Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Moving from Google's G Suite legacy free edition to something else

This article is a little different from most: I'm using it to keep notes about  the process and discoveries and decisions I make as I move my blogs from G Suite legacy free edition to alternatives. Some of them will use to Google Workspace. But some are not making anything like enough money for that to be an option. So I'll be investigating what to do for them, too.

It's going to be edited and expanded a LOT of times over the next few days.



Monday, June 6, 2022

Messages about Google's move from free G-suite to paid Workspace accounts

I've received a number of emails from Google about the move from free G-suite to paid Workspace accounts.  Keeping track of them, and the details, is tedious.   So here's a post to save them in:



 26 May 2022

From: The Google Workspace Team <workspace-noreply@google.com>
Sent: Thursday 26 May 2022 21:50
To: <<the email account listed as a secondary account for one of my blogs>>
Subject: [Action Required] Upgrade your G Suite legacy free edition subscriptions to Google Workspace by June 27, 2022

Avoid account suspension and enter your billing details in your Admin Console.

Dear Administrator,

We previously notified you that you would need to upgrade from the G Suite legacy free edition to Google Workspace by June 1, 2022 or your account would be automatically upgraded. However, we've recently updated our timeline for the transition and you now have until June 27, 2022 to take action.

As your account has been inactive for quite some time, we are now reaching out to your secondary email address.

What do I need to do?

For businesses, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available after June 27, 2022 (updated from June 1, 2022). We recommend you upgrade now to a Google Workspace subscription that meets your needs. Upgrading from your G Suite legacy free edition to Google Workspace will only take you a few short steps and is not disruptive to your end-users.

When you've identified your preferred subscription follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Admin console.
  2. Select your new subscription offering.
  3. Enter your billing information.

If you take no action by June 27, 2022, we’ll begin to upgrade your organization seamlessly to a new Google Workspace subscription. The new subscription will be based on what you currently use with your G Suite legacy free edition.

In addition to recent innovations like smart canvas, meetings in documents, and dedicated Spaces to help organize people, topics and projects, Google Workspace includes more storage, increased security, 24/7 support, and more. To complete the transition and avoid account suspension, switch now and enter your billing details in your Admin Console before August 1, 2022. You’ll have limited time discount options to support you in this transition.

If you’re an individual or family using your account for non-commercial purposes, you can continue using the G Suite legacy free edition and opt out of the transition to Workspace in the Google Admin console before June 27, 2022.

If no action is taken, we’ll begin upgrading your organization seamlessly to a new Google Workspace subscription starting June 27, 2022. To complete your upgrade and avoid account suspension, you'll need to set up Google Workspace billing before August 1, 2022.

In case that you need to reactivate your account, you’ll need to log into the Admin console and enter a valid form of payment.

Qualifying educational institutions and nonprofits have the option to migrate to Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals or Workspace for Nonprofits without service disruption.

Timeline Summary

Date

Action

Before June 27, 2022

Upgrade to a new Google Workspace subscription or opt out of the transition.

Before August 1, 2022

Complete your upgrade by setting your Google Workspace billing.

FAQs

Visit the help center for information on the G Suite legacy free edition to Google Workspace transition.

We’re here to help

If you have questions or need assistance, please Contact Google Workspace support. When you call or submit your support case, use reference issue number 205265775. If you have trouble accessing your administrator account, please refer to instructions to reset your administrator password.

Thanks for choosing Google Workspace.

– The Google Workspace Team




January 2022

We launched our G Suite legacy free edition —the original Google Apps offering for businesses and schools— 16 years ago. In 2012 we discontinued this service, and we will now transition all remaining users to an upgraded Google Workspace paid subscription based on your usage.

What does this mean for my organization?

In 2020, we introduced —Google Workspace— and tailored our offerings to provide more options to fit our customers’ needs. Google Workspace includes all the features you already use, plus several new capabilities including more storage, increased security, 24/7 support, and more.

Upgrading from your G Suite legacy free edition to Google Workspace will only take you a few short steps and is not disruptive to your end-users. To support you in this transition, you will have discount options for 12 months after July 1, 2022.

What do I need to do?

To avoid disruption and maintain your account(s), please upgrade to Google Workspace by May 1, 2022. Begin the upgrade by reviewing the transition help center article, and selecting the option that best suits your organization’s needs. When you've identified your preferred subscription:

  1. Go to your Admin console.
  2. Select your new subscription offering.
  3. Enter your billing information.

Once you’re upgraded, you can use your new Google Workspace subscription and functionality at no-cost until at least July 1, 2022.

If you take no action by May 1, 2022, Google will begin upgrading your organization seamlessly to a new Google Workspace subscription. The new subscription will be based on what you currently use with your G Suite legacy free edition.

If you do not enter your billing details before July 1, 2022, your subscription will be suspended.

If your needs have changed and you do not want to upgrade to a Google Workspace subscription, you can export your organization’s data with the takeout feature.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Moving Blogger custom-domain and email service from DomainDiscount24 to DreamHost

This article tracks the process and learnings as I tranfer my Blogger related services (ie custom website name and assoicated email addresss) from DomainDiscount24 to a new service - so far I've chosen DreamHost for this.

Note:  most of my posts on this blog are completed how-to articles.  This is a little different, in that it's a work-in-progress.   So far, I've transferred one domain that didn't have an email address, and started the process for one that does.   I've published now (because I suspect other people may be looking for similar info - now), but will be updating this post as I learn more.



Moving a web-address and associated blog from DomainDiscount24 to DreamHost
Made using icons from MaxPixel -  CC0 Public Domain



Friday, February 12, 2021

Linking a picture in your post to a website

This article shows how to change a picture in your blog, so that when it is clicked, it opens another blog post, or even a totally different website.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

How to get a valid URL for a picture in Google Photos

This article explains the problems with getting valid, SEO-friendly links to images that are in Google Photos - and shows a way of doing this using Google products.  


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Working with HTML in Blogger's new (2020) Post-editor

This article looks at how HTML is viewed and edited in the new version of Blogger which was introduced in June 2020.


Facebook share counter in the AddThis inline-share tool is wrong

This article explains why the Facebook counts are not correct on some AddThis inline share widgets, and what you can do about this.



Monday, June 1, 2020

How to make a new blog post in the 2020 version of Blogger

This article shows you how to make a new blog post in the new (2020) Blogger editor.

Monday, November 18, 2019

How to start Snapseed from Google Photos

This article shows how to start the Snapseed application from Google Photos for Android, after an update that was applied in November 2019.



Friday, November 8, 2019

How to find out who posted to your blog by email

Blogger's mail2Post tool lets you - and others - post to your blog from using email.   But it shows the post-author as the person who set up the mail2Post address that was used, and doesn't show the email address that the post was from.  Combining mail2Post with email forwarding tells you the email address, and gives some other tracking and post-management options.   This article explains how to set up this combination of features.


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Getting a list of people who have asked (via Feedburner) to have your blog-posts emailed to them

This article shows how to get a list of the people who have subscribed to receive the items in a Feedburner feed in their email.  It's written for Blogger users, but applies to anyone who uses Feedburner.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Telling Google, and visually-impaired people, about the pictures in your blog

This article is about why and how to attach keywords and related text to the pictures in your blog posts.  This is helpful for both search engine optimisation (SEO), and for making your blog accessible to people who use screen-reader software.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How to access Bluehost email through your Gmail

This article explains how to access email provided by Bluehost alongside your regular Gmail account or using another email client (eg Thunderbird).



Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Adding a separator line between your posts

This article shows how to put a horizontal separator line between posts in your blog, using either HTML's line command, or CSS rules.  It also has suggestions about ways of formatting these lines using different colours and line-styles.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Restricting who can read your blog

This article explains some of the issues with restricting readership of your blogspot blog to just people who you choose, and why you can appear to have unexpected readers.



Friday, September 7, 2018

Comments RSS feed address after turning on HTTPS for a blog with a custom domains

This article documents the change the Comments RSS feed associated with blog, when you switch on the HTTPS option for a blog with a custom domain.



Sunday, March 18, 2018

How to put Google search results controls in the language you actually speak

This article shows you how to put the options and controls in the Google search results page into the language that you actually speak, rather than the official language of the country you (or your Internet Service Provider) are in.



Thursday, March 1, 2018

Removing the background image from the header of Blogger's Travel theme

This article explains how to remove the semi-transparent image that is shown at the back of the Travel theme (template) provided by Blogger.



Friday, January 19, 2018

How to write a blog post - by just talking to your computer

This quick-tip introduces a new speech-recognition tool, which is free, and doesn't need any special software apart from Google Chrome.

Monday, December 11, 2017

How to show a song, track, album or artist from Spotify in Blogger

This article shows how you can embed tracks or albums from Spotify in your blog or website, even if you don't use Spotify yourself.



Friday, November 10, 2017

How to change AddThis Follow button settings for a gadget on blog or website

This article shows how to change the accounts presented in an AddThis Follow gadget which has already been set up on a Wordpress-based website.

(Note:   this is only relevant for Wordpress.org users.   Wordpress.com users do not have the same freedom to add or configure plug-ins.)




Monday, September 25, 2017

How to put posts into pages in Wordpress - without using a plug-in

This article shows how to set up your blog made with Wordpress so that that (it looks like) your posts are on separate web-pages, without needing to install any plugin.

(For this task, the answers for Wordpress.org and Wordpress.com are so very similar that they have been combined into the one article.)


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Understanding the Follow-by-Email gadget and Feedburner

The Follow-by-email gadget uses Feedburner's email-subscription service.   It's very easy to add to your blog, but there are some things that you need to think about if you are using it to deliver blog-posts to your followers by email.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Putting files into Blogger's root directory

This article explains the issues, and options, for putting a file into the "root directory" of your Blogger blog.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The difference between Themes and Templates in Blogger

This article explains the difference between themes and templates in Blogger, Google's blogging tool.



Monday, March 6, 2017

How to edit your Theme in Blogger

This article is about how to edit your theme in Blogger.

It supports many other articles on this site, which suggest specific theme changes needed to solve particular problems.    Note that until early 2017, themes were called templates.   In practise, "edit your template" and "edit your theme" mean the same thing.




How to find things in Blogger's Theme editor

This article explains how to find things (gadgets or text) in the Theme editor in Blogger.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Showing a PowerPoint file in your blog

This article is about options for showing the contents of a PowerPoint file inside your blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to not show any posts on your blog's home page, using Blogger

You can set your blog up so that no posts are shown on the main screen - provided you have used some of the other "home page" approaches to give readers other ways of getting to your content.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saving a post if Blogger's Publish button doesn't work

This article is about how you can save a  post even if Blogger's Publish button won't let you save your work.

Putting a badge for a Facebook Page into your Blog

This article describes making a Facebook badge to promote your page, and putting it onto your blog.

How to rename picture files in Picasa-desktop

This article is about re-naming files from within Picasa-desktop, to provide SEO benefits for your blog.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How to center gadgets in Blogger

This article is about centering gadgets from 3rd parties that you install onto your blog.



Monday, October 17, 2016

Lining up the first post and the sidebar

In some Blogger themes, there is a big gap between the bottom of the header and the start of the first post, which means that the posts and the sidebar are not aligned.  This article explains how to adjust the gap, and so remove the problem.




Thursday, October 6, 2016

Getting the HTML code to put a picture into your blog's sidebar, header or footer

This article explains how to use Blogger's Post Editor to get the HTML code that you need to put a picture into your sidebar (or header or footer, or anywhere else a gadget can go).



Saturday, October 1, 2016

Showing your oldest blog-post first - and the rest in reverse order.

Blogger doesn't have an option to display your posts in reverse order - so that the oldest post is first, and the most recent post is last.  

But this article describes displaying your posts in this way by manipulating their post dates.  And it links to an article about some other possible options.


Monday, September 5, 2016

mail2Post: How to update your blog by email, instead of using Blogger

Blogger's mail2Post tool lets authors make blog-posts, without using the Blogger software.   All you need to do is set it up, and write posts using your regular email tools.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to put a gadget above your blog's header

This article is about how to put an item (any type of gadget) above the Title section in a blog made with Google Blogger.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How to use Picasa-web-albums without being re-directed - August 2016 update

This article explains what has happened to Picasa-web-albums, why it is now re-directing to Google Album Archive, and what you can do about it.


Monday, May 2, 2016

How to set up Page-level AdSense ads in your blog

This article describes Page-level ads, a new type of AdSense advertisement which Google has recently introduced.   It includes how to set up these ads if you use Blogger, and some troubleshooting information about them.  

It also describes how to fix an error in the code which is supplied, which causes a message like "Attribute name "async" associated with an element type "script" must be followed by the ' = ' character".


Monday, February 15, 2016

Taking action when someone has copied your blog without permission

This article is about the steps you can take when someone has made an unauthorized copy of something that is published on your blog.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Displaying a gadget only on the home page - or only on a specific page

This article is about how to set up a gadget / widget in Blogger so that it is only visible on the first place that a reader sees when they visit your blog (often called the "home page").  It is one of a series of articles about controlling what goes on the homepage of your blogspot blog.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to use your own icons in Google My Maps

This article shows how to use your own icons to label places in maps that you make with the My Maps' feature in  Google Maps.



Making someone an author on your blog

This article shows you how to set up another person (ie another Google account) as an author for your blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Turning the RSS feed off or on again

By default, public Blogger sites offer an RSS feed.  But there may be times when you need to turn it off, either for good or temporarily.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

How to remove the numbers in blogger post URL's

This article looks at the numbers that are in web-page addresses created by Blogger, what they mean and how you can influence them.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Using Labels to categorize your Blogger Posts

This article explains how to use Labels to categorise the Posts in your Blog, and how you can get around some of the limitations in Blogger's categorising tools.

Copying all the posts from one blog to another

This article is about how to copy all the posts from one blog to another, using Blogger.  There is a separate article about copying individual posts, or pages, from one blog to another.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to set the URL for Blogger posts

This article shows how to use the Permalink options to control the URL (ie website address) used for a post in your blog.


Monday, October 5, 2015

How to change or remove the Newer Post and Older Posts links

This article explains how to hide or change the format of the "Older Posts" and "Newer Post" and "Home" links that are shown at the bottom of Blogger blogs with Layout or Designer themes.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to centre-align the sharing-icons from AddThis in Blogger

This article shows how to get and then centre-align the row of sharing items that you can get from AddThis (and it's likely that a similar technique applies to sharing buttons from other services like ShareThis, too).


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How to put pictures into unusual shapes, using PowerPoint

This article explains how to put a picture that is one shape (a "square peg") inside an image of another shape (a "round hole" - or star, elipse, octagon, etc) - using Microsoft PowerPoint.

Original title:   How to put a square peg into a round hole - in pictures

Monday, July 20, 2015

How to find the URL for a picture in Google Photos

This article describes how to get the URL or internet address of a picture in Google Photos, and the difference between Google's shareable links and URLs.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

How to share pictures from Google Photos, using shareable-links

This article describes how to get a link to one ore more photos from your Google Photos collection, using the Shareable Link controls.   It also explains how to delete shareable links that you have made in the past


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to tell Google about problems with activity on your AdSense account

This article describes a way to tell Google about problems with activity on your AdSense account.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Using a custom domain for something other than your Blogger blog

This article is about how you can use a custom domain that was purchased through Google / Blogger for something other than a Blogger blog.



Friday, June 5, 2015

How to change the date of a photograph in Google Photos

This article shows how to change the date associated with a picture in Google Photos.



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Blogger and Google Photos - what's changed, and what hasn't (yet)

This article gives a brief introduction to Google Photos, and how it relates to both Blogger and Google+ Photos.



Monday, June 1, 2015

Use Google Takeout to back up all your blogs at once

This article shows how to use Google's Takeout service to make a copy of the contents of all your blogs at the same time.


Friday, May 29, 2015

How to change the author for a published blog-post

This article explains how to change the author of a post that has already been published in Blogger.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Stop people from submitting a Google Form more than once

This article explains how to stop more than one person providing a response to a questionnaire that you have made using Google Forms.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Advertising & Blogger: things to consider

This article discusses some things to keep in mind when you are putting advertising on your blog.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to turn on a mobile theme / template for blogs in Blogger

This article explains why mobile mattes for some blogs (but not all), what tools Blogger has provided to help with this, and how to set up a mobile theme (aka template) for your blog.  It also links to Google's mobile testing tool, which shows you how your blog looks on a mobile device.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

How to include the blog post description when you share on Facebook

This article shows how to make that the description is correctly shown when one of your blog-posts is shared on Facebook.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Deciduous blog posts leave evergreens for dead

In a social-media world, deciduous blog posts have an enormous advantage of both ever-green and ephemeral content - find out what they are, and how to use them to best advantage.



Monday, October 20, 2014

Letting other people send email from your Google account - and checking who can do this already

This article explains how you can control who can send mail on your behalf if you have a gmail account, why you might want to do that, and how to stop people from sending email messages on your behalf.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Understanding Google Accounts

This article is about Google accounts:  what they are- and aren't, how to access them, and what the account-names look like.  


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Moving some posts from one blog to another

This article is about how to copy some of the posts from one Blogger blog to another.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Did you know that your blog is in the cloud?

This article explains the relationship between your blog and "the cloud", and other ways that you might be using the cloud without even realising it.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How to find other blogs to read

This is a quick guide to searching for other blogs to read, now that Google's blog-search tool has been retired.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Ten-Minute-Guide to starting a blog

This article is a fast-and-furious guide to starting a blog - with a focus on getting started rather than researching to the nth degree.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Finding a picture's location (URL) in Google+ Photos or Picasa-web-albums

This article is about how to find the URL (web-address) of a picture that is stored in Picasa web albums.  It is written for Blogger users, but the same technique can be used by anyone who uses Picasa-web-albums.


Monday, August 4, 2014

How to find a gadget in the Add a Gadget list - quickly

This article explains a quick way to find the widget that you are looking for in the list that Blogger displays when you use the Add a Gadget tool.


Putting pictures side-by-side in a blog post or gadget

This article shows how to put pictures side-by-side in Blogger (or any other website) using HTML, in a way that works for visitors using mobiles (smartphones and tables) as well as larger screens.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to change internal links when you chance your blog's web-address

This article is about how to change internal cross-reference links in your blog, if you change your blog's URL or web-address.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Find things in your blog-posts' HTML by using temporary "marker text"

This article shows how to use "marker text" to help find things when you need to edit the HTML code behind one of your blog posts.


Monday, July 14, 2014

How to add a Google Contacts button to your blog, website or desktop

This article shows how to add a button that takes a user straight to Google Contacts to your blog or website.   It also distributes a picture that you can use in other places (eg your PC desktop) to make your own Google Contacts icon.



Monday, July 7, 2014

How to copy and paste a website address on an Android smartphone

This article explains how to copy and paste a website address (URL) when you are using the Chrome browser on an Android smartphone.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Introducing the "Free high-quality picture search" tool

This article introduces the Free High Quality Picture Search tool which has been added to this website.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

How to add a badge to a blog made with Blogger

This article is about how to add a badge that someone else gives you to a blog made with Blogger.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to take better pictures - no matter what sort of camera you have

This weekly blogger tip is complements of Shutterfly:   tips about how to take great photos, of various types, no matter what sort of camera you use.

Giving your Blog a Home Page

This article is about the options for setting the home page for blogs made with Google's Blogger.

Monday, May 19, 2014

AdSense, mobile templates and Analytics - and how they do (or don't) work together

If you
  • have a mobile template enabled
    (which should, unless the blog is about something that makes no sense on a mobile device), 

then it's an extremely good idea to have at least one AdSense ad-unit that was made with Blogger's official AdSense widget rather than by getting the code from AdSense and installing it manually.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Non-US based Amazon Associates must "perform all services" outside the US

An interesting addition to Amazon's terms and conditions for their Associates (announced here):
“If you are a Non-US person participating in the Program, you agree that you will perform all services under the Operating Agreement outside the United States. If, for any reason, you cannot comply with this requirement, you must notify us using this link for an exception.”

My guess is that this is something to do with tax-regulations, and is worth a few moments thought (at least) for Bloggers who use Amazon Associates links to earn money from their blogs.    

But it also made me wonder about bloggers who travel a lot:   we possibly shouldn't be doing any work inside a country where we don't have a visa that allows us to work.   I wonder if that includes writing blog posts, or perhaps even drafting but not publishing them or taking pictures for them? 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Look at the receipients of the "registration will renew automatically in X days" email to work out your domain-administration login name

This article is about how you can work out what Google Account to use to check custom domain renewal details from the reminder emails that Google sends in the month before the domain registration expires.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Help visitors who arrive at your blog via a link to a deleted post

If you sometimes delete posts from your blog, then it's a good idea to provide some help to people who who arrive at your blog via links to those posts.

(Even if you don't have any links to those posts, it's likely that a search-engine somewhere will have some - and other people may have bookmarked or shared them, too.)

There are two options for doing this:

Adding an RSS feed icon to your blog, using Feedburner

Feedburner's chicklets are used to add the standard "orange radar" button to your blog.  This lets readers to subscribe the RSS feed of your choice.   The information is targeted to Blogger users, but most of it applies to anyone who uses Feedburner.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Keep a backup copy of complicated gadget settings

This article explains why it's a good idea to keep a backup copy of settings for your gadget, in particular for HTML/Javascript gadgets that have complicated, hard-to-regenerate, code.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Make it easy for visitors to find other posts in your blog


Some visitors arrive at your blog from a search engine. Others will have subscribed to an RSS feed, or followed a link from some other blog or website. A few might even go directly to your home page because someone told them about it.

But no matter how they got there,
If you want people to read more than one post then you need to make it easy for them to find other posts. [tweet this quote]


Saturday, March 29, 2014

How to change Labels on more than one post at a time

This article shows how to edit the name of an existing Label value in blogger, without editing each individual post that it's applied to.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Introducing Weekly Blogger Tips: A new type of post from Blogger-HAT

Blogger-hints-and-tips was originally where I kept my own notes about how my solutions to problems with Blogger

But then I found other people were visiting - because they were looking for solutions to the same problems!   And looking back, I was embarrassed about how low-quality the original posts  were.  So I made a commitment to only publish properly researched articles, and I started keeping a private blog with post-ideas that I haven't researched fully (which now has 200+ posts in it).

Then in Sept 2012, I started posting "Quick Tips" - very quick posts about changes in other products that are people tend to use with their blogs, which I didn't have the time or ability research fully, but which I really wanted to share with my readers quickly.

Recently, however, the number of  Quick-tips has decreased: as Blogger and the other tools have become more mature, there just haven't been the same number of changes.

And at the same time, other projects have been taking more time and I often don't have the capacity to do the in-depth research for the quality articles that I want to publish here.

But one thing I that noticed on another project is that I get a lot of satisfaction from publishing regularly:   in one niche, there's a type of post that I can write in about 20 minutes, and this is great for my motivation and satisfaction, as well as for the blog's traffic levels.

So, between now and December this year, I've set myself a target of publishing at least one short post here once a week.   This won't be a fully researched article.  Instead it will be a short hint about some aspect of either Blogger or blogging in general- in short a Weekly Blogging Tip.

To start with, I've made a list of potential topics, but I'd love hear your suggestions about aspects of blogging where a quick post would be helpful - you know where to find the comments box ....

Friday, March 21, 2014

How to use Picasa-web-albums with your Google+ Page's photos

This article shows how to manage your Google+ Page's photo collection using Picasa-web-albums.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to give a Google+ page its own password and login-name

This article is about setting up a Google+ page so that it is a stand-alone thing, and can log in to Google services without needing your personal Google+ profile.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How to put put Posts into Pages in Blogger

This article shows how to set up your blog, using Blogger, so that it looks like your posts are on separate web-pages.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

RSS feed reader options - the saga continues

When Google Reader was retired, I posted about my search for a replacement.

Eventually I settled on TheOldReader.   This had a few headaches - too many other people made the same choice, so they had performance problems.  Then they were going to shut down.   They they got help and weren't shutting any more.   Now they've siaid that only the first 100 subscriptions are free, and that people need to pay to have more than this.   The design still looks a bit clunky.

I may yet end up paying them $30/year - it's not unreasonable for the service.   But OTOH, I don't see paying a small amount for any service as a guarantee that it will actually survive.

But in the meantime, I'm hunting for options again.    Here's some info about what I've tried.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Setting up Google Analytics for a 2nd or later blog

This article is about how to set up Google Anaytics to work on subsequent Blogger sites, if you have already set it up for your first blog or website.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

AdSense Direct: A new way to sell direct advertising on your blog

This article introduces AdSense Direct, a new way to use AdSense to manage advertising that you directly sell ads on your blog or website - and to fill those spaces with AdSense ads when there are no Direct ads running.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Putting a picture on your blog as a Gadget

You can put a picture anywhere in your Blogger blog that you can insert a gadget - and you can make it link to a post in your blog or to any other website.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Google use Google-Sites, so we should too!

This QuickTip explains why I now feel happier about using elements from Google Sites in my blogs.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Delete, change or re-format the "Showing posts with label" message.

This article explains options for deleting, or changing the content or formatting of Blogger's "Showing posts with  LABEL.  Show all posts" message and it's ugly grey box.

Friday, December 13, 2013

How to show AdSense ads that are non-standard sizes

This QuickTip is about AdSense's new custom-size-advertisement option, which lets you choose the height and width of each advertisement that you show on your site.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Finding the co-ordinates of a place in the new Google Maps

This article explains how to get the co-ordinates for a particular location in the new and old Google Maps interfaces.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Adding tooltips or hover text to Blogger posts and gadgets

This article is about putting a "tooltip" (text that is shown when you hover over) into something (eg text, a web-address or even a picture) in a Blogger post or gadget.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stop Google from "fixing" pictures that are loaded through Blogger

This article is about how you can stop Google from automatically "enhancing" pictures that are loaded in Blogger - even if you do not have a Google+ account.


How to let another person load pictures to your Picasa-web-album

This article shows how to let another person (Google account) upload pictures to your Picasa-web-albums:   this is one possible way to work around the issues with Google's photo auto-enhance feature.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to set up a Google+ profile for an existing Blogger account

This article is about how to set up a Google Plus profile for a Blogger account which already exists.  It looks at the history of Blogger and Google accounts, how to make a Google+ profile for a Blogger account, and what the consequences of this might be.



Thursday, October 10, 2013

The "follow by email" gadget: an easy way to add an email subscription to your blog

Blogger have made it very simple to offer an email-subscription to your blog, with the "Follow by Email" gadget.  This article describes adding it to your blog, and how it works for your readers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dealing with the "Keyword not provided" problem in your statistics

This article explains why the proportion of "keyword not provided" visits to most websites is increasing, and gives you options for finding out what keywords people are searching for when they reach your blog.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

How to edit a picture in Picasa Web Albums or Google+ Photos

This article is about how to edit pictures in Picasa web albums, and how to use Picasa-destop to edit pictures in your Google+ Photos.


Friday, September 20, 2013

What is Creative-Kit, and how to use it

This article describes Creative Kit, which was a photo-editing tool for enhancing pictures in your Picasa-web and Google+ albums.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How to set up Twitter's "view summary" cards to work with Blogger posts

This article shows how to install Twitter Cards into Blogger - and explains why you might do this if Twitter could be an important source of visitors for your blog.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to embed a Google+ post into your blog post or website - and what happens when you do

This article explains how you can put a Google+ post (your own or someone else's) into your blog or website, provide the post was shared publicly on Google+.


Put a survey questionnaire in your blog, using Google Drive's forms tool

This article shows how to use a Google Drive form to put a survey questionnaire into your blog or website.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How to show pictures from Google Plus in any website

This article shows how you can make a slideshow of all the photos from an album in your own Google Plus Photo collection, which can be shown on a website or blog.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Get your blog-posts into Google's in-depth search results

This QuickTip is about the new in-depth search results feature that Google has recently introduced, and how you set up your blog-posts so they have a chance of being considered as in-depth.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Removing the label values from the blog-post header or footer

This article explains how to stop label values from showing in the header or footer lines for each post in a blog that is made with Google's Blogger.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Webmaster tools Structured Data Testing Tool - helping bloggers who care about SEO

This quick-tip introduces the Google Webmaster Tools structured data testing tool, which gives you a view of how your site looks to the search-engines.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to replace a file in Google Drive with a new version

This article is about how to update a file that you have loaded to Google drive. It only applies to files that have not been converted to Google Docs format - for example, PDF, Word, Excel etc files.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to use Picasa-web-albums, without being re-directed to Google+ Photos

This article is about how to you can start Picasa-web-albums in way that stops you being immediately re-directed to Google+ Photos.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where is the Blogger help forum now?

This quick-tip is about how to find the current version of Blogger's support forum.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to make AdSense ads in your site load faster

This article is about a new, faster, type of AdSense code which is available, and how you can add it to your blog.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

What is / was Google Friend Connect

This article describes Google Friend Connect, and how it can be used at the moment.



Saturday, July 6, 2013

AdWords external keywords research tool is going to be retired

This quick article shares an observation about the likelihood that Google's free Keywords Research Tool is being turned off.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Google+ badges and follow buttons can be used in Blogger

This Quick-tip introduces the new Google+ plugins that Google released in late June 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to make a new category / folder in your The Old Reader subscriptions list

This article explains how to make new categories for listing and organizing feeds in The Old Reader.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why enabling a mobile template just became more important to some bloggers

This QuickTip explains some recent announcements from Google  about SEO and mobile devices, and what they mean for Blogger users.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

How to install Facebook's Open Graph tags into Blogger

This article shows how to install Facebook's Open Graph tags into Blogger


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How to access your Google Custom Maps after migrating to the new Google Maps

This QuickTip is about how to access your existing Google Custom Maps, once you have started using the new Google Maps interface being introduced in mid 2013.


How to keep your Blogger password safe

This QuickTip introduces a useful post about password management from Google.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Google Buzz's last-gasp addition to your Google Drive

This QuickTip is about a file that Google Buzz is going to put into your Google Drive, as part of it's final turn-off routine, for all Buzz accounts that haven't yet been deleted.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

AdSense now allow changes to their advertisement code

This QuickTip is about a change to AdSense's policies about modifying their ad code: in short, you are now allowed to change the code in certain way, to achieve certain things.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Setting up Google Analytics so it gets AdSense data from more than one blog or website

This article is about setting up Google Analytics on your blog in a way that includes data for AdSense clicks and behaviour.


Monday, April 29, 2013

How to re-direct an old custom domain - and all its posts - to a new one

This article describes options for making link to a blog's old URL automatically point to the blog's new URL after a custom domain change.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Introducing Maps Engine Lite - a better tool for customizing maps

This article is an introduction to Google's Maps Engine Lite, which is a tool for creating custom maps.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Newer AdSense ad-unit sizes are now available inside Blogger

This QuickTip shares a feature that I just noticed inside Blogger's Add-a-gadget > Adsense option.

Monday, April 15, 2013

What happens to your blog if your Google account becomes inactive?

This article describes Google's Inactive Account Manager, a new tool that gives you control over what happens to your Google account if you don't log on to it for a period of time.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to tick the "expand widgets" checkbox in Blogger's new template editor

This QuickTip is about finding the "expand widgets" option in Blogger's template editor.


Introducing Google's tools for measuring how fast your blog loads

This quick-tip describes some tools that I've recently discovered that measure page-load speed and make suggestions about how to improve it.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Stop Twitter's "follow-me" spam in its tracks

This article is about how to stop the annoying email messages that Twitter sends when an acquaintance joins Twitter and decides that they think you should follow them there too.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Accessing Pinterest Analytics, and verifying your website with Pinterest

This Quick-tip is about how you can verify the website (or blog) associated with your Pinterest account - and solving a small problem with the meta-tag that Pinterest give you.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Getting started with SEO, for Bloggers

This article introduces Google Webmaster central's first-steps-SEO cheatsheat, and explains how the points in it apply to Blogger.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

RIP, Google Reader. Google's March 2013 product cancellation summary.

This QuickTip is about Google's March 2013 (spring for them) product retirements, and how they affect Blogger users.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New resources and help-options for Google AdSense publishers

This Quick-tip is about some new help resources and options that Google has recently introduced for AdSense publishers - including ones who use AdSense through Blogger.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Easy professional translations for YouTube video captioning

This quick-tip is about an extension to YouTube's captioning service. It's relevant to bloggers who focus strongly on videos as a complement to their blog content.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A simple time-management tool for bloggers

This QuickTip shares a template that I used to help me be productive when I was working as a free-lance blogger (and a other things besides).

Monday, February 18, 2013

What "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address" really means

This article explains what "Another blog or Google Site is already using this address" means when you see it while setting up a custom domain for your blog - and what you can do to fix it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The "Single-Slash Double-Dot" rule for identifying spam links in phishing emails

This article is about email phishing, and spam-links in emails: how you can recognize them and what to do about them.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Custom-search-engine adds an "overlay" results layout

This quick-tip is about a new overlay results format which Google Custom Search Engines have just introduced - and which looks like it will be their new standard. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A quick way to keep an eye on what is posted to interesting YouTube channels

This quick-tip is about subscribing to a YouTube channel using an RSS feed-reader, like Google Reader

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stop Blogger offering to share your posts to Google+

This article describes Blogger's share-to-Google+ feature, and shows how to stop Blogger offering to share to your Google + circles every time you publish a new post, and what you cannot (yet) do with the feature.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Remove sidebar background in the Travel template

This quick-tip is about removing the coloured section that is in the background in Blogger's Travel template.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Teach Google-search about your blog with the Data Validator

This quick-tip is about the Webmaster Tools Tool Data Validator tool - which is an easier way to "teach" Google about the way things are described on your blog or website.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How to find free pictures for your blog, using Creative-Commons search

This article describes the Creative Commons search tool, which you can use to look for pictures, videos, music etc that are available for other people to use under a Creative Commons license.


Google product cancellations for December 2012

This quick-tip is about Google's winter 2012 product cancellations, which
appear to have less impact on most Blogger users than their recent seasonal purges.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New rule for how many AdSense ads per page - from Jan-2013

This Quick Tip describes a new rule that AdSense is introducing to their terms and conditions, about how often the new 300x600 ad unit can be used on a single page.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Google+ communities - another way to grow your blog's influence

This Quick Tip is about Google+ Communities, and the ways you could use them to promote  your blog.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Limiting AdSense ad types for individual websites is now available

This quick tip is about a new feature that AdSense have just announced, which lets you control the types of ads that are banned - by website, instead of just for your entire AdSense account.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blog home-pages and mobile-templates: Do they work together?

This article discusses the issues of giving your blog a home page, and how this works for people using mobile devices.


Monday, November 19, 2012

How to make a blog into a real website

This article explains how you can use Blogger to make a site that looks just like any other website and why you might, sometimes, want to do this.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Using an URL from domainDiscount24 for a blog

This article shows Blogger users, who have purchased a domain through Google Apps using domainDiscount24 (dd24.com), how to set up the 2nd CNAME statement that is needed by  Blogger's custom-domain verification step. 

Most of the information also applies to any who purchased a domain from Key Systems / DomainDiscount24 / dd24 and wants to use it for a Blogger blog.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simpler - but more limited - AdSense sign-up for Blogger users

This quick tip describes an announcement from Google about an upcoming simplified process for applying to use AdSense on Blogger or Hubpages.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Add Google Drive's one-click-new icons to your blog or website

This Quick-Tip is about Google Docs / Drive's new short-cut buttons for making a new document, spreadsheet or presentation - and how you can install them into your blog.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stop spammy links from hurting your blog

This article describes the Disavow tool, which you can use to ask Google to stop taking notice of links to your website that you consider to be bad.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Creative Kit photo editor works in Google+, if not in Picasa

This Quick-Tip is about using the Creative Kit, which has been giving me grief recently when I tried to use it from Picasa-web-albums.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Making custom domains work without the www at the start

This Quick-Tip is about an issue that some people have had with their "naked" custom domain not re-directing to the www-at-the-start version, and how to fix it using a feature in your Google Apps account.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Google product cancellations for October 2012

This Quick-Tip is about the products that Google is dropping, or making changes to, from October 2012.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Google Groups now has a "My Discussions" view

This Quick-Tip is about how to see the posts you made in Google Groups - in particular in the Blogger Product Forum.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Takeout now lets you download your own YouTube videos

This Quick-Tip is about accessing your own YouTube videos, using Google's Takeout / Data-liberation service.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Get notified about changes in popularity of pages on your blog/site.

This Quick-Tip describes the alerts that Webmaster Tools are now offering for changes in search popularity of particular pages.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Using a domain purchased from another domain registrar or blogging-platform for your Blogger blog

This article is about how to use a domain (URL) that was purchased outside of Blogger / Google as the custom-domain for your blog.
 

Desktop search turns a downward corner?

This Quick-Tip shares an interesting observation about the trends in search-volumes - and is a reminder to think about what your blog is like for readers who use mobile devices.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Google Affiliate Network has a widget for UK Bloggers

This Quick-Tip is about the Google Advertiser Network widget becoming available for Blogger users based in the UK.

How to link posts together in Blogger

This article shows how to link from a new blog post to one that you have already written. It is part of the Blogger-Basics series.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Post author is now the first person to save a post, not the first to publish it

This Quick-Tip (more about them soon), is about a change that I noticed in Blogger's Post-editor a week or so ago - and I've just confirmed again that it's still happening now.

In short, the post-author is set to the first Google-account that saves a post - not the first one that Publishes it.






Friday, September 7, 2012

Verify your Google + page to get more exposure in search results

I spotted an interesting post in the AdSense blog just now.

It's actually been deleted from the blog (probably because it was supposed to be posted on the Google+ blog, not the AdSense one), but the original feed content is still available, for now, at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tuAm/~3/30qIWIcbTMk/social-fridays-gain-visibility-by.html

According to the feed, it's all about verifying Google + pages, ie making an official link between a page and a website.   They say

Verifying your +page confirms that the +page actually belongs to you. Once your +page is verified, it’ll appear with a checkmark designed to help our users find what they’re looking for.
and

Verified +pages that are popular and engaging may appear on the right side of relevant Google.com search results, for users who are logged in. .... Please keep in mind that to be eligible, the +page also needs to be active with regularly-updated content

To verify your page, you need to
  1. Link your +page to your website: Fill out the ‘About’ section of your Google+ page, being sure to enter your site’s top-level URL.
  2. Link your website to your +page: Add a Google+ badge or code snippet to your site, ...
  3. Complete ... [the]  verification request form.
  4. ... continue posting regularly to your +page ....

The verification form, at http://support.google.com/plus/bin/request.py?hl=en&contact_type=page_verification&rd=1 states the conditions a little differently (boldness mine);
  • Your Google+ page must be authorized by your commercial entity, organization, brand, or product.
  • Your Google+ page’s profile must contain a link to your organization’s website.
  • Your organization’s website must connect to your Google+ page, by adding the Google+ badge or by adding a snippet of code.
  • A meaningful number of people must have added your Google+ page to their circles.


This will be simple enough for most of my sites - I own the website and the G+ page.   Though it should be a little more challenging for one or two community groups that I do things for, where the ownership is a little ore "vague".

My only decision is whether to start the verification process now, or to wait for this to be announced on the right blog!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What bloggers need to know about Responsive Web Design

This article is about responsive web design, and what it means for Blogger users.

Some of the information is relevant for people who use other platforms (especially Wordpress) but much isn't, because Blogger does so much of this for us.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mousetrap or gourmet cheeseboard - how are you treating your readers?

This article is pure self-indulgence and doesn't tell you how to do anything in Blogger or any other tool.

But maybe it's a good day to ask whether your blog is a murderous mouse-trap, a grotty greasy-spoon, or a luscious gourmet cheeseboard.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Google Blogger / Apps access to country-specific domains

Today, Google Apps announced that we can now purchase a wider range of global and country-specific domains through them - previously they only offered a more limited set of the global domains. And now they're cheaper, too: domains registration is $8/year instead if $10.

To do this, they've partnered with a new-to-them domain registrar http://www.domaindiscount24.com - instead of eNom and GoDaddy, who they used before

If you buy a domain via Google Apps, and DomainDiscount24.com is the registrar, then

  • It comes pre-set up to work with Google's tools (mail, apps, sites, etc)
  • You need to use DomainDiscount24.com's administration tools if you want to make any changes to the domain set-up
  • You continue to use Google Apps domain management tools to manage the Google Services that are available to users in the domain (eg enabling/disabling Blogger)

Can we use one of these domains for Blogger?

I'd guess so: I'm pretty sure that Sites, like Blogger, requires that the domain-registrar provide DNS-hosting and the ability to edit CNAME and ANAME records.  You simply have to go through the same process that you need to use if you purchase a domain directly from any registrar.

(I'm going to test this very soon, there's a .co.nz domain that I've been thinking about for a while>


Will they work automatically with Blogger?

Not always: domain setup is a complex thing, and it's hard to predict if you will get the dreaded "Another blog is already hosted as this address" message:  I've purchased a domain via Google Apps before and and it work perfectly with Blogger - and I've had just the opposite experience, too.

If you get stuck, try either

  • Use the information in this recent article from Chuck at Nitecruzr (he's one of the best for resolving custom domain issues)
  • Going to the Blogger Product Forum: explain your problem and URL and ask the experts there to take a look.


Can we use this new registrar to buy country-specific domains inside Blogger?

Not at the moment, and - there's been no announcement from Blogger about it.

(Sideline:   I just tested it, and found that eNom is no longer offered as an option for domain-purchase under Blogger's switch-to-custom-domain track.   This means that GoDaddy, who not have a tool to make custom domain purchases easier, are now the only option inside Blogger - so I can see why Google might be looking to bring another registrar-partner on board.)


What domains are now available to purchase via Google Apps:


Global
.com    .info   .org    .net     .mobi     .biz     .name     .cc    .tv


Asia-Pacific
India: .in .co.in .org.in .net.in
New Zealand: .co.nz
Taiwan: .com.tw
Japan: .jp

Latin America
Colombia .co .com.co
Mexico:   .com.mx .mx

Europe
Belgium: .be
Switzerland: .ch
Czech Republic: .cz
Germany / Deutchland .de
Spain / Espana .es and .com.es
Republic of Montenegro: .me (though it has obvious wider appeal to English speakers!)
The Netherlands .nl
Poland .pl


Are domains for all countries available - why not?

There are still far more countries not on the list than on it.

I'm not surprised that there is no sign of Ireland (.ie) on the list -  these domains are hard to get.  I do manage one .ie site with Blogger:  the domain was obtained for a community group that doesn't have a company registration number, but which does have letterhead, a constitution and a well-connected chairman.   For it, I've found that LetsHost.ie provides the necessary domain management tools and their support people were helpful and didn't turn up their noses when I told them I was using it for a Blogger site.

Disappointing ommissions: Australia (.com.au) and England/Britain (.co.uk) - I'm not sure what the story is with these, or which registrars provide the tools needed to let you use a domain purchased from them with blogger.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blogger and valid HTML code

This article explains the issues faced by Blogger users who try to see if the HTML in their blog is valid - and why this doesn't matter in most cases.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Get ideas for your social media policy by reading other people's

Recently I posted a template for helping to work out and document how you use your blog vs Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.

This is mainly for bloggers who look after blogs-sites for companies, community groups, etc - basically any organisation.  It came about because I started using Blogger to do the website for a choir that I sing in, and I needed to think about all the issues shown.

If you are having difficulty figuring out how you should use these tools together in your own setting, it might be heplful to look at some of the example social media policies listed on the Social Media Governance website.   Some of these are from big companies and non-profits, but some are from far small outfits which might be like yours.

Remember, sometimes it doesn't matter what rules you follow - so long as everyone understands who does what, and acts consistently.   Most problems happen when people have different expectations about who should do what, when and how.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chitika now supporting all countries

Chitika is one of the advertising programmes that is an alternative to Google AdSense.

Initially, their ads were only shown to website-visitors who were in the USA and Canada.   That list extended a while ago.   Now they say that they're available in all countries.

Actually, their post makes it sound like you can sign-up as a publisher no matter what country you are in.  But I was signed up while they were still limited to showing ads to USA/Canada visitors, despite not being in those countries.   So I'm pretty sure that they mean their ads will be shown in all countries.

Custom Search Engine improvements

Google have announced version 2 of the "custom search element" - this is the "thing" that lets you put a custom-search tool in your blog (and any other website).

Important features are:
  • Search UI is rendered based on the settings stored on the Google CSE servers ... any configuration changes you make in the CSE control panel ...[are shown]  on your web pages the next time they reload. ...
  • All element code is loaded asynchronously for reduced page load times.
  • Client-side customization allows you to overwrite global CSE settings on a per-page basis ...

Faster load time is very welcome - I've been noticing that custom search gadgets take a long time to load, relative to other things on my blogs.

And the first feature seems very handy - it means not having to copy-and-paste new CSE code whenever you change a CSE using the control panel. But this has a price: the existing code (in the best option for Bloggers) had two parts - one for where the seach box goes, and one for where the search results go. In the new code, there are still these two parts, but each one has two sections: one section that needs to be added to the header and one to the place (usually a widget for Bloggers). That means:
  • Four separate pieces of code to install
  • Installing means editing the template as well as adding a gadget
  • If you change your template, you need to remember to re-install the CSE code too. 

That said, I'm not sure if the first code sections need to go into the header, or whether they could beside the other parts, perhaps with a loss of speed - any advice is welcome.

Lastly, Google says that the existing CSE code will continue to be supported for now (although there's no way to get it from them any more, they are now only supplying the updated code) - but that this won't last forever.   So sooner or later, you will need to update any custom-search(es) on your blog.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Six Reasons why SEO is irrelevant for your blog

This article explains what search engine optimization (SEO)) is and why it is sometimes not relevant for  bloggers, ie why many of us should ignore all the "essentials SEO for your blog" advice and focus on writing good-quality original posts.


It also has a simple guideline for deciding if a particular piece of SEO-advice is relevant for your blog.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Hiding the space where the navBar used to be

This article shows how to remove the space that is left when Blogger's top-of-screen navigation bar display is turned off.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Blogger and Analytics adjusted-bounce-rate

I've had interesting discussions with people about whether the bounce-rate in Google Analytics is worthwhile: one of my sites has information about local bus routes and neighbourhoods, and many visitors only need to look at one page (the one suggested by Google search) to get the information they need.  I've long believed that these people counted as a "bounce" (ie look at a page and leave), while friends assured me that Google is smarter than that and wouldn't count visits that last for a certain length of time as bounces.

I've just discovered that I was right after all: by default, Analytics counts all one-page-only visitors as bounces.

Google have now told us how to change this, and not count visitors as bounces if they stay on the site for a certain length of time (we can choose how long)

Unfortunately this option isn't fully available to Blogger users at the moment. We can either


1)  Install Analytics in a way that it works properly with dynamic and mobile templates,

Thsi approach will most likely be supported if Blogger invent any other types of templates in the future, so is what I recommend now.  GreenLava explains how to do this here


OR


2) Install the Analytics code in the same way it gets put into other websites.

This won't count visitors who view the blog using a dynamic template (either because you choose one or because they added a command to your URL in order to see your blog that way).
And if you have enabled a mobile template, it will only count visitors using mobile devices if you have:

  • Installed the Analytics code using an HTML/Javascript gadget (I've explaiend how to do this here)
  • Edited your template so that gadget is "shown" on mobile templates (by default, HTML/Javascript gadgets aren't - I've explained how to change this near the end of this article)



So at the moment, our options for Blogger are to either count visitors properly and not see the adjusted bounce-rate, or undercount the visitors but get the custom-adjusted bounce rate.

Have all your posts been added to Google search results yet?

How can you tell if Google has indexed your blog - or if it's indexed all your posts.

The quick way is to search for site:YOUR-BLOG-NAME and see how many results are returned.   If it's roughly the same as your number of published posts, then you're about right.   But what if it's not?

For example, if I google
site:blogger-hints-and-tips.blogspot.com
I get
About 385 results (0.26 seconds)


However I've only 226 published posts in blogger-hints-and-tips.   That tells me there's a problem with content being indexed more than once.   Looking at the results, I can see the problem immediately:  my dynamic-views have been indexed (goodness only knows why) - but also, my archive pages appear to have been indexed.  

For a more in-depth analysis, though, Webmaster Tools now has an Index Status feature, which is particularly useful if there are less pages indexed than published posts, because it shows you if it's always been like that, or if there has been a change at some time which led to a lot of your posts being removed from Google's index.

To use it:



  • If you haven't verified the account before, you may need to do this.
    (Google have said before that blog-owners are automatically verified, but I've found a few times that this hasn't quite worked - I've had to manually verify by installing a meta-tag that they provide)


  • Look under the Health tab for Index Status. It shows a graph of the number of pages indexed vs date for (up to) the last year.



Looking at the graph, if:

  • the line is flat and you havn't made posts at that time, or
  • you have been posting and the line is going upwards,

then it probably means that all your posts are being crawled and indexed (and so can be found in google searches).  

But if there's a different pattern, the advanced tab might be helpful.   It shows:

  • the number of pages indexed
  • the cumulative number of pages crawled,
  • the number of pages that Google knows that it couldn't look at because they are blocked by robots.txt, and
  • the number of pages that were not selected for inclusion in search results.


These numbers are point-in-time totals, not numbers of additions.

Note the important difference: the first graph shows pages indexed (ie added to Google). The advanced one shows pages crawled. If Google crawls a page and finds it hasn't changed since last time they looked at it, then they don't bother indexing it again.

If some of your posts aren't in Google anymore, and the graph of pages indexed has a sudden drop, then most likely a change that you made at that time has caused a problem with indexing or includign your results.

Of course just knowing when things happened doesn't tell you why they happened.  In my case, I remember adding the Archive gadget into Blogger-HAT's layout.   Obviously I didn't stop the pages from getting indexed (though it does make me bitter and twisted that Google doesn't just handle this for us!)

What this does point out, though, is that if you're serious about managing your site for maximum searchability (SEO-friendliness), you should keep a note of the date and time of any structural changes you make, so that you can compare this with diagnostic tools and see if there's a link between the changes and changes in your visits, indexing etc.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Stop AdSense showing you the ads you hate the most

A year ago, I planned a trip to New Zealand. I Googled "NZ camper vans" and similar things a few times, found a company and had a great trip (thanks, Jucy Vans)

For about three months after I got back, Google remembered that I'd looked for this and kept showing me ads from other van-hire companies. Not only were they irrelevant (since I wasn't looking for a hire-van anymore), they really reminded me that I in the office on the other side of the world in wintertime, instead of on the beach in the sun at home. This didn't exactly generate warm-fuzzy feelings towards the advertiser (NZ Van Hire, I hate you with a passion .. and you didn't even do anything!)

This was a lose-lose-lose-lost situation:

  • The advertiser was wasting ad-impressions showing me ads even though I was no longer in the market to hire a camper-van. And they really annoyed me to the extent that they're unlikly to get my business next time I go home, because I've linked their brand to negaive feelings.
  • The publisher - was wasting valuable screen-space showing me ads that there was no chance I would click - so they lost potential income.
  • Google: there was no chance that I'd click those ads for something I didn't want any more, so they didn't get a cut of the revenue either.


To help address this, Google are introducing a “mute this ad” icon on AdSense ads. This will let us tell Google which ads we don't want to see.

How will it work:

  • A small [x] will be put in the corner of some display ads on the Google Display Network.
  • When a website-visitor clicks the [x], sees confirmation page shows, explaining that the advertisement has been "muted", and linking to the Ad Preferences Manager. And after that, ads from that campaign aren't shown to that person in future.



This is being rolled-out over the next few weeks, and won't be applied to all ads to start with. (And I'm describing it based on Google's description - haven't actually seen it myself yet.)

It's not a guarantee you won’t see that ad again -- the ad could be shown by a different company or in a separate campaign. But it's a start.





Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Custom Search Engine ad block background color changes

Google's Custom Search Engine styles have been changed so the ad-blocks at the top/right of the search results have a different background colour. Ref:  http://googlecustomsearch.blogspot.ie/2012/06/ads-background-colors-in-custom-search.html

It looks like we cannot control this colour - it's been chosen to "contrast in a visually appealing way with the default [or user-selected] background color".

In at least one of my blogs, though, the contrast between the ad-background colour and the outer background color selected in blogger isn't quite so "appealing".   :-(

I'm still considering whether to change my outer background, or to experiment with different CSE custom styles to see if one is a better fit. Luckily most of my in-post features have been set up with CSS rules, so I can change them easily by adding a new CSS rule to my template.

Google Advertisers Network - now has UK advertisers

Google Affiliate Network (one of the alternatives to AdSense LINK, which lets you deal with specific, relevant, advertisers) has signed up 30+ UK based advertisers.  Ref:   http://googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.ie/2012/06/announcing-new-uk-advertisers.html

(When you're looking for them, don't forget to set Relationship status to "available", instead of the default  "approved".)

Fingers crossed some of these will also be suitable for my Ireland-focussed blog!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Knowing about better pictures Google Maps & Earth

If you blog about geographic locations, or add Google custom maps to your blog, then it can be very helpful to know when the satellite photos for a certain area are updated. Among other things, this is a reminder to check your map for any details that have changed.

Google's new Follow Your World service tells you just that.

In short, you sign up with your google account, and register to get email alerts when new images for a specific point are availabe in Google Maps or Earth.

Unfortunately you need to select on specific point, not an area, so there's a risk that you might miss updated if you're just a few metres out. But it's beta at the moment, so this may change in future

I haven't seen an official announcement, but it's mentioned in this post on the latLong blog

More info in Google Trends Hot Searches lists

Bloggers who want to write about what's ultra-current in the USA might like the changes to Hot Searches list in Google Trends:

  • The list of searches is more visual,
  • Related rising search terms are grouped
  • You can see more information about those searches


Even if you don't want to blog about these topics, you might like to check them before you post, in case you can associate your somewhat-related post to something that lots of people are looking for right now (which is what Google means by "hot"). Search traffic gained this way may or may not be useful for building long term readership, but can be a nice short-term boost.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to put a working Twitter message into your blog

This article shows how you can embed a fully-featured message from Twitter, right inside your blog, which lets visitors re-tweet, favour it - and follow you in Twitter.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Wordle tag clouds - a logo maker for hard-to-illustrate blogs?

One of my blogs is about some very abstract concepts, which are ever-so-slight difficult to illustrate in a way that's meaningful to the very wide range of readers.

Today I discovered Wordle - a tool that creates free-to-use graphic arrangements from lists of words - for example the words used in a website.   http://www.wordle.net/create

Here's one for Blogger-HAT, to give you an idea - but there are lots of options and customizations, so lots of looks that can be achieved.

After you've made a wordle, the easiest way (IMHO) to get it into your blog is to do a screenshot, then use Paintbrush (or some other very simple picture-editor) to save it as a PNG file).   The it can be loaded to your blog like any other picture.


Monday, June 4, 2012

How to put a gadget into a post in Blogger

This article describes how to put a gadget into a blog post / page - or at least how to make it look like you have done so.


Content Experiements in Analytics

Content Experiments is a new feature in Google Analytics.

It claims to
helps you optimize for goals you have already defined in your Google Analytics account, and can help you decide which page designs, layouts and content are most effective.

I'm not sure how possible it will be for Blogger users to use it - suspect that it may need some serious template editing at lease.

Translations - and better translations

The translations widget now offers you - and your readers - a way to make better translations.    More details here.   Key thing to remember:  if your readers offer suggestions, you have to approve them.    So if you're the sort of blog who encourages this, make sure you keep on top of the approvals.

I've also found that by getting the gadget code from Translate, I'm offered the chance to track translations using Analytics.   I'm not sure if this is an improvement over the standard widget or not, ie whether it perhaps picks up my code itself.  Suspect not though, 'cos part of installing the gadget-code from Google involved adding their meta-tag to my template.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Planning how to use your blog VS your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, etc: what is each one for?

This article describes working out how your blog relates to the other communication tools that you use (sometimes called your "social media strategy"), and how members of a community-group can work together to so that their blog, Facebook page are used well. 


It includes a template that you can use to record your own group's decisions about how to use these tools, and a worked-example.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Docs research panel beats Zemanta gadget

Google Docs now has a research pane available while you're writing.   Basically this is a quick way to access google-search results.

To use it:

  • Select a word
  • Right-click the word
  • Choose Research from the tools menu.

Or just select the word and hit the key-combo ( Ctrl+Alt+R on Windows or Cmd+Alt+R on Mac) if you think mice are evil time-wasters.

This is a far better than the Zemanta gadget that was offered to Blogger users back in 2010; research is done only on the words you want researched, not everything that you're writing. My experience was that the latter approach  slowed my machine down horribly, and mostly added no value because it just distracted me from what I wanted to write. Other people seemed to feel the same way, and for a while How to disable Zemanata in blogger was popular reading.

Personally, I'm not sure research-pane will be enough to convince me to write my posts in Docs and load them to Blogger from there: a lot of my research is about "how does Blogger handle this", which I can only find out my testing it.  But it will be a very handy tool for bloggers in some niches.

A couple of things to be aware of:  the pane  offers you imagees that you can "drag into your document", and it add footnotes saying where the image has come from. But the last time I loooked, documents loaded from Docs to Blogger didn't maintain footnotes. And even so, if the image is copyright, you can't get permission to use it in your blog just by linking to the source.