Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bluemelon launches an integrated and fully customizable photo blog


From now on, all power and enterprise users can enjoy the new integrated blog. The blog is fully customizable and can be found by appending "/blog" to your homepage URL. Unless you are using a custom header or a custom navigation menu, the blog has been automatically added into the menu. If you are using a custom header menu, you can add a link to your blog as a Built-in Page.


The blog is fully integrated within your account. Settings such as your homepage theme, the account-wide password, and visitor registration are seamlessly applied to your blog, as well as rest of the Built-in Pages. The blog features a list of the most recent posts, a post archive, a quick access keyword section, and a RSS feed.


This blog supports custom themes as well. The Theme Designer has been enhanced to support the blog design and new settings have been added to customize the colors of the blog's title, global text color, and separators. Any custom text color used when creating a post will of course override the theme color.


To create a new blog post, it is sufficient to open the blog page while logged in and you will notice a "Create New" button at the top of the page. You will also notice a "My Blog Posts" button - this takes you to the dedicated posts management page - it is the same as going directly to "MY STUFF" >> "My Blog Posts". This is also where you can completely manage all of your posts, which you can create, edit, or delete.


The posts are edited via the familiar editor, thus enabling you to apply custom formatting and styling to your posts. You can also choose a visitor and search-engine friendly URL, but a default one is generated for you as you type in the title.


Adding images is understandably quick and simple, since the blog features an integrated image selector. You can choose each image's alignment, and border. You can also choose the size in which it will be displayed, either by choosing from the various preset options, or by using the auto-fit feature which displays the image in the full available width.


Each post can have a different comments policy :  you can also choose whether comments are enabled, just closed, or completely disabled. This way you can let your visitors comment on your posts and when you feel like it, you can prevent more comments from being posted by changing the comment status to closed - this will keep existing comments displayed, but it will be impossible to add new comments, unless you set it back to open. Disabling the comments will not only disable commenting, but also hide the existing ones.


The blog supports keywords instead of categories. Since keywords can be applied exclusively to single posts as well as to several posts, they can fully serve as categories. Keywords can be added when creating or editing a post by entering them at the bottom of the post editing page. The blog remembers your previously and most often used keywords, which can be added by simply choosing them from the provided list. A keyword list can also be shown in the side panel of the blog page.


The blog can be customized by a range settings. You can toggle the visibility of the sections in the side panel :  recent posts, archives, keywords, and subscription. You can also change the order in which they are displayed and change each section's title. The choice is yours as well in the matter of which social buttons to display out of :  Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. If you prefer a different social service, you can always customize your footer and place a button there.


We have implemented a blog import tool, for those already using a blog. The tool is easily accessible by going to the "All Blog Posts" page, and clicking "Tools" >> "Import a Blog". You can import and blog or content which provides a RSS feed. You can also automatically import images found within the imported posts. Such imported images will be stored in a special category created for this purpose. If you import a blog and then decide to start anew, you can at any time delete all previous imported blog posts once again using the "Tools" button.


It is a matter of course that the blog provides RSS feed generation for the convenience of your readers and easy integration into other websites and media.

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