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...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Make A Background Image From A Favourite Photo

People like to customise their blogs - and some want to use a favourite photo - not one of the stock Blogger background images.

The problem, too frequently, involves file size.
I found a background image I really like (or at least I think it would work OK) - but when I resized it to the upload specs detailed in customizing your template, it said the file was too big!
Blogger limits background images, as supported by the Template Designer, to 300K.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Making Mail-to-Blogger "email address" Changes

Occasionally, we see real confusion, involving the email address.
I can login to Blogger - but I can only change my email address, or remove myself from the blog.
This is a blog owner who is logged in as a blog author, who now sees just two dashboard menu pages.
  • Posts
  • Settings

In many cases, this will be a blog owner who is trying to recover access to the blog, having forgotten the account name - or who is inadvertently using a second Blogger account. Running afoul of the Blogger / Google blind login, the would be owner has just managed to login - but sees a very empty dashboard.

And, the confusion may not end there.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Login Properly, To Avoid Many Dashboard Problems

Many problems with the Blogger dashboard are caused by the account / profile in use.

If the wrong account or profile is in use, the simplest solution - in many cases - is simply to logout from Blogger / Google, then login using the correct Blogger / Google account. This is less disruptive then advice to "clear cache, cookies, and sessions, then restart the browser" - when the latter sequence can be avoided.

A simpler solution is to use the Google multi account login menu properly, so you will not need to logout.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Setting Up Mail-to-Blogger For Your Blog

Setting up the ability to post to your blog, using email, is quite simple.

In Blogger - you just have one essential setting - the password. You setup the password as the "secretWords", in the dashboard page at Settings - "Mobile and email".

You can use any "secretWords" that you like - though if you have any concern about keeping spam out of the blog, you really should make the "secretWords" hard to guess.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Diverse And Large Blogs Require More Effort

An interesting attitude is seen, from some owners of large and unfocused blogs.
It's normal, with so many articles in a blog, to have some reports (DMCA / TOS complaints).
It's normal, yes. That does not make it acceptable - or beneficial. If you want to publish a large blog - and make lots of money - you have to focus or limit your efforts.

You need to spend as much time - if not more time - reviewing content for legality, than owners of comparable, smaller blogs. You can't take time away from reviewing, to create and publish more content - then justify your failure to stay within the limits, by implying that it's normal to have posts that push the limits.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You May Not Get A Notice, When Content Is Removed

Every day, blog owners report that their blogs (or posts) were deleted by Blogger.

Most blog owners have some idea why a blog (post) is deleted - but not all. Some even insist that they received no notice from Blogger - the blog (post) just vanished.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Only You Can Use The Quick Edit Links, On Your Blog

People worry about the Quick Edit icons - sometimes, needlessly.
I was logged out - but I can still see the edit tools!
or
My visitor logs show people clicking on the "rearrange" links!!
Fortunately, no matter what can be seen - or may be clicked - only administrators will get any result.

I use the "rearrange" links for many blogs, frequently. The links are unbelievably useful, when instructing a blog owner how to remove a misbehaving gadget on her / his blog.

Some blog owners wonder if I should be providing a Quick Edit link, in an open forum topic. So, I'll provide a challenge, for you unbelievers.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mail-to-Blogger Has Limited Composing Options

Blog owners have been asking, for years, how to use labels, with Mail-to-Blogger.

Mail-to-Blogger uses an email editor, for composing a post - and is going to lack features that are not provided by the email editor. Labels are one example of what you don't get, when you use email to publish a post to your blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blogger Can't Limit Legal Action, By Your Policy

Some blog owners expect to get a slap on the wrist, for each TOS violation.
I had a notice on the blog.
If anybody objects to what I'm doing, just tell me - and I'll remove the offending content!
Why was my blog deleted?

These owners plan blog content, based on doing what they want - hoping that Blogger will make them a list, over and over again, identifying their mistakes.
Don't do that!
That attitude is similar to what we hear from some politicians.
It's not a crime, until I get caught!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Legacy Account Migration Is Less Likely, Each Year

In 2012, Blogger ended support for legacy accounts.

This year, we see that account recovery does not support legacy accounts, any more. People who don't remember their legacy account names / passwords are now unable to migrate - and are unable to recover account access, so they can migrate.

Every year, any account which remains unmigrated is less likely to be accessible, by the owner. As that happens, and with account recovery not working for legacy accounts, migration won't be possible - and the account will be unusable.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Renewing A Google Domains Registered Domain

All good things must come to an end. So did the first year of my Google Domains registered domain.

Fortunately, renewing took but a few minutes.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

You Cannot Change Your Blogger Account Name

Changing your Blogger account name is like changing your birth name - it can't be done, without legal complications.

You can have a nickname - I have several, depending upon who's calling me. But when a cop stops you, you're going to need your government issued vehicle operator certificate - and there's no nickname there. Just your birth name.

If you don't like your current Blogger account name, you transfer control of the blog - using two browsers - to an account that you like.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Blogger Authentication Uses Demographic Details

If you use Google Two-Step Verification, you will have a better chance of being able to recover Blogger account access, if you forget the account name or password.

Alternately, use of 2-Step Verification may prevent account hijackings and blog theft, when you must use a computer that's not yours, or when you travel - as long as you carry your authentication device / tokens with you.

As an alternative or complement to 2-Step Verification, Blogger recognises us using demographic details. People who consistently use the same browser, on the same computer, in the same location, and from the same Internet service, are easily recognised, are trusted more - and are less likely to receive secondary challenges.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blogger Magic - Changing Your Custom Domain

The process of changing one custom domain URL to another is similar to the task of changing the BlogSpot URL.

The risk of identity theft is not as great, when you change a custom domain. You will continue to "own" any previously used domain, even when unpublished - but the risk of technical error is just as real.

If you care about blog accessibility, you will plan this process, with some care.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Email, For Your Blog Or Domain

Periodically, we see questions about email delivery, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I setup email delivery, for my domain?
Long ago, this was fairly easy to setup. It won't be so easy for everybody, however.

Email delivery starts with the required DNS addresses - which are domain and registrar specific. Email for BlogSpot URLs is not possible - and email for custom domains will require specific domain services. Not all DNS hosting services will, automatically, provide email.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Help Your Readers Index Your Blog By Date

One of the most useful accessories for listing posts, in a blog, is the Archives retrieval gadget.

Titled "Blog Archive" in "Add a Gadget", the archive gadget provides an automatically updated index of all blog posts, sequenced by date. It is an enhanced version of the first accessory for Blogger blogs, provided when the blog home page was previously no more than the most recent post.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Blogger Magic - Renaming Your Blog

Renaming a blog is not difficult - but it can produce unwanted side effects.

We've seen a few problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I renamed my blog, last year - and I have had no new visitors, since then!
or
I looked at the old URL, and it's got my posts, and lots of spam!
These blog owners did not plan the renaming process.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Owner Recovery Ability, Of Deleted Blogs

A deleted blog can be restored, only after an owner successfully requests restore / review.

Since only a blog owner can request blog restore / review, deleted blog recovery can only start from the owner dashboard, with proper use of the "Restore" / "Review" button or link.

The dashboard requirement ensures that no blogs will be restored, without being under control by the owner.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Blog Thieves Like Abandoned Blogs

If a Blogger account or blog has been dormant for a while, a sudden burst of activity can just as easily indicate a blog thief at work, as a legitimate owner, recently returned.

When you go on vacation, and are going to be away from your house for an extended amount of time, you are urged to have the lawn attended to while you are gone, suspend mail / newspaper deliveries, and take other precautions. Why? So the house won't appear unattended.

Just as burglars like abandoned houses, blog thieves like abandoned accounts and blogs.
  • With no owner activity, the owner is not likely to inconveniently change the account password, or update the blog, while the thief is at work.
  • With no owner activity, the owner is less likely to notice any changes - and to report the theft.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Plan Blog Recovery, After Bogus Spam Classification

Abuse / Malware / Spam classification of Blogger blogs - and the inevitable bogus fuzzy classification - has been a part of Blogger life, for several years.

Recently, we explored known effects of bogus classification, upon reader and search engine reputation. It's not a pretty picture - but it's also not likely to go away, as long as abusive persons, such as spammers, operate in the Internet world.

Owners of blogs spuriously classified are not likely to be very objective - but we cannot avoid reality.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"Trust Me! - It's My Blog!" Is A Useless Tactic

Some blog owners make no effort to remember their account name / password - then become unhappy when Blogger won't bend their rules, to accommodate them.
Google cut off my access to my account, when it went through changes several years ago. I can't login - and I really want access to my blog!
As long as account / blog recovery has to be restricted, to protect us against blog theft, some blog owners will be unable to use the recovery process - because they don't have the necessary details, to verify themselves.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

HTML Based Accessories, For Individual Posts

Blog owners are constantly asking how to add post specific accessories, from third party services.
How do I add a Like button, for my posts?
Adding many post accessories requires adding XML code, to the post template.

Adding code to the post template is scary - and it can cause problems, when incorrectly done. The easiest way to add a per post accessory is to add an HTML gadget that references the post by the URL, as displayed for the page.

The problem with an HTML gadget is that it simply references the page displayed. If your posts are read from the main page, or an archive page - and somebody uses a Like accessory, what happens?

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Logout Then Login, To Solve Dashboard Problems

Many problems with the Blogger dashboard are caused by the account / profile in use.

If the wrong account or profile is in use, the simplest solution - in many cases - is simply to logout from Blogger / Google, then login using the correct Blogger / Google account. This is much less disruptive then advice to "clear cache, cookies, and sessions - then restart the browser".

Friday, August 07, 2015

Blogger Magic - An Adult Blog Within A Blog

From time to time, we've had various queries about content segregation, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger
How do I publish adult content, in a section of my blog?
Previously, the best answer would typically start with a blog cluster.
Publish a second blog, with different content - then merge the two blogs.
That's an interesting answer - but it's messy - and two blogs don't aggregate search engine traffic properly.

Using a combination of custom redirects, label searches, and static pages, you can make a blog within a blog, to host your mildly adult content.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

EU Cookie Compliance, August 2015

The European Union cookie privacy issue became urgent, early this year - and Google provided the CookieChoices cookie advice banner, as a blog / website accessory, in April.

The CookieChoices banner required manual installation, on a blog by blog basis - and some amount of effort, using the Template Editor. Not every Blogger blog owner needs to use the Template Editor - and some should not have done so.

It's possible that some complaints of template corruption, and similar malfunctions, seen recently in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, or Blogger Help Forum: Discuss Layouts & Templates, might not have been necessary, without the owners having to dig into "Edit HTML" when not qualified to do so.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Plan A Blog Deletion Or Renaming - Protect Yourself

Every month, we see a concern about content theft or impersonation, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I deleted my blog last year! Now, I see it online again, using my name - but it's not in my dashboard!
or
I renamed my blog, last month! Somebody else is publishing it, this month!!
These former blog owners have discovered the unpleasant reality of never ending spammer activity.

URL recycling (a feature begged for, by many), plus blog content and feed caching (a reality, with most blogs), can lead to spammer harvesting and resurrection. And in some cases, to identity theft.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Using One Browser, In An Ownership Transfer, Is Bad

When you accept membership in someone else's blog, you are going to use a different browser, than the one used by the owner.

If you are accepting membership in your own blog, as part of a blog ownership transfer that you started, you might be tempted to use one browser, for the entire process. If you do this, you can end up with a blog owned under your current Blogger account - but using your (would be) new account's email address. This may cause you to lose control of the blog.

If you manage to retain control of your blog, you'll continue to use the current Blogger account - as the new Blogger account will never get control.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Re Title Posts, As And When Needed

As you develop your blog, you may observe that some of the post titles don't encourage viewer attention.

Since the post URLs are derived from the post titles, renaming a post involves some planning.
  • The post URL should match the post title.
  • If you change the post URL, all of the existing links to that post will break.
So, what to do? This makes renaming a post into a major project. Or, do you think your readers enjoy seeing
Sorry, that page does not exist.
Even with the blog using a custom "404" page, this isn't going to cut it - if you want your readers (not to mention the search engines) to feel loved.

But if you plan, and practice, you can rename a post in a minute or so - and possibly half that time, the post actually may be "404".

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Microsoft Edge Is Not Yet Supported By Blogger

It's important to use a supported browser, when using Blogger.

Every different browser - and every different browser version - requires different code, to make heavily scripted products like Blogger operate properly on your computer. When you report a problem with using Blogger, one of the most essential questions that you can answer is
What browser - and what browser version - are you using?
This is not a formality - nor is it pedantic or snarky - it is a serious question, intended to help you to help us.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

EU Cookie Compliance, July 2015

In April 2015, Blogger blog owners first were faced with the requirements of the European Union, and their problem with cookies used by our blogs and websites.

Google released the CookieChoices website, and some useful tools which some blog owners used, to add a cookie notice banner, to their blogs.

In July 2015, Blogger added a cookie notice banner, to save blog owners the trouble of using the CookieChoices website tools.