July 11, 2012

How to tell if a website is powered by Blogger

Since we can completely customize the appearance of our blogs and use custom domains, it is not always easy to tell if a website is powered by Blogger. Having looked at hundreds of websites while researching for the Blogspot Top 100 list, I've discovered a few methods to discover if a website is built on the Blogger platform.

For those who would like to know if their favourite blogs operate using Blogger, here are some tips to help you find out.

Does the URL of the site include *.blogspot.com?

This is an immediate giveaway! Even if the Blogger navbar is hidden, sites whose URL is a subdomain of blogspot.com are definitely powered by Blogger! 

Many content publishers choose to use a custom domain for their sites, so for these sites we need to look at other methods of deduction.

Is the Blogger nav-bar present?

The navbar at the top of the page is is the most obvious sign that a website is powered by Blogger! Used as a means to search and share the blog, this also enables us to log in and manage our sites. However, many Blogger users choose to hide the navbar, either for stylistic purposes or to disguise the fact that the site is hosted on this free platform.

Does the site design seem familiar?

Although Blogger now has numerous new templates available to use (and virtually unlimited customisation options), many Blogger users prefer the simplicity of ready-made templates which you'll likely be familiar with if you're a Blogger user.

Popular site Strobist uses the Minima template

Minima in particular is a hugely popular choice of template for those using Blogger as seen on such sites as Strobist and Bike Snob NYC. So if you notice a site using a template familiar to Blogger, chances are it operates on our favourite platform.

Check URL structures of posts and pages

When publishing posts or pages with Blogger, there are distinctive structures for both post and item pages.

Blog posts use structures which include the numerical year and month in the URL before the title of the page:
Whereas item pages always include /p/ between the blog URL and the title of the page:
These URL structures are defined even if the blog author has chosen a custom URL structure for their posts.

Does the feed URL include /feeds/posts/default?

When searching for blogs via Google Reader, this method proved incredibly useful. Sites which operate on Blogger produce a feed whose URL is in the following format, even if the feed is redirected through Feedburner:
This is the default feed URL (there are of course other URLs through which the feed may be accessed) and appears to be unique to sites powered by Blogger.

Check if generator="Blogger" in the source code

This is the final and most definitive check I do to check if a site is powered by Blogger! If after checking the conditions above you are still not sure about the system behind a site, take a peek at the source code of the page.

Near the top of the source code (within the <head> section) look for the following line:
<meta content='blogger' name='generator'/>
Only blogs operating on the Blogger platform will include this tag in the source code. If this line is not present, or if the generator is named as something different (e.g. Wordpress), this means the site does not operate on Blogger. 

Final thoughts

I am thrilled to discover stylish and interesting sites which are powered by Blogger, though when I come across a highly customised site I need to check if it is powered by my favourite platform (as I'm sure you'll see for yourself when I publish details of the Blogspot Top 100).

I hope you will find this quick guide useful if you would like to discover whether a site is powered by Blogger. Please feel free to leave your comments or suggestions below.

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