Anti-spam” feature. Tick that. Click “Colors & Fonts” and select the colors that will blend well with your blog. Use the “Color Picker” option at the top right corner if you are not familiar with the HTML color code. When you are done, click the “Quick Setup” tab to get your HTML code.

Login to your Blogger Dashboard, go to Template-> Page Elements. Where your sidebar is, click “Add a Page Element” and select “HTML/JavaScript”. Copy the above HTML code, paste it, and save the widget.

If you should receive any spam post, go to “Messages”, ban the user and delete the message. Under “Blocked Users” you can change the duration of the ban.

Shoutmix

Chat Box, Shout Box, and Google Talk

Chat Box, Shout Box and Google Talk

Here, your chat box is called a shoutbox. Once you have entered your bare particulars, choose one of their standard shoutbox styles, and your account is created. Go to the “Style” category. Shoutmix is interesting in that you can tweak the “Labels” in addition to the “Appearance”. Configure the settings under “General”. When you are ready, click the “Use Shoutbox” tab. You can now alter the width and height of your shoutbox and “Generate” the HTML code.

If you have a family-oriented blog, you may turn on the “Profanity Filter” by specifying a list of words that will not be shown in the shoutbox. You can also ban specific users or sites through their “Ban Control” option.

Oggix

Chat Box, Shout Box and Google Talk

A number of blogs have this shoutbox. Other than unlimited messages, you can find a wide range of custom tools and features. For a period of time, their code could not work on the new Blogger platform. That should have been fixed by now. Feel free to use their demo shoutbox and enter test messages before registering with them.

Tag-World

Chat Box, Shout Box and Google Talk

Some features like profanity filter are not available on their free plans. Otherwise, they have the usual customizable layouts, IP blocking, and anti-spam controls that you can find in the earlier sites. A simple tagboard that you can use for your blog.

Google Talk

Chat Box, Shout Box and Google Talk

If the visitors to your blog are family members and friends, get them to register free accounts with Google. You may then add a Google Talk gadget to your blog. Click “Add to your webpage” to configure the size of your widget and generate the HTML code. Your visitors can now chat away on your blog.

Plugoo

Chat Box, Shout Box, and Google Talk

There is this rather different and interesting service which you can check out. Imagine that you are in office, or do not want to be glued to your blog all the time. Should your blog visitor post a message on your chat box, you may not know about it until you have a chance to look at your blog. Plugoo has therefore created a new communication method enabling you to chat with your visitor through your Instant Messenger.

Even in office, most of us use Instant Messenger service to communicate with one another. As long as you have an account (GoogleTalk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, Jabber or ICQ), it can be linked to Plugoo. When visitors to your blog post messages on your Plugoo chat box, you will see the messages in real-time and are able to reply instantly. Your visitors do not need an Instant Messenger to chat with you, and will not know your Instant Messaging account address. The limitation however is that you can only chat with one person at a time.

For more ideas on what to put into your sidebar, check out Blog Widgets, Gadgets and Add-ons (I) and (II).

© Tips for New Bloggers

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33 comments:

Bipolar Writer said...

Jen,
Again, thanks so much. It's really helpful. It's usually so difficult for me to try new features because I'm such a novice at all this, and everything takes so long for me to figure out. But you've made it really easy!

Susan

Salim said...

this blog is very good and informative and want to be in touch with the people

Basketer said...

I dont get the funda of a Gtalk gadget

Suppose I apply it to my blog..then everybody uses there own ids to sign into gtalk..but how will readers talk to each other?? they wont have added each other in there lists...isnt there a way of forming some chat room on gtalk which my readers can join

bizwhiz said...

Hi Basketer

As to how the gtalk gadget works, perhaps their official video can be informative:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPTP3rXKHvc

Jackie said...

Thanks for all your useful info.

mrsnesbitt said...

Oh fantastic! This looks as though it will be a great blog, full of resources.

How do I get rid of the annoying tool icons on the side bar please?

Hope you can help.
D

bizwhiz said...

My pleasure, jackie.

mrsnesbitt, I saw your several blogs but am not sure what is the "tool icon" you are referring to. Don't suppose you are talking about the quick edit icons when you are logged in?

Princess Haiku said...

I am interested in a shout box; but one that will work with an arty site like mine. I will come back at an earlier hour and read through your suggestions. I kind of like the minimalist look. You have so much information for people here that is freely given. -Really wonderful of you.

Jeejiz said...

Thanks alot, but i really want to know, if the tag-world can be used with xanga..because i tried putting the code in but it doesn't work at all. Thankyou

Frank said...

Thank you heaps for all this help!

I just started my own blog this week and it's like another language. Still somewhat confused by it all but I'll get there :P

bizwhiz said...

Hi Jeejiz

The tag-world website is silent on this. Perhaps you may want to drop them a message either at the message board on their site or their email address. We did not create any blog in Xanga. All the tips here are tested and applied in Blogspot or Blogger blogs.

Praveen Ratna Deepak said...

I love this site. Another widget worth mentioning is the 'MEEBOME' widget. Its free and is very easy to install. Go to www.meebome.com

I just started to know blogggin and have a meebome widget. You can have a look here for an example of the Meeebo Widegt.

www.deepr.blogspot.com

Bubbie said...

Thank you! very informative. You will be on top of my bookmark list.
Just started blogging with no knowlege at all. My site should look great in no time.

Forumer said...

Howdy? Thanx so much for the info. I like so much with Tag World shoutbox. Have a nice days ahead and all da best :)

i go by the name of poet soulfree said...

hello, your site is a steal. can't believe you are just starting out or a novice. havent seen much, but whatever i have is great and really used every bit of it. thanks. how can i link you to mine?

DeeJay said...

Thanks for the chatbox info.
I am first time at your blog, and I think that I'll learn many cool things.

Greetings from Macedonia!

Shannon said...

Good tips for new blogger. Content rich blog like this always help. Mostly for newbie. Shout box are mostly useful to get people attention. gtalk is a new invention.
Chat Place

phoenixrising said...

Thanks so much for all the USEFUL information!! I've picked up so many cool tips just by reading this site! You're now my favourite bookmark!

Anyway, I've got a problem with cBox. I successfully linked it up to my site. But the problem is that I'm the only one that can use the chat :-(

How do I fix this problem? Is the problem due to my settings or due to my guests' settings?

Once again, thank you so much!!

bizwhiz said...

Hi phoenixrising

Could it be because you are having a private blog and only invited readers can access your blog?

Erin said...

I just ditched shoutbox and now changed to oggix. It looks a lot better, thanks for letting me know about it :)

BELIZE said...

Great write up..hey I use CBox..works great, but is there any service that provides a free IP Blocker or the ability to register users? If not..do any of them have a lifetime sign up package?

My bad for all the questions fam

MarkyB said...

Really helpful info! Thanks!

Ricardo said...

Thanks so much for this post! I tested most of the shoutboxes you mentioned here, and did my own search as well, and in the end stuck with one that's not on your list - Planet Minibox.

I thought they are definitely worth a mention as well, since they are free, offer a great variety of interesting features not seen in other boxes (for example, tabs and private chat), and my visitors especially love the fact that even the free version has an automatic refresh ability.

DeadwoOd said...

I cant get my non of the recommended tools in ur blog, to fit in mine.. coz its all generate XHTML code... as my blog (myspaces) only allow HTML code.. do u have any other chat box that use HTML code? pls? thx...

SelfmadeVIP said...

Thanks, Just added to my blog.

Terry Fitzgerald said...

When you create the (shout)box on your website - Cbox in particular - how did you remove the obtrusive blurb about 'Welcome to Cbox! To post a message click in the boxes below and type!' that appears to the top?
Thanks.

natural emotion said...

thanks,your blog it's really helpfull for me...
especially for newbie like me....

Jon said...

Hi Bizwhiz, thanks for this great list.

I think the real value of a chat box in a blog comes when you use it build community around your site. I've also found that the sidebar is often not enough space to let people communicate effectively, so you may want to consider going with a wider format of chat box and/or placing it in the center column.

Check out my recent article about how to use Chatroll to add a customizable chat box to Blogger. Since Chatroll is a community itself, it's a great way to let visitors talk and get to know each other, which helps build up community around your blog.

Thanks again! -J

DirtDigger (Tessa) said...

Hi there,

I was wondering if the Oggix shoutbox sends you an email when someone leaves a message? They don't seem to have a faq page that i could find. Thanks.

the Digital Traveller said...

hey, nice post! very informative! i needed a chatbox for my site, and your post's quite good.(I linked your site for the benefit of other newbie bloggers out there ^^)

Sampath Amitash said...

Hi!
That was a Good information! Thanks
Free Reviews and Downloads

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the useful information.

s@g@r r@i said...

I wanted to insert a cbox to my site.. After reading your post i'm able to insert one.. Good blog.. I liked your simplicity in your blog.. Good easy navigation..

Thank you
sagar
www.freetemplates4u.co.cc