Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Predicted Effect Of Blogger Beta

In my previous post, The Real Blogger Status - Beta, I predicted that the Blogger Beta would cause resource reallocation within Blogger, and stubborn holdouts who continue to use Classic Blogger will soon find themselves without service or support.

Today, in Google Blogger Help - Publishing Trouble: Is something wrong with Blogger today? (and there is an open ended question that in itself should have acquired 200% more trolls than it did), I see a copy of the latest botmail:
Hi there,

This is an automated update from Blogger Support. We are currently focusing all of our efforts on Blogger in beta, and are unable to provide personal responses to other issues.

What the hell? Personal responses?? When have they ever provided personal responses? And please don't try and count Blogger Employee appearing in Google Blogger Help as a personal response.

This was a true C&C moment.

(Edit): In Google Blogger Help - Something Is Broken: Unable to provide responses - because they're trying to fix Blogger Beta, I see just one more bit of bullshite
In the Blogger Help Group, experienced users can answer your questions, or you may find that your question has already been asked and answered in the archives. We also have a Blogger employee monitoring the group to provide assistance.

Yeah, if assistance consists of

Hi There,

Thanks for your feedback. Please fill out the Help Form.


And this was yet another a true C&C moment, and the poster has been warned twice now. Label your posts
[C&C]: Unable to provide responses - because they're trying to fix Blogger Beta

Please.

(Edit 9/28): Have the problems started this week?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Replacing The Blog Title With An Image

Those of you who are artistic, and handy with Photoshop or another image processor, eventually decide that having a blog labeled in text is boring. So you spice it up. And one of the easiest things you can do is to replace the blog title with a picture.

(Question): Does this blog use a Layouts template? If so, read about Customising The Header In A Layouts Template Blog, first.

(Note): The code below has extra line breaks liberally inserted, to avoid yet another post / sidebar alignment problem.

The hardest part in doing this is to get the image hosted somewhere. If you use Flickr, Photobucket, et al, this is not an issue (hopefully you know the URL). You can't do image upload when editing your template. If I want my image hosted by Blogger, this is what I do.
  • Create a new post in the blog, and Title it "Photos" or whatever.
  • Upload my picture to the post.
  • Look carefully at the code created in the upload. In my case, I have
    <a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}"
    href="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/
    560/527000594325287/
    1600/RBS%20Header%201.gif"><img
    style="float:left; margin:0 10px 10px 0;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;"
    src="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/
    560/527000594325287/
    320/RBS%20Header%201.gif"
    border="0" alt="" /></a>
  • My picture is now
    http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/
    560/527000594325287/
    1600/RBS%20Header%201.gif
  • Very important: Save the post as Draft. I don't want my title image showing up in a post, in the middle of the blog. Untidy to say the least.

Go to template edit.
  • Find the coding for the blog title.
    <ItemPage><a href="<$BlogURL$>"></ItemPage>
    <$BlogTitle$>
    <ItemPage></a></ItemPage>

  • And replace it with
    <ItemPage><a href="<$BlogURL$>"></ItemPage>
    <img src="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/
    560/527000594325287/
    1600/RBS%20Header%201.gif">
    <ItemPage></a></ItemPage>

  • Save, and Republish.


Easy, no? That part was. To make it as it is now (see the top of the blog), you'll have to do just a little more work.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Migration From Blogger Classic To Blogger Beta

I have several Blogger blogs, among the various websites and other web presences that I maintain. Two of my biggest blogs - PChuck's Network, and The Real Blogger Status - simply can't be migrated, given the current level of problems, and of design deficiencies, to Blogger Beta. The latter blog (this blog), which I call RBS, absolutely won't be migrated to Beta, until there are no more Classic blogs. Maybe this blog won't ever be migrated.

Having said all of that, I will move ahead with using Blogger Beta. There are just so many improvements in Beta, which I have discussed in detail, separately, that I intend to enjoy.

This blog will continue to exist, though, probably as long as I base my web presence in Blogger. I'll use static links between this blog and the Beta, in various mirrored posts. And, I'll have dynamic digests - syndicated feeds, for instance my Blogger Beta feed. See the RBS Beta mirror post for a project description, complete with code examples.

The feeds won't give complete relevant content, I'll still have a lot of static linking to do. I do that anyway, in all of my blogs. Without hyperlinks, my blogs would be a bit less useful.

In some IT migration strategies, this is called a bridge. I suspect that this looks complicated, at first glance. It was simpler to do, than to write about. Setting up the bridge took maybe an hour. Writing the tutorials, with the examples, took close to 2 hours.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Login Problems In New Blogger

Possibly the biggest problem with New Blogger 2007, right now, is the confusion over authentication. Under classic Blogger, you could have a Blogger account, with an account name. That account could be tied to any email account, with any email service. By default, New Blogger 2007 ties your Blogger access to a Google account.
  • Blogger Beta
  • Google Adsense
  • Google Groups
  • Google Mail
  • Google Talk
  • Google Sitemaps
What happens if you want to switch accounts for various reasons?

One of the desired features in Blogger blogs was the ability to restrict access, ie allow only authenticated users to view a blog. Google decided to include this feature in its Beta Blog release, and decided to use Google accounts for the authentication. Unfortunately, this creates a problem with people who are currently authenticated using Blogger accounts. And Classic blogs likewise have trouble with people who are authenticating only with Google accounts.

Remember, you can have any Google account managing your blogs, within limits.

I suspect that there is some possibility for account confusion, among the Google services. Blogger Employee seems to consider this possibility. And Blogger Buzz: Beta Update! (look for "Login trouble" - they don't use anchor tags) describes issues that are relevant here too.


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Login Problems Related To Blogger Beta

One big problem with Blogger, right now, is the confusion over authentication. Under classic Blogger, you could have a Blogger account, with an account name. That account could be tied to any email account, with any email service. Blogger Beta ties your Blogger access to a Google email address.

Unfortunately, even though you're not using Blogger Beta, you may be affected by changes to Classical Blogger, which support the Beta.

Blogger Employee
seems to consider this possibility. And Blogger Buzz: Beta Update! describes issues that are relevant here too.

One reader writes of using the same account and password, in both Blogger and Google, and experiencing this problem. He reports a successful workaround, achieved by changing the password on one account.

Changing Your Blog URL? Plan the Change!

Occasionally, after you have your blog for a while, you tire of the URL. Maybe the blog content changed in focus, or maybe you discovered that the current URL is too similar to another better known one. So you decided to pick a different BlogSpot address. Whatever.

So you selected an available URL, went into Settings - Publishing, changed the address, and republished to the new address. Fine.

Then you discovered that you can still see the old URL. Not so fine.

What you did was similar in effect to someone switching to external publishing. Like someone who switched to external publishing, you can still see the old blog. Hopefully, it still has your contents there.

At one time, if you switched your blog address, or changed to external publishing, and looked back later, you'd likely find a splog sitting at your old URL. When you gave up the URL, a spammer found out about it, and started publishing there. Splogs are designed to exploit that mistake.

But Blogger Support got tired of folks complaining about the splogs, so they fixed it so URLs that were abandoned, either from deletion or from publishing to a different address, wouldn't be available.

So now it looks like you have to contact Blogger Support, and explain the problem. And don't forget to reply to the botmail.

And in the future, if you change or delete your blog, plan the change properly. Put a stub blog in its place. But do this carefully.

Follow this procedure for migrating your blog to a new URL. Think about each step first, and do them in sequence.

  1. Backup your current blog, as it is now in Blogspot.com.
  2. Backup the template, into a text file. Save the backup file in several places.
  3. Change the Blogger settings, on your current blog, to publish to the new URL.
  4. Change the Blogger settings, on your stub blog, to publish to your current URL.
  5. Republish the main blog, to the new URL.
  6. Republish the stub blog, to the just vacated URL.

If I was doing this, I would do all steps at the same time, one after the other. I would probably not take a rest break, and I certainly wouldn't let the sun go down, before completing the last step. Seriously. Read Spam Blogs #3, if you don't understand how frustrating it will be for you to have to have your vacated blogspot address used for a splog.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

BlogSpot Network Problems?

I'm a network troubleshooter, and got into Blogging only recently, when I needed to setup a website quickly. So when I hear Bloggers describe problems that may well be network related, not related to the silence at Blogger, my ears perk up.

So today I see mention of possible DNS or MTU problems accessing blogspot.com.

And here's an ongoing problem. When you're in Post Edit, you see (on and off, constantly)
Could not connect to Blogger.com. Saving and publishing may fail.


DNS / MTU problems can have varied symptoms.
You try to browse to http://www.example.gov, and you get a cryptic

  • Firefox can't find the server at www.example.gov.
  • We can't find "www.example.gov".
  • The classical
    404 Not Found

  • The also classical white screen, with "Done" in the status bar.


Now the above examples could have been caused by any of several scenarios.

  • Host www.example.gov doesn't exist (you typed the name wrong).
  • Host www.example.gov isn't operational today (it's down).
  • Your DNS (that translates www.example.gov into an IP address) isn't working (your ISP is borked).
  • Your MTU setting is causing a problem with accessing www.example.gov (somewhere in the Internet, something changed).
  • You don't have Internet connectivity (DOHH).


I'll generally refer you to any of 3 articles of mine.

Given the possibility that the problem might be with Blogspot, maybe WordPress is a good alternative here.


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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I Want Back

Some folks have moved to Blogger Beta, and a few are trying to move back. Some of them just plain aren't satisfied, others can't take the frustration and uncertainty, and some unlucky ones have a corrupted template.

Switch back?
I Want off of Blogger Beta


Now, if you're lucky, you'll find that you have a corrupted feed linked in your blog. Remove the bad feed, and you could be back in business.

If not, you have to use a classic template.
  • Under Template, select Edit HTML.
  • Select REVERT TO CLASSIC TEMPLATE.

This doesn't work for everybody, though. And you will lose some features
  • Drag and drop layout editing.
  • Labels.

And how long can you keep a classic blog? Who knows?.

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The Silence Continues

As Blogger rolls out their (vastly improved) Beta blog template, the problems arise. Now, I have been part of many roll outs of software and hardware, and problems are normal. So the Blogger Beta, though it may seem catastrophic to most Bloggers (the unpaid employees, I mean), these problems are not unusual.

What is unusual though (at least compared to the real business world), and what has fueled many posts in The Real Blogger Status, is the silence.

An example of the frustration and uncertainty felt, by many Bloggers, is this bit of genius, which I quote in its entirety.
An actual fictitious conversation at google....

Tech 1: Hey lets update blogger with a new beta!

Tech 2: Yeah that would be fun...should we test it first or just make it live on the web?

Tech 1: Hmm...lets just make it live and watch all our faithful bloggers panic.

Tech 2: Haha...man you have a sick sense of humor, but I like the idea. Oh and while we are at it, lets ignore their emails as well.


Blogger Staff: Your Beta product rocks, regardless of the bugs and of the design deficiencies. Having said that, your concept of customer service, customer support, and project management, absolutely sucks. I don't have any objective terms here. Your service and support sucks.
  • Acknowledge the problems.
  • Describe what you're doing to fix the problems.
  • Fix the problems.
  • Let us know when the problems have been fixed.
  • Let us know when we will have raw template editing.


(Edit 8/29): More dissatisfaction is indicated in Google Blogger Help - Something Is Broken: An open letter to Blogger support
One of the first rules of customer service is, even if something is broken, communicate with your constituents. Let us know you're at least aware of the issue and working on it, or even that you're aware of the issue, but blowing us all off.

I understand that this is a free service, but in this day and age, there are plenty of free or near-free services out there for which I will pay a nominal fee to gain decent customer support.


Let's keep communicating. Eventually they will listen. Maybe one day, they will speak.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Publicising Your Blog / Website - How Not To Do It

There's one helpful and knowledgable guy, in a tech forum, who would, at one time, end each post with
Please link to my blog.
And there are some online communities with a "staff position" of publicist or recruiter. The "job" of the publicist / recruiter is to go into the Internet, and convince folks to check out the community being started. In some cases, the first thing the person starting the community does is to "hire" the publicist / recruiter, before there are even any articles to read, or members to interact with.

And still other online communities will be formed with one purpose - to have everybody link to everybody else. You can go into discussion areas in some forums, where everybody posts
Hey everybody, check out my web site.
Neither of these strategies make any sense to me, for technology websites. In technology communities or web sites, you provide peer help. That is content, that's relevant, useful, and valid, to your peers.
  • Answer questions, that are asked by your peers.
  • Ask questions, that can be answered by your peers.
  • Provide information, that your peers are interested in.
People read your advice when you provide information that they need, or want, to read. If you have more advice to give, elsewhere (your personal website), you have hyperlinks in the text. Alternatively, you might indicate in your advice
>>>More information: http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2006/07/
publicising-your-blog.html
You make your blog or website part of the World Wide Web. The word "Web" refers to websites linked to each other, and having a common interest.

It's always good to have your friends (folks who know you personally / have linked to you in the past) linking to your website. Some friends will link because they know you, and others even though they know you. Although you and your friends share common interests (maybe another website), those common interests may not reflect the content of this website. Your friends will have other friends that won't be interested in your website, and those friends won't link to your website, nor will they visit your website with any interest.

What you really want is folks that you don't know, but have interests similar to the content in your website, linking to your website. When their friends check out the other website, and see links to your website, those folks follow the links, because both websites contain information that interests them. That's where you get good traffic, from referrals that involve common interests.

People linking to your website because they read
Please link to my website
will not necessarily have the same content in their website, as you have in yours. Their friends will not be as interested in checking out your website, when its content differs from theirs. If they do follow the links, they'll probably not stay so long. Why? Because your website doesn't interest them.

Spammers send 1,000 pieces of email, to get 1 live customer. Genuine people know that real sales (visitors) come from repeats. If you have a visitor meter on your website (and if you don't, you absolutely should get one or two), look at the visits that show only one page read. In many cases, this was somebody who came, and said
Nothing here, move on.
People who are going to link to your website will read a few articles (or a lot of articles), and say
I'm coming back here again soon.

The search engines are looking for blogs that inspire more of
I'm coming back here again soon.
and less of
Nothing here, move on.
This requires original and relevant content about and by you. If the subject of your blog is your business, make sure that it's a legal business, selling a legitimate product.

If you pay folks to read your blog, or to click on the ads in the blog, you'll probably get some initial traffic improvement. This may lead to later classification as a spam blog, though.

Repeat visits come from content. You develop content based upon what folks want to read. When your visitor logs (from the visitor meters) indicate interest in a particular set of articles, you look at those articles, and maybe expand upon them. Add more inlinks (from elsewhere in your website), and more outlinks (to elsewhere in your website, and to external websites). And make all links relevant, useful, and valid.

With relevant, useful, and valid content, your visitors will bookmark you. When you're lucky, they will post the bookmark in their BlogRoll. And when you're real lucky, they will have lots of friends with common interests. And that's where your hits come from.

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Bypass, or Clear, Your Local Cache

In every Blogger forum I read, you see occasional complaints
I just made changes to my blog. Other folks can see my changes, but I can't. What is the problem?
The buttons on my Post Edit toolbar / my Navbar won't do anything. Help!!
The problem is quite simple. Portions of your blog, and of every other website that you've accesed recently, are stored locally, on your computer. The next time you access that blog or website, your computer won't have to waste your bandwidth downloading the same files. Have you ever noticed that the first time you visit a new website, you computer seems to run slower than subsequent times accessing that same website? This is not your imagination.

In some cases, as when you make changes and can't see those changes immediately, this is not a good thing. Until a file reaches a certain age (sits locally on your computer for a while), your computer won't even bother to check for its update. Your friends will see the changes, but you won't.

The cache is the local content of the web pages themselves. Many web pages also store settings locally on your computer, in cookies, that control how you use those web pages. Cache and Cookies complement each other, but don't confuse them - they are not the same.

Cache can be an issue depending upon how you login, and also what web address you use to access blogs.

There are several solutions, to make sure that what you see on your computer is up to date. They vary widely in effect. Understand the differences.

I. Clear Your Cache
The most drastic step is to clear your cache. This will remove all temporary Internet files, for all web sites, from the cache being cleared.

As you revisit each web page (not just the current one) in the future, each previously cached file must be reloaded. Depending upon the size of your cache, this may make a significant difference in your browsing speed. If you do a lot of web surfing, you will learn not to clear your cache, except when you truly need to do so.

If you're working on a problem that involves non-BlogSpot addressing (aka DNS issues), such as problems involving publishing to custom domains, you may also find it helpful to clear DNS cache.

II. Refresh This Web Page
Or, you may force a refresh of this page. Hit the F5 key, or hold down the Shift key and hit the Refresh button in the browser toolbar. This will delete just this web page, and all files associated with it, and reload each again into cache.

III. Dynamically Call The Server
Finally, you can temporarily ignore what's in cache, by adding a "?" to the end of a target URL. You might access this web page, for instance, as (I added a space in the middle of the URL, to allow the string to line break, and avoid another post / sidebar alignment problem).
http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/ 2006/08/bypass-or-clear-your-local-cache.html?
When you add a "?" to the end of the URL, you are forcing your browser to make a dynamic call to the web server. Dynamic calls (aka active server code) are not cached, they have to be evaluated, each time that you load the URL, by the browser contacting the web server. This may or may not reload all files associated with the web page. It won't change what's in cache, everywhere.

The latter may be a significant point to you. If your ISP caches web content locally, to improve performance for its customers, and you reload your cache or a single page (procedure I, or procedure II, above), you may reload from your ISPs cache. If you reload your entire cache, after dynamically reloading one web page, you could reload an older copy from your ISP. If you saw a new web page when dynamically loading the page (procedure III, above), you'll take a step back in time when you load the ISPs cached copy.

Try each solution, and find out what works for you. But be aware of the differences, and only clear what you need to.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Real Blogger Status - Beta

The Real Blogger Status will soon be continued as a Blogger Beta. For the most current articles in RBS Beta, see the Bridge Feed, at the bottom of the page. And see Migration From Blogger Classic To Blogger Beta, for my mirror strategy to move ahead, without actually migrating this blog immediately.

So far, just random thoughts about functionality, many noted by other folks.
  • Template Customisation. Not granular enough. Inability to edit the title, and use graphics there, will be one problem. This has already been mentioned in online discussion.
  • Publish - and update - on the fly. Switch back and forth, between blog edit and blog view, instantaneously. Switch between blogs, instantaneously.
    • More intuitive than WordPress.
    • Really works.
    • If you do this much, you will get used to it.
    • If many people move to Blogger Beta, resources - both hardware and support - being switched to Blogger Beta may make Blogger Alpha unusable.
    • This feature, IMHO, will drive the migration. As soon as Bloggers get used to it, boom

(Note 8/16 17:00): I am now seriously hooked. I am already having trouble dealing with this (Alpha) interface.

(Note 8/20): So some folks wonder how to start. And I suspect there's a connection between how you proceed, and some problems that folks are having. So proceed carefully, but experiment and have fun first.

(Note 8/21): OK, I will start the fun. Here are my ongoing lists - of Beta design deficiencies, and of Beta problems. And see if you like my solution for making the title field in your Beta blog clickable.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A New Blogger

A new version of Blogger is coming (An improved Blogger interface, not another unpaid employee). The first hints of its features are found in the Blogger New Features web page.
  • Multiple posters for a single blog.
  • Private blogs, viewable by permission.
  • The long awaited RSS 2.0 feed, officially announced.
  • An improved dashboard.
  • Immediate publishing of all updates, with no "Publishing 0%..." spinner.


With all of that said, I hope that some of the existing problems can be resolved.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How To Not Make Your Visitors Happy

A year or so ago, I started attending a new church. It's a small church, with an active core of members, and it needed a website. I decided that a Blogger website would be fitting, so I setup Martinez UMC. And after I had it working, the pastor announced its existence to the congregation.

A few weeks after it was announced, one of the members came to me after service one Sunday, and said (to this effect):
Chuck, we looked at the website yesterday. And there was a lot about the Bible, but nothing about this church.


So I showed them our website, and they were surprised.
It didn't look anything like that.


And I told them that they made a mistake, and typed the address wrong or something, and we left it at that. But I had no idea how right, and yet how wrong, I was.

Apparently, my fellow church member typed "martinezumc.blogpsot.com", instead of "martinezumc.blogspot.com". The domain "blogpsot.com" has been setup to respond to all subdomain requests, such as "martinezumc.blogpsot.com", with a single long page full of "Gods word", Amazing Bible Studies.

(Note 2009/05/28): The Doug Powell empire has now expanded. In addition to "blogpsot.com", we now have "blogpot.com", serving the same fraud and trash.

(Note 2007/03/02): Amazing Bible Studies is now calling itself Abundant Bible Studies. But it's the same deceitful garbage.

(Note 2007/06/18): Abundant Bible Studies is now calling itself Bible College On Line. The obvious fraudulent features are gone. It still makes no effort to inform the reader that they got there by mistake, so I will leave this web site in place.

Mistyping a URL is normal. And another website, capitalising upon the mistake, is nothing new. But capitalising upon a visitors honest mistake, without any hint of the possibility that maybe the visitor didn't really intend to go there, is anti-social at best. The domain yaho.com is an example of this scenario, or was until bought by Yahoo.

This is how spammers, and other ungodly creatures, operate. Not people who worship Jehovah.

Now if Amazing Bible Studies had a paragraph at the top,
Looking for "martinezumc.blogspot.com"? Try this link. But you might want to come back here later.

then it would not be a page of deceit.

But besides the fact that it makes no attempt to correct the mistaken access, it has links on the page, that are obviously intended to further the deceit.

For any value of (your intended blog URL), whether or not it corresponds to a valid address in blogspot.com, blogpsot.com will respond with their web page. I won't link to that web page, as I have no intention of providing search engine inlinks for them. I won't help advertise them. I will ask you to copy and paste the address (for instance "anything.blogpsot.com") (less the "") into your browser address window, and examine the web page.

(Edit 2007/03/02): DO NOT visit that web site without using a proxy server. It's not at all a web site devoted to Jehovah God.

  • contact us
    links to (your intended blog URL).blogpsot.com/contact.htm
  • AUTHORS OF THIS SITE
    links to (your intended blog URL).blogpsot.com/Author_and_donations.htm
  • Search Engine Directory - World's Highest Hitting English Sites in Major Categories & World News & Weather. Click Here.
    links to http://(your intended blog URL).blogpsot.com/search_engine.htm
  • Click here to send us an e-mail
    links to http://(your intended blog URL).blogpsot.com/contact.htm
  • (For an in-depth study of the Rapture, click here.)
    links to http://(your intended blog URL).blogpsot.com/Documents/Bible_Prophecy/Rapture.htm
  • Water baptism is by full immersion.
    links to http://(your intended blog URL).blogpsot.com/Documents/Doctrines/Baptism.htm


Now earlier, I wrote how to make your visitors happy when they visit your blog. This is just the opposite.

The intention here, from reading the web page in question, is to gather souls for Christs work. That is a noble goal. The final greeting in Amazing Bible Studies:
I CALL HEAVEN AND EARTH TO RECORD THIS DAY AGAINST YOU, THAT I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE AND DEATH, BLESSING AND CURSING: THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, THAT…THOU…MAY LIVE-Deut 30:19.


But as Jesus said, from the Gospel of John:
4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.


Gods word is not built upon deceit and lies. It can only be built upon truth.


Finally, from the Gospel of Matthew,
24:4 Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one leads you astray. 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will lead many astray.

24:23 “Then if any man tells you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There,’ don’t believe it. 24:24 For there will arise false christs, and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones.


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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Know Your Inlinks

Active visitors produce, and are produced by, search engine weight. I talked enough about knowing who your visitors are, but that's not the only relationship that you need to consider.

Besides incoming search engine links, there are links to your website on other websites. Some are provided by your friends, others by folks you never meet. The latter are gold. Many search engines will give weight to your website based upon incoming static links. Occasionally, you'll see, in your visitor logs, a referral link from an unknown website - and not from a search engine.

When you see an incoming static link in the visitor log, investigate it. If the website has similar content and style, you'll both benefit if you add a backlink to that website.
  • The other website owner will benefit from your new static link.
  • You'll benefit when other folks visit your website, and see your outlinks.
  • These other folks will benefit, because they will be encouraged to link to you also.
  • Which will further benefit you.
  • And your first outlink may catch some traffic from other folks visiting your website, and following your outlink to his website.
  • And so on...


To easily identify your static incoming links, the obvious would be Googling for your URL, maybe using Google BlogSearch. The Blogger Layouts post template has a selectable backlinks display. There's also WhoLinksToMe, another free service. The latter is so simple - just add a link to their website (as above). WhoLinksToMe uses your URL to search their database, and then display your static inlinks. And any visitors to your website can look at the list, and likewise see your inlinks.

Backlink your incoming links - it's good for everybody.

Patience

So today I see the report (paraphrased to protect the guilty)
I just finished publicising my blog, My Blog. I setup a Google Sitemap for my blog myexample.blogspot.com. I submitted it to Google, MSN, and Yahoo. I even did Dream Submit. I waited a couple days, and Googled some of the keywords in my meta tag. My blog wasn't in the search list. I even Googled for my blog by name - nothing. What now?


Well, what now is that you have to wait. The search engine spiders won't be there, checking out your blog, immediately. It could be days, or weeks, before your blog is even noticed. And weeks before it's indexed to any degree of usefulness.

Even after your blog is indexed, if it shows up in any typical search lists, it will probably be at the end. To get listed on the first page, you have to have weight. To have weight, you have to have content, plus people have to click to your blog, and hopefully link to it. None of this will happen during the first week.

And BTW, if you do get a hit from Googling for "My Blog" , or "myexample.blogspot.com", don't expect for the visitors to come rolling in. Nobody else is going to look for your blog by its name. You have to be included in real live search lists, before you get any possibility of visitors. And your blog description has to look interesting, so someone who sees the search list entry clicks on it, giving you an actual visitor.

And when you do start to get visitors, make sure that you have content, to encourage them to return.

Patience, young Skywalker.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Stop The Comment Spam

So you just wrote a kick ass blog. And here's your first comment, posted by a stranger. Yay.

But look - what does it say.
Great post. See my blog.

And when you look at the linked blog, it's crap. Another splog - and your blog now provides a nice link to the splog. Gack.

Don't let this happen again.
  • In Settings - Comments:
    • Set "Who Can Comment?" to "Only Registered Users", or maybe even to "Only Members of This Blog".
    • Set "Show word verification for comments?" to "Yes".
    • Set "Enable comment moderation?" to "Yes".
    • Enter your email address for reading the comments.
  • Discard the email, when you get a comment notice that indicates comment spam.

Make the jerkwads work (answer the Captcha) to even send the spam. Then make sure they don't even get a reply back - just trash the email, and ignore the spam entry. Maybe they will even shoot themselves in anguish (we could only wish).

>> (Edit 2005/1/18): Google is working with other members of the web software community, in an active effort to make comment spam unprofitable.

Note: Having said that, remember to read each comment made, in the email notice. Your friends might make comments too. Don't let the threat of spam lead you to deleting something valid. Read, and approve, the good stuff. Just ignore the spam.

Another Note: If you enable comment moderation, you might want to ensure that comment notification is disabled, unless you like getting 2 emails for each comment made.

>> Top

Polling Blogger

In any computer network with any number of servers, you should actively monitor their status. In a small or home office, you can use a product like The Dude (what a name and what a product) to track the status of all of your computers.

With the thousands of high power servers in the Blogger / Blog*Spot infrastructure, you can bet that Blogger Support uses some polled monitoring system of incredible complexity, probably way better than The Dude. Unfortunately, whatever they use, you can't see it.

So if somebody chatting with you asks
Is Blogger down right now? I just posted to my blog, and I'm seeing the old 0%.

what are you going to say?

Nothing authoritative, unfortunately. But you can, at least, look at the current blog activity, and see if Blogger is totally dead. The Recently Updated Blogs page lists all blogs updated in the last 10 minutes, at any time, with timestamps by the second.

The list is thoroughly dynamic, and takes a few seconds to load completely (it will have, at any time, 4,000 - 8,000 entries). But if you want the answer to the above question, this will at least tell you when there's activity in the blog scene.

I don't know of too many Internet services that let you poll their status to this level of detail.

Now, when you examine the list, you'll notice that it's by blog title, and shows some blogs repeatedly, in order published. If you would prefer to see the blog URLs, which will help you see the pattern of splog publishing, for instance, you'll do best to use a pair of scripts, like vURL and hpObserver, which will generate an alphabetised and normalised list of URLs, then examine and monitor the status of the blogs in the list.

If you want a slightly focused list of blogs, you can use Google Blog Search. And still more alternatives, like Blogger Profile Surfing and Following let you find blogs by areas of interest, without any activity relevance.

>> Top

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Limit The Size Of Your Main Page

Patience has its limits. Waiting 5 - 10 minutes, for the main page of your blog to load, is too long. You simply cannot load the entire blog every time somebody surfs to it.

Generally, loading half a dozen posts of average size is sufficient, though with smaller posts, you can load more. Putting a picture or two in the blog is not a bad idea at all, but a picture in each post will slow down its loading significantly. Be aware of the possible problems - and various solutions.