Posted by the Blogger Team

2010 has been an exciting year for all of us on the global Blogger team, and our platform is now more powerful, reliable, and active than ever before. As we close the books on another great year, we want to take a moment to look back at some of the highlights.

The makeover. The new Template Designer, with beautiful new templates and iStockPhoto™ background images, was one of the team’s biggest accomplishments of the year. Since the launch in June, nearly half of our active users have begun using the new templates (if you haven't tried our new templates yet, why don't you give them a try?) Our efforts to make Blogger blogs look more beautiful continued with the release of web fonts, custom background images, and mobile-optimized views.

Some great new features. 2010 was also a year when we added tons of new features to Blogger. We had a busy summer adding two new admin tabs to Blogger: Comments and Stats. The comments tab introduced a comments inbox and spam filtering; real-time stats, followed by stats gadgets, were also highly requested features. We've also added static pages, new share buttons, WYSIWYG post preview, improved YouTube integration, Zemanta post editor gadget, integration with Google Apps, and many other new features.

Rock-solid infrastructure. Of course features don't mean much when the service goes down, and we've made lots of behind-the-scene improvements to keep our service up and running as reliably as possible. Auto-pagination was one of our many efforts to reduce latency. Sometimes keeping our infrastructure robust meant phasing out features that are used by only a fraction of our users, but have a heavy impact on our system, such as FTP publishing — which some bloggers called a "hard but smart decision."

Reaching out to real users. Perhaps the most exciting thing that we did this year was to get out more and meet the real users, like you. We set up booths at SXSW and BlogWorld Expo (our first ever presence there), and we held our 11th birthday party all around the world. In addition, our face-to-face meetings were accompanied by our conversations with you over virtual channels like our user forum and Twitter. We will continue meeting you, listening to you, and delivering what you want for Blogger in 2011.

It’s been a pretty busy year for us, but we hope 2011 will be an even busier year where we deliver even more exciting releases to you. Thanks again for all your support, and we wish you the best during this holiday season. See you in the new year!

Our ears are always open to your feedback, whether it's a request for a new feature you'd like to see, a suggested improvement to the latest release from Draft, or input during a usability study.

In that spirit, we're hoping that you'll once again help us out us by taking a quick survey about our existing monetization features. And to make it a little more fun, we'll be sending out a handful of shiny new Blogger T-shirts to a lucky bunch of survey-filler-outers (chosen at random of course!).

Thanks for the help in advance! And for those who don't win a shirt, keep an eye out for other ways to get your hands on one in the future.

Posted by The Blogger Team

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and we certainly have reason to celebrate after the folks at Royal Pingdom conducted an independent study of blogging services on the Web and found that Blogger was without question the most reliable. In fact, Blogger was the only service of all those tested that delivered 100% uptime. You can read the full article here.

Our favorite quote:
“Since Blogger was the only service with zero downtime overall, we skipped the chart here. We hope you don’t mind. It simply wouldn’t have been very interesting.”
When it comes to reliability, we certainly like being uninteresting!

This is a guest post by Eric Marcoullier, CEO of OneTrueFan. Though Blogger/Google does not have any affiliation with OneTrueFan, we’ve found OneTrueFan as an interesting way for our users to build community around their blog and get to know their audience, and so asked Eric to introduce OneTrueFan for our users. -- Chang Kim, Product Manager

You work hard to write great content and bring people to your Blogger blog. You've built a great community of loyal readers, many of them reading everything you post. Too bad it's so hard to better know who your readers are: On average, less than one percent of readers comment on an article on the web; Regularly searching Twitter, Digg, or other sites for links to your site is tedious and time consuming.

At the same time, you're likely getting good traffic from search engines and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, these readers are incredibly difficult to engage. More than 80% of a site’s traffic visits just one time and reads only one article. Visitors driven by search and social media tend to skim a blog post and then leave. Less than 24 hours later, they can't remember where they read your content, so they'll never come back.

OneTrueFan surfaces the community that exists on and around your Blogger blog, creating a deeper sense of engagement with new and returning users, and helps you get to know the people who visit.

OneTrueFan lives at the bottom of your blog. People show up in two ways: they can check in via OneTrueFan or share a link on Twitter. (In the coming weeks, people will also show up when they share a link with Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, and many other sites.) You and your readers can mouse over anyone's picture to learn more about them.

Readers earn points for coming to your site each day, reading content, sharing links and driving traffic to your site. The ten readers with the most points show up in a leaderboard, but those points only last for 14 days. Readers need to keep coming back because fanship is an ongoing process.

Now you might be asking yourself, "Why would anyone want to check into my blog?" Because they *love* your blog and want people to know that they are a part of your community. OneTrueFan is an easy way for readers to show you a bit of love without going through a lot of effort.

Getting OneTrueFan on Blogger is free and easy! Just click this link to add OneTrueFan to your Blogger blog. Once it's installed, you'll start discovering your community in no time.

Link: Install OneTrueFan to your Blogger blog

Posted by Ben Eitzen, Software Engineer

Feeds are a great way to reach a broader audience and keep your loyal readers up-to-date. In fact, it’s not uncommon for blogs to have more than a quarter of their traffic come from feed readers.

The challenge with feeds is that it’s never been possible to control exactly how much content is delivered. Up until now, the options have been “Short” and “Full”. Short produces a feed that contains around the first 400 characters of the post, with HTML and images removed. Full produces a feed that contains everything in the post, including HTML and images. But what about those instances where you want to give your users a tastean image or two with some introductory textand then have them visit your blog to see the full post? Well today we’ve launched a third option that lets you do just that using Jump Breaks.

To enable this feature, simply go to the Settings page for your blog, click on Site Feed, and then next to “Allow Blog Feeds”, change the drop-down value to “Until Jump Break”.

That’s it! Next time you write a post and use a jump break, anyone reading the feed will get all the content, including images and HTML formatting, up until the jump break (if there’s no jump break, the feed will contain everything). If readers want to see the full post, they can click the “read more” link and they’ll be directed to your blog. This means you have full control over your feed.  For example, want to include an image for your recipe but not the whole recipe? No problem! Put the image and part of the recipe before the jump break, and that’s all the feed readers will see.


Guest post by Google Affiliate Network (GAN)

There are lots of great ways to make money from your blog. One of those ways is to use an affiliate network. Put simply, an affiliate network is a way to promote products from some of your favorite retailers; you get paid when any of those retailers makes a sale based on a promotion you ran on your blog. Our friends at the Google Affiliate Network have a great program and have agreed to make a special offer to our users—so if you haven't heard of GAN already, have a read, and be sure to sign up!

With Google Affiliate Network, you can access affiliate ads for top retailers. If the ad or text link you post on your blog results in a sale, you earn a commission. This means that you can start working with advertisers who will pay you a performance fee for driving a sale or other conversion.

Google Affiliate Network gives you access to a diverse range of affiliate programs for advertisers including Barnes &, Red Envelope, Sears, ProFlowers, Abe Books and Puma. Once you have access, you can apply to create advertiser programs, promote ads, search for links to specific products, sign up to access product feeds, and utilize Link Subscriptions that deliver the latest links and promotions directly to you each day.

Google Affiliate Network is featured in the Monetize tab in your Blogger account or you can apply using the link below (please note that you’ll need an AdSense ID to join).

Here’s how to get started:
  1. Sign up for a Google Affiliate Network account with your valid AdSense Publisher ID.
  2. As soon as you're approved for Google Affiliate Network, sign in and apply for advertiser programs.
  3. Follow the instructions to start displaying cost-per-action ads.
Check out our Beginner’s Guide to help you through the process of becoming a successful publisher and continue reading for the answers to our frequently asked questions. Apply before December 13th and take advantage of affiliate exclusive holiday offers from select Google Affiliate Network advertisers. The special offers will be available for Monday, December 13th, from over 20 advertisers including Barnes &, Sears, Red Envelope, Arden B and 6ave. For more information, please visit this blog post or apply now with your valid AdSense Publisher ID.