This article is guest posted by Nan.
When my mind turns to thoughts of that great squid Google wrapping its tentacles around the world, I always forget that the barnacled tendril known as Blogger / Blogspot is still waving and swaying out there on the Internet.
Many people I know started blogging with Blogspot but were ultimately lured away by other more dynamic offerings. Nonetheless, Blogger has remained one of the largest, most popular blogging hubs on the Web, despite not having any significant updates since 2006.
Google realized that Blogger was getting a little neglected and consequently rolled out a new user interface. The Blogger code has been rewritten from scratch in order to accommodate advances in web publishing technology and unify the service with Google’s larger design aesthetic.
Great! What does that mean?
Google is pushing hard to integrate all the tendrils of its ever-growing enterprise. This substantial Blogger update is phase one of a rebranding effort that also includes the upgrades to the photo service Picasa and the public release of Google Plus. That means, if you use Google, all your services are becoming tightly integrated. If you blog on Blogspot, you’ll be able to pull that post and publicize it on Google+ instantly.
What about loot?
A big part of the integration is the addition of Adsense / Adwords into the Blogger universe. Google makes most of its billions of dollars from advertising and millions of bloggers have joined the party. There is lots of money to be had, and the updated Blogger platform makes it easier than ever.
The inclusion of AdWords in Blogger will also make the platform prime for remarketing initiatives. Having a blog site that is ready for this marketing innovation gives you a more streamlined experience in tracking revenue generated by display ads since it’s all handled under the Google umbrella.
Perhaps the biggest change, and the one that really brings Blogger up to speed, is the fact that it has been recoded in HTML5, making the blogging experience accessible on mobile devices and web browsers.
This is something other blog-service providers have been doing for quite some time, but it is done well here on Blogger in spite of its tardiness. Templates, designs and format translate really well to mobile screens.
Google seems to have taken some cues from effective iPhone app development, and have translated their killer Google Plus design over to iOS. The Blogger app for iOS is only available in iPhone-size, so iPad users will have to wait. It is nice to be able to blog in a real way on mobile, though.
I used to think the idea was strange – how would I ever throw together a post on the fly, never mind with just my thumbs? – but then I tried and it’s remarkably cathartic, especially for someone who broods over a 100-word post.
I hear people are satisfied with the iPhone version, and the Android version has caught some flak. I can say with confidence that the Droid X runs well on Blogger, so if you have a mobile device and haven’t yet dipped into the world of mobile blogging, give it a shot, it just might change you.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the Blogger upgrades. It’s a super simplified platform that works really well for individuals looking to start their first blog. The super-fast setup time and ease of use make it a no-frills system but professional bloggers will likely furrow their brows at the lack of customization options and premium features offered by other hosting sites.
If you already have a neglected Blogspot domain (don’t worry, we all do) I’d fire it up and see if any of the updates appeal to you; it really is a much better environment for writing, publishing and following blogs across the Internet.