23 The best of Blogger Buster in 2007
December 31, 2007 /

There are dozens of "Best of 2007" posts floating around at this time of year, and in the spirit of things I would like to share with you all a list of the best posts from Blogger Buster in 2007. Although my site has only been online for six months, I thought it would be a good way to remind both faithful readers and newer visitors of this year's highlights.

Thank you to all my visitors for helping me develop Blogger Buster into the what it is today. I look forward to a new year of blogging, and have many new features in store which I hope you will all find useful.

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and discovering (or perhaps 'rediscovering') the posts which have helped Blogger Buster develop a string readership and reputation through the later part of 2007.

If you've ever wanted to spread the word about Blogger Buster, this post would be a great way for others to discover the best parts of this blog!

Please feel free to leave your own comments below. As always, your contributions are warmly welcomed, and your links will be followed by Google!

38 A New Year Banner widget for your blogs!

As 2007 is fast drawing to a close, I have created a New Year banner which you can easily install as a widget in your blogs as a seasonal banner for your visitors. This banner will sit at the top right hand side of your blog, providing seasonal decoration to your theme in a way you can easily delete when no longer appropriate.

I have made this available in both PNG (see top right) and GIF format which you can install in your own blogs as a widget.

I have not linked the image to anything, though a link back to this page in your blog is welcomed, and could inform your readers where they can get their own festive banner.

Install the New Year Banner widget

This New Year banner is available in two formats for you to install as a widget in your blog:

  • PNG format: this is the style you can see in my own blog. PNG is a better format for images with transparency, but you will need to ensure you have also installed the PNG fix for IE6 and below, otherwise you will see a grey background to the image!
  • GIF format: this is suitable for all blogs and browsers, though the image quality isn't quite as good.

Use the appropriate button below to install your own New Year banner with just one click! You can easily remove the widget whenever you like by simply opening up the widget and clicking on the "remove page element" button in the pop-up window.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

25 Blogger in 2007: a year in review
December 30, 2007 /

It's been a good year for Bloggers: after "new Blogger" came out of beta, a great many new features have been added over the past twelve months. So as the year comes to a close, here is my own review of a year with Blogger, including some predictions for the year ahead.

January

Back in the later part of 2006, Blogger had released the new layouts templates out of beta, which meant many bloggers were enjoying the flexibility and ease of widgets, easy customization and better publishing. Though the changeover may have been somewhat difficult for some, many new blogs had sprung up offering their insights and experience of this new system, including Testing Blogger Beta and Blogger University, paving the way for many "new Blogger" hacks to be developed, and helping other Blogger users to realize the full potential of this excellent new feature.

Another great new feature released in January was that Blogger began to support the "Custom Domains" service which enabled users of the new Layouts templates to link top level domains to their blogs. This excellent feature bode great promise for search engine status with many Blogger hosted blogs; furthermore, it is a cheap and effective way of establishing integrity and brand recognition, since Blogger still hosts the blog for free (you only need to pay for the domain name itself)!

February

Blogger announce the release of the API which we bloggers can use to develop our own Blogger widgets. This meant that in addition to using generic widgets and pasting HTML/Javascript into the widget boxes, we could create our own and offer them for others to use in their blogs using a simple form. You may have noticed a few which I made available here at Blogger Buster. Also Beautiful Beta has quite a selection available which you may well want to take a look at. To create your own widgets for others to use, take a look at the instructions here.

March

In March, Blogger released two new widgets for use with layouts blogs: Newsreel and Video Bar. The Newsreel adds a stream of headlines from Google News to your widget based on keywords you choose when installing the widget in your blog. These headlines constantly update, so you can be sure relevant and up-to-date content is displayed in your blog. The Video Bar uses your chosen keywords to find suitable videos from YouTube and Google's Video Search which are displayed as small icons in the sidebar. When a visitor clicks on a thumbnail, the whole video expands into the main posts column. A pretty cool development for Bloggers who want to keep their blog fresh with dynamic content!

Also in March, Blogger and Picasa joined forces; all of the photos you upload to Blogger are now also contained in your own Picasa web albums, for easier access, sharing and viewing.

April

French Toast Girl became Blogger's 100th Blog of Note (for those of you unfamiliar with the blogs of note, these are part of an ongoing list of blogs which the Blogger team have found to be interesting and somehow notable).

April was also the month of languages for Blogger: Hindi transliteration was introduced, and also Blogger was translated into Nederlands, Türkçe, Dansk, Norsk, Svenska, suomi, Русский, and ภาษาไทย (bringing the total number of languages to 19), assisting even more international bloggers in the creation of new weblogs.

May

Now May was a rather significant month for Blogger: this was the month in which the "old" blogger interface was 'dismantled' to pave the way for New Blogger (layouts and all) to reign supreme. From May 4th onwards, all Blogger users were required to use the new system. Although bloggers are still allowed to maintain their classic templates, the login and dashboard are now of the new Blogger format, and new members are required to create a Google account in order to use Blogger's service.

Auto-saving of blog posts was another very useful feature which was made available in May. No more worries about power cuts deleting the post you've been working on four hours anymore!

June

June was an important month for Blogger Buster. In fact, this was the month in which this blog was first created, albeit in a far different form to what you see today...

For bloggers interested in testing out new features before they are publicly released, Blogger introduced "Blogger in Draft", where you can use and review features unavailable in the regular Blogger dashboard. In draft, many of the new features are still buggy and not quite so well-featured as we would expect of a public release, though I still consider it honorable of Blogger to allow us the use of beta functions in order to help develop an altogether better format for the community.

Seventeen new languages were added to Blogger's list of translated formats, bringing the grand total to a whopping thirty six!

All in all, the halfway mark of the year proved to be a rather productive month for the Blogger community as a whole!

July

For me, the most important feature added to Blogger in July was the redirection of blog feeds to your specified URL. A great many bloggers used Feedburner to syndicate their feeds, but were unable to get any accurate details of their subscriber list which was generally torn between Feedburner and Blogger URLs. With this new feature included in the options page of our dashboards, we could all be certain that our Blogger feeds were being redirected to a central place, and that all of our subscribers could be accounted for.

August

Blogger celebrated it's eighth birthday on the 23rd of August. Just look how much the format has changed since the old days! It's quite an achievement to know that Blogger has been around so long, especially considering that with it's thousands of international users, Blogger is probably the biggest blogging community in the world!

Propelling the eight year old service into the future of blogging was the addition of video uploads, allowing vloggers (video bloggers) to upload their latest installments with ease, right into the body of their blog posts!

September

In the month leading up to my birthday (!), Blogger uploaded Blogger Play for public use. Using this nifty little feature, you can view an endless stream of the latest photos which Bloggers have uploaded, making interesting viewing for those times when you suffer a but of writer's block. While not one of the most useful features currently available to Blogger, it certainly makes a change from watching a blank space in the edit posts section of our dashboard!

October

From October onwards, we were able to subscribe to a Blogger post's comments by email, a feature welcomed by most as a much easier way of keeping track of the conversation which often follows a really great blog post. Currently this feature is only available to those who have a Google account, though it's certainly proved useful for the times I've needed to keep abreast of further comments after leaving a question on another blogger's blog.

November

It was no surprise that in November, Blogger won an award for being the best blogging host in the 2007 Blogger's Choice Awards: an admirable achievement which surprisingly didn't get a mention in the Blogger Buzz Blog!

November's latest Blogger widget was the Slideshow, which allows you to create a dynamic show of your favorite photos from Flickr, Picasa or any other service which supports media RSS.

December

2007 is now drawing to a close, and overall I can honestly say that it's been a greatly productive year for Blogger, albeit with a few hiccups regarding how comments can be posted in these past couple of weeks.

Blogger did publish their own round-up of the best developments for the year, though I do think they missed rather a lot of important and noticeable points! The Buzz post did however mention that the Blogger team do have lots of new and exciting features planned for 2008, which neatly brings me to my next point...

Blogger in 2008?

So what developments will happen with Blogger in 2008? Well, I think that the Blogger team will focus less on developing new widgets and more on the functionality of the blogs themselves. In recent months, many popular Blogger bloggers have moved their blogs over to Wordpress after feeling discontented with the features currently on offer. Jackbook (who is famed for generating Blogger templates from Wordpress themes) moved over in September, while Blog Bloke is about to move his blog from Blogger on New Year's day. If Blogger can ensure blog authors are more content with how they are able to publish their blogs, I'm sure there would be far fewer 'defectors' in the future!

New features?

Many bloggers would love the ability to summarize posts on the front page without having to extensively hack their templates to do so. Blog pages would also make a wonderful addition to the Blogger system; this popular feature of the Wordpress platform would make a welcome change to the current Blogger platform and enable us to do even more with out blogs.

Although many of you would like to see trackbacks enabled, I sincerely doubt that this feature will be added. And being completely honest, the "links to this post" feature seems to work just as well for Blogger powered blogs, especially as we have the ability to delete the links displayed if they come from a questionable source (something which is more difficult to achieve with Wordpress generated trackbacks).

Despite my doubts that Blogger will produce an ever increasing list of widgets, the one thing I sincerely hope Blogger will produce is a Popular Posts widget, so readers can easily see which blog articles attract the most attention at a glance. The one I use in my sidebar was developed by AffiliateBrand, though I really think Blogger should produce their own.

Perhaps Blogger will finally release some new generic templates, including different styles and perhaps three columns, in order to follow the recent trends contemporary web design. Of one thing I am certain though: Blogger will continue to develop new features and attract more users to this free and easy blogging platform throughout the year ahead. And somehow I suspect that Blogger has a surprise for us all: a major change in the system which is going to take us all by storm.

Happy New Year to all Bloggers

Wishing you all an excellent start to 2008 and the best of luck for your blogs.

Do you agree with my predictions for 2008, or do you think other changes may happen in the Blogger platform which I have not detailed here? Please do let me know your opinions on this post by leaving your comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing for updates, and be sure to keep updated on the developments here at Blogger Buster for the year ahead!

17 Google dictate "no-follow" for ALL links from compensated content?
December 28, 2007 /

If you're at all concerned about Google's "punishment" to bloggers who post sponsored content, you really need to read this post by Ted Murphy on the Izea blog (Izea owns Pay Per Post). In this post, Ted explains the discussion he had with Google's Matt Cutts earlier this month at PubCon, where they talked about using "no-follow" tags for links in sponsored content.

Although Izea how now decided to require "no-follow" for all links to an advertiser in posts made through SocialSpark. However:

Matt commended the decision, but then added ALL links inside of any sponsored post should carry the no-follow tag period, regardless of whether they are required, not required or even link to the advertiser paying for the post. (Ted Murphy)
Yikes, Google really are getting serious about this now!

Andy Beard has followed up on this post with a really great article about the ramifications of Google's decision, which I strongly suggest you read if you have any concern about paid content and the perils of followed links.

While I do no sponsored posts here at Blogger Buster (or indeed any of my blogs), I am now rather concerned that any advertising I choose to feature in my blog may eventually subject me to Google's wrath, as I'm sure many other bloggers are too. Does this mean that all bloggers who receive any sort of compensation from their blogs should insert "no-follow" on all outgoing links to be absolutely certain that we don't incur Google's wrath?

I certainly hope not! For me, this would undermine one of the core principles of blogging: the ability to link to between blogs, create dynamic content and a generate a sense of community which the search engines pick up on and deliver to the internet as a whole.

As Andy rightly puts forth:

This really is looking less and less about the quality of search results, and more about the failings of Google's algorithms.
I sincerely hope that Google's Webmaster guidelines are soon updated to include a clear and concise explanation of the way Google expects us to link to other content in our blogs without fear of losing PageRank and search results status!

I know that many of you believe that links in paid posts should not be followed by search engines, but I honestly believe that such drastic restrictions on links which can or can't be followed will eventually affect any blogger who has ads or is somehow compensated to blog. Please do let me know your opinions on this matter by leaving your comments below.

10 Where will your blog take you in 2008?
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For me, the week between Christmas and the New Year is a time for reflection, and to begin making plans for the year ahead. In fact, many bloggers seem to be doing the same thing, offering reviews and statistics for 2007 and unveiling their plans for 2008.

Have you begun to consider your blogging plans and aspirations for 2008? If so, what will you be doing in the new year to achieve this?

Blogger Buster in review

As many of you will realize, Blogger Buster is relatively young in the field of blogs about blogging. Being only six months old, I have very little statistics to offer you yet regarding subscribers, page views and revenue, which are factors most of the popular blogs are concerned about in their annual reviews.

So far such statustics have been of little importance to me. Of course I would love for Blogger Buster to become as popular as Problogger or John Chow's blogs, though such popularity takes time and a heck of a lot of effort to achieve!

No, the thing which I have enjoyed the most about this year of blogging has been this:

I have loved every minute of it!

In my opinion, blogging is pointless unless you enjoy what you do and the subject you write about. So in 2008, I plan to continue blogging about this subject I love, helping others along the way and creating some great Blogger templates which I hope you will all love too.

My plans for 2008

Like many other bloggers, I am now creating a "blogging plan" for the year ahead and will start the new year as I mean to go on.

After reviewing my most popular posts, it seems to me that the longer tutorials and Blogger templates seem to attract the most attention, so these are features which I will develop more fully in the months ahead. You can expect to see some series' of tutorials, plus some new and interesting templates unveiled soon, with a spattering of blogger news in between. I'm also considering weekly (or monthly) reviews of useful resources and interesting posts from around the bloggosphere to help you all discover other interesting sites you may have missed.

I've also been working on some other projects recently, one of which I will unveil to you on New Year's day that I think you may all find rather interesting...

Your plans for 2008?

Have you posted a review of the year, or your blogging plans for the year ahead? If so, please leave me a comment below to tell me about this. I would love to read how others will use their blogs in the year ahead, or even if you plan to leave things exactly the way they are!

I hope you have all really enjoyed the Christmas festivities and look forward to a new year of blogging with Blogger. Best wishes to you all, and a Happy New Year!

9 Merry Christmas to all!
December 24, 2007 /

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

31 Get a Christmas banner for your blog

Christmas is just around the corner now, and many Bloggers are decorating their templates with festive themes. Unfortunately my time has been so limited lately and I simply couldn't get a festive Blogger theme ready for download in time for Christmas. So instead I created this festive banner as a decorative bauble for my theme.

I have made this available in both PNG (see top right) and GIF format which you can install in your own blogs as a widget.

This Christmas banner will float in the top right corner of your blog, and is great to decorate your blog for the festive season. I have not linked the image to anything, though a link back to this page in your blog is welcomed, and could inform your readers where they can get their own festive banner.

Install the Christmas Banner widget

The Christmas banner is available in two formats for you to install as a widget in your blog:

  • PNG format: this is the style you can see in my own blog. PNG is a better format for images with transparency, but you will need to ensure you have also installed the PNG fix for IE6 and below, otherwise you will see a grey background to the image!
  • GIF format: this is suitable for all blogs and browsers, though the image quality isn't quite as good.

Use the appropriate button below to install your own Christmas banner with just one click! After Christmas, you can easily delete your widget, or replace it with a New Year banner instead (which I will be uploading shortly).

Merry Christmas to you all!

10 Christmas fun: top bloggers in fun video smackdown!
December 23, 2007 /

Here's a fun festive video for you blogging enthusiasts: see top bloggers in a snowball smackdown in this video created by Randy Brown.

Best wishes to you all for the Christmas season!

27 Does Blogger leave us vulnerable to impersonation?
December 21, 2007 /

I write this post in response to Peter's comments on other posts (see here and here) in which he is concerned that Blogger's policies may leave people vulnerable to impersonation. Rather than write a long comment, I think this subject deserves a post of its own, especially as I would like to know your opinions on this matter.

In his comments, Peter outlines his concerns that impersonators are so easily able to maliciously slander another person online by creating fictitious comments which link to an innocent blogger's profile, or indeed create an impostor blog pertaining to be written by someone else. Just a little research online uncovers the frightening truth behind this concern. But do Blogger's policies leave us open to the dangers of impersonation, or is this the nature of the Internet?

Online impersonation can come in many forms. Blogs such as Poorblogger and John Cow impersonate blogging celebrities in humorous parody, but on the other end of the scale impostor-driven blogs can be harmful, hurtful and may even result in criminal proceedings against an innocent person.

As Peter explains in his comments, bloggers in certain parts of the world can be easily detained, and possibly prosecuted for unsavory and salacious content discovered in their sites, whether this be in the form of a blog post or a comment left on their blog (as in the case of Natanial Tan). Impersonation could result in innocent bloggers and webmasters being unfairly detained for content they have not authored themselves.

Another case is that of the "Megan Had It Coming" blog, which impersonates Lori Drew, the woman involved in creating a fake MySpace profile of a 16-year-old boy created to start an Internet relationship with Megan Meier, the Missouri teen who hanged herself. Amidst the high profile court case regarding responsibility for Megan Meier's death, this impostor blog profiles the extent of cyber-bullying which can easily be generated online.

Are Blogger's policies flawed?

The "Megan Had It Coming" blog is hosted by Blogger, and while Blogger claim to take a strong stance against impersonation through users of their service, at the time of writing this post, that blog is still available to view.

Blogger says this about it's stance on impersonation for users of its services:

We do not allow impersonation of others through our services in a manner that is intended to or does mislead or confuse others.
However, when we look at the content policy for defamation, which is intrinsically linked to the malicious impersonation of another person, we read this:
The language of Section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act fundamentally states that Internet services like Google.com, Blogger and many of Google’s other services are republishers and not the publisher of that content. Therefore, these sites are not held liable for any allegedly defamatory, offensive or harassing content published on the site.
So it seems that while Blogger claims not to tolerate impersonation, Blogger will only remove content hosted on its service "if the material has been found to be defamatory by a court, as evidenced by a court order". By then the damage would already have been done.

Furthermore, it is very easy to create a blog. Yes, I know we need to have or create a Google account in order to host a Blogger blog, but we do not need to verify our email address, nor do we receive conformation that a blog has been created. So it would be very easy for a malicious poster to set up a Google account and a Blogger blog using someone else's email address, username and identity!

Blogger's comment policy

One of the issues which concerns Peter is that Blogger allows visitors to leave their comment and URL without having to log in as proof of their identity. Of course, it is the publisher of a blog who decides whether or not to allow anonymous comments, though many do choose to do so in order to generate link love for their blog readers, but is the blog author also responsible for the comments left by their readers?

As you may have read in my previous post, I feel that my blog's visitors should be able to leave their URL along with their name when leaving a comment. However, I do understand Peter's concerns, and also that of others who believe such an open commenting system leaves a blog open to abuse from malicious internet surfers. Spam and abusive comments on my blog are rare, though if ever I suspect that my blogs comments are being abused, I reserve the right to delete the questionable comment.

Although I am glad that Blogger have decided to revive the system where commenters can leave their URL, I do still believe that Blogger's commenting system leaves much room for improvement. Other blog commenting systems, message boards and forums provide methods for visitors to "sign" their comments and leave their URLs, whilst still offering some degree of protection and affirmation against malicious impersonation, such as:

  • Logging of IP addresses for every comment made, which is usually made available to the administrator/author of the site, and could be used to look up the details of malicious authors
  • Author controlled exclusions for IP addresses or questionable content left in comments. This way, blog authors could exclude the comments of visitors who are known to be malicious, and control any content which could be published without having to manually approve each and every comment made.
Other blogging platforms allow the blog author such control over their sites by default, while Blogger seems to allow us very little control over the comments left on out sites, unless we choose to manually approve each comment (which for blogs with high traffic could be a long and tedious task).

Blogger may well implement the above policies in comments, but even if this is the case, the author of a blog does not have access to these details, nor are we able to have a greater degree of control over how such policies are implemented.

We need to protect our identity online!

The Internet is a very difficult place to police effectively. Different countries adopt different policies on cyber-crime and proving who is responsible can be a difficult task in itself.

Blogger's does allow more room for abuse than other blogging platforms due to the flaws in its policies regarding accounts and comment policies. Wordpress.com, for example, requires its bloggers to have a unique API key, and logs the IP address of any visitor who makes a comment, while self-hosted Wordpress blogs generally require the author to purchase a hosting package and domain name where the owner's personal details are held by ICANN: the domain name registration authority.

However, in my opinion no blogging platform, social community hub or forum is without its flaws. Even if Blogger were to create a closed and carefully monitored system for its members, online impersonation would still be possible on thousands of other sites.

In fact, I believe that there is no fail-safe way to protect our identities online. But we can take steps to help us protect ourselves against impersonation online.

Here are a few simple tips you could try to help guard yourself against abuse of your online identity:

  • Google your name and website regularly to find out what others are saying about you. Many people already do this for somewhat narcissistic reasons, but this also serves the pirpose of ensuring your name and blog's identity are not being used for malicious purposes.
  • Set up a newsfeed to receive updates when a new site or page referencing you is indexed by Google. This ensures you are always kept up to date about any issues which may concern you. You can easily set up such a newsfeed here and ensure updates are emailed to you daily.
  • Keep track of sites which link back to your blog. You can do such a search using Google, like this, which will give you a list of all websites that provide a link back to your blog. Also you may want to consider using Technorati and view your blog's profile regularly to see all links from blogs to your own site.
  • Consider creating a membership with QDOS. This is a new service, currently in Beta, which helps members to take control of their digital identity by logging all of their profiles, websites and online activity (eg: blogging, social networking) in one easily accessible place. Furthermore a QDOS score is calculated to determine how active and individual you are online. This service was originally created to help members protect their digital identity, thus ensuring duplicate profiles cannot be created. Membership is currently by invitation, though when you register your interest you will be among the first considered to use this new service. I have just begun to use this myself, and so cannot comment much about how useful a tool this may be, though so far I am hopeful for QDOS' success!
  • Report any malicious abuse of your identity. The first point of reference should be to the administrator/author if the site in question (if this is possible). Alternatively you could perform a WHOIS search to discover the details of the website owner or supplier, then use this information to present your complaint. You can report violations of the terms of service for a Blogger blog directly to Blogger using this form.
The Internet is a vast and somewhat uncontrollable place, though thankfully instances of impersonation are infrequent. I hope that this information has answered Peter's comments to the best of my knowledge, and will help others overcome any concerns regarding how their online identity can be used.

17 More comment changes - have Blogger relented?
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Thankfully I noticed today that Blogger have now added the facility for visitors to leave their URL along with their nickname when commenting. So now we don't have to use OpenId and perform endless tasks to be able to create backlinks to our blogs when leaving a comment on a familiar blog.

Thank you Blogger!

This time, Blogger have also decided to inform us about this change with a post on the Blogger Buzz blog, for which I am also grateful. I was quite upset when the Blogger team made the previous changes to the commenting system without informing us of what was happening, or indeed how to use the new OpenId system (though it seems that this issue has also now been rectified).

"You blog, we listen" was the headline for the post about the new comment changes. I am glad to see that Blogger do pay attention to what it's users have to say about their service, either through their blog posts or in the Blogger help group. Perhaps it was the frustration and en-masse Wordpress defectors which finally swayed the pendulum... Either way, I'm sure many existing Blogger users will feel happier about the change. I know I certainly am!

13 Why traffic, your subscriber count and money doesn't matter
December 18, 2007 /

Skellie who writes Skelliewag.org has produced a truly great article about presenting an authoritative blog which I simply had to share with you all. In her article, Skellie explains that the way a blog is presented has a far greater impact than a huge subscriber count, hundreds of comments on each post or boastful articles about making money could ever hope to achieve!

"Why traffic, your subscriber count and money doesn't matter" demonstrates than even a novice blogger can develop the web presence of an authority in their subject field by applying simple (yet effective) tactics to their presentation. Skellie calls this "The Matrix Effect", and makes us understand that what is perceived by a reader may not necessarily be the truth!

I really enjoyed reading this post, and hope you also find some useful tips to apply to your own blogs. Please take a quick look and leave me your opinions below.

109 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 http://draft.blogger.com in your browser instead of the regular www.blogger.com 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 "http://youraccount.myopenid.com" with the correct URL for your own MyOpenId account (eg: http://JoeBloggs.myopenid.com):

<link rel="openid.server" href="http://www.myopenid.com/server" />
<link rel="openid.delegate" href="http://youraccount.myopenid.com/" />
<link rel="openid2.local_id" href="http://youraccount.myopenid.com" />
<link rel="openid2.provider" href="http://www.myopenid.com/server" />
<meta http-equiv="X-XRDS-Location" content="http://www.myopenid.com/xrds?username=youraccount.myopenid.com" />
(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.

33 Blogger's big comment boo-boo!
December 10, 2007 /

Blogger have recently introduced a terrible new commenting system which has made it very difficult for any commenter to feature a link to their blog in their comments. We used to be able to log in as "other" in order to create a backlink to our blogs, and also use comment avatars in our comments. Bloggers could also remove the "no-follow" tags to enable link love to those who take the time and effort to leave comments on their posts.

Not any more.

Google/Blogger have now decided to revoke our rights as moderators and masters of our own blogs...

Now Blogger blogs have a new commenting system which means we either have to sign in using our Google/Blogger accounts (which only creates a link to our profile pages), comment anonymously or use a nickname. Some Bloggers also have the feature to log in using OpenID/Wordpress/Typepad accounts which does offer a little hope. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be the case here at Blogger Buster yet. I'm sorry that for the time being you'll need to leave your comments using your Google accounts or sign them with your nickname instead. Heck, I can't even show my face beside my comments anymore!

As you can well imagine by the tone of this post, I am becoming increasingly unhappy with Blogger! I really don't understand why Blogger suddenly chose to use the Open ID system and remove the ability for commenters to leave their URL in comments along with their name. Now I fear that fewer people will feel invited to leave their comments on Blogger powered blogs. Worse still, I wonder how many users Blogger will use as so many people these days feel the urge to migrate to Wordpress.

There is some hope...

Thankfully I did find one solution which may enable you to leave your blog's url on Blogger powered blogs, though you will need to create an OpenID account and add code to your blog's header in order to do so. Once I have been able to make this work for myself I will post a full tutorial for you all, though as Blog Bloke has said, these days we have to jump through too many hoops just to leave our URL on a Blogger powered blog comment!

15 Hello I'm back... sort of!
/

Well I'm back from my week's holiday now with a heck of a lot to catch up on. It seems in my absence that Blogger has changed the commenting system (making it so awkward to use comment avatars or create backlinks to your blogs...), and of course the blogging world has continued without me. After reading some of my RSS feeds I realize that I have a lot of catching up to do!

Unfortunately I've also come home to a "mad house": we're having some extensive renovations done to the house which have been delayed by quite some time. We'd hoped for the worst of the work to be complete by the time we arrived home, but things don't always happen as planned and at present we're living in one single, and very crowded room. Thankfully I managed to set up the laptop for a little while (though I do have to climb in and out of the desk area!), but I have to admit that blogging cannot be my top priority for the next fortnight and so my posts will be somewhat erratic until the bulk of the renovations are complete and I can eventually have my proper desk space/electrical supply/heating system back!

Thank you to everyone who has left comments and emailed me in my blogging absence. I will get back to everyone as soon as I can, though this will be a little later than usual. Luckily by Christmas we'll have a brand new kitchen (and blogging space), so it's guaranteed that posting here will be back to normal by then. Best wishes and thank you to you all!

14 I'm off for a week!
December 01, 2007 /

For various reasons, the family and I have decided to jet off for a (much needed!) week's holiday. I am trying my best to get a couple of posts scheduled for posting during the week, and while I may be able to answer a couple of emails, I can't guarantee an internet connection whilst away from home. But be assured I'll be blogging with a vengeance when I arrive home again!

Wishing you all a happy start to the holiday season!

Amanda :)

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