How to Create an Easy Menu Bar in Blogger
I've been chatting back and forth with a blogger comrade this weekend because she had some questions about how to better organize her blog for her readers. Specifically, she wanted to be able to create a menu bar so readers could easily find posts she has written on specific topics. There are a couple ways to do this, but the easiest way is to put your Blogger Labels to work for you.
If you have been involved with website or blog creation at all, you have probably come to realize that Google is about as difficult to crack with regard to SEO tips and tricks as a Rubik's Cube (note: if you have ever cracked a Rubik's cube, just leave now. I am not smart enough to be in your vicinity. You should be worried about getting dumber by the second. So, off with you.) However, by piecing bits of information gathered from various sources, I have found that the Labels in Blogger do not do a whole lot with regard to SEO. Having 25 labels per post thinking they act as keywords for Google search optimization, probably is not going to help too much with search engine rankings. It can help with the internal organization of your blog by making it easier for users to find specific types of content, but will not make you the number one listing on Google for that term.
This was a major bummer for me, because I thought if I just typed in "Super Awesome Blog" in my Blogger Label box, anyone Googling super awesome blog would unduly find me. Not so. So sad. I will never be Super Awesome (crying in my win … er, coffee). But, they are very useful in getting people to find topical content in your blog, especially when used consistently. So let's create a menu bar from your Labels to maximize their effectiveness and usefulness internally.
Step One: Create a Master Labels List
Come up with a list of 5-7 words (ie Master Labels) that describe your posts. For example, any post I write that is about what is on my mind, my thoughts, my personal experiences gets the label "Martini Musings". Anything that involves my family gets the label "The Monkey House". Recipes get labeled "Recipes" etc. You can add additional labels to each post as well. For instance, I will label this post "Mo 'Bettah Blogging" (from my Master Label List), but I may also include "Labels, Menu Bar, How-To, and Blogger Tips" when I define my labels for this post. Not so much because I hope it will help with Google search indexing, but because it might help you as the reader find this post based on those search terms if you do an internal site search.
Step Two: Edit Each Existing Post
Once you come up with a concise list of topics that your posts can be categorized by, go through and edit your existing labels in each post to include one or two of these "Master Labels". You can create labels for each post by adding them to the "Labels" section under the Post Settings located to the right of your post editor. (Heh? I'm Lost. Help! … When you're writing a post, look to your right. ).
Step Three: Add The Label Widget (if you have not already)
Now that all your posts are categorized by the 5-7 terms or topics that represent your "Master Label List", you want to add a Labels Widget to your layout. Go to Layout, and "Add a gadget" (it does not matter where, because we'll be moving it).
Choose the Labels gadget.
Step Four: Edit The Labels Gadget
You will be given a couple options to customize the gadget. Choose the radio button that says "Selected Labels" and then click "edit". All the labels you have ever used will come up in a list. Check the box next to the labels used in your Master List ONLY. You see I only have 7 out of 89 labels checked. ALSO Make sure you check the radio box for "List" Rather than "Cloud". Click "Save".
Step Five: Move The Gadget
Now you'll want to customize the location of your gadget. Since we're creating a menu bar, you'll want to bring it to the top, right under your heading.
Save your arrangement, and view your blog. You should see a menu bar right beneath your header with the "Master List" of labels you created. ** The appearance (font, colors, etc.) Of your menu bar can be customized in the Template Section of Blogger.