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...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

A Deleted Post Affects The Blog Posts Feed

We've seen a few reports in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, mentioning mysteriously resurrected posts, appearing in email or on peoples desktop displays.

When investigated, the blog owner will observe that a new post, which had been originally published after the one mysteriously appearing, was recently deleted. Further investigation shows that the mysterious post, that just re appeared, was the 26th most recently published post.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Before Starting Recovery, Get Your Facts Straight

We're seeing signs that Blogger is requiring more detail, in the account and blog recovery processes.

Even when able to recover account or blog access properly - using a registered email address or telephone number - Google may ask more questions, to verify identity. Some (would be) blog owners,in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, report that more secrets are required.
I provided my email address - and after I got the recovery email, I was asked when the email account was setup!
and
After I gave my home phone, I was asked for a list of my other Google accounts!
Apparently, Blogger / Google Security is trying even harder, to prevent blog theft.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Shall I Move My Blog, To Google+ Hosted Comments?

Just about 2 years ago (give or take a few days), I evaluated Google+ hosted comments, based on moderation / notification options.

A few changes have been made to Blogger - and to Google+ - since then. Some changes affect usefulness of Google+ hosted comments, in Blogger blogs.

I guess to honestly evaluate Google+ hosted comments, I should decide whether to leave this blog using Blogger hosted comments - or move forward.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Private Blog Access Now Requires A Blogger Account

Blogger recently simplified private blog access, and removed some of the ambiguity from the membership invitation acceptance process.

Previously, an invitation to a private blog involved an email message with several options. Besides the expected invitation to join (using a Blogger / Google account), one might find an option to "preview" the blog, and / or view as a "guest" (without requiring a Blogger / Google account).

Both the "guest" and "preview" options caused confusion, for both owners and prospective members.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Press "Publish", To Schedule A Post To Publish

People who setup a post for future publication, and who work on the post for hours or days, may overlook the final step in scheduling a post.

To create a scheduled post, there are 3 steps that are essential.
  1. Create and edit content. (D'Ohh!).
  2. Set "Schedule", with a future date / time selected.
  3. Press "Publish".

If you spend hours or days repeatedly editing and Saving your changes, it's possible that the final step may elude you. And this may explain, to some folks, why their scheduled posts don't publish.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Setup A Custom 404 Not Found Display For A Blog

One of the simplest - and most user friendly - displays that you can add, to your blog, is a custom "404 Not Found" display.

A standard Blogger blog, by default, provides a terse advice, for invalid URLs.
Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.
Would it not be more user friendly, to use relevant slang, maybe.
Sorry, bro - that's not on!
You can do this - and more - with a little imagination.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Push The Limits, Expect Repeated Spam Classification

We're seeing a few blog owners, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, admitting to casual / multiple TOS offenses.
I have received many DMCA complaints - and I always sort them, as soon as possible. This time, my account was disabled.

How do I get my account back?
Here, there may not be an easy answer.

Blogger does not send out violation notices, so you can just stop what you're doing, when warned by the Policy Review team. They want you to stop what you're doing - and not do other things, that you're doing, that have not yet been detected.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

If You Give Your Friend Control, It's Not Your Blog

Have you ever heard the old saying
I had a friend, and I had a blog. I gave my friend control of my blog - and now, I have neither a friend, or a blog.

If you have a blog, and it's yours alone, then it's yours - for eternity, or until you give up control. When you make your friend a blog administrator, you give up control of the blog.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Setting Up DNS Addresses For Custom Domains

One of the biggest strengths of Blogger custom domain publishing is its ability to work with (almost) any registrar in the world.

The biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. The weakness involves language and syntax, as used by each different registrar.

There are no absolute terms used, when diagnosing DNS addressing problems. That is one of the challenges, that I face daily, when telling people why their domains do not work.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Make Your Own "About Me" / "About Us" Gadget

One of the easiest improvements, in a Blogger blog, is customising the "About Me" / "About Us" ("Contributors" / "Profile") gadget.

The default gadget gets its content from the Blogger profile - and is edited, using the Blogger Profile Editor. With a team blog, the gadget changes to a list of team members - and this cannot be edited.

But given 15 minutes, and some imagination, you can make your own Profile gadget.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SEO Your Blog With Content - Not Header Sizes

With a static website, you use different sized headers to indicate sections of each page - and how important each section may be.

That helps your readers search each page, and makes them happy - and making your readers happy increases SEO.

With a Blogger blog, what makes your readers happy increases SEO, also. With a blog, you make your readers happy by providing content, for them to read. And you make them happier, by organising the content.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The EPP Code - Key To Any Domain Transfer

Every domain transfer - from one owner to another, or one registrar to another - starts with obtaining then providing the EPP code for the domain.

The EPP code is an ownership certificate, similar to the mysterious second "CNAME", used by Blogger to verify domain ownership. You get the code from the current registrar - and pass the code to the new owner or registrar.

Whether you are moving your domain registration from Blogger to another registrar. or maybe moving from another registrar to Blogger, passing the EPP code to the new registrar is essential, in having the potential registrar accept registration.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Cookie Is Simply Data, Used By A Website

If you're a repeat customer at some restaurants or shops, you may notice that your return status is appreciated by the staff.

Maybe the coffee shop will make your coffee extra strong, or the waiter will bring you your meal a little more promptly, because they recognise you - and want you to know that they appreciate your patronage.

As you surf your favourite blogs and websites, you may notice similar treatment. Being recognised as a return "customer" is frequently flattering, and may encourage you to return yet a third, fourth, ... time.

Out of the millions of Internet "customers", your favourite blog or website recognises you - and makes your visit a little less impersonal. But how does this happen?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Using A Non Google Custom Domain In Blogger

Similar to concerns about using a Google custom domain outside Blogger, we have concerns about using an existing non Google custom domain with Blogger.

One of the advantages of the Blogger custom domain feature is that it gives you the option to publish a Blogger blog to an existing domain. The existing domain can be part of a WordPress hosted website, a website hosted by your ISP, or by any registrar - as long as you have access to a domain dashboard (aka "zone editor"), and can add the required DNS addresses.

If the need to use the Blogger blog in the domain is strong enough - and if the existing registrar does not provide dashboard access, or the necessary addresses - you may be able to transfer domain hosting, to a more suitable registrar.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Subtle Referer Spam Attacks Can Last For Years

We see signs of confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about Stats count adjustments.
The number of page views for individual posts and total page views have dropped precipitously. It appears that Google is under reporting these page views, which of course results in less earnings for our website.
This blog owner does not understand the effect of referer spam upon Stats - nor the separation of AdSense and Stats.

Some blog owners think that they know what pageview counts are appropriate, for their blog - and are unhappy when Stats does not display counts that agree with their expectations.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Content / Spam Classification Has Two Sides

Spend some time surfing Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue - both in detail, for recent periods - and random sampling, over long periods.

Read the comments, and questions. You'll see both complaints about spammy (aka "abusive") content - and objectionable (aka "adult") content. And, you'll see review requests, referencing previous abusive and adult content penalties.

Given enough surfing, you'll discover that each is simply the other side of the same coin.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Windows LiveWriter, And A Less Secure Login Option

Some blog owners, who use Windows LiveWriter, may still be seeing the signs of the recent security update by Blogger.
I get an error saying that it cannot log into remote server, and that my password/username are incorrect - although I have re-entered and they are correct.
It appears that Blogger may have created a backdoor, to allow LiveWriter client access - which requires a new Google setting.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Blogger Custom Domains, And Mapped Services

I've been observing custom domain publishing, and how it's affected by applications mapped through various Google services, for a few years.

The well known "Another blog", and it's successor "Key already exists", have three possible causes.
  • Actual content, published to the URL.
  • Bogus DNS addresses.
  • Database corruption.

If you map a Google service to a URL in your domain, even temporarily, then simply disable the service, you can end up with a domain URL that remains mapped to the service. When you try to publish your blog to that URL, you're going to see "Another blog ..." or "Key already exists ...".

Friday, June 05, 2015

Blogger, And Third Party Offline Editors

Ever since Blogger Engineering completed the emergency upgrade to support Windows Live Writer, we've seen demands from people who use similar offline editors, and other third party products.

The "ClientLogin" protocol (aka OpenID 2.0) was replaced by OAuth 2.0 (aka OpenID Connect), last month. As the problem with Live Writer was diagnosed, in a joint effort by Blogger and Microsoft, we saw evidence that Live Writer was not the only offline editor, that needed attention.
The problem is not with Microsoft is with ALL external soft. Do not work with Zoundry Raven, BlogJet, Post2Blog, PowerBlog Personal Client, W.Bloggar, Windows Live Writer, etc.

Blogger is about personal choice, however - and some Blogger blog owners use offline editors that are not produced by Microsoft.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

If You Can't Recover A Blog, Make A Blog Cluster

Account / blog recovery, no matter how righteous, cannot be guaranteed.

Some people lose their phone, others get a new job - and some people just cannot remember the email address. Without any possibility to remember the password - or having just caused account lock by trying to guess the password - and without any backup access token, the blog is lost, for good. Right?

Yes, and no. The blog can't be updated - but it can be read.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Two Popup Windows, On A Blog, Is Malware

If there is anything more obnoxious than the FaceBook "Like my blog!" popup window, it's a FaceBook "Like my blog!" window, preceded by a generic popup window.

It's possible that a blog which starts with two popup windows, one followed by a second, represents a blog owner who honestly wants people to enjoy her (his) blog. Even so, a blog that starts out this way is going to present a security analysis challenge, at best.

Seeing the growing popularity of the FaceBook popup (among blog owners, anyway), it's possible that the security scanning processes will, eventually, find a way to bypass the FaceBook code, and continue scanning. This may avoid some spurious malware classifications - if FaceBook developers can find a way to certify a genuine FaceBook popup.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Label Search Pages, And Multiple Meta Descriptions

Occasionally, Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, we see concern about another search efficiency report.
I'm getting a report mentioning
Multiple meta descriptions found for the page
What do I do?
Similar to the long known panic about blocked label search indexing, this is more confusion about label searches.

If you spend time adding search description meta tags, to new and previously published pages and posts in a blog, eventually you will have some posts with search descriptions, and with a common label. A label search page, for a label containing multiple posts each of which have a search description, is going to have multiple search descriptions.