Monday, 13 August 2012

Blogspot slash Blogger tweaks


Here are some nifty things that can be done to Blogger blogs, both as a reader and as an administrator of a blog.

For the Readers
VIEW BLOG USING MODERN TEMPLATES
It's possible to view all Blogger powered blogs using Google's new "Dynamic Views", despite the blog it self not using those templates by default.

I hope that Silja and Marthe Katrine don't mind me using their blogs as examples here:
Original blog : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/
Dynamic Views - classic : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/view/classic
Dynamic Views - flipcard : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/view/flipcard
Dynamic Views - magazine : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/view/magazine
Dynamic Views - mosaic : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/view/mosaic
Dynamic Views - sidebar : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/view/sidebar
Dynamic Views - snapshot : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/view/snapshot
Dynamic Views - timeslide : http://siljaifarta.blogspot.no/view/timeslide

Original blog : http://marthekatrine.blogspot.no/
Dynamic Views - classic : http://marthekatrine.blogspot.no/view/classic

REDIRECT TO A COUNTRY-SPECIFIC UTL (ccTLD).
As readers might have noticed you're now being redirected to a country specific domain whenever accessing a blogspot url. For example, if you do go to siljaifarta.blogspot.com you are automatically redirected to siljaifarta.blogspot.no if you're located in Norway, or to siljaifarta.blogspot.se if you're located in Sweden, and so on.

The reason for this change, according to Google:
We are doing this to provide more support for managing content locally. If we receive a removal request that violates local law, that content may no longer be available to readers on local domains where those laws apply. This update is in line with our approach to free expression and controversial content, which hasn’t changed.

There is a remedy to this, adding /nrc to the URL. "nrc" is an abbreviation for "no country redirect". The same thing can be used when visiting google.com (google.com/nrc) to avoid you being redirected to for example google.no or what have you got.

So to avoid country-specific URL redirect the following URLs can be used:
http://siljaifarta.blogspot.com/nrc/
http://siljaifarta.blogspot.com/ncr/view/classic

UPDATE [13.12.30]:
Now we have a nice Chrome Extension / addon / plugin that automatically avoids the redirection:
NoCountryRedirect Chrome Extension.



For the Administrators
As an administrator of a Blogger blog there are some things you should consider as well.

HIDING PAGES
It's not that intuitive how to do it, and it might be troublesome sometimes. However it is possible to hide pages, like the home page/link. This is specially nice if you're using any of the "Dynamic Views" template to avoid that annoying "home" link.

Go to your blog's Dashboard and click "Layout". There you should see a gadget reading "Pages". Click the "Edit" link on that gadet.

If you don't see the Pages gadget
If you do not see the "Pages" gadget you need to click "Add a Gadget" and click the plus icon on the "Pages" gadget to add it. Trying to add "Pages" you might run into a problem. It might say that "Pages Already added" despite the "Pages" gadget being nowhere to see.

"Pages" not showing, nor possible to add as new gadget, as it says it has been added already.

What you need to do then is to go "Pages" on the Dashboard and change "Show pages as: Don't show" to for example "Show pages as: Side links".

Currently not showing the "Pages" gadget.

Changing to "Side links".

Going back to Layout and the "Pages" gadget should now show.

The layout screen, with the Pages gadget showing.

With the "Pages" gadget showing do click "Edit". In the box that comes up you can disable / unclick "Home" to hide it from showing on the blog.

Editing / configuring the pages gadget / the page list.

After you have hidden one page, you will now be able to hide other pages by going to Pages on the Dashboard. You can now simply drag and drop pages from "Pages" to "Hidden", see below. All this is far from intuitive and straight forward, and someone in Google's Blogger team should do some clean up.

Hidden pages as an option.

AVOID CAPTCHAS
Personally I hate captchas. Very often they are close to impossible to read, even for a human. Sometimes you simply just have to guess and hope for the best. Unless you have a very high number of readers and forum trolls, there is no need for captchas on your blog. It is not seldom I just can't be bothered commenting on someone's blogs due to their use of captchas.

On the Dashboard go to "Settings" > "Posts and comments" and change "Show word verification" to "No". Personally I do let everyone comment as well, and so far I has got "Comment Moderation" set to "Never". That might change in the future though, depending on those forum trolls out there.

Disable those captchas and let everyone comment.

REMOVE NAVBAR
The navigation bar at the top of the blog is far from nice. Hence I have turned it off from my blog. Here is how to do it.

The navigation bar at the top of the page is not nice.

In the old days you needed to add stuff to the HTML code of the template to disable the navigation bar. Now it's heaps easier. Go to Layout on the Dashboard. Click "Edit" on the "Navbar" gadget. In the window that pops up click the option "Off" and save. Navbar goodbye.

Click "Edit" on the "Navbar" gadget.

Turn it off completely.






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