Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's The Canonical URL Of My Blog?

This blog is (for those of you not familiar with it) "The Real Blogger Status".

The URL of this blog is currently "http://blogging.nitecruzr.net". As long as I publish the blog properly (as "blogging.nitecruzr.net"), I am allowed to advertise the blog using any combination of lower case and upper case letters, that I like. This blog can be accessed as "blogging.nitecruzr.net", "Blogging.Nitecruzr.Net", or even "BlOgGiNg.nitecruzr.net". We say that Blogger URLs are case insensitive.

Even with my readers allowed to use any combination of lower and uppercase letters, to access this blog, I don't want the search engines to index (and determine page rank) my blog using the exact URLs, as typed by each different reader. Even with this blog being addressed as "blogging.nitecruzr.net", "Blogging.Nitecruzr.Net", or even "BlOgGiNg.nitecruzr.net", the search engines index this blog as "blogging.nitecruzr.net".

To help this happen, Blogger provides the "canonical" tag, in the blog header.

BlogSpot Published Blogs Being Accessed Using Country Code TLDs

Recently, some blog owners outside the USA have been asking about mysterious redirects which they (or their readers) are seeing, when accessing their blogs.
Why is "xxx.blogspot.com" now redirecting to "xxx.blogspot.com.au"?
and
Why was my blog address recently changed from ".com" to ".in"?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Custom Domain Publishing - Moving Back To BlogSpot, Using The New GUI, Isn't Obvious

The New Blogger GUI (2011) has been available for just over 6 months - and we see new confusion about using it, daily, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?.
How do I cancel my custom domain redirect, in the New GUI?
This is one specific question, that's been asked, recently.

The answer to that specific question is actually right there, in front of us - we just don't see it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Involuntary "Adult Content" Warning Is Collaborative

Some blog owners find evidence of opinion from their viewers, but cannot accept the opinions expressed.
Why is there a "Content Warning" on my blog?
They don't understand the collaborative opinion being expressed, when this warning is displayed.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Setup An Audit Trail For Your Team Blog

Ever since Blogger gave us the ability to have team blogs, blog owners have been asking
How do I track what my authors are posting?
as if Blogger blogs have an audit trail option. The unfortunate truth is that Blogger is a website publishing platform - it is (or was, at one time) called
Blogger One Button Publishing
Blogger, quite simply, is not a Content Management System.

However, even if Blogger does not provide a packaged audit trail, which would be a standard feature in any CMS, this does not mean that we cannot set one up, with very little work. If you publish a team blog (or a single owner blog), you already have this option.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Identifying And Removing Deviously Engineered And Marketed Blog Hijacks

We saw the symptoms of the first carefully engineered blog hijacks, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, two years ago. During each succeeding holiday season, each attack has apparently become more and more deviously engineered.

This season - each season starting in Fall of one year and lasting until Spring of the following year - we are seeing a hijack complement which appears to be devious in both marketing and installation technique, and which requires a complex search of the affected blogs. If you are receiving reports from your readers
Your blog starts to load - but is quickly replaced by a page full of advertisements!
you may need to exhaustively examine your blog for any third party code - and as always, the problem code may have been installed at any time in the past. When discovered, the hijacks are not consistently found in recently installed code.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Deletion Is Not An Alternative, If You Cannot Authenticate Yourself Or Recover Access

Some supposed blog owners, unable to login to their Blogger accounts because they forgot the Blogger account name or password (or never bothered to remember either), try to compromise.

They figure that, if they can't regain access to the blog, then Blogger will be willing to simply delete the blog - and everybody will be happy. They appear to have overlooked the repeatedly stated policy, which promises us that our blogs will be ours, as long as we wish to own them.

The problem is, blog deletions are as sensitive to illegal action as account recovery - and illegal actions are a very real threat to our blogs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Retrieving The PostID, To Recover A Deleted Post

One of the challenges of using the Blogger dashboard "Posts" menu is the too easy ability to delete posts - if you are not thinking about what you're doing.

Fortunately, under the right circumstances, accidental deletion of a single post won't cause a terrible catastrophe - though you (the blog owner) will need to react properly.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Search Engine Results Are Not Permanent

One of the oddest problem reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken comes from blog owners who only want their blog to be found, in search engine results.
I started a blog 6 months ago. I spent a week getting my blog publicised, it started showing up in search engine results, and all was well. 6 months later, my blog shows up nowhere, it's like it doesn't exist. What happened to my blog??
These blog owners do not realise that a position in any page of the search results is not permanent.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why Does Blogger Use A Google Account, Which Is Based On Your Email Address, To Identify You?

One of the most constantly seen discussions, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, involves people who have forgotten their Blogger account name or password. Generally, it's a rather simple task to recover access to one's Blogger account, should you forget / lose access to any one Blogger authentication token.

The Blogger Forgot your username or password? wizard will send, upon request, an account recovery email message, to the email address associated with the Blogger account needed, for any active and online blog. Just provide the blog name, read the email, and follow instructions.

Unfortunately, not all Blogger blog owners can always use email based account recovery.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What Is The Mysterious 90 Day Period, After Blog Deletion?

We see periodic evidence of confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, about deletion of our blogs.
I deleted my blog last year - can I get it back?
and
I deleted my blog last month - when will I be able to use it with my new Blogger account?
and
I deleted my blog, but it's still visible, on the Internet!
Not everybody is fully able to understand the "90 day" deletion policy.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Link Your Blog, Using A Dynamic Template, To A Non Dynamic Page In Your Blog

The dynamic templates have been available for just over 3 months, and for all their usefulness, there are a number of identified deficiencies. We see, every week, naive questions about one well known deficiency.
How do I add a bloglist (Followers gadget, labels index, popular posts, what have you...) gadget to my blog, with it using a dynamic template?
Adding gadgets to a dynamic template display just won't be a simple project. Not to be facetious, but there is really no space on the screen, for an accessory bar (also known as a sidebar). The dynamic views dynamically fill all horizontal space.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Two Level Comments, And One Known Post Template Update

From feedback being received about the recent release of two level commenting, and the many different problems attributed to the release, it appears that there is one commonly identified update to the post template. It's possible that adding this one change, to some blogs with tweaked post templates, may eliminate the need for a post template refresh.

This is a simple change - but it must be made in 4 different places. I highly recommend that you backup the template, before and after making this change. Allow 30 minutes, to concentrate properly on the task.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Two Level Comments, And Required Updates To Our Blogs

The new two level commenting feature has been out for a short 2 days - and already there are at least half a dozen separate problems being attributed to the introduction of that feature. Not every blog owner understands how intrusive this new feature must have been, to install, into Blogger.

The previous two Blogger feature releases - dynamic templates, and the New Blogger GUI, required major changes to the Blogger GUI. Two level commenting, while not requiring major GUI changes, was still challenging to develop. Two level comments required a significant upgrade to the content of our blogs, and were activated without the decision of the blog owners involved.

When You Search For Important Email, Always Search Carefully

Many Blogger / Google procedures involve email communications, with you needing to read - and respond to - email from Blogger / Google.

Some email systems automatically sort incoming email, and put important (and not so important) email into different folders. Many times, email from Blogger / Google may be sorted into a folder where you would not always normally look - or may be sent to an email address that you might not think of, immediately. It's to your personal advantage, to find any email that is being sent to you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two Level Comments And The Comments Time / Date Stamp

Yesterday, Blogger Support delivered one long awaited improvement to our blogs - two level commenting. It was eagerly awaited - and as soon as the Buzz announcement hit the Blogosphere, people were busy checking out the new feature.

Predictably, problem reports have been rolling in, all day today, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken. One noticed problem report concerns the date / time stamp on the comments.
All of the comments on my blog, even on previous posts, now show an incorrect time. I double-checked my setting, it is correctly set my local time.
The general consensus appears to be that all comments are now posting as Pacific Time (USA), regardless of the blog time zone setting.

This problem, along with several others, has been reported to Blogger Support - and they are now looking into this issue.

Watch this space for updates.

>> Top

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Two Level Commenting Now Available, For Blogger Blogs

Blogger blog owners and viewers have been asking for the ability to post threaded comments, for many years. Today (slightly late for Christmas 2011), Blogger released it's first answer to that request - two level commenting.
Blogger now supports threaded commenting, which means that it is now much easier to differentiate between whether someone is making a general comment on the thread, or responding to another comment on the thread.

This is not what I would call classic "threaded commenting", but it's a reasonable alternative.


Publishing Your Blogger Blog Post To FaceBook Fails, With Open Refusal By FaceBook

Late last year, Blogger blog owners seeking to publicise their blog posts using their FaceBook Wall, were denied that possibility, silently. That problem was recently resolved, though still in silence.

Recently, Blogger blog owners started reporting a new symptom of problems with FaceBook.
I try to share my blog address on FaceBook, and I receive this message
The content you're trying to share includes a link that's been blocked for being spammy or unsafe:
Now what do I do?
This symptom is most likely a problem which the individual blog owners will need to discuss, with FaceBook Support.

Recovering A Deleted Page Or Post

In late 2010, Blogger Support announced that they cannot provide the service to restore deleted posts.

Once you (the blog owner) delete a post, it's gone. Fortunately, there are several possibilities, to recover deleted posts - though some work may be required.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Legacy Blogger Accounts Are No Longer Supported

Last year, Blogger made an announcement that displeased a few Blogger blog owners.
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.
The initial announcement was made in April, 2011, with an action date, initially scheduled, well before December 5 - and the action date was delayed, several times. The quotation that you see was edited by Blogger Support, in their article, repeatedly.

On December 6, 2011, support for Legacy Blogger accounts finally ended. Even so, we still see occasional signs of oblivious account holders, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
My account doesn't have a Google address because it it is 8 years old - how do I recover access to my account?
Apparently, not everybody who needed to do so, bothered to read the announcement.

A Google Account Does Not Have To Be Based On A GMail (Google Email) Address

Blogger updated their login screen, to make it more consistent with Google login displays and policies, over a year ago. Occasionally, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, we still see evidence of confusion.
Some time ago, Google started making users to sign in with a Google address. I did not want a Google email address, but since Blogger was requiring it, I had to make one. I never had any intention of using it, but only wanted to use Blogger. Why did Google make the sign in procedure for Blogger the same as Google mail?
This person, as with other Blogger blog owners, does not understand the difference between a Google account, and a GMail (Google email) account.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Blog Owners Report Disabled Blogger / GMail / Google Accounts - January 2012

This week, we're seeing a few reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, of disabled Blogger and GMail accounts, again with ominous warnings of "suspicious activity" or "unusual activity" on your account. Besides a disabled Blogger account, loss of AdSense, Blogger, Picasa, and other services is reported. This is similar to an earlier experience from May 2011.

Dynamic Templates And Private Blogs

With the new dynamic templates steadily gaining acceptance, there's one group of blog owners finding themselves left out - and not understanding why.

We are seeing various queries in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, from owners of private blogs.
Is there a way to use a dynamic view, and have a private blog, just for us to view?
And the answer here is simple
No, private blogs don't publish a blog feed - and dynamic views won't work.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Many Faces Of Spam Classification - And Varying Consequences

Many blog owners and readers are completely unaware of the many ways our Blogger, GMail, and Google accounts, our blogs, and our forum activity, are subject to spam classification - and the various consequences that we may suffer, when we trip a spam classification threshold. Questions in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken are seen daily.
Why was my forum account locked?
and
Why do my comments go straight to the Spam tab, on my friend's blog?
and
Why am I seeing ominous messages about "suspicious activity" on my account, when I sign into Blogger or GMail?
These are but 3 examples of the questions, that we deal with, almost constantly.

The Problem, With Publishing Our Blog Posts To FaceBook, Does Not Apparently Have A Simple Cause

The problem of publishing our blog posts to FaceBook, initially observed several days ago, has generated some controversy - and much confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken. Suggestions about its base cause are numerous - and variant.
  • Initially and at first glance, it appeared to involved posts containing lots of pictures.
  • Some folks have suggested that it involves use of the New GUI Post Editor.
  • Other folks insist that it's the result of a FaceBook decision, that may have targeted Blogger as a spam host.
  • Still others insist that it results from use of the Share button in the blog, vs the "Update Status" wizard in FaceBook itself.
  • One blog owner gave a very interesting explanation involving FaceBook, and Open Graph.

The problem has been reported to Blogger Support - though no response, to my report, has yet been seen. My asking, a few times, whether anybody has successfully reported the problem to FaceBook Support, has either been ignored or vigourously rejected, by all involved in the arguments.

Choose Your Registrar, When Buying A Domain

When you purchase a domain - either as part of the "Buy a domain" wizard, or when you purchase directly from a registrar - you are free to use any registrar that you wish, for the purchase. The "Buy a domain" wizard (which should be your preferred method of purchase) lets you use either eNom or GoDaddy - and which registrar you use is your choice - though the choice is not made obvious, by the wizard layout.