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View Full Version : Adding a discussion board to my blog



Marilyn Braun
12-23-2005, 10:40 PM
This is probably a question for Richard,

I currently have a website attached to my blog where I encourage people to ask royalty questions. I think that having a discussion board instead would make more sense.

Does anyone know how to do this?

I would also like to add a search within the blog feature, but when I try to set up the Google one, the feature is too large. I've taken if off because it was pushing all of my current posts down, but I'd like to know if there's a way to reduce the size of it or if there's something else I should be doing with the code with regards to positioning.

Moondancer
12-24-2005, 04:48 AM
I'm not Richard but I'll try to answer.

As far as adding a discussion board to your blog, you would have to ask the admins of your blogging service. If it were a domained site hosted with a hosting service and a blog attached rather than a blogging service such as you are using, the answer would be different. I'm not sure what blogspot.com would allow insofar as addons like a discussion board.

About the Google search tool: What are you using to set that up? Is it a script you have gotten from Google? Or elsewhere? I've never used a google search script so I'm not sure how it is setup until I look at it. Most have dimensions that are changable and the placing of it would probably be as simple as adding the script to a particular cell (or block depending on how the blog template defines it) within a table giving you a choice of where it shows up on your blog pages.

Dawno
12-24-2005, 05:50 AM
I'm trying out the Technorati search feature - it embeds itself by the use of a very short bit of HTML in the template and doesn't take up much room. If you want to take a peek it's in the sidebar close to the top of the page.

Richard
12-24-2005, 04:43 PM
Yep, Blogger doesn't let you have one specifically. However, there's nothing stopping you from putting a link in your template to one of the free hosts - I haven't used any for aeons, but spend some time looking into them before going for it. Ideally, you want one that has busy forums (showing a good degree of stabilitiy), and not too much advertising (you'll usually have to deal with some banner adverts, but avoid the ones that push spyware like the plague)

If you go down the route of setting up your own site, you'll be able to install your own pretty easily. You'll need a host that offers MySQL and PHP (as ever, you don't need to know the first thing about how those work). AW runs VBulletin, which is good, but a bit pricey, http://www.phpbb.com/ is probably the most common board you'll see, although I confess to a certain liking of http://beehiveforum.sourceforge.net.

Richard
12-24-2005, 04:56 PM
I would also like to add a search within the blog feature, but when I try to set up the Google one, the feature is too large. I've taken if off because it was pushing all of my current posts down, but I'd like to know if there's a way to reduce the size of it or if there's something else I should be doing with the code with regards to positioning.

Uh...yes, but a lot of the time you risk Google dropping the hammer. Try putting the search box at the bottom of your main column instead of in the sidebar.

Marilyn Braun
12-24-2005, 06:27 PM
I'm trying out the Technorati search feature - it embeds itself by the use of a very short bit of HTML in the template and doesn't take up much room. If you want to take a peek it's in the sidebar close to the top of the page.

It was easy to paste the code for the Google searchbar but the actual search box is too big - it pushes all of my current content down the page - which I really don't want! I can't seem to change the size of it either. I don't want it to be really small (that would defeat the purpose of it) but I also don't want it to interfere with my content.

With regards to the discussion board feature. I believe that you can add a link to the blog (as in adding a webpage in the profile section), which can take you to a forum. I just can't seem to find a forum template that is free and can be customized. When I signed up for one, which said it was free, and I tried to change things, it directed me to pay for a year membership in order to get those features.

I just thought that a forum would be an easier thing to use instead of my current set up, where I have a website attached that doesn't seem to be very user friendly.

Richard
12-24-2005, 08:00 PM
Try the instructions here - they send a request to Google instead of using the Google search box itself. Fairy simple. (http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_can_i_add_a_google_search_box_to_my_web_site.h tml) Or as Dawn said, you can use Technorati or another search engine - there's no particular benefit to using Google.

As for forums, you can add a link to anything you like in your template (<a href="wherever">Visit My Forum</a>), but you need to have set it up first. There are quite a few free forums available, others are paid for. Just have a poke around the web and you'll find several.

L M Ashton
12-30-2005, 06:51 PM
Personally, I prefer SMF - Simple Machines Forum (http://www.simplemachines.org/). It can be a stand-alone product, or it can be embedded into Joomla/Mambo, or a whole bunch of other cms systems. And yes, you can edit the themes. It's totally free, but it does have to be installed on your own website. I'm using it at Speculative Fiction (http://www.speculative-fiction.com) - check it out.

The other comment I have is that you don't have to have your blog hosted by someone else - you can host it on your own website. I've done that with my blog (http://www.srilanka.laurieashton.com/blog.htm). Then again, you'll need some kind of blogging software like Blog (http://www.farook.org/blog.htm) or Wordpress (http://www.wordpress.org). Depending on what program you go with and how comfortable you are with html coding and such, you can have complete control over the design of your site.