December 11, 2007

Using OpenId to leave comments on Blogger blogs

As you may have read in my previous post, Blogger's new commenting system makes it very difficult for readers to leave a link to their blog's URL in their comments. But thanks to Blog Bloke, I have been discovered how to use OpenId to leave comments with a link to my blog URL on Blogger Blogs. This also means that the MyBlogLog comment avatars will still work if you leave a comment in a blog which has enabled these avatars to display (here at Blogger Buster for example). The process is relatively simple, though I admit we do have to take more steps to achieve something which previously took only seconds! Read on for instructions to install and use this new system on your own Blogger blogs.

The new commenting system (or should I say, "systems"..?)

Most Blogger blogs now will only allow you to leave a comment using three persona's:

  • Using your Google/Blogger account (thus creating a link to your Blogger profile page)
  • Anonymously (therefore your comment will be posted by "Anonymous")
  • Using a nickname (no link here either!)
Yesterday I mentioned that some Blogger blogs allow you to sign in using an Open ID/Wordpress/Typepad account. This is only enabled when you publish using Blogger in draft. So, if you would like your readers to be able to leave a backlink on your blog, you must publish your blog using Blogger in Draft, by visiting in your browser instead of the regular page. The you will need to change the comment settings in your dashboard, allowing "anyone" to make a comment (go to Settings>Comments in your Blogger in Draft dashboard to do this).

This will allow anyone to leave a comment in your blog so that their name will become a hyperlink to their OpenId/profile page, wether or not they have a Google/Blogger account. So long as they choose the correct option to log in.

How to use the OpenID system

If you would prefer to login with an OpenId instead of your Google/Blogger account, you will need to create an OpenID account. There are a few different methods you could choose for this, including ClaimID which Angel kindly pointed out in her comment. I have chosen to use MyOpenID as (at present) this is the only system I know of which will allow you to create a link back to your own blog when leaving a comment using Blogger's awful new system. You can create your free MyOpenId account here. This is the first step to enable backlinks in your comments...

Make your Blogger comments link back to your blog

Assuming you have set-up and verified your MyOpenId account, you may now prefer to leave comments where your name will link back to your blog instead of your MyOpenId profile page. For this you will need to verify that you are the owner of your blog by adding some code to the head section of your blog's template.

To do this, go to Template>Edit HTML in your blogger dashboard (this doesn't need to be the Blogger in Draft version though), and locate the closing </head> tag in your template code. Just before this line, add the following section of code, ensuring that you substitute all instances of "" with the correct URL for your own MyOpenId account (eg:

<link rel="openid.server" href="" />
<link rel="openid.delegate" href="" />
<link rel="openid2.local_id" href="" />
<link rel="openid2.provider" href="" />
<meta http-equiv="X-XRDS-Location" content="" />
(This method was taken from the help section of the MyOpenId site)

Then whenever you have the option to use your OpenID to leave comments, you should enter the URL of your blog instead of your OpenID URL. This will then substitute your OpenId profile link with that of your blog's URL instead. Also, if you are a MyBlogLog member, your avatar will display in commenting systems where MyBlogLog comment avatars have been enabled. Take a look at my test comments below to see how this works.

So many steps for such a simple task...

Although I am glad that I can still create a link back to my blog when leaving comments, and also make use of the MyBlogLog commenting system, I am still rather frustrated that Blogger have made it so difficult for readers to allow links back to their blogs. In order to make this happen, we have to go through far too many steps, whereas the previous commenting system was simpler, easier and far more user friendly. At this rate, Blogger will become a closed system, in which users of other blogging platforms will feel unwilling to comment, perhaps even to visit Blogger blogs. I can understand concerns over comment spam and such, but for me, the cons far outweigh the pros of this new system. Please bring it back Blogger!!

I hope this tutorial has been useful in helping you to understand how the new commenting systems work, and also how it is still possible to create links back to your blogs, while allowing others to do the same. Comments are always welcome here, and backlinks should still be followed, so please feel free to leave your opinions below.

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