Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Google's Help Forums

This article introduces Google's Help Forums: these are the main way of getting support for non-paid products. The forum for Blogger is particularly strong.


Google introduced a new Product Help Forum in mid-March 2012.   Read more about this...

The old help forums are still available read-only.

The new help-group can be reached from  choose help from the gear-wheel menu at the top right of the screen.

The following material is kept for historical purposes only:   it is no longer current.

How are Google's Help tools organised? 

For each "product" (Blogger, AdSense, Custom-Search, Maps, etc etc) Google has as set of Help Articles, and a Help Forum.

Generally the link to these is at the top right hand corner of the screen.

The Help forum's are particularly useful if you've searched for the solution to something and cannot find it, or if you want some tips about how to approach something.

Help forum features:

Each product's Help Forum includes:
  • A left hand column, where you can switch between the forum and articles, and where you can Post a Question
  • A middle column which shows the Discussion Categories, or the most recent questions if you've chosen a category.
  • The right hand column highlights some of the most popular discussions.

When you initially browse through the questions in the Forum, you'll notice that many of them are written with bad spelling and/or grammar, or seem to be asking incredibly basic questions.   But don't be discouraged:  many Google users have English as a second (third, etc) language, and many do a lot of texting (moderate amounts of txt-spk are allowed in these forums, unlike many others).  And some are very, very new to blogging and don't seem to have read the help files yet.

And there are some very helpful people, who at times give absolutely brilliant answers - for example, this one about how to get your blog noticed by search-engines.

Hints for using the help-forums

Help-forums only survive long term if people give good answers as well as ask questions.   Every time you ask a question, browse through and find 2-3 not-yet-answered questions that you know the answer to, and post answer them.   Doing this:
  • creates good karma,
  • gets your post count up, and
  • frees up the more experienced people to answer other, harder, questions (like yours!)

Always include your blog's URL ( and your location (ie the city and country you are in) with your question: it makes answering questions much easier.

Be as specific as you can:   say what you were doing when an error message appeared, and what you're wanting to achieve.

Related Articles:

Blogger and other Google products

Blogger and non-Google products

Understanding Google accounts

Setting up AdSense on your blog

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