Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Adding Your Blogger Blog To Your Web Site

Most of us who publish a Blogger blog just setup a blog, and start.

Some people already have a web site, and simply want to add a Blogger blog to the web site. Other people have two (or more) blogs, and want to display all blogs as one.

You can combine your blogs and / or web sites using several techniques - and each different technique produces a slightly different effect.

Getting Traffic To Your Blog

This is the question asked constantly.
How do I get more traffic to my blog?


Everybody would like lots of traffic. Duh.

This is the part with lots of hard work.
  1. Put accurate, attractive, complete, relevant, and timely content into your blog. You start with the content.
  2. Get your friends to link to your blog, where your blog is relevant.
  3. Participate in forums, where your blog is relevant, and include the URL.
  4. Comment on other blogs, in relevant comments, and include the URL.
  5. When you have done all of the above, your blog will have some weight. Submit your blog to the search engines, for indexing.

http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/
2006/07/publicising-your-blog.html


Remember though, none of this happens overnight. Search engines can take months to index your blog fully. And even when indexed, don't expect for a search, to some key element in your blog, to give you an entry on the first page of the search hits.
http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/
2006/08/patience.html


And know what your readers are looking for. If you see a trend of readers, go with the trend.
http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/
2006/07/know-your-visitors.html


But enjoy your blog. If you enjoy it, you will keep at it. And regular updates will develop regular readers, which will encourage regular updates.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Blogger Isn't Responsible

for Blog*Spot being blocked by the Chinese Government.
I'm afraid this problem comes from the Chinese government - it blocks all Blog*Spot pages from being shown within the country. If you'd like to purchase a hosting service from another company, though, you'll be able to continue publishing through Blogger and you'll be able to see your blog. Sorry about this, but unfortunately, there's not much we can do about it.

From God's mouth, to your ears, folks. End of story.

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The Archives Tower Of Babel Continues

In the process of setting up a new post in The Real Blogger Status, I encountered the archives language problem yet again. And I watched it come and go. Maybe you can too, though you will have to click on the pictures below, unless you have very good eyesight. Look for the red ellipses in the lower right corner of each picture.


Now you see it ...



... Now you don't.



>> Forum thread links: bX-*00038

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00038

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You Have To Speak The Language

The Earth is a wonderful place, full of a melange of cultures and geographical regions. There's something here for everybody. But when you travel to a distant land, do you expect the residents there to acknowledge your presence, and to change their customs and language to suit your needs? If you were at home, would you expect to constantly adapt your customs and language, to accommodate every visitor from a distant land?

So here we have a pair of strange attitudes, from Google Blogger Help.

Firstly, we have Grey, who is a guest in a foreign country, but demands everything in English.
I'm working in Romania but I don't want the top bar of my blog to be in Romanian. Fair enough I suppose I could live with it being in Romanian before I log in, as being English we have to put up with a complete dilution of our language and lifestyle. It's not my fault the common language chosen has been English but why do we have to give up everything in favour of foreigners all the bloody time. As English people we have no rights at all in the World. The race discrimination act doesn't even apply to us.


Next, we have Peter, who demands service, but wants to tell anybody willing to listen to him how he wants to be helped.

as i read these questions one thing comes up again and again........... please do not assume that folk know what their doing,obviously not !!! their all new to this and often ask for a very basic how ddo i do so and so etc and PLEASE DONT SEND LINKS !!!! they they tried those and dont understand them ok? i had this problem last week with adding a hit counter,i spent 4 hours asking,all every one sent was the same old links which along with every one else i didnt understand !!! eventually some one knidly gave me SIMPLE step- by - step instruction and i did it in 2 mins !!! when giving help please actually say, log in to your blog,go to dashboard etc and the actual tab hey need please. when will some one actually write some realy basic guides to this? its ok for all of you who either work in I.T. or with previous computer experience but thats not most people on here is it? so please please please ,keep it simple!!! THE LESS.......................THE MORE. THANKS.


Hey Guys, when you are in a foreign land, and you are in the minority, you need to make an effort to speak the local language. It's a gesture of courtesy, for one. And it's a step of practicality too.

Google is trying to adapt itself to serve the whole world, not confining its boundaries to the USA. In a country where English is not the predominant language, you will need to check the language settings on your Blogger and Google accounts. In good news, it is now possible to find your language, written in the text that you understand, in the language list.

In most forums of a serious nature, the helpers there will try to help you. But you have to try to listen to them too. If they provide links to additional advice, follow the links. Nobody is conspiring to waste your precious time, they are (really) trying to help you. Try and learn from the experience.

You want help? Help the helpers to help you. Make an effort to read / speak the local language. Remember, the helpers can't hope to please everybody, so cut them some slack, OK?

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Another blog is already hosted at this address

That's the old well known monolithic error, seen when you try to publish your blog to a Google Custom Domain, and possibly later too, when you try to setup the "www" alias of the blog to point to the root. This error is a symptom of several problems, it is not a problem in itself.

You now have to research why the wizard isn't seeing the DNS addresses, that you hopefully just setup.

In some cases, your DNS addresses may be incorrectly defined. Verify your DNS addresses, first. Then, proceed with the procedures below.

In other cases, the problem is a bug in the Blogger database, or maybe in the "ghs.google.com" database itself. Or possibly, in the custom domain concept in general.

A Problem With An Identified Service

If the problem is with an identified Google Apps service, with the service explicitly showing up in an HTTP trace, simply disabling the service in question may provide a solution. The Google Sites service is a commonly seen instance of this solution.

In rare cases, you may see your domain URL displayed as the service publishing address, in the Google Apps dashboard display. This is generally seen with either Sites, or with Start Page. After you login to Google Apps, execute Step 7, of the recycle procedure, from the service settings screen.

A Problem With An Unidentified Service

If simply disabling the identified service doesn't help, or if you're seeing a vaguer symptom, such as the well known
Server Not Found

Error 404
display, or the most recently seen advice
Blogs may not be hosted at naked domains
you're going to have to work harder. After you you login to Google Apps, you'll execute each step, enumerated below, for each service, enumerated below.

Even if you are not, intentionally, using a given Apps service, the settings for your blog may be corrupted by any service - so try resetting each service, one at a time, by executing the procedure enumerated below. It's possible that compound problems may require your executing the entire procedure more than once.

Login To Google Apps

Begin this process by logging in to Google Apps.


There are no shortcuts here. Some folks decide that deleting the Google Apps account will automatically stop all domain services, and immediately eliminate the problem. Deleting the Apps account, to shut down services, possibly makes sense when the domain is properly setup. When there is a database corruption problem - which is why you're here - deleting the Apps account simply delays resolution of your problem. If you delete the Apps account, you have to wait for up to 5 days to establish a new Apps account, then you have to start this procedure all over again. Please, do not delete your Google Apps account, as part of resetting the "Another blog" symptom.


The Google Apps Services

Once logged in, you deal with each service in Google Apps, one service at a time. Sites and Start Page are the best known services that can cause problems, but they aren't the only ones. Look at your Google Apps dashboard, and look at additional services under the "Add more services" link. Each of these services can publish to a given URL, such as "www.mydomain.net", and each service can possibly contribute to your problem. Execute the service recycle procedure, for each service that you have.
The Service Recycle Procedure

In normal life, these steps would negate each other, and all would be a waste of time. This isn't normal life, so don't omit any steps, however silly it all appears. Unless you're familiar with the vagaries of custom domains, some of this will seem illogical. You're in an illogical situation right now, so follow these steps as written.Recycle the settings, for any given service, in proper order.
  1. If the service in question is currently enabled, disable it.
  2. Enable the service, and note the current publishing address.
  3. Set the publishing address to the appropriate address .
  4. Create, then Publish a page of content, using the service.
  5. Delete the page just created.
  6. Set the service publishing address back to its previous setting (as noted in step #2).
  7. Disable the service.
  8. If you want to use the service in question, re enable it.

The Service Settings Screen

You disable a service, and set the publishing address, from the service settings screen. Under the original Apps Desktop, you would access the service settings screen using the "Service settings" pull down menu in the upper right, or from the appropriate link on the Google Apps dashboard. Now, it's the "Settings" menu entry on the far right - or the "View all settings" dashboard link.

You may be able to use the "Organization & users" - Services tab, to disable and enable services that have already been installed. Look under "Core Google Services" for the service in question, and select the appropriate "ON / OFF" toggle button.

If a service is currently uninstalled, there won't be a selection on any menu, or an icon / link on the dashboard. From the "Already Purchased Services" screen, click on the "Add it now" button for the service desired, to install and enable a service.

Under the original Apps Desktop, "Already Purchased Services" was accessed from the "Add more services" dashboard link. Now, you click on the "Get more apps and services" dashboard link, under "Common tasks" - or "Click here to add more Google Services to your domain", from the "Organization & users" Services tab - to access "Already Purchased Services".

If the service is currently installed, and you wish to uninstall it, you use the Settings - General tab, and select the "Uninstall service" link.

You'll observe and set the "publishing address" from the "Web Address Mapping" tab.

The Service Wizard Screen

For most services, you create, publish, and delete pages using the service wizard. Under the original Apps Desktop, you would access the appropriate service wizard by clicking on the URL for that service, below the service label, on the Google Apps dashboard. Now, you click on the "Settings" link next to the service icon, on the dashboard - or click on the Settings link, in the menu.

You'll also find the service URL in the service settings screen, in the "Web Address Mapping" tab. Under the original Apps Desktop, you might find it at the top of the service settings screen, next to "Web address".

Observing And Setting The Service Publishing Address

You'll use the service settings screen to observe the service publishing address, and to set it to the appropriate address.
  • Only do this after you have corrected any existing problems with the DNS addresses.
  • If the problem is with the domain root, or the "www" alias, you'll do this twice. First set the service publishing address to the root of the domain (ie, "mydomain.com") and execute Steps 4 - 7. Then, do the same for the "www" alias (ie, "www.mydomain.com") and execute Steps 4 - 7.
  • If the problem is with a virtual host (ie, "blog.mydomain.com"), set the service publishing address to the virtual host address (ie, "blog.mydomain.com").
  • This may also apply for URLs with 2 level Top Level Domains, like "blog.mydomain.co.uk" and "www.blog.mydomain.co.uk". Think about this carefully, when domains with 2 level TLDs are involved - be sure to get the URLs right.
  • When executing Step 6, set the address back to the setting noted in Step 2.
  • Be persistent, don't skip steps because they are "silly". Your problem isn't silly.


The Reset Form

Blogger has provided a new problem reporting tool, that lets them fix the problems similar to those resolved by Google Apps, using the Magical Custom Domain Form. This requires manual human intervention, so don't anticipate immediate resolution of the problem. Note, too, that the Magical Custom Domain Form is known to not provide resolution for all custom domain problems.

If the Custom Domain Form doesn't provide acceptable results, use Blogger Contact, and let them know of the problem.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Linking The Web

If you have a web site, or another interest that's discussed in a web forum, occasionally you may need help. And no matter what your problem is, if you look long enough, chances are that you'll find a forum where your problem will, or has been, discussed. That's the nature of the web.

And if you find help in a web forum, it's possible that the forum posts may refer to a web site like PChuck's Network, or maybe The Real Blogger Status, for detailed instruction. And maybe you'll be so happy to have your problem solved that you'll post a link, to the web site where you found help, in your web site.

Everybody benefits, in the long term, when you add a link to a web site where you found help. The other web site benefits from the inlink. You benefit, because you have a record of where you found help, should you need it again. And your readers may benefit, should they see the link, when they need help too.

In the short term, though, the situation is different. Generally, the web site with the inlink benefits more than the one with the outlink. More traffic flows from a web site with more traffic, so the person getting the inlink will possibly benefit more. Maybe that person will link back to your blog, in the text of the web site, or in an area for backlinks. Then there's a reciprocal link back to you. With a 2 way link, each of you benefits.

But, even with a two way link, there's another question. What is the content of the two web sites? If they are similar, then there is more benefit to each. Someone surfing through either website, and being interested in one, will most likely be interested in the other too. On the other hand, if your web sites have different interests, how likely is it that someone who needs help provided by, or is interested in the content of, your web site, will be surfing through the other web site, before or when they are looking for help?

It's always good to be linked into the web. But it's better to be linked through web sites with a common interest. And that's another issue of relevance.

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An Oddity In An FTP Published Blog

Periodically, Bloggers will see problems with blogs that have been published by FTP to external web servers. Sometimes when you look in the browser status area, you can see a hint of trouble. Maybe the contents of a given link will be odd.



This is what I expect to see. Mouse over the link "... lower and upper case characters", and you see it's associated with http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/
2007/06/your-blog-and-blogger-and-ftp_20.html
. This is good.



Looking at Castro Valley Boulevardier, a blog operated by a regional neighbour of mine, we see something that we don't like. Mouse over the link "Midnight Blues" under "Previous Posts", and we see "... midnight blues" in the status area. But we would really prefer to see "... midnight blues.html".



And if we click on the link, we get a page full of HTML. What the heck?


Well, this is what can happen (it's a brief example anyway) when FTP settings get corrupted. Correcting the problem isn't too difficult, though it may look complicated. Take it one step at a time, and you can do it in 1/2 hour or less. Clear browser cache, then test, after each step, as some corruption is easier than others to correct.

  1. You have 2 essential file name settings - Blog Filename and Archive Filename. Each of those 3 should end in ".html". A third, Feed Filename, should end in ".xml". Correct as necessary, Save, and Republish the blog.
  2. Go to Settings - Archives once more. Set "Enable Post Pages", to "No". Save, then Republish the blog.
  3. Return to Settings - Archives, set "Enable Post Pages" to "Yes", Save, and Republish again.
  4. Edit one of the problem posts, and Republish the blog.
  5. Create a new post, and Republish the blog.




This is more like it.



Yeah.



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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Setting Up An FTP Published Blog

Blogger One Button Publishing is simple - you've been through the drill, I'd bet. Just choose a unique blog name, give it a title, pick a template, and you're ready to start publishing. That's because you let Blogger make a few choices for you.

The name of this blog is bloggerstatusforreal (that's the unique part). The URL, derived from the name, was http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/ (before I migrated this blog to my custom domain "blogging.nitecruzr.net").

Simple. But what if I didn't like http://bloggerstatusforreal.blogspot.com/?

Before Blogger developed Custom Domains, which for all its shininess, is just becoming a mature and usable product, there was one other choice: FTP Publishing. You could maintain the blog in the Blogger database, and publish it to an external domain, hosted on an external server, of your choice.

Like most things that are "your choice", this also means "more work for you". Plus, two possibly unpleasant details.
  1. Resolve the two issues above, if necessary.
  2. Go to Settings - Publishing, and select Switch to: FTP (for normal security), or SFTP (for extra security).
  3. Add FTP relevant details.


On the Settings - Publishing tab ...

  • What's the URL of the FTP server, that will host your domain?
  • What's the URL of your blog, as published?
  • What's the path, within the FTP server, where your blog will be located?




  • What's the name of the file that will contain the home page of the blog?
  • What's the name of the file that will contain the feed of the blog?
  • What is the username and the password, on the FTP server, that the Blogger server will have to provide, when copying the files? Note that the password value, in addition to being masked with "*", will likely be displayed with length masked, too.
  • Should Blogger ping the various blog update notification services when publishing updates?



On the Settings - Archiving tab ...

  • What's the path for the Archives files?



On the Settings - Site Feed tab ...

  • What's the path for the Feeds files?




You'll find some instruction on how to fill out these settings, in What is the FTP path?, and the detailed Blogger instructions How do I setup an FTP (or sFTP) connection to my external web host?

Besides all of these choices, which surely are making your head swim, you have details to consider, which is not discussed in the above article, and which may be related to server operating system and / or server setup and maintenance policy. When you setup the FTP server (or have it setup for you), you need to know how the server handles lower and upper case characters - whether the server observes, or preserves, case. You'll also need to understand conventions for describing FTP publishing paths. These questions may be key to your ability (or lack of same) to successfully publish to your blog, by FTP.

Knowing the above, don't be surprised to occasionally see problems with publishing by FTP to external web servers.

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Check The MTU Setting On Your Computer

If you have connectivity to the Internet in general, but chronic or transient problems, your computer may have an MTU problem.

If you periodically lose connections with some servers, if some web sites load slowly, or if various problems come and go, you may have a problem with the size of the messages that pass between you and the web sites in question.

The Maximum Transmission Unit, aka MTU, is a setting on your computer, that controls the size of the messages.

Don't Like AutoSave? Turn It Off!

AutoSave is a great feature - if you write continuously, never delete content unexpectedly, and never edit what you just posted.

Why is the last issue relevant?

Because I am now editing my post, and AutoSave isn't bothering me. Because when you edit a published post, AutoSave isn't running.

Don't like AutoSave?
  • Start a post.
  • Create a stub post.
    • Give it a Title (if you're using Titles).
    • Give it a good first sentence or so, enough for the feed (if you are publishing a feed).
    • Add "Post coming soon" for your readers who read your blog frequently (if you're worried about that).
  • Publish the stub post.
  • Edit the stub post, and Revert to draft.
  • Edit again, and No AutoSave.
Yes, it's that simple.

Unless you have millions of readers, constantly glued to your blog, chances are that nobody will notice a thing, while you are editing a published stub - especially if the stub is in Draft. If you do have millions of readers, setup another blog, using the same template, and publish to that blog first.

Blogs are free. You can preview your posts in all their glory, before publishing them in the main blog, and never show a mistake to your readers. If you take an hour or more to create a post, a few extra minutes to copy a finished post from one blog to another, if it saves you from losing your work accidentally, isn't a waste of time.

Just remember, AutoSave, and automatic draft generation, works best for short periods of time. You simply cannot type for hours on end before publishing, if you don't want possible problems.
I was just typing a long post, and with one keyboard mistake I highlighted ALL the content of my post, and replaced it with three accidentally pressed keys.

Just as I noticed my mistake, AutoSave acted, and saved my draft in progress with those 3 keystrokes. All my work down the drain.
Once AutoSave saves, your draft is history.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Your Blog, And Blogger, And FTP Publishing #2

In the server world, there are two dominant platforms- Microsoft (one company, one product) and Linux / Unix (many companies, different products). There are dozens of differences between the two operating systems. One of the most obvious, and yet most easily overlooked, is case sensitivity of file names.

In a Microsoft operating system, a file named "Test.Txt" is treated as the same file as "test.txt". In Unix, you can have those files, and more, in the same folder.
  • test.txt
  • Test.Txt
  • TEST.txt
  • TEST.Txt
are all different files, on a Unix server.

The issue of case preservation (Windows) vs case sensitivity (Unix) is a challenge, when moving files between a server of one world and a server of the other world. And one instance of this issue being relevant is

- -

wait for it

- -

Blogger publishing by FTP.

Blogger FTP publishing involves moving files, from Blogger servers to third party servers. Blogger servers, being of one world, have to move files to other servers. The web server universe contains servers of both worlds, so the Blogger FTP process has to allow for the need to move files to either a Microsoft, or a Linux / Unix, server.

To move files properly, to properly add or replace like named files, and to allow for case preservation or case sensitivity, as appropriate, the Blogger FTP process has to have 2 sets of rules.
  • Linux / Unix: Observe case in file names.
  • Microsoft: Preserve case in file names.


Read the HP white paper, Case Sensitivity versus Case Preservation in CIFS Server, for an in depth explanation of the challenge involved here.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

bX-gfz536

Some folks just can't work with a Custom Domain - Custom Domains just aren't for everybody.

But when they try to switch back, to publish to Blog*Spot, they have a problem.
bX-gfz536
Additional information
blogID: nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
host: www.blogger.com
uri: /blog-publishing.do

Blogger Support advises us
... we're working on the problem.


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Why You Shouldn't Clear Your Cache

Barry the Innocent (name changed to protect) doesn't like to intentionally clear the cache in his computer. Why? Because ...
it puts a strain on the computer.


No Barry,

Clearing cache, intentionally, deletes files. It simply deletes the files now (because the content is dirty), rather than later (when the content is aged).

The only reason for having cache is to retain files, from each viewing of a given web site to the next viewing, and save on bandwidth use. Other than that, you could have cache flush constantly.

For folks with fat enough pipes, that would actually be the logical thing to do. Cache retention = "0 Days" gives no out of date (dirty) files, ever. Just pull them from the web server each time. Some people do this.

In short, clearing the cache does not put a strain on the computer. It will make your bandwidth jump slightly, as deleted files are refreshed. So will going to any new web site, as any new web site will always have new files for you.

If you doubt my statement here, get Process Explorer, and watch the metrics when you clear cache once. You'll have to clean your glasses before hand though (and don't blink either), if you expect to see anything interesting. The background activity level of the computer will exceed the foreground activity of cache clearing.

Please try this experiment, and see for yourself.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Where Are My Archives?

I renamed My Archives to "Contents". I've never liked the term "Archive", as I have always thought of "archives" as "stuff that you stashed away somewhere because it's probably useless", an intermediate trash can.

The stuff in my blog isn't that. At least, I don't think so.

So where is all of the stuff that I posted last month?


So where are all of my posts?



OK, there's this months.



And there's last months.


Just click on the little black arrows, and all can be seen.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is Your Blog Published To A Custom Domain?


If you see this, your blog is publishing on Blog*Spot.



If you see this, your blog is published on your custom domain. If you're not seeing this yet, then go back and review the instructions.


If you don't see either, and your blog is not "xxxxxxx.blogspot.com", then you're publishing to an external server, by FTP.

You only have 3 possibilities. If it's not one of the above three, maybe you don't have a Blogger blog.

Other than these details, which in reality simply involves the blog published URL, you won't find a lot of differences. A custom domain blog is simply a Blogger blog, published to a non BlogSpot URL.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How To Transfer A Blog From One Account To Another

Any time you transfer a blog between administrator accounts, you always have at least one administrator.

You will have to have both the source and target owning accounts active, for some time. Don't start this project, if you've lost the account name, or forgotten the password, on one of the accounts. Plan this process with some care.

Note that you may, personally, perform some or all of these steps. At your discretion, some steps may be performed by another person while you observe - or distant from you. If two people are involved here, be sure that both you and the other person have read this procedure and understand all steps.

This Looks Dangerous #2

OK, Blogger has apparently given us the ability to transfer blogs between accounts. But is it safe?

I'll find out. I take one of my less valuable blogs, Miscellaneous Musings, as my guinea pig.



The blog has but one administrator. There's no "Remove" link, and "Admin" isn't clickable.



I invited my second account, as a blog member. Note that you can invite anybody, GMail or any other email address. The invitee can use any existing Google account, or setup a new Google account, at his convenience. Any new account can be based on a GMail address, or any other email address. The invitee should take care to make that account, and email address, safe and secure.



I accepted from the second account. Note that only the second account has any clickable links.



Both accounts are now administrators. Either account can be removed ("Remove" is clickable), or made Guest ("Admin" is clickable).



I clicked on the "Remove" link from my primary account. Now, the secondary account only is administrator. Note, again, "Admin" isn't clickable, nor is there a "Remove" link.



I reinvited my primary account to be a blog member.



The primary account is still a Guest. Still no "Remove" link for the secondary account, which is the current administrator.



Now, both accounts are administrators again.



And once again the primary account is the only administrator.


OK, it looks like it works. Now, a canonical procedure for everybody to follow.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This Looks Dangerous

Weren't we told, some time ago, that the owner of a blog can't be removed from its Permissions?



One of those accounts should not have a "Remove" link, nor a clickable "admin" link.


I'm not testing this here though. I like this blog. But, I can test it on another blog.

Is this another change made in silence?

>> Top

Setting Up A Custom Domain? Here's Advice

I see this question almost daily.
I purchased my domain "xxxxxxx.net". Now, I need to know what is Blogger`s hostname and IP Address. Furthermore, I need a primary and secondary DNS server. Where can i get this information?

or maybe this one
The people I registered with can't give me a CNAME, and so my domain name cannot be used. I've been asking them to get this fixed for a few days now, but this is the message I get from them
We cannot add a DNZ zone in our name server and point it to a NAME directly, we should first point the domain name to an IP address and then it's possible to add a CNAME record like "xxxxx.xxxxxxx.net.
Help!!!

These help requests were written by folks who haven't read the instructions, or who have read incomplete or misleading instructions, like How do I use a custom domain name on my blog?.
... you only need to get the domain name; you don't have to pay extra for hosting service.
would be so much better written as
... you only need to get the domain name, and DNS hosting; you don't have to pay extra for a content hosting service.


(update 2011/04/04): How do I use a custom domain name on my blog? has now been replaced with How do I use a custom domain name for my blog?

Getting the domain name, in Blogger's terms, includes 2 separate services
  • Purchasing the domain name.
  • Hosting the DNS for the domain.


Neither Blogger, nor a Domain Registrar, provides DNS hosting services, you have to arrange that on your own, with a DNS Host. In some cases, the Domain Registration and DNS Hosting may be included in the same bill, but they are separate services. The DNS Host will setup the "NS" records. After that's done, you have to setup a "CNAME" record, on the DNS Hosts servers, and point "blog.xxxxxxx.net" (or whatever you like, that's yours) to "ghs.google.com".

Don't use Frame or URL forwarding, to redirect your domain to "xxxxxxx.blogspot.com".

It's not so difficult.
  • Purchase a domain name.
  • Arrange for DNS Hosting. You may be able to use the services of ZoneEdit (which is free), in some cases.
  • Setup a "CNAME" record.
  • Publish your blog to "blog.xxxxxxx.net"

But you do have to follow the instructions.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00052

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00052

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Your Blog, And Blogger, And FTP Publishing

Blogger has thousands of computers that they control and support - their servers. They have millions of computers that they don't control, but still try to support - our computers. They can support, to some extent, Blogger running on our computers. Their ability to support us is greatly enhanced when we can accept the responsibility for the problems that are our own.

Then there are the remote servers, to where we publish blogs by FTP. They don't own, or support those computers. Very few of them do we own or support either. When we try to FTP a blog update, and something goes wrong, what do we do? Can we check a log anywhere on the remote server? Not easily. Neither can Blogger Support.

The remote servers, that host blogs published by FTP, are computers owned and supported by third parties. Blogger Support can't get even the feedback from the third parties, that they would from us if the problem was our locally published blogs running on our computers.

Any problem with FTP publishing could be a problem either at the Blogger end, or the third party end, but Blogger Support has no access to diagnostics at the other end, so no way to tell easily. Nor can they try to repeat the problem in a laboratory test, because they don't have any idea what server you may be using.

The problem with FTP is not Blogger so much, it's Blogger having to deal with hundreds of different servers, when they publish various blogs by FTP. Each different Blogger could be publishing, by FTP, to a different server. Each different server has different issues that make the Blogger FTP publishing process less reliable, in spite of the numerous settings that Blogger requires, which you must provide when defining your blog. One of those issues is file naming conventions - and how mixed case file names are used. Another issue is path description conventions. Both of these issues may be related to server configuration policy and / or server operating system.

Maybe you never have any problem publishing to your external server by FTP, but other bloggers will have problems publishing to their servers, from time to time. By applying the principle of etiology, to this observation, we should suspect that many problems with publishing by FTP, to external servers, aren't entirely the fault of Blogger. The people who support the external servers have to get involved too, and accept some responsibility.

My earlier suspicion was that once Blogger gets Custom Domains working properly, they will drop FTP support. Or at least discourage use of publishing by FTP. Having seen their latest improvement to FTP publishing, I'm not totally convinced of that, though from a business standpoint I maintain that it's inevitable.

In the meantime, if you are trying to publish your blog by FTP, and you're having problems, it's time to dust off the old Blogger Contact form again, and be patient. Alternatively, spend some time reading Blogger Help: What should I try if I get FTP publishing errors?.

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The Blogger Workaround For The bX-r1buvw Error Isn't Effective Universally

Various Bloggers have stated that the workaround of adding code to the AdSense snippet isn't helping them avoid the bX-r1buvw error. It's possible, though unconfirmed, that the folks experiencing this frustration are those with multiple AdSense entries in the blog, where they've neglected to update one or more.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00051

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00051

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Your Blog On New Blogger, And The Search Engines

When I write a post in my blogs, whether PChuck's Network, or The Real Blogger Status, or whatever, it's a challenge to get the post into a finished state. The most obvious challenge there is writing the content, but linking the content to other content is a struggle too. With a pure blog, you write a bunch of posts, related or not, and have an index to the posts in the sidebar. The reader reads the index, and select a post to read. The posts are linked through the sidebar.

My blogs aren't pure blogs - they are hypertext documents, using a blog structure. Using the Blogger One Button Publishing structure allows me to concentrate on writing content, and dealing with formatting, structure, and style later, or as time permits. Some of my blog posts are linked to other blog posts, through links in the text, but with others you'll still need links in the sidebar.

With Classic Blogger, the links in the sidebar were provided through the Archives. All of the posts written in a given month or week were arbitrarily linked together, in one archive period. You could select any archive period of interest, and get a main page view of all of the posts written during that period. For any individual post, you could also examine a list of the 10 posts preceding that post, by title, and view any post of interest to you.

And that was basically all of the choices that you had available to you. This was fine for the search engines, if not for you. A search engine spider had to only find the Archives link structure, walk through that structure, and have an index of all posts. Alternately, the spider could find the 10 previous posts list, which would similarly give an eventual link to every post in the blog.

This was fine for the spiders, but humans found both the Archives and Previous Posts lists to be a waste of screen space. Many Classic blogs would omit one, or both, from the sidebar.

New Blogger, and the Layouts templates, provide several additional choices. The Archives list has been expanded, to include 3 different display options, including a collapsible hierarchical list of post titles. Using the latter option, you can dispense with the 10 Previous Posts list. And the introduction of Labels, or keywords, allows you to associate posts by content, not posting date. And with Layouts templates written in XML, which is way more versatile than HTML, you can actually write mini-applications.

Two applications written in XML, which are useful in sidebar organisation, are the Cumulus Hidden (MultiStyle) Label List, and the Cumulus Hidden Link List. Similar to the collapsible Archives list, they allow you to collapse a long list of labels, or of links, into a neat, small toolbar. One or more toolbar buttons let you expand the respective list, when needed.

The problem with both the Hidden Label List and Hidden Link List is that both, as well as the Archives list, are probably transparent to the search engine spiders. A blog that relies purely upon either of the 3 options for linking posts may not be fully indexed by the search engine spiders.

Fortunately there is another option. With Layouts templates, all posts are linked through an extended main page view structure. You setup your main page view to show "nn" number of posts. If your blog contains more than "nn" posts, at the bottom, you should have a link to "Older Posts" (and to "Newer Posts", if the main page is not displaying the "nn" newest). Both the readers, and the spiders, can read your entire blog, in sequence, by following "Newer Posts" / "Older Posts".

Just be sure to leave at least one of the above options in your blog, and both your readers and the spiders will be able to read the entire blog. And, if you're curious about how well connected all of the posts in your blog are, check out Sala's HTML Graph Applet, and see how many nodes you have in your website (blog).

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Moving Photos In Post Editor Compose Mode Corrupts Code

We've been seeing reports of this problem, however vague, for some time. Bloggers complain of photos that aren't enlargable, or don't respond when you click on them. When you investigate, you find that the complete code, that provides the link to the full size photo, isn't there, or is damaged. Upon further investigation, you find that the Blogger used Post Editor Compose mode to relocate the photo, after uploading it.

Additional detail is pretty hard to come by. Identifying click and drag as a causative factor is a revelation, and generally is the limit of the Blogger's observation.

Today we have a well written and conducted case study, documenting one instance of the problem.

Possibly relevant details:
  • What operating system and browser (name and version please) do you use?
  • Did you clear cache before trying your test?
  • What add-ons do you have in your browser, and which ones were active when you were doing this?


(Update 6/8): Blogger tells us that there is a known problem with using Internet Explorer V6 and Compose mode to move photos. If you're using IE V6, move photos in Edit HTML mode. Cut and Paste - don't Drag and Drop. Or upgrade to IE V7, or switch to Firefox.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00050

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00050

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Template Corruption: Inability To Move Objects Around Blog Layout

This may be related to an earlier symptom Template Corruption: Components Missing From Blog Posts.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00049

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00049

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

bX-dwurj8

Seen when uploading photos. The first thread from today is 9:55. By 10:55, there were 36 threads.

>> Forum thread links: bX-dwurj8

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Custom Domains: A Small Status Update

Google Custom Domains is a great way to combine the versatility of an externally published website (letting your blog be accessible thru a non-Blog*Spot URL), with the feature set of a Layouts template blog. But many Bloggers know the full story - - Custom Domains still needs work.

For those of you who are using a custom domain, and would like for instance, "www.yourdomain.com" to be accessible as "yourdomain.com", we have a small status update.

I asked
Do we need more people suggesting that "www.martinezumc.org" should equal "martinezumc.org", or are you guys actually working on that issue?


And was told
We're working on that, too :)


So, Chuck, you can't always get what you want. No, that's another issue altogether.

I guess that it's another case of recommending both Patience, and Persistence. Try a mixture of both.

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Publicising Updates To Your Blog

Every day, we see the question "How do I let my friends know when my blog is updated"? Well, my personal preference would be to use a syndication feed (Atom or RSS). A newsfeed reader is very convenient, and easy to use.

But a newsfeed isn't universally useful.
If your blog, or readers, are in either group, there's a simple solution - BlogSend. Under Settings - Email, enter the email address of up to 10 readers for "BlogSend Address". If you have more than 10 readers that you want to notify, you have a bit more work to do.

Use BlogSend still, but run BlogSend through a Google Group. Google Groups are unlimited in size.
  • Setup a new Google Group, similar to Blogger Help Group: How Do I?.
  • Invite your friends to the new group, and let them subscribe in any of the ways available.
    • No email - Web-only participation.
    • Send email for each message and update.
    • One summary email a day.
    • One email with all activity in it.
    Your friends can choose how they want to be notified, and change their setting at will. They can even maintain their own email address to be used for group posts, change that at will, and keep it private from other group members.
  • Under Settings - Email, enter the email address of the Google Group for "BlogSend Address".

When a post is made to the blog, a BlogSend message goes out, to the Google Group, and from there to all members of the group.

The latter procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. It's good, because almost everybody uses email. It's not so good because getting Google Groups posts by email isn't always cut and dried - some email services may see it as spam, unless whitelisted. And if you're like I am, and update your blog posts frequently, this won't help your readers - the BlogSend Address is used only when a new post is made. Updates to your posts don't go to BlogSend, so they won't go to the Google Group, and to your friends. And if the blog uses fancy formatting, and / or pictures and text artfully arranged together, your email readers will miss out - Google Groups doesn't handle any of that very well.

If you decide to use a Google Group, test the group after you set it up - send email directly to the group, from a normal, email account (maybe your own). Then, if you use both a group, and some individual email addresses (such as your own) for BlogSend, put the group email address at the beginning of the BlogSend list. And whenever you post to the blog, look for 2 notifications - one directly from BlogSend, the other from the group. This is normal proactive testing technique, and if BlogSend or Google Groups malfunctions, will save you a lot of time.

A third possiblity, newly offered, starts with a FeedBurner Email subscription gadget. The FeedBurner email subscription service is robust, and provides various controls and conveniences to let you setup and manage a turnkey newsletter distribution. A FeedBurner subscription will support any feed - blog comments, blog posts, or blog posts for specific labels - all of those are potential subscriptions for your readers, and all can be managed through Feedburner.


(Update 2010/12): Blogger made a small change to BlogSend, as a quick fix for a security vulnerability - and as many other changes, this requires an additional effort from us.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You Can Know Your Visitors, But You Can't Block Them

Almost daily recently, we see folks oppressed by obnoxious commenters to their blogs.
I have been receiving malicious comments from some Anonymous commentors over 2yrs now. They have cloned my ID, left abusive comments under my name confusing all my blogger friends, palgiarised my work in another blog, made a blog to ridcule me etc etc. And they are still at it at my expense. I have reported this to Blogger many times but to no avail. I don't know how to block people from commenting either. Is there any way I can track the IPs of commentors and block them from my blog for good?

And the short answer, to the question, regrettably, is "No".

You can install a visitor meter, and track your visitors. Once you know the IP address of a problem reader, you can install a product like IP Address Blocker (free).

Blocking them, though, will never be 100% effective. Even with the ability to block by IP address, you'll be wasting your time. Any anonymising proxy server provides any determined attacker free access to the Internet. Anybody who is so uninformed about how to Google for "free proxy server" will, most likely, use an Internet service with dynamic IP addressing. If you block one IP address, you may get your one problem some of the time, and at other times you'll be blocking someone who doesn't care about your blog. Sometimes, you'll be blocking a potential new reader.

Just as you can't block access by IP address, neither can you block access by Blogger / Google account, or by any other identity. With FaceBook, MySpace, or maybe Orkut, all social networking platforms, participation in the program involves an acquired personality and reputation, and verified relationships. Blogger isn't a social networking platform - and Blogger / Google accounts have no value beyond blog ownership. If you wish to create a second Blogger / Google account, to enable you to harass somebody anonymously, that requires no great effort. Absolutely no verification of any mutual friendship is involved.

And all of this addresses direct access to the blog, through the browser. Besides browser access, anybody can subscribe to your blog feed, and read through a syndication feed reader.

The only effective solution, unfortunately, is for you to moderate all comments. Sorry.

All that said, you're welcome to ask Blogger for Person or IP blocking - or you can install IP Address Blocker.

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My Blog Is NOT Spam #3

The Blogger war against spam blogs continues, and innocent Bloggers continue to be caught in the cross-fire.

But finally Blogger is at least giving us a hint what's going on, and offering suggestions on how to deal with the situation. There are two possibilities here, each with its own cause and remedy. Learn the difference.
  • Content Analysis. Your blog may look like spam, or maybe other Bloggers flagged you mistakenly. If there's a "?" beside the Captcha, you can fill out the form accessed from clicking there, and your blog will be whitelisted. Note the form that you fill out will require a working, Blogger friendly email address.
  • Posting Behaviour. If you make an excessive amount of posts in one day, you'll have to verify each time you post, for that day. This can't be whitelisted. You may, or may not, see a "?". If you do see a "?", it probably won't be clickable.

So the excessive posts trigger is bad news, since we aren't told what number is excessive (I'll bet that it's dynamic, based upon current trends), and it can't be whitelisted. But it does go away in 24 hours, if you moderate your posting activity.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Tower Of Babble Gets Ever Higher

Even as Blogger continues to add new language support to Blogger, they aren't doing it rapidly enough for everybody.
I come from Vietnam and I real hope that my language would be supported at blogger soon. The information technology of Vietnam has been grown rapidly, more and more Vietnamese have internet connection and start to explore the world through it. Especially, Vietnamese youth today have a real "internet life" with their blogs. I think Vietnamese is a potential market for Blogger.

This won't happen immediately, though. Jehovah's Witnesses currently identifies 310 languages worldwide, and they have been doing their work for hundreds of years.

Blogger won't be providing its service in 310 languages simultaneously. As they add new languages, one by one, you'll have to expect that some languages, worthy though they be, will have to wait.

Be patient, your language will be ready one day. Feel free to let Blogger know how important your language is, but don't get your hopes up too high.

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bX-r1buvw

It looks like this is the problem of the week.

Bloggers report this when updating their template. Some publishing by FTP. Maybe another Classic templates problem? We see currently 61 threads, the oldest started 6/1, some with multiple Bloggers posting.

>> (Edit 6/11): It appears that the workaround described below isn't 100% effective.

>> (Edit 6/4): Blogger claims to know the source of the problem, and has developed a workaround. The problem is related to Ad-Sense, and is avoided by adding a line of code to your Ad-Sense snippet. (Note): If you have multiple AdSense entries in the blog, be sure to update all entries!

<div class='adsense' style='text-align:center; padding: 0px 3px 0.5em 3px;'>
<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client="ca-pub-nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn";
google_ad_host="pub-1556223355139109"; <== Add this line
google_ad_width=234;
google_ad_height=60;
google_ad_format="234x60_as";
google_ad_type="text";
google_color_border="0000FF";
google_color_bg="FFFFFF";
google_color_link="000000";
google_color_url="000000";
google_color_text="0000FF";
//--></script>
<script type="text/javascript"
src="http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/
pagead/show_ads.js">
</script>
</div>


And, after you add the "google_ad_host" entry, clear your cache.

>> Help diagnose the problem, by helping us see the scope. If you are suffering from this:
  1. Does your blog have a Classic, or Layouts, template?
  2. Are you publishing to Blog*Spot, or by FTP to an external server?
  3. How recently did you make changes successfully?
  4. What change did you just make, unsuccessfully?

>> There does seem to be some relationship with another error code bX-o0zoa0.

>> Forum thread links: bX-r1buvw

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Animated Gif Files Stopped Working

Animated .Gifs are a cute, requiring low bandwidth, way of decorating our blogs. Some contain records of memorable events. Using one below I decorated my Musings blog, in commemoration of the death of a very bad guy.

Recently, many such images stopped working, in multiple blogs all across the Blogosphere.






This is the only .Gif that I have, that currently works as published natively through Blogger (using Picasa).






(Compare with the version below, which will animate.)
<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_pzC_7PLtN-0/
RmH1vJ_2KfI/AAAAAAAAAag/sR1MkaWHoPs/s1600-h/Mona+Lisa.gif"><img style="float:left; margin:0 10px 10px 0;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://bp1.blogger.com/_pzC_7PLtN-0/RmH1vJ_2KfI/
AAAAAAAAAag/sR1MkaWHoPs/s320/Mona+Lisa.gif" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5071604845882255858" /></a>



I know that this was a Photoshop product, but I still had to include this one. As originally uploaded in January of this year, it worked then. Later, it stopped working.




It's possible that we can use Google Documents as a host for animated photos.
  1. Upload an animated .gif file to Google Documents.
  2. Publish the uploaded photo, selecting "Post To blog".
  3. Make the blog site settings, as desired, when posting.
  4. Find the URL of the newly uploaded file.
  5. Add the URL, as the "img src=" tag, in your blog post.
  6. Publish your new blog post.





<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_pzC_7PLtN-0/
RmH1vJ_2KfI/AAAAAAAAAag/sR1MkaWHoPs/s1600-h/Mona+Lisa.gif"><img style="float:left; margin:0 10px 10px 0;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://docs.google.com/FilePage?id=dcmbd5fh_4c2f6pvhw" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5071604845882255858" /></a>




<a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://bp1.blogger.com/_pzC_7PLtN-0/RmH1vJ_2KeI/
AAAAAAAAAaY/0rAuaxEnLmk/s1600-h/cat+juggling.gif"><img style="float:left; margin:0 10px 10px 0;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://docs.google.com/FilePage?id=dcmbd5fh_6vq9xmqcg" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5071604845882255842" /></a>



>> Update provided by Blogger Employee.

>> Forum thread links: bX-*00048

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00048

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Template Corruption: Components Missing From Blog Posts, And Other Oddities

Recently, we get reports from Bloggers that their Comments, or Labels, are missing from the bottom of their blog posts. When instructed to go to Page Elements, edit the Blog Posts widget, and select the appropriate selection under Select Items, they say either "I did, but it was already selected", or sometimes, "I can't".

In similar situations, Bloggers will complain of things in their blog posts that they don't want. Again, editing the Blog Posts widget provides no satisfaction. They may end up stuck with unwanted icons that apparently provide unwanted access to their blogs, but the unwanted access can't be easily eliminated.

In other cases, the Layouts GUI doesn't let them move objects around the screen, or won't leave objects repositioned as they wish.

Frequently, the reaction will be to reload the blog template; sometimes this will help, but normally it won't. The blog template and post template are two different objects, allowing you to customise your posts, and customise the blog, independently. If you have a corrupt post template, reloading the blog template won't make a difference.

When editing the Blog Posts widget, and even reloading the blog template, doesn't produce the desired result (positively or negatively), Blogger recommends deletion of the Blog Posts widget from the raw template code, to reset the post template.
The problem lies in the post template and can be resolved if the user resets their post page element. To do this, the user should go into the Edit HTML view of their template and remove (but save what you remove) the post page element code ("Blog Posts"), which should look something like this:
<div id='main-wrapper'>
<b:section class='main' id='main' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='Blog1' locked='true' title='Blog Posts' type='Blog'/> <==
Remove, Save, Replace, Save again

</b:section>
</div>


The user then saves the changes and will have to confirm that they're deleting a widget (don't worry - the posts won't get hurt). Then, the user can either
  • Switch templates by going to the Template | Pick New Template tab.
  • Add the same post page element code back in, exactly where they took it out (in order to preserve template customizations).
These steps should reset the post page element and rectify the problem.

If the level of technical expertise, required by the above instructions, is beyond your level of comfort, I suggest that you reset the gadgets.

If the above changes don't resolve the problem, you may have to consider the possibility of blog template corruption. Remember that the blog template, and the post template, are two different objects - but corruption in one can be mistaken for a problem in the other.

Whatever you do, don't forget to refresh your cache after each change, so you ensure that you always see your change immediately. Don't make the change, then complain because the change didn't accomplish anything.

>> Help diagnose the cause of the problem - if you are afflicted.
  • Did you change anything in the Template - Edit HTML wizard?
  • Did you change anything in the Blog Posts widget, in Template - Page Elements? If so, did you
    • Rearrange elements (links, comments, etc) within the widget GUI?
    • De-select any of the options under "Select Items", i.e. "links" or "comments"?
  • Did you rearrange elements using the Page Elements GUI?
  • What browser and operating system (name, version) do you use, when making changes?


>> Forum thread links: bX-*00047

>> Copy this tag: bX-*00047

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