An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Diagnose Problems, With Blogs Using Dynamic Templates, Using Non Dynamic Templates

The process of examining browser source listings for a blog, and of having a blog owner carefully examine blog template code, is an important part of diagnosing many Blogger problems.

With blogs published to dynamic templates, neither source listings, nor template "Edit HTML", contain as much useful information, as with blogs published to non dynamic templates. Dynamic templates reference scripts, that are hosted in external libraries - and that cannot be updated or viewed.

The idea of having templates that were less customisable was originally supposed to encourage people to work on post content, and increase stability of their blogs - not create instability.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

GeoLocation, And Our Use Of Blogger

Recently, we've seen signs of confusion, from people who have problems with their Internet service, which shows them moving around their geographic region.
I logged in to Blogger, with no problem, yesterday. Today, after logging in successfully, I am asked for more details, to prove my identity!!
This blog owner has a problem with location based security.

Not all Blogger blog owners or readers understand that Country Code Alias Redirection, and the ability to access one's Blogger / Google account (and prevent others from accessing it), both depend upon the ability to determine the geographical location of each blog reader.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Spam Review Requires Ownership Verification

Part of the spam review process involves verifying that a spam review request is needed.

Not every blog owner understands the reason for not requesting spam review, needlessly. A blog has to be owned under the Google account being used, and locked as a suspected spam host, for a spam review to be useful.

A spam review, when properly conducted, starts with the "Restore" / "Review" buttons, in the "Deleted blogs" section of the personal Blogger dashboard. As of December 2014, the "Restore" / "Review" buttons are not working for everybody - and this is causing some confusion.

Friday, December 26, 2014

If You Travel, Be Prepared To Prove Identity

We're seeing reports from people who claim to be traveling, and who can't login and access their blogs.

Google appears to now authenticate us using current location, as well as account name / password. We see occasional reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about new security procedures.
I am traveling, and I need to access my Blogger account from another country. I know my account name and password - and I logged in successfully. But after logging in, I am still being asked to prove my identity!!
This blog owner is finding a problem, with Google taking extra measures to protect our accounts and blogs.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dashboard "Deleted blogs" Buttons Are Broken

We have numerous problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about a problem with the "Deleted blogs" section of the dashboard.
I can't restore my deleted blog!
and
I can't request spam review!
These owners are concerned, because the "Restore" and "Review" buttons appear to be broken. Nothing happens, when clicked.

Gambling Blogs Are Not Allowed In Blogger

Recently, we've had a few unsatisfied blog owners, with blogs deleted for TOS violation.

When able to research cached content, we see various posts with large, mysterious spreadsheets - and flashy ads with affiliate links.

When we look closer at the content, we see the spreadsheets appear to provide betting odds - and the ads link to various online betting services. The blogs in question are providing gambling services or bookmaking. Some blog owners prefer to call this "sports betting".

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Your Reading List Is Unique To You

One question, that I have never seen specifically asked, is about our following, reading lists, and blog subscriptions in general.
Why do I have to login to Blogger, to maintain my Reading List?
The blog follower / owner has asked a question that is involved in various problems, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue - but with this question so easily overlooked.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Why Do You Publish A Blogger Blog?

One of the more intriguing questions, that we see in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, involves the Blogger / WordPress dichotomy.
Should I migrate my blog to WordPress, where they provide SEO optimized themes, and various plugins?
My answer to that question starts with the suggestion, that the blog owner should ask himself
Why do I publish a blog?
This question has many possible answers - but I will focus on two possibilities.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Design Your Blog, As You Develop Your Audience

Similar to starting a blog and immediately focusing on making money, we sometimes see people who start a blog, and immediately start designing the template, with custom features.

A beautiful, shiny design is useless, if your readers don't like it. Different blogs will attract different reader populations, who will respond to different designs.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Static Pages Do Not Appear In Newsfeeds

We see occasional confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I let my readers subscribe to my pages?
A static page, by definition, does not produce newsfeed content. This is one original purpose for the static pages feature, in Blogger blogs.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pages And Posts, Saved As Draft, Won't Be Visible

Some blog owners, when publishing a new page or post, really appreciate the "Preview" option in the page / post editor.

In some cases, some people may use "Preview" so instinctively, they may overlook the limitations. We see the confusion, occasionaly, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Where is my page? There's no selection, under "Pages to show", even!
The blog owner does not realise that unpublished pages or posts won't be visible, outside the page / post editor, and the "Preview" window.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Confusion From Non Operable Dashboard "Restore" / "Review" Buttons

This week, we're seeing a few reports from anguished blog owners, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
My blog was deleted for spam, and I can't request review because the dashboard button doesn't work!
This blog owner is being hit by a double whammy - first, a spurious spam classification; and second, inability to request review of the blog, falsely accused, using the dashboard.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Don't Try To Number Dynamic Pages

One interesting question, which we see occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, would be about making the blog easier to read - if the blog were static.
How do I number the pages, in the blog?
This blog owner does not quite understand the concept of dynamic content.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

NeoWorx, And The Redirecting NeoCounter Gadgets

This week, we're seeing the anxious query, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Is my blog for sale? I try to view my blog, and I see
This Domain Is for Sale
Have I lost my blog?
Fortunately, in most cases, the answer is "No, your blog is not for sale." - and "No, you have not lost your blog!".

In mid 2014, NeoWorx, the publisher of popular gadgets like NeoCounter, closed up shop. Back end code for their gadgets, installed on thousands of blogs and websites, had been served from their private libraries. Having closed their domains, the gadgets stopped working.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Confusion From Blogs That Use Smart Links In Titles

Some blog owners like to publish blogs that use custom colours, in the titles.

Carefully coordinated colours are important, in some blogs. Both the blog title, and the individual post titles, in many blogs, are clickable link captions. The blog title links to the blog home page, and / or the post titles link to the individual post pages.

Some blog owners get confused, when they try to set the colour of the titles, to a custom colour - and see link colours (which vary according to status), instead of the selected custom colours.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Mysterious StatCounter Log Proxy Address Entry

We're seeing the occasional evidence of concern, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, from people who spend too much time examining their StatCounter logs.
Why do I see "62.210.181.15:3130", in my StatCounter logs, as a referring site - reported as unknown "pool IP proxy" - and showing full BlogSpot.com and other sites' content?
This sounds scary - but it's not.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Confusion From Comments And The CAPTCHA

This week, we're seeing complaints from quite a few angry blog owners, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Why do I have to solve a CAPTCHA, to comment on my own blog?
and
Everybody sees a CAPTCHA - even if they are logged in to Blogger!
Previously, the CAPTCHA was visible only to those not logged in to Blogger, or to those wishing to comment, anonymously.

Spammers - Getting Others To Do Their Work

We've known of resourceful scammerspammers, for years.

One long known scam, popular with home / small business blog owners, has been to award a badge for a "Most Excellent Blog" - and encourage the badge recipient to award the badge to friends with "Most Excellent Blogs".

The recipients of the "award" would proudly display the badge on their blogs. The "Most Excellent Blog" badge, of course, contained a link back to the scammers blog.

Recently, a spammer in a foreign country hosted an "SEO Contest" for other blog owners, where everybody participating was again, encouraged to put the "SEO Contest" badge on his blog or website. Again, the badge lead back to the spammers website.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Adding Label Search Pages To A Dynamic Template

We've been dealing with the limitations of the dynamic template - how you can't easily edit dynamic template HTML code, with a blog published to a dynamic template - for a while.

At one time, you could link a dynamic and non dynamic view of the blog - and let your readers use the sidebar, and the many options there, in non dynamic view - and switch back to dynamic view, for the comments and posts. That choice was taken away, in 2014, because of "privacy issues".

Like Designer and Layout templates, you can add a Pages gadget - and index dynamic pages, like label searches - as you may have done with gadgets on static pages.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Use Common Sense, And Protect Your Blog

We see various questions about getting advice and non standard accessories / code, from blogs and websites advertised outside Blogger / Google control - generally in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Why can't I see my blog? Every time I click on "View blog", I get a face full of ads!
and
Where can I get accessories, gadgets, and templates for my blog??
and
How do I know what accessories, gadgets, and templates are safe, for my blog?
and
Why did Blogger lock my blog, as a malware host?
All of these folks are discussing the same issue - blog content security. Some are asking properly, before they cause their problems - but others are not.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Blogger Cannot Provide A Blog Spam Review Tool

Among the cases which involve the hopeful, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, we see an occasional query about proactive spam review.
I am worried that my blog, like so many others, may be deleted by Blogger! Is there any tool or service, by which I can scan or analyze my blogspot blog, to see if it's breaking any of Google rules?
And the answer here, simply, has to be "No.".

For any such service or tool to be helpful, a positive review of a blog would have to be accompanied by a certification that the blog is free of any TOS violation. The blog would then be frozen, to prevent any further changes. How many blog owners would want their blog frozen, for eternity?

Saturday, December 06, 2014

AutoSave, And Draft Mode Post Editor

Recently, we've been seeing a few reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, suggesting more problems with Post Editor, in Draft mode.
I keep getting an error, when editing my posts.
An error occurred while trying to save or publish your post. Please try again.
I am editing Draft posts, some of which are fairly large.
This blog owner is discussing yet another facet of the Post Editor feature, AutoSave.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Removing Author Information From The Blog

Not everybody likes to be known, everywhere.

Some folks prefer to publish a blog, without their name appearing. Anonymity is a goal, for many blog owners.

Blogs using both Dynamic and non Dynamic (Layout, Designer) templates can be made anonymous - but different tasks are involved. Fortunately, both tasks are simple.

Simple Edit / Removal Of Problem Blog Gadgets

Blog owners frequently have to edit or remove various blog gadgets - and sometimes need coaching, to edit or remove.

Editing or removing gadgets, normally, is pretty simple - when you know what you're looking for. Whenever you are logged in to Blogger, as a blog administrator, you can find the "Edit" link, on the dashboard Layout wizard - or the "Quick Edit" link on the blog (when "Quick Edit" is enabled), as displayed.

Sometimes, identifying a problem blog gadget, to another person, isn't easy. What happens, if someone misreads your instructions?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Setup A Blog For A Google+ Page

The popularity of Google+ continues to grow. Some blog owners would like to have a Blogger blog publish to a Google+ Page, instead of their personal Google+ stream.

This is not difficult. You first make a new Google account, to own the Google+ Page.

Everything that follows is normal Blogger blog management. Don't overlook the details of blog management, though.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The Account / Blog Recovery Instructions Don't Work!

Every day we see the complaints, of the hundreds.
Your instructions, for recovering access to my Blogger account, don't work!
And alternately, we see the anguish.
I can't login to my Blogger account, because my account is locked!!
And the final complaint, which is the most heartbreaking.
I can login, but my blog is not on my dashboard - and someone has filled my blog, with spam!!!
These are all reports about the same problem, in alternate universes.

Any time Blogger Engineering changes their account / blog recovery options, and cuts down on the numbers of one of the three, the other two will surely increase in number - because all three are symptoms of the same problem. People simply refuse to remember their account names and passwords.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Adding Gadgets To A Dynamic Template

We all know the limitations of the dynamic template - how you can't easily edit dynamic template HTML code, or add gadgets.

Long ago, you could link a dynamic and non dynamic view of the blog, and let your readers use the sidebar, and the many gadgets there, in non dynamic view - and switch back to dynamic view, for the comments and posts. That ability was taken away, earlier this year.

And some gadgets, that you are used to seeing on a blog using a non dynamic template, have not been made available on dynamic templates.

That doesn't mean that you have to give up completely, however, on adding the gadgets that you need. Thanks to the ability to embed gadgets in static pages, and to add pages to a dynamic template, you can have a static page, on a dynamic template, that contains many gadgets, of your own choosing.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Don't Password Protect A Blogger Blog

We see the signs of naivete, periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I require my readers to enter a password, to keep my blog safe from public view?
This blog owner does not understand the realities of setting up a private blog.

Long ago (very long ago), a computer system might have "private" files, and a shared password, known by everybody, for each file. Nowadays, a private Blogger blog uses team blog access - or team blog ownership - and each team member gets to choose her / his own Blogger account, with a password that he / she decides to use (and hopefully, remember).

The Blogger Dashboard, And Non Responding Scripts

We're seeing an occasional report from blog owners, trying to access the Blogger dashboard, using Firefox.
I am trying to update my blog, and I get an error
WARNING UNRESPONSIVE SCRIPT

A script on this page may be busy, or it may have stopped responding. You can stop the script now, open the script in the debugger, or let the script continue.
I'm using Firefox, and I need help here!

This has been a problem, for a few years - just a very low volume has been reported.