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...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Blogger Magic - Updating Labels

Not all blog owners know the best ways to update labels, with the posts in their blog.

We see occasional signs of confusion, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I add a label, to many posts at once?
and
How do I correct the spelling of my label, already added?
and
How do I remove all of the labels, from one of my posts?
These owners are not aware how to use the dashboard Posts page - and Post Editor - to add, delete, and edit labels.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Microsoft Windows Security Updates, May 2016

If you use a computer that runs Microsoft Windows, you may have been affected by Microsoft supplied updates, distributed 3 weeks ago.

May 10 was the day termed "Patch Tuesday" - the day when Microsoft releases important security related patches, to its various Internet updated products. During the 3 weeks after May 10, we've seen a significant number of security related discussions, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

It appears that Microsoft updates, for May 2016, affect use of Blogger.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

HTTPS Redirect And Post Editor HTTPS Warnings

Last month, as part of the SSL rollout, Blogger added a page / post / template editor feature - that not everybody understands.

A blog with "HTTPS Redirect" enabled will provide SSL access, for every reader - both those who intentionally use HTTPS, and those who normally use classic "HTTP". Those who normally use "HTTP" will find themselves redirected to "HTTPS" - no choice.

When you use page editor, post editor, or template editor, on a blog which offers "HTTPS" to everybody, you may see an alarming alert.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Blogger Magic - Maintain Reading List Brevity

When you Follow a blog, the blog feed is added, as a subscription, to your dashboard Reading List.

This lets you read the blog content, conveniently, using the newsfeed. Separately from the Reading List, you can choose whether to have your personal Followers icon displayed, in the icon cloud on the blog display.

Besides maintaining anonymity in Following, you can hide any number of blogs, in the Reading List index, to make the index manageable.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blogger Magic - Make A Private Or Team Blog

Some blog owners like to restrict access to their blog - and others want to have multiple people able to publish, or maybe to administer their blog.

A few even want multiple administrators, and restricted access. Both private and team blogs involve use of the Permissions wizard, and the membership invitation / acceptance process.

Making either a private or a team blog starts from the Permissions wizard. Just keep the multiple functions, and the different links, in mind.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Featured Post Gadget, With Multiple Posts

The "Featured Post" gadget is a useful tool, for spotlighting individual posts.

One of the limitations of the gadget is that it, like many (though not all) Blogger supplied gadgets, allows only one copy on the blog, at any time. The gadget is, after all, called "Featured Post" - not "Featured Posts". Blogger does not give us the ability to feature multiple posts, simultaneously.

Given a little imagination, we can make the gadget work, for multiple posts. We can't feature multiple posts, simultaneously - but we can alternate featured posts, sequentially.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blogger Magic - Comment Moderation Settings

If you publish a blog, and want your readers to comment, you need to decide whether to moderate comments.

Comment moderation, applied properly, help you to keep abusive and spam comments off your blog. If you want to publish a blog, and have real people commenting, you need to keep spam comments off the blog. People won't comment, if they have to compete with spam.

If you want to publish a blog, and allow Blogger Hosted comments, you really should moderate. If you don't moderate, prepare to remove spam comments after they are published. Remember that Google+ Hosted comments are moderated by the community.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Blogger Magic - Using "Add a Gadget"

One of the most useful features of Blogger is the ability to add many different accessories, to a blog.

There are accessories, for every blog - and for every owner preference. The "Add a Gadget" wizard, in the Blogger dashboard, is the best procedure for adding accessories, to customise a blog reliably.

Using "Add a Gadget" is a simple process. It will be most useful, in the long term, if used cautiously, however.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Diagnosing Geographical Location / IP Address

We see various problems reported, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, which may involve geographical or network relationships.
Why can't I regain access to my blog, that I stopped publishing 5 years ago?
and
Why can't I see my blog?
and
Why does my dashboard show up in a language that I can't read?
With questions like these, it helps to know how and where the owner and / or readers of the blog get Internet service.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Not All Plugins And Third Party Code Support SSL

With Blogger now providing (optional) HTTPS, on all blogs, we're seeing a few anxious reports in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I'm getting an error, on one of my plugins.
This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.
What can I do?
The answer won't be encouraging.
Don't enable "HTTPS Redirect", on your blog.
This won't mean that the plugin will work, if your readers choose to use SSL, to access your blog, unfortunately.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Share Posts, From Private Blogs, By Email

Owners of private blogs have, periodically, lamented the lack of options for distribution of comments and posts. We've seen a few queries, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I let my readers subscribe to my private blog?
There's no good answer, to please everybody, here.

You can't use EMail, FeedBurner, or Reading List, for sharing private blog content. FeedBurner requires the blog comments / posts newsfeeds - and private blogs don't produce newsfeeds.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

FaceBook Popularity, And URL Changes

Not every blog owner understands the effect of a Blogger URL change, in FaceBook - and the resulting popularity of the blog.
I am planning on changing my blog name and redirecting my blogger blog to a custom domain. Why would that affect my Facebook followers?
A Blogger URL change won't affect your FaceBook Followers directly. Your existing Followers can continue to Follow your blog, under the BlogSpot URL - and under the custom domain URL - as it is Liked, and shared, in FaceBook.

The Likes count affects the possibility of a share, of a post in your blog, to attract new Followers.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Don't Always Blame Blogger, With Your Blog Down!

Some of my favourite problem reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, are about inconsistent blog online status.
It was fine yesterday. Why is it down, now?
and
I see the blog, just fine! Why are some of my readers complaining?
and
I can access it, using my phone! Why is Blogger down, on my home computer?
and
The registrar tells me everything is OK!
Whenever I see the latter report, I know exactly where to start.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Effectively Testing Reader Access To Your Blog

People reporting a problem with blog access / performance, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, will be frequently advised to diagnose their problems using affinity / differential testing.

Some diagnostic advice starts with simple instructions to "clear cache, cookies, and sessions". Some people, alternately, advise "use a different browser" - and test as a reader. These different strategies, seemingly redundant, will frequently lead to different results.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Social Sharing Popularity, And URL Changes

As both custom domain publishing, and social sharing networks, become normal with many blogs, we see anguish when blog owners change the URLs of their blogs, without planning for the effects of the change.
What happened to my Likes?
This blog owner - and many others - do not realise that FaceBook counts Likes, based on the URL, not the blog.

FaceBook Likes, and Google+ +1s, are counted by URL - and are not controlled by DNS redirection, or simple name changes. If you rename your blog, you get a new URL with a new popularity counter, in FaceBook and Google+.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Changing Your Custom Domain - The Next Chapter

We see some blog owners deciding to change their custom domain URLs - and discovering an unexpected limitation, in re indexing the blog, under the new URL
I received email from Google, advising that my previous domain is pulling up a number of 404 errors. I've noticed that these are for individual blog posts.
When you change one custom domain to another, you may not see the domain re indexed, transparently.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Dynamic Templates, And Improved "Follow by Email"

We see some concern about providing email subscriptions, from blog owners in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

How do I provide email subscriptions for my blog? Neither Follow by Email or Subscription Links works, for email!

The blog in question is using a dynamic template. In some cases, even "Subscription Links" does not provide a "Subscribe by Email" option - and it appears that the blog owner is really out of luck.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Blogger Magic - Backup The Template

It's always wise to backup the blog contents - and the template.

If you are publishing a blog, you may occasionally make a mistake. Being able to recover from a mistake, using backed up content, is always a good idea.

Blogger provides a dashboard wizard to backup the blog template - and a complementary wizard, to backup blog content - comments, pages, and posts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blogger Magic - Using Sitemaps To Diagnose Problems

Knowing how to read, and follow, sitemap entries is a useful skill in diagnosing many Blogger problems.

The Blogger generated sitemaps, which apply to each blog, index both pages and posts. This blog, like every other blog, has two sitemaps, automatically generated.

"sitemap.xml" (posts) roughly duplicates the "Archives" gadget - but has advantages, over the gadget. "sitemap-pages.xml" (static pages) is not redundant, to any Blogger accessory.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Atom Vs RSS - Choose One, Using FeedBurner

Occasionally, we see a blog owner in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger, asking about newsfeed formats.
Which is better, for my readers - Atom or RSS? How do I choose, what to provide, in my blog?
The competing newsfeed formats - Atom and RSS - have been a part of Internet life, for many years. Both formats have their devotees - and this is why there are two formats.

Both formats have their own advantages - and disadvantages.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Wording The Blog Title And URL - Same or Unique?

Some blog owners setup a new blog - and want to know if the blog title and URL may - or (alternately) should - be the same.

There is no policy for Blogger, about blog title and URL - either that the "words" in each can, or cannot, be the same. Some SEO experts suggest benefits from having relevant words, in the URL - and some blog owners confuse this advice, as suggesting having identical titles and URLs.

Be wary of advice that references websites, in discussions about blogs. There are subtle, but real, differences between dynamic blogs, and static websites. Rules that may be important for websites may not be relevant, for blogs.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Export / Import, And Page / Post Publishing Limits

Not all blog owners understand the connection between page / post import, and spam limitation.

We see the occasional question, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about page / post import, and daily publishing limits.
Why I can not import content, to my blogs?
Note that "Automatically publish" is selected, in the blog discussed here.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Blogger Magic - Supporting A BlogSpot URL Change

Blog owners are always changing the URLs of their blogs - then asking why Blogger does not provide automatic redirection, to the new URL.

We see the occasional query, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I redirect my readers, to my new URL?
And this is a need that will likely go unfulfilled.

If Blogger provided automated redirection, spammers would abuse it, as part of a spam publishing strategy.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Verify BlogSpot And Domain URLs

Whenever dealing with any problem with a blog, you should verify the URLs involved.

Some of the most baffling problems, with blog connectivity, identity, or ownership, can start from simple typographical errors. This possibility will involve both native "blogspot.com" and custom domain URLs.

The Publishing wizard window, in the Blogger dashboard Settings - Basic page, is essential for identifying errors. Whether you paste or type a URL into the registrar's zone editor, the Publishing wizard, or the browser address window, you can make a mistake. Checking the Publishing wizard is as important as examining a Dig log extract - or as viewing an HTTP trace.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

HTTPS Availability For All "blogspot.com" Blogs

The rollout of SSL, for "blogspot.com" published blogs, continues.

All "blogspot.com" published blogs will now offer HTTPS connectivity, to the reader. The choice, offered to the blog owner, is now whether to force every reader to use SSL - and the dashboard option is now labeled "HTTPS Redirect".

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The DNS TTL Setting Is Chosen By The Registrar

Some blog owners, publishing their blog to a custom domain, wonder about the mysterious TTL setting for the domain.
What is "3600"? Why do I see "7200" in my Dig log?
and
Why do I have to wait 8 hours, after changing my DNS addresses?
DNS latency (aka "TTL") is not understood, by many blog owners. A mistake in setting TTL can cause anger and frustration.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

FeedBurner Feed Redirection, And "BrowserFriendly"

Some blog owners and readers ask about blog feed displays, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I clicked on this text at the bottom of the blog page:
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)
and I got a screen full of gibberish.
This is a known oddity, in Chrome.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Private Blogs Limit Other Blog Features

Private blogs affect other Blogger features - and the combination of results are inconsistent.

With dynamic templates, the private blog selection causes an inoperable display. Conversely, with Google+ Comments, enabling Google+ Comments disables the private blog (designated reader) selection - and vice versa, in the various Blogger dashboard pages.

The two interactions - and differing mutual exclusiveness - contribute to some interesting diagnostic sessions, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Blogger Magic - Enabling Exceptions, In Chrome

Some blog owners and readers prefer to ignore recommendations in Chrome - and block cookies and / or scripts.

Blocking cookies can cause problems with many Blogger features - and blocking scripts will cause problems with both Blogger and with Google, and with various other websites.

If you want to use Blogger and Google effectively, you need to allow cookies to be installed, and to allow scripts to be run, on your computer.