[don't you guys LOVE the movie The Princess Bride? Best quote ever=the title of this post]
I've had a lot of questions about the infamous G.A. and G.R. which is quite ironic, considering I am one of the most computer illiterate online stalkers in the world. Meaning, I may love the internet but I'm totally clueless when it comes to a lot of this stuff. I just stumble my way through.
But I will do my best to assist you, my blog readers! Don't lynch me if I'm completely wrong okay?
For Google Analytics, you'll need a google account. I think that means you need a gmail address. I highly recommend creating a gmail addresss anyway [if you blog] so you can keep all your blog stuff together. I would suggest linking your comments to this gmail account and also adding your gmail address to your blog profile, so people can contact you outside of comments. Don't worry, crazies won't hunt you down TOO often. And if they do, this new gmail account can be a catch all and won't be your 'real' account anyway.
So after setting up a gmail account, you'll need to go to http://www.google.com/analytics/
You'll follow the prompts to sign up for a new account.
You'll go through the general information, then contact information, then accept the user agreement. Then comes the tricky part: adding your tracking system. I think this is where people screw up the most. If you have a Blogspot account I can help you. Once you get the code from GA, you'll log into your blog and go to "layout" and then "page elements" because you need to add a new element to the bottom of your blog. You want to select the "html code" option for this element, then paste the code into this new part of your blog. Then go back to GA and follow the prompts. It will tell you if you added the tracker correctly because it can't detect your blog otherwise.
It will take about 24 hours to see if it works. And once it DOES work it still only updates every 24 hours. So I can't see how I did today until tomorrow morning. Does that make sense? Whew, my head already hurts.
Moving onto G.R.:
You'll need to go to http://www.google.com/reader
I'm pretty sure you need a gmail addy for this one, too. So just suck it up and do it! :)
After following the prompts you'll end up at your home page, and the left side of the screen should look like this:
Where it says "Add subscription" is where you'll add your favorite blog's urls. You'll have to copy and paste the site's address and then you'll be good to go. You can then click on a blog title on your left hand column and read it right inside this window. Lauren, here is your blog through my G.R. Shame on your for not updating in 4 days! Once you've read all the posts on a blog, click "mark all as read" and the title will go back to a normal font. It will be bold when there is a new post [that is the exciting part!].
You can even organize the blogs into categories to keep you sane. For instance, I have a "crafts" section, a "friends" section, an "other people" section [which is full of people I just 'met' through blogging], and "photography." You add these categories by clicking on the "manage subscriptions" button. Does this make sense? Whew times two.
And finally, questions about backgrounds for your blog. Look at the right hand column on my blog under "design" and you'll find a nice little tutorial by Suzanne Hart. The important thing: you must download digital scrapbooking paper that suites your fancy. I suggest a plain paper for your main central column but go wild for the outer border and also the header border. You need to save these three papers to an online account. I use photobucket for this part. You'll grab the url for these papers and plug them into your html code of your blog. I know, I know, that part freaks me out, too. I hate that stuff but once you figure it out each successive time is much easier. You just paste your new papers onto the codes of your old papers.
I use photoshop to design my blog header and my side bar buttons. That is a little bit more complicated and is a whole other blog post. Heck, I'm still learning photoshop myself! But I like doing that part because it's like digi-scrapping and I'm trying to get better.
I hope at least one of you found this helpful. Just make sure to set aside time for this stuff or you'll go bonkers trying to hurry through. Good luck!!