Sunday, November 27, 2011

Please Blogger, Restore My Deleted Blog!! #2

In 2009, Blogger Support became weary from handling too many problem reports from blog owners who had made such a simple mistake.
I hit the wrong key, and deleted my blog! Help Me!!
They started archiving deleted blogs, and gave us a wizard to un delete a newly deleted blog, from the archive. Unfortunately, that ability to un delete a blog has two major limitations.
  1. A deleted blog can be un deleted within 90 days.
  2. A deleted blog can be un deleted by a blog administrator.
Some blog owners find out the relevance of the second limitation the hard way - after they delete their blog, then find out that they have two (or more) Blogger accounts.

Blogger Magic - A Static Home Page

Every week, somebody asks for such a simple blog feature.
How do I have a single blog post always displayed, for the home page?
There are many things that Blogger has yet to provide, and this is one. A blog, by definition, contains a dynamic home page, with the most current posts displayed.

Today (sorry, too late!), if you view this blog, this post will be displayed, at the very top of the home page. Tomorrow, this post will be displayed, just not at the top of the home page. In a couple weeks, this post will not be displayed on the home page, at all. That is how blogs work. If you want to display anything else, you don't have a blog.

That's the purist position, anyway. A blog is simply a web site with the latest posts displayed on home page (the main page), and hidden older posts (the archives).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Will Legacy Accounts Deletion Automatically Make The URL Of Your Choice Available To You?

If you believe some of the discussions in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, a lot of Blogger blog owners are lining up at the gate - or will be doing that, starting 2011/12/05 23:59.
For a number of technical and operational reasons, we’ve decided to finally end our support for migrating legacy accounts and blogs after December 5, 2011.
Some discussions include speculation about deletion of blogs owned under legacy accounts, which will result in their personal dream URL being made available to them, finally.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Decorations And Your Blog, #2

Last week, I issued my annual reminder to blog owners, to consider their blog holiday decorations with care. That reminder mainly focuses on the more controversial issue of blog hijacks, and computer hacking. Besides the long term and subtle computer hacking, your readers, visiting your blog decorated with the latest animation, will have a more immediate and obvious problem to consider - browser freezes and other computer overload problems.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Google Friend Connect Accessory To Be Provided By Blogger

This week, Google announced the end to its website based community building accessory, Google Friend Connect, for non Blogger based websites.
We're retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012.
The announcement notes its replacement with Google+.
We encourage affected sites to create a Google+ page and place a Google+ badge on their site so they can bring their community of followers to Google+ and use new features like Circles and Hangouts to keep in touch.
Blogger blog owners can continue to use the Followers gadget, can use Google+, or can build their communities using both features.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dynamic Templates Lack A Login Link In The Header Bar

Last week, after some complaints were heard from blog owners who were using the dynamic templates on their blogs, Blogger added "Dashboard" and "New Post" links in the header bar. These new links are accessible when the blog owner is logged in, as a blog administrator.

Unfortunately, their improvement did not take into account the need to login. Blog owners, not logged in, will still see no links.

If not logged in, you may access your dashboard simply using the link to Blogger.
http://www.blogger.com/
Alternately, you may access the non dynamic alias of any blog, for instance
http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/?v=0
and you may then use the "Login" link in the navbar.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Blogs Cannot Be Whitelisted Against Spam Classification

Periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we see the naive request.
Please, take a minute and let me know how safe my blog is.
Here, the blog owner wants to know whether it's possible that his blog might be classified as a spam host, in the near future.

This is a request that, no matter how genuine a blog, and a blog owner, may appear now, cannot be fulfilled with any degree of accuracy and authority.

It's The Holiday Season Again, And It's Time To Decorate Our Blogs

The Winter Holiday season is approaching, and this week we're seeing queries by some blog owners, getting ready.
Why do my readers see a search display - instead of my blog?
and
How do I make it snow on my blog?
and a few owners, and visitors
Why does my browser freeze or lag when viewing this blog?
Many blog owners, who publish craft, family, and personal themed blogs, just have to make their blogs reflect their holiday wishes for their readers. Only later, they may re think their decision.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Comments Settings In The New Blogger GUI

Ever since the New Blogger GUI (2011) was offered to us several months ago, we've been seeing odd questions about options for Comments in our blogs, in the New GUI.
How do I select the "Full page" or "Pop-up window" comment form, for my blog?
and
How do I select CAPTCHA verification?
and occasionally
Can I still have notification of comments, as published?
The latter question is easy enough to answer - it's just not as obvious as the other settings, in the New GUI. The first two questions represent genuine concerns, for some blog owners.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Verifying Ownership Of Your Site To Bing Webmaster

As a web master (aka blog master), besides adding posts and enhancing the template, you have a third activity - connecting your web site (blog) to other web sites and blogs. In many cases, you'll simply send the owners of the other web site (blog) a request to link to your blog.

For links to large and very active web sites, you'll use an online wizard. To prove ownership of your web site, instead of sending email, you'll add a file of specific name, or maybe specific content, into the web site. You can't add a file to your blog, though. With a Blogger blog, you have no control over files and folders - all that you do is publish posts.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dynamic Templates Lack A Dashboard Link In The Header Bar

Yesterday, we saw a few reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, mentioning the lack of a link, in the dynamic views header bar, to our dashboards.
I'm using dynamic views and now can't access my dashboard!
It appears that the Blogger logo / Attribution ("Powered by Blogger" caption), which formerly linked to our dashboards, is not there, any more. This deficiency appears universal - the links no longer appear on all different dynamic views, on header bars with the views listed side by side or in the pulldown list, or on blogs where dynamic views are default, or optional.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Security Change To BlogSend Leaves BlogSend Email Distribution Broken #2

A year ago, we noted a security change to BlogSend, which left many blog owners with severely deprecated ability to publicise blog updates, when using a private Google Group. At that time, the recommended workaround was to add "no-reply@blogger.com" as a Google Group member.

Today, we see that the ability to add Google Group members directly is no longer offered. It appears now that the use of private Google Groups, for distribution of Blogger blog updates, is not an option.

Publicising Updates To Your Blog, Using Google+

Ever since Google+ was released, blog owners have been asking how to post blog updates to Google+. Previously, there was only the possibility of publishing from Google+ to our blogs - and that option was not well designed. Last week, Blogger released this option, in Draft Blogger.
Today we’re excited to announce the first way you will be able to leverage Google+ -- by making it possible to replace your Blogger profile with your Google+ profile.

In addition to giving your readers a more robust and familiar sense of who you are, your social connections will see your posts in their Google search results with an annotation that you've shared the post.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Problems With Dynamic Templates And The Menu Bar / Pages Index

We're getting a few reports today, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, from blog owners who publish blogs with static pages, that use the new dynamic templates, and that now have no ability to index the pages in the dynamic views. We're also seeing reports mentioning some blogs which have no menu bar visible, in dynamic views. Both problems were, reportedly, first observed mid morning today, Pacific time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Make A Custom Pages Index For Your Blog

Even before Blogger added static pages as a blog feature, blog owners have been asking how to make hidden or separate pages for their blogs. When static pages, and the Pages index gadget, were added, people started asking about indexing label searches and external links in the Pages gadget.

There are several solutions to the need to have a Pages gadget that indexes archive / label searches, and external URLs. Each solution has its advantages, and disadvantages.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Blog Owners Find Static Pages, On Dynamic Templates, Don't Allow Comments

A month ago, we discovered a problem with static pages and commenting, on our blogs. That problem was later fixed.

Yesterday, while exploring a subtle problem with commenting on posts when using a dynamic template, I discovered a new problem with static pages and commenting, also on the dynamic template.

Dynamic Templates And The Embedded Comment Form

We've been observing problems with commenting on blogs using the inline comment form ("Embedded below post"), ever since Blogger changed the inline form, many months ago. First, we observed an overall problem with cookie filtering and the embedded comment form. Later, a more subtle problem with using the CAPTCHA form with embedded comments was discovered.

Now, we're seeing a similar problem, with the new dynamic templates, and the embedded comment form. This problem may not be any more obvious, to some blog readers, than the preceding problems were.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Blogger Is Not Blocking Access To Your Blog

I've explained the issues about Blogger account maintenance, and blog access, so many times. I've described it as possession being the law, or as reading between the lines, or even as responsible practice - and some people just don't understand these issues. Some people try to describe their problem, when they have a problem, as Blogger unlawfully stealing their possession.
Blogger won't give me access to my blog - do I need a court order to get access to my blog, and to my content?
At first glance, they have a point - Blogger has to give us access to our blogs, or they cease being our blogs. If you look closer though, there's a flaw in that reasoning.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Referer Spam Does Not Represent Real Traffic, To Our Blogs

We've been discussing referer spam for many months now. Every week, besides many people who wonder
Why doesn't Google put an end to this, for good?
there are occasionally some folks who wonder
But is this all bad? Doesn't this help us in our overall Blogger statistics as far as traffic counts go? If so, it's not all bad - for those of us with less than ginormous followings.
And both attitudes reflect people who just don't understand what it is.

Jump Break, Main Page Contents, And Search Engine Indexing

This blog is large (by some standards), and contains articles about various subjects, generally related to production and use of Blogger blogs.

The various articles in the blog are written as posts, with the various posts combined, using embedded links, in different ways. Each new post appears on the main page, as it is written - and the various posts, appearing together on the main page, create opportunities for confusion, with the readers of the blog.

Long ago, the task of moderating comments was rather depressing to me, as the focus of many of the comments made me think that nobody was actually reading the articles. Maybe, I would write an interesting post about URL availability; but when moderating comments, I would find questions about posting comments on static pages. Or maybe a post about dynamic template concepts would attract complaints about referer spam.

Why should I publish my advice, if nobody cares enough to read the articles and comment relevantly?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Blogger Account, For Virginia, USA

A few months ago, a few Blogger blog owners were given important news which may not have pleased them.
For a number of technical and operational reasons, we’ve decided to finally end our support for migrating legacy accounts and blogs after December 5, 2011.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Earlier today, I observed one new feature in New Blogger GUI (2011) - the Post Editor "Add or remove link" wizard now offers the option to
Open this link in a new window.

This, in my opinion, is a major improvement in the New GUI (in general), and in Post Editor (in particular). A few minutes later, to my disappointment, I discovered a major design deficiency, in Post Editor.

The First Compelling Reason To Use The New Blogger GUI (2011)

For many years, I have consistently used "Edit HTML" mode when creating and editing my posts, because I need to make some links, embedded in the post content, open in a new tab / window (subject to choice of the reader). Up to this month, this could only be done by manually editing the links, and inserting the link modifier
target="_blank"
. Today, in creating this post, in "Compose" mode, and adding the above link, I see the option
Open this link in a new window.
in the "Add link " wizard.

If Blogger is able to resolve the many design issues with the New Blogger GUI (2011) in general, this change in the New GUI (2011) Post Editor will go a long way towards removing our need to use "Edit HTML" Mode. This will remove a significant amount of problems of using Post Editor in dual modes, and will allow them to stabilise Post Editor in general.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Dynamic Templates And The Interstitial Warning Display

In the latest round of controversy about the interstitial warning display, we see reports from more publishers of "adult content" blogs, reporting inability to try the dynamic templates on their blogs.
Why are Dynamic Views not available for my blog? Is this yet another conspiracy against "adult content" blogs?
From what I can tell, it's simply another scenario where the interstitial warning causes problems.

Blogger Does Not Censor Comment Content

Periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we see a naive query.
How do I report a person who posts nasty things, in comments, on my blog?
And the unfortunate response here is
You can't report unwanted comments. There is no comment censoring agency.
Blogger considers comments to be protected as freedom of speech. Outside of moderation for spam - which is a collaborative activity - comments are up to you, the blog owner, to treat as you please.