Jun 10, 2011

That is just sad

It's a sad thing when I look at my Blogger Dashboard to see that my primary site for blogging has fallen to the bottom of my list.  That means I haven't even posted on the whole reason I got into blogging in the first place in a long time - in this case, not since Memorial Day.  And, wow, what a long run-on sentence you have there, Grandma!  All the better to confuse your readers with, my dear...

We (that would be me and my family) are gearing up for this year's summer vacation!! Wahoo!  We are heading to Washington, D.C. this year!  I used to live in NoVa and spent many days walking around, hanging out in DC.  Now, many, many years later, I get to take my kids along for the ride. Literally. We're driving.  It'll be like the Griswold's without the goofy fath...er, nevermind.  As customary, I will be sending pics and posting updates as we go along.  Now that Blogger has a new mobile app, the posts should be even better and more frequent than in the past.  Well, they'll be more frequent. "Better" is hard to define.  Either way, feel free to tag along!

Speaking of tags, it would be nice if there was a way (and perhaps there is) to provide hashtags on Blogger posts so that when the post travels through Twitterfeed, the shortened info/link also has tags associated with it.  Just sayin.  Wouldn't it be cool if "#poppedinmyhead" were to trend? Of course it would. You know you'd be smiling.... On the inside, anyway.

Did you know you can ask your readers for donations on Blogger now?  Yeap.  It's a bit of a convoluted process, but from Blogger Buzz, here it is in a nutshell (followed by my own journey):

Setup is only five simple steps and should only take a few minutes of your time; just follow the steps below:
  1. Sign up for a Google Checkout Merchant account at checkout.google.com/sell
  2. Be sure to enable the HTML API by going to the Settings tab, clicking the integration link and unchecking the “My company will only post digitally signed carts” checkbox. Also, copy the Merchant Id for use in step 5.
  3. Back in Blogger, on the Design | Page Elements tab click “add a gadget” where you wish to place the Support gadget.
  4. Add the "Support My Blog" gadget from the gadget gallery.
  5. Customize your support button settings. The Checkout Merchant Id is the one you copied down in step two. Save and you’re done!
Your supporters can now contribute to your blog.
 So, when I went through the process, Step 1 was straightforward.  Click the link, answer the questions.  Be sure to have your bank account info handy, though.  That way, Google will know where to deposit your donations. 

Step 2 works very well if you follow along in a separate browser window (or print the steps if you prefer).  I opened up things in multiple tabs and just flip-flopped between them during the setup.  It is in Step 2 where you need your bank account info.  You will see a section at the top of your account info that says, "Add Bank Account Information."  After you add it, Google will deposit a random, small amount of money into your account.  Once that is done (check with your bank over the next few days for the deposit), you have to VERIFY your bank account by logging into the Google Checkout and typing in the exact amount they deposited.  Once that is done, they will start the deposits you receive.  The "integration" link mentioned in Step 2 is on the LEFT in the SETTINGS section. You *must* uncheck the "Digitally Signed carts" in order for this to work. Copy your Merchant ID from the RIGHT side of the screen.  After that, head to step 3.  You do not have to wait for the test deposit to continue. Just move to Step 3 while you're waiting for Google to give you some change!

Step 3.  I had to use the SEARCH feature in the Gadgets list to find "Support My Blog."  I actually just searched for "Support" and it was first in the results.  Customize the text and be sure to check the "I understand..." box within the gadget.  After I modified the gadget, I had to click SAVE twice. Once saves the info, then scroll down and save the actual gadget to your page.  After that, you're ready for donations.

Now, some people might want to know where their donations are going.  I suggest creating a Blogger Page or adding a text gadget near the donation section explaining what you intend to do with the donations or how the money will be used.  I say be honest about it - if you're paying bills with it, say it. If you're saving to buy a new car, say it.  Why not?  After all, if people are going to give you money, it's nice to let them know how their money will be used.  If you have no specific goal or use in mind, that's cool, too.

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