If you're new to blogging and Google Blogger the settings in your dashboard may be a bit overwhelming. Never fear.....A Little Unhinged is here. This post will explain what each setting does in your Blogger Dashboard under Settings--->Posts and Comments.
Lets get started! When you navigate to the Posts and Comments section you will see these options:
Starting at the top under Posts, you will see a couple options. Show at most, post template and showcase images with lightbox. The show at most option is where you decide how many posts or how many days posts you want to have on your main blog page (home page). If you want only your most recent post to show on your home page, then type the number 1 in the box and leave the drop down box beside the number set to posts. You can change the number of posts to whatever you like but please remember the more posts you have on your home page, the longer it will take for your website to load. If you keep a lot of buttons or widgets in your sidebar your site may load slowly already, don't make it worse by trying to load 4 or 5 of your most recent posts also.
The post template option is where you can pre-format all of your posts by adding text or html code. It is used to help all of your posts follow the same format. I found a great article on Daily Blog Tips explaining how you can Boost Your Blogging Productivity With Post Templates. Check it out!
The showcase images with lightbox option means that if it is set to "yes" and someone clicks on an image in your post, it will open in an overlay on top of your blog instead of in another window. (I have my settings set to yes, click on one of my images in this post to see an example) If you have multiple images in a post, the image that is clicked on will open in an overlay first. Then below that image you will see small boxes of all other images you can view. This option is great when your blog features many images because it saves time for whom ever is browsing them. Set this option to "no" if you want your images to open in another window or if you need the URL to the image. The lightbox feature is disabled for Dynamic View templates.
The next section is Comments and the first option is your comment location. There are four selections to choose from here. Embedded, which keeps your comment location under each blog post on the same page; Full Page, your comments open in a new window and page; Popup Window, your comments will open in a small window on top of the post; and Hide, which obviously means this option will hide your comments completely. I've always used embedded because I think it's just easier and less overwhelming for the readers to keep the post and comments all on the same page. It looks more professional also.
The next option is who can comment. Once again, there are four options to choose from. Self explanatory here but this is where you decide who can comment on your blog. The options are Anyone, includes Anonymous Users; Registered User, includes OpenID; User with Google Accounts; Only members of this blog.
Anyone means just that...anyone can comment on your blog including anonymous users. A registered user is someone who has an account with Google and/or Blogger, Live Journal, WordPress, AIM, TypePad or OpenID. User with Google Accounts, they must have a Google account but will also be required to sign up for a Blogger Account. Only members of this blog is used if you have your blog set to private under Settings--->Basic--->Blog Readers. If you have your blog readers set to anyone, do not use this option.
Comment Moderation means that before a comment is posted to your blog post you must approve it. The options under this setting is Always, sometimes and never. Always, you'll have the option to enter in an email address where you can receive notifications that there are comments awaiting moderation; Sometimes, you'll be prompted to specify how many days old the post should be before it requires moderation; Never, comments are published to the post immediately.
Show word verification is the next setting...the pesky thing that pops up after you try to submit a comment on someones site that asks for you to confirm you're not a robot by entering in some crazy letters and numbers. It's a yes or no option. Yes, you want to use word verification and no, you do not want to use it. It does help reduce spam but it may also reduce comments from your readers. I despise word verification..can you tell? Read more on word verification from Blogger Support.
Next up is Show Backlinks. Backlinks enable you to keep track of other pages on the web that link to your posts. Here's the example given from Blogger Support:
"For instance, suppose Alice writes a blog entry that Bob finds interesting. Bob then goes to his own blog and writes a post of his own about it, linking back to Alice's original post. Now Alice's post will automatically show that Bob has linked to it, and it will provide a short snippet of his text and a link to his post. What it all works out to is a way of expanding the comment feature such that related discussions on other sites can be included along with the regular comments on a post."
Last, we have the Comment Form Message. This is where you can add a short message to people who leave comments or where you can add your comment guidelines. Next month, (December 2012) we're publishing an article on comment guidelines, so make sure you check back with us.
Alright, so we made it through the Posts and Comments settings in your Blogger Dashboard. As always, if you have any questions...please feel free to leave them below in the comments, I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Do you have a comment form message set up on your blog? If so, what does it say?