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...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Security Problems Affect Many Blogger Features

One of the more perplexing problems, in Blogger owner / reader life, involves layered security issues, and filter changes.

Many Blogger features are vulnerable to security filters. The ability to use Blogger commenting, the EU cookie advice banner won't display or won't go away, the infamous Reading List, the Blogger Stats "Don't track ..." option - all require cookies and scripts, that are subject to filtering.

Any filters, on any given computer, can change, at a moments notice - and without intentional action by the owner of the computer. One common complaint by many computer owners starts out
I didn't change a thing! Commenting / the cookie advice banner / my Reading List / my Stats display just stopped working!
In many cases, the owner will be absolutely correct - he did not cause the problem - but he will still have problems with Comments / The Cookie Advice Banner / Post/Page/Template Preview / Reading List / Stats / Template Designer / whatever.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

You Cannot Publish Your Blog To A Website SubFolder

Occasionally, a new blog owner will want to make a blog part of his website.

Long ago, before custom domain publishing became a Blogger option, it was normal to publish a blog into a website subfolder. FTP Publishing let anybody publish a blog as "www.mywebsite.com/blog".

But FTP Publishing ended, shortly after custom domain publishing replaced it. And now, publishing to a subfolder is not an option.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Mysterious Reading List Becomes Even More So

This week, we're seeing a noticeable increase in reports about problems with reading list content.

People are, once again, reporting empty reading lists - and many deny the suggestion that computers used by the readers might have anything to do with the problem. Neither filtered cookies / scripts, nor using the wrong Blogger account, appears to be involved in some of this weeks problems.

One account owner reported having cleaned her Reading List - and after having removed just one entry from the list, the Reading List content became visible, again.

This suggests that the owner may be following too many blogs - or possibly, following one blog which recently increased feed size. Either could be true, based upon the common complaint.
I didn't change anything! It just stopped working, last week, on its own!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blog Accessories, And The Mobile Template

Some blog owners don't care much for the mobile template.

A few blog owners simply think that the mobile template is just too plain looking.
Where are all of the gadgets?
These blog owners express a concern which is not too hard to resolve. If you want gadgets to be visible on a mobile display, make the gadgets visible. Of course, it's up to you, to not add too many gadgets, and make your blog impossible to read.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Nude Celebrity Blogs Are Not Allowed In Blogger

We've had some photo / video blogs under review recently, and confirmed as TOS Violations.

The citations were first seen late last year, and associated with the "Jennifer Lawrence" / "Anna Kendrick" celebrity leak photos scandal.

We're asking Blogger Support for details of the policy - but right now it appears that Google is now forbidding any "nude celebrity" photos or videos, after their public relations problems surrounding the Jennifer Lawrence photos.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Use Mixed Case URLs, When Publishing, Carefully

This blog is "blogging.nitecruzr.net".

If I wanted to dress up the URL slightly, I might tell you it's "Blogging.Nitecruzr.Net". Either URL should work, for reading the blog, equally well - with the domain setup properly.

Both blogs published to "blogspot.com" - and to non BlogSpot (aka "custom domain") - URLs are subjected to unexpected mixed case variations, from time to time.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Domain Ownership Verification May Not Be Required

Not all blog owners, publishing a blog to a custom domain, will be required to verify domain ownership.

Originally, this was not the case. When ownership verification was added to custom domain publishing, in 2012, every use of the Publishing wizard - even for domains previously purchased using "Buy a domain" - would require a new "CNAME".

Since many registrars limit the number of address entries / domain, the new "CNAME" meant half the maximum number of hosts / domain. Of course, most blog owners patience ran out long before the magical maximum - but there was always that spectre hanging over every custom domain.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blog Owners, Using Older Versions Of Internet Explorer, Unable To Upload Photos

We have a small but vocal group of blog owners, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, who report that they are unable to use Post Editor, to upload photos.

When trying, they get an error
Do you want to open or save resumable (1.61kb) from www.blogger.com?
Right now, it appears that the problem is common to older versions of Internet Explorer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Google+ Comments Are Open To Everybody

One source of occasional confusion, seen in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, is about Google+ and the lack of control.

We have discussed the lack of commenting moderation options - but that's just a small part of what you don't get.
Under Settings, then Posts and comments, I don't have the same choices as shown.
This blog owner is used to the array of comment settings, that seem natural, to somebody using Blogger comments.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Don't Try To Split The Custom Domain Root URLs

Some blog owners publish both a blog and a website - and combine the two in the domain root / www host address pair.

This technique, while apparently reasonable, will eventually lead to confusion from the blog readers - and / or anguish by the blog owners.

Some readers, using a browser or DNS client that aliases the domain root and "www" host, will find that the website will come up, when the blog is referenced, or vice versa. And some blog owners may find, once more, another case of "Another blog ..." / Key already exists ...", when examining or publishing to the domain.

In neither case will the blog owners or readers be pleased.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Blogger Support Won't Play Wheel Of Fortune With Us

Long ago, Blogger Support used to provide personalised account recovery service, to blog owners who had forgotten their account names and passwords - and give "hints" in open forum discussion, reminiscent of the popular TV game show, Wheel Of Fortune.

But reality intervened - and now, everybody who wants to recover access to a Blogger account / blog must use one of the automated account / blog access recovery tools- ignoring however defective they may appear to be.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Spam Review Requires Triage

If you are a fan of any TV medical dramas - or if you have any medical background, you probably know the term "triage".

In a medical setting, triage is applied to conditions where multiple patients are present, and far outnumber the medical staff available to provide immediate treatment. When a "triage" technique is needed, one doctor examines each patient, briefly, and places each in one of three categories.

  1. Immediate care needed, and beneficial.
  2. Immediate care not needed. Treat when cases of #1 priority are complete.
  3. Immediate care not needed, or useful. Treat when cases of #1 and #2 priority are complete.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Google+ +1 Counts Disappearing From Posts List

This week, we have a number of reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, from blog owners who like to monitor the Google+ +1 counts, for their posts, using the dashboard Posts list.

The ability to observe, at a glance, the +1 count for any given group of posts is useful - and popular with some folks. I use it, myself, with newer posts in this blog.

Unfortunately, my Posts list shows no +1 counts for recent posts, for some Posts lists.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Reading List Use Requires Recognition Of The Owner

Last year, we saw a number of reports from Blogger account owners with empty Reading Lists.

When first reported, the common observation mentioned "one entry". Recently, we found out what the one entry was.
All I get is Blogger Buzz - which I could care less about!
The account owner does not know that Blogger Buzz is automatically a part of every Reading List.

The fact that Blogger Buzz is being seen indicates that the personal portion of the Reading List is actually empty. This is similar to problems removing Reading List content, and suggests that the account owner is not being recognised.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Add Your Blogger Blog To An Existing Domain

We periodically get queries from anxious blog owners, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
Can I use an existing domain, that I own for my website, to publish my Blogger blog?

The ability to use an existing domain, for publishing a Blogger blog, is one of the neatest features of Blogger custom domain publishing. It's also one of the least obvious options.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Account Owners Can't Maintain Their Reading Lists

We've been seeing suggestions, for years, that the Reading List is unreliable.

Many Blogger account owners have reported the mysterious disappearing Reading List. A few have reported a second problem - inability to remove blogs from the Reading List.

Few account owners connect the two problems. The two problems may each affect different account owners. Of the few affected by both problems, not many are likely to see them as having a common cause.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Don't Backup Your Blogs, By Duplicating Them

THis month, we have several reports in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue from owners who make backup blogs.
Why was my blog deleted, by Blogger, as spam?
Some blog owners innocently create multiple blogs, to back up their main blog.

Unfortunately, having multiple blogs with the same content may make the blogs look like a spam blog farm - and Blogger detects and deletes spam blog farms.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Google Domains Is Not Yet Available, Worldwide

Some would be domain owners are reporting the sad truth about Google Domains.

I tried to use a Google Domains invitation, and got a refusal.
We're sorry. You appear to be in a country where Google Domains is not yet available. You may search for domains, but you will not be able to purchase a domain unless you have a U.S. billing address. Learn more

Get notified when Google Domains is available in your country.
So thanks anyway!

Google Domains is currently a beta product - and as such, is only available to USA residents.

Stats Logs, And Cached Page Access

Some blog owners like to validate their Stats displays, using third party visitor logs like StatCounter.

Since Stats displays aggregated page view counts - not individual visitors - a blog owner will find many discrepancies between Stats and StatCounter. One observation might involve Stats indicating periods of no activity, where StatCounter shows an interesting visit.

A visit, registered by StatCounter - but not by Stats - indicates an apparent problem with Stats. Or, so the blog owner might think.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Use Of Internet Explorer V11 Causes bX-w7tr63 Error

We have numerous blog owners report that they cannot access their Blogger dashboards.
Every time I login to Blogger, I get
We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.
When reporting this error to Blogger Support or on the Blogger Help Group, please:
Describe what you were doing when you got this error.
Provide the following error code.
bX-w7tr63
What should I do?
The only answer here is to reply
Don't use Internet Explorer V11.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Google Domains DNS Addresses Setup

After too many years of Blogger blog owners struggling with setting up their custom domains, Google is now selling domains - though right now, in a select number of countries.

Having ended "Buy a domain", and its problems - and now dealing with blog owners setting up domains purchased through numerous registrars, and those problems - Blogger / Google has cleaned up the domain purchase and setup process.

This year, we see Google Domains - where Google actually registers domains, and can control the DNS hosting. And, they have developed a clean and lean dashboard / zone editor, for maintaining their domains.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Custom Domain Purchase, And Zone Editor Access

We periodically see signs of naivete, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about registrar dashboard access.
How do I add addresses to my domain?
or
How do I move my domain, to Square Space (Tumblr, WordPress)?
or
How do I terminate my automatic yearly domain registration?
Too many blog owners treat their registrar accounts as other blog owners treat their Blogger accounts.

When it becomes time to access the registrar's dashboard (or zone editor) too many blog owners are unprepared. Having not bothered to access the zone editor previously, they have no idea how to start - and since they now have a real need to change registration options, change DNS, migrate the domain, ... they panic. And after panicking, they blame Blogger for not telling them, long ago, to setup and maintain the registrar dashboard access account.

In some cases, neither Blogger or Google had anything to do with a domain purchase. Identifying domains purchased directly from a registrar, some time in the past, can be the first challenge, when dealing with a panicked domain owner.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Inviting Comments To Your Blog Is Not Cut And Dried

Blog owners are periodically asking themselves
How do I invite my readers to leave comments?
Some blog owners think of commenting as the most important way to get new readers.

One of the most seemingly insignificant components of the Blogger template is the link to invite the readers to leave comments. This is not a simple feature - it varies according to where the comment form is placed, and to different language and style decisions.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Not All bX Error Codes Are Temporary

Everybody who has owned or read a Blogger blog, for more than a week, surely knows about the infamous bX codes - and has probably asked how to fix one.

Some people have fixed one - but immediately, seen another. Others have seen theirs go away, then later discovered that the blog is broken.

Some folks see the errors as major problems, others minor annoyances.
it's disheartening to see that the bx error code problems are still existing.
Not everybody realises that the codes are not the problems - they are simply a method to identify the problems. Many Blogger problems cannot be identified easily in language.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Adding A "Top Of Page" Button To The Blog

This week, I added a gadget that's been needed, on this blog, for some time.

You may see my new "Top" button, at the lower right corner of this blog. If you have a normally wide browser window, with wallpaper showing on either side of the posts / sidebar section, you'll see the new gadget floating on top of the wallpaper. If you have squeezed your browser window to save horizontal space, you may see the new gadget floating on top of the sidebar (but beneath the sidebar gadgets).

Friday, January 02, 2015

Change A Post To Draft, To Change The Post URL

Long ago, a renamed blog post would automatically receive a new URL, to match a change in date or title.

Blog owners would happily rename posts - and see a new URL, with no problem. Those blog owners who monitored search engine activity, however, later became concerned by the "404"s, shown in the search engine activity logs, in Webmaster Tools - or from various test searches.

Using A Custom Domain Outside Blogger

From time to time, we see questions about using a Blogger / Google custom domain, with publishing services outside Blogger / Google.

Some Blogger blog owners want to combine their Blogger blogs, with non Blogger blogs and websites - and others want simply to move their blogging activity to non Blogger services. And a few think ahead, and wonder how adding or moving to another service will affect the ability of their existing readers to find their blog, and / or their ability to get new readers.

As with using a Blogger blog with an existing non Google domain, this is not a simple project - and to do this properly will require research - and well informed decisions. Some assistance can be provided by Blogger or in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger - and other portions of the project will require advice or instruction from the support groups for the new service.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Change The Sequence Of Your Posts

If there's one question, seen occasionally in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger?, that confounds me, its a simple one.
How do I change the order of my posts?
or
Why does my blog display the newest post first? Where is the option, to change to oldest post first?
It is very difficult to respond both correctly, and helpfully, to both questions, equally well.

Blogger does not provide a dashboard setting, to change the post display sequence. Post sequence is only changed, by altering the date and time of the posts.