Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2010

Links In The Title Cause Titles That Change Colour

One commonly used convention, in website links, uses hyperlinks that change colour when followed.

Look at the title of this post, Links In The Title Cause Titles That Change Colour. What colour is the title? Now, click on the title, and observe the colour. Next, look at the bottom of this post, and the Topics - "Fonts and Colors, Links, Settings, Settings - Formatting".

What you're seeing, in this exercise, are unvisited (called generally "links") and visited ("visited links") link captions. In this blog, unvisited link captions are blue, visited link captions are purple - and hovered link captions are blue, and underlined.

Custom Domains, And A Domain Cluster

More and more bloggers are publishing their blogs to non BlogSpot URLs, using custom domain publishing, thanks to improved setup and stability. And more bloggers are finding more questions to ask, about how to handle the details.

Before custom domain publishing, we had bloggers renaming BlogSpot published blogs. Then, we had them publishing to their custom domains. Now we have bloggers who wish to rename their custom domain published URLs, and even to publish blogs to multiple non BlogSpot URLs.A single blog republished to a different domain.A single blog published to one (primary) domain, with one or more secondary domains used as aliases.Multiple blogs, each published to a different domain, in a domain cluster.
A single blog republished to a different domain is similar to republishing a custom domain published blog. Since the final custom domain URL (from step #3) won't be the same as the original custom domain URL, this will require planning similar to changing your BlogSpot …

Your Blog Content, And Your "Next Blog" Neighbourhood

In November 2009, Blogger changed the nature of the "Next Blog" link. Originally driven by randomly selected entries in the "Recently Updated Blogs" list, the list was later filtered to block inadvertent surfing to blogs with undesirable content (intentionally published to host hacking, porn, or spam content). When the filtering became relatively ineffective, the "Next Blog" code was redesigned, to select link targets dynamically, relevant to the content of the blog being currently displayed.

This causes occasional confusion among bloggers and blog owners alike.Some blog owners don't understand why their blogs now get less "Next Blog" traffic, even as they post more content to their blogs.Other blog owners don't understand why they click on "Next Blog", and are redirected to blogs that don't seem to relate to their blogs.Some bloggers don't understand why they don't get sent to interesting blogs, any more.
There a…

Managing Your Following Community

Blogger gives us our blogs, and our Blogger accounts, for eternity - should we wish to retain them.Blogger accounts and Blog*Spot addresses do not expire.Independently of what choices Blogger allows us, we do change.This, too, shall pass.We will want to occasionally remove ourselves as Followers, from some blogs.Maybe we have reached the limit for blogs simultaneously Followed.Maybe we have lost interest in a blog that we are Following.Maybe a blog that we are Following becomes dormant, or even deleted.
Should we feel the need to stop Following any blog, there are two wizards, equally useful.The dashboard "Manage Blogs I'm Following" wizard.The Following "Sites I've joined" wizard.
At the bottom of your Blogger dashboard, you'll find a blue "Manage" button (Classic GUI) or the familiar "Gear" icon (New GUI). This lets you manage Following, for all blogs that you are Following using this Blogger / Google account.Click on the button /…

Custom Domain Publishing, And Forwarding Vs Referral - The Controversy Never Ends

I give advice, as well as problem solutions, several times / day, in BHF: How Do I?, and in BHF: Something Is Broken. Not all of my advice is graciously accepted.

Some of my advice is based on simple truths.No, Auto Pagination is not going to be made optional.No, you cannot have control of that blog, even though you state it's yours - unless you can prove ownership.No, you cannot have control of that URL, even though it is inactive - even if it is the perfect URL for your blog.
None of those subjects frustrate me half as much as simple advice, also occasionally ignored, about properly setting up a custom domain. Too many blog owners insist that frame or URL forwarding is an acceptable solution, for connecting a domain to a Blogger blog.

Blog*Spot Connectivity In India

Various bloggers in India - the majority being customers of Reliance Telecomm - are reporting inability to access Blog*Spot, with no reported problems accessing Blogger or Google in general. The problem appears to be geographically uniform across all of India.

We have a Problem Rollup question in Blogger Help Forum, where the epidemiology of the problem is being explored.

Some bloggers appear to be able to regain access, by using different DNS servers from the ones supplied by their ISP. This is a possible workaround, though it may not be a good permanent solution for several reasons. Several bloggers have reported contact with Reliance Tech Support, though the depth of commitment by Reliance TS, to solving the problem, is unknown.

To help identify and verify the epidemiology of the problem, please state diagnostic details as clearly as possible.Your location (City and State, please).The name of your ISP.Is your problem with accessing Blog*Spot, Blogger, Google, other domains?When …

FTP Publishing - The Migration Is Nearing The End

The migration from FTP Publishing started several months ago. Last week, the migration reached it's official end, with the closing of the dedicated Migration Issues Tracker database.***Note: The Issue Tracker is closed for new submissions. If you are having trouble with FTP migrations, please submit a report in
our help forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/label?lid=027
1191b4249689a&hl=en

So now, all new issues related to FTP Publishing are being handled with other Blogger problems. The closed tracker database was also noted withWe will have all logged issues from this tracker resolved by Friday, May 21st 5:00PM PST.
>> Top

Google Webmaster Tools And URL Removal

If you have a blog that you don't want indexed by Google Search, you block it from being indexed using the selections in Settings - Basic. Sometimes, you may have a blog that you do want indexed, but specific posts that you do not want indexed.

You can block individual posts from being indexed, using Google Webmaster Tools, and the URL removal request tool.

The URL removal request tool is accessed from the "Crawler access" wizard in "Site configuration". Note the advice provided, first.If private or out-of-date content is appearing in Google search results, use the Removal URL tool to request its removal (but first, make sure to review our removal requirements).Having fulfilled the requirements, hit the "New removal request" button, and enter the URL of the post in question.

Note that you will be required to verify that the specific URL is returning a "404" or "410" in the "Crawl errors" or similar diagnostic report, be…

Static Pages, And Duplication Prevention Suffixing

Sometimes, after we publish a static page or a post, we may need to start over. When starting over, the natural tendency is to delete the page or the post being edited, and make a clean start. With blogs, where we control only the page or post title, this is not always a good idea.

With static pages, as with posts, once you publish a page with a given title, the URL that's relevant to the title is locked to that page. If you delete a page that's been published with a given title, and simply start over with a new page with the same title, the new page will have a suffixed URL.

Right now, when you rename your blog - and change the blog URL - the Pages index won't be automatically updated. Clicking on a Pages link will give us an old friend404 Not Foundor the Blogger equivalentPage not found
Sorry, the page you were looking for in the blog The Real Blogger Status does not exist.Some bloggers will panic, and delete the pages already published.

This is the wrong reaction, a…

What's The URL Of My FeedBurner Feed?

Along with knowing the URL of your blog, and of your blog site feed, knowing the URL(s) of your FeedBurner feed(s) is a good idea.

If you don't want to write them down somewhere, or memorise them, know how to find the URL(s).

With FeedBurner, the action starts from the feed dashboard.
Login to FeedBurner.Select the feed, by name.This gives you the feed dashboard.Now, select "Edit Feed Details".This gives you the "Feed Details" wizard.Look at "Feed Address:".

Different Browsers Giving Odd Results? Start With A Clean, Up To Date Blogger Template

There's a popular adageIn this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.I would amend this to readIn this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and browser differences.I've written about this before, yet still we see the occasional confusion and naivete, reported in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.Why does my blog look so good under Firefox, yet so scrambled under Internet Explorer?
I can name three possible problems, which may be present in the template in any blog.Custom code.Old code.Third party code.
Custom code. If you installed any template tweaks, did you test your changes in multiple browsers?

Old code. Blogger releases various changes, in the templates which they provide. If you got your template last year, there may be a fix that could help you, this year.

Third party code. I've published various warnings about third party code. This article continues that series.

In case you see a problem with your blog, I…

Following - The Implications #2

The immensely popular Blogger social networking feature Following has been with us for over 18 months now, and we've seen quite a few improvements. We had privacy and security concerns about it, in the beginning. Even today, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we see more bloggers with concerns.How do I Follow a blog, without cluttering up my Reading List?andCan I Follow a blog without showing what other blogs I Follow?andHow do I include a link to my blog, from my Following picture?andHow do I know when somebody new decides to Follow my blog?In the beginning, none of those questions could be answered, with any encouraging details.

Following has gotten better, though, with various site specific options, that should satisfy your dual need for privacy and for publicity.

You start from the "Manage" button at the bottom of your Blogger dashboard, which gives you the "Manage Blogs I'm Following" menu. Similar to your Blogger dashboard, the menu contains a list …

Security Vulnerability In Mail-to-Blogger Passwords

In early 2010, Blogger issued a typically terse warning of a security problem, with blogs that use Mail-to-Blogger for publishing posts.To prevent abuse, a recent update to disabled easily guessable secret words. Please update your Mail2Blogger secret word.
I've referred to the importance of the "secret word" some time ago - and apparently this year, a few blogs are being hit by the vulnerability.

A Domain Purchased Using "Buy A Domain" Is A Fully Functional Domain

Many bloggers are not quite sure about the relationship between Blogger blogs, custom domain publishing, and the "Buy A Domain For Your Blog" wizard.How do I use my domain with my WordPress blog?andCan I use my domain outside Blogger?andIf I drop my Blogger blog, what happens to my domain?These are all questions, asked occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?

The answer here is quite simple. A domain purchased through Blogger, using the "Buy A Domain" wizard, is a fully functional registered domain. You can do anything with this domain, that you would do with any other domain.

Blog Post Content Showing "undefined"

Recently, we've seen a few reports of apparently missing content in some blog posts.At the top of all of my blog posts it says "undefined undefined".Frequently this will be reported after having changed templates, possibly for a third party template.

The portion of the blog where the problem is reported will be typically part of the post or comments area. The most likely candidate for the problem, then, is the post template.

A good thing to check first would be post template corruption, so refresh or reset the post template. If that's not helpful, then look for a problem with the date setting.

>> Top

Resetting The Post Template

The posts are the most important part of the blog as a whole - they contain the material which your visitors read, which is generally what attracts them to the blog. Most of the blog content, that's indexed by the search engines, comes from the posts. It follows, then, that the post template is the most important part of the blog template.

When there are problems with the posts or post accessories, and the problems can't be resolved by editing the posts using the Post Editor, or adjusting the various settings in the Blog Posts gadget, the post template is corrupt, or out of date. There are three possible techniques, to resolve problems with the post template.

Resetting the post template is a fairly simple task, when you get used to it. It's done using the "Edit HTML" wizard in the Classic GUI Template Editor - and it's done without Expanding Widget Templates.

Using the "Edit HTML" wizard, look for the "Blog Posts" gadget.
<b:widget i…

Problems Observed When Publishing Posts With Changed Dates

Recently, we've seen reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken about some oddities observed when publishing posts with changed dates.I back dated a post, but it won't publish.orI published a post with a scheduled date, and it has already published.
What's going on here? If you're observing this problem, please try and help us diagnose its spread.What date / time format is the blog set to?What time zone is the blog set to?What date / time format is the computer, where you setup the blog, set to?What date / time format is the computer, where you published the post, set to?What time zone is the computer, where you setup the blog, set to?What time zone is the computer, where you published the post, set to?What language is the blog published in?What language is the computer, from where you published the scheduled post, set to?Are the two computers - used for setting up the blog, and used for publishing the post, the same?What browser did you use, when setting up …

Getting In To The New Post Editor, And Designer Templates, Carefully

There are different ways to get into a properly designed swimming pool. Most pools have a shallow end, possibly with steps - and a hand rail. Cautious people like to walk down the steps, slowly, holding on to the rail. At the other end, where it is deep, some folks like to dive (head first), or jump (feet first), and go in quickly.

Summer is just around the corner - in the USA anyway. Some pools, that are not heated, you may not enjoy using for a couple more months. If you dive in to an unheated pool, you may not enjoy the feeling (you may not have any feeling in your body). Use the steps, or hop in to the shallow end, if you're experienced in early summer swimming.

If you've been reading about my experiences with the new post editor, and about the new designer templates, you may wonder about how to get into that swimming pool. The water isn't very clear, and you may not know how deep it is anywhere. And, it's a good idea to know where the steps are, so you can…

Ambiguity In Spam Detection

Occasionally, some bloggers report confusion over whether their blogs have been tagged as splogs, after receiving some odd email.
Your blog at http://myblog.blogspot.com/ has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our Terms of Service for: NONE. In accordance to these terms, we've removed the blog and the URL is no longer accessible.The blog does not appear to be locked, nor does it's online status change. All that's seen is the ominous email notice.

The response from Blogger Support is slightly encouraging.
we have a bug in our system that has been sending those email inadvertently
So if you get this email, apparently you can ignore it. Your blog should remain online, and accessible as before. Check your dashboard - you should have administrative access, and no need to worry.

>> Top

The New Designer Templates Lack Text Overflow Protection

If your blog is similar to mine, you may, on occasion, include content that doesn't fit, horizontally, in a post. A long time ago, that would make the blog, when viewed in Internet Explorer, show either the post or sidebar at the bottom of the page. Blogger added a bit of code to the templates, to prevent this from being a problem.

Custom Domains Redirecting To Google Sites

Similar to a redirection to the Google Apps Start Page service, some custom domains will be found to be directed to Google Sites. Again, we'll see an apparently normal (asymmetrical) DNS address configuration.
mydomain.net. 3600 IN A 216.239.32.21 mydomain.net. 3600 IN A 216.239.34.21 mydomain.net. 3600 IN A 216.239.36.21 mydomain.net. 3600 IN A 216.239.38.21 www.mydomain.net. 3600 IN CNAME ghs.google.com. --- ghs.google.com. 282206 IN CNAME ghs.l.google.com. ghs.l.google.com. 300 IN A 74.125.43.121 The diagnosis, again, will be made using an (abbreviated) HTTP trace.


Sending request: GET / HTTP/1.1 Host: mydomain.net User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: 1.9.0.5) Gecko/2008120122 Firefox/3.0.5 Connection: close • Finding host IP address... • Host IP address = 209.85.171.121 • Finding TCP protocol... • B…

The "Buy A Domain" Wizard Has Limited Selections For TLD

The ability to publish a Blogger blog to a non BlogSpot URL is becoming a known - and desired - option for many bloggers. And with the retiring of FTP Publishing, many bloggers are turning to Custom Domain Publishing. Not everybody is satisfied with the TLD choice of ""com", "net", "info", "org", or "biz"", though.Some folks would like to publish to a "vanity" TLD, like ".me", ".tv", or ".us".Others would like the country relevant TLD of their residence, like ".au", ".de", or ".in".And I have seen one or two queries about using a ".gov" TLD.
Custom domains will support use of any properly registered domain that you can "buy". The limitation is with the "Buy a Domain" wizard, which lets you select only a ".biz", ".com", ".info", ".net", or "org" generic Top Level Domain. Addi…

Identify The Gadgets In The Template, Reliably

When you tweak the code in a gadget, based upon my instructions, you'll be editing the template HTML. Or, you might be using the Layout wizard, to locate and remove a problem gadget.

You'll do most editing with widget code unfolded. You'll have a lot of code to sift through - and with many gadgets in your blog, there's always the chance that you'll see the code for one gadget, and confuse it for another.

If you delete or tweak the wrong gadget, you may not like what you get. Before deleting anything, or editing the template, take an extra minute, and find the specific gadget, by its name. This could save you a lot of grief.