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My Blogger Wish List

BloggerI like Blogger

I just wish Blogger had a simple way of creating static pages, that did not necessarily show up as a blog posted page.

Anyone that has been blogging for sometime will tell you, that there is certain information that a person or company would like to have readily available through a link on the blog itself to a separate page with the same branded template image as the main home page. Other times, it would really be cool if a person could have a unique page or pages that have a different template style. For example: maybe all the blogs posted under a particular label; a person would like to have a different image at the top of the page header to separate and visually identify the postings. There are Blogger workarounds and hacks that place in different pictures or images depending on certain parameters, but it would be nice to have maybe a different customizable template area for the static pages and/or labeled categories.

Additionally it would be cool if a person could easily blog to a different subdirectory area of the website when using Custom Domain Name Blogger publishing on another hosted account. While FTP publishing does allow multiple separate blogs under one domain name, custom domain name publishing does not provide the ability to create separate blogs under the main area of the website. Which means you can not have mondays.ws and mondays.ws/coolwidgets as a place to blog directly about coolwidgets. This would be a very handy feature to be able to easily add another subdirectory area under the current blog as a person would have with a unique category area and static pages on a regular website. You can however have other sub domain names with the same custom domain name using Blogger Custom Domain Name option. For example: backflag.com is the domain where I post short snippets using Tumblr as the free online publisher engine. But I use marketingstrategies.backflag.com as the custom domain name publishing option with Blogger to the sub domain marketingstrategies, for information about marketing strategies. Keep in mind that subdomains are typically viewed as separate websites and it is important to note from a search standpoint (see note below about having different websites).

Static Page Workaround for Blogger

Probably the simplest static page workaround for Blogger at this time is to go to the earliest blog posting date and post a new page with backdating it to this earliest time. Turn off comments and backlinks under post options for this posting if you want, and set the date to the oldest date. Then simply link to it.

The Strength of the Free Blogger Service

The strength of the free Blogger service is the ability to customize the html and css (cascading style sheets) code in order to create your own unique branded image. Other blog hosting services that offer free hosting such as WordPress, provide some of the features such as static pages but have severe limitations on what can be altered and customized with the css and the html.

The ability to use hundreds, if not thousands of free templates set up for the Blogger service is one of the features that I have come to love. Just about any webpage or website template can be converted to a Blogger template with having an understanding of the Blogger drive engine and placing the proper coding from Blogger into the template design area. This feature really makes it much easier to brand the blog to the current site design. Read about Blogging with Professional Web Services.

Additional Blogger Wishes

I love the new Blogger with XML. I wish we could use the XML features on the non Google hosting services. For example: currently one of the Blogger options is in the classic design template mode for ftp publishing to a paid hosted provider with full customization. We have our website at www.pwebs.net for Internet marketing services. We publish a blog using Blogger at: www.pwebs.net/internet-marketing.htm about the Internet marketing industry, in which we write about various aspects of Internet marketing. Currently we are using ftp publishing for the blog, and a customized classic template design. There are some pretty cool features that XML has, as compared to the standard ftp classic design template. If the XML new Blogger templates could be used for other than the free Blogspot account hosting or the Custom Domain option (see below), then it would make it much easier to customize and manage the information for publishing.

I know I said this before but it bares repeating. Blogger currently allows you to use the Custom Domain name option, but hosting still takes place on Blogger servers, and only allows one blog per main domain name without subdirectories as compared to ftp publishing (see above). A person can create Sub Domains for different blogs using the custom domain name option, but these are considered separate websites, and if information was substantially the same between these Sub Domains, the Search Engines would more than likely not look too favorably to having created additional subdomains. For example: www.jimwarholic.com could have a subdomain as info.jimwarholic.com with unique information at both areas and this would be OK. This is no different than Blogger hosted services with millions of subdomains at blogspot.com, such as eclectic-marketing.blogspot.com and professionalwebservices.blogspot.com.

One of the reasons I have come to really like using the Blogger service is because Google allows you to use javascripts in the templates themselves. WordPress free blog hosting restricts javascript from being added for additional features. WordPress states it’s because of security issues. I am not convinced that javascript is the problem as opposed to simply WordPress engineers taking the time to allow javascript to be used securely in the first place. Listen, I am not bashing WordPress, because I too have a WordPress blog with Jim West as the blog name, and I like posting there from time to time, but I am simply stating the main differences that I see between Blogger and WordPress.

One reason to choose Custom Domain Name Blogger publishing over FTP publishing is the speed at which a page publishes using the custom domain name option. Whereas on an ftp account, hosted somewhere else, it can involve quite a delay with ftp publishing timeouts on very large blogs. Custom Domain Name publishing is also easier to add widgets and other items for the novice blogger. Expert bloggers can also customize the templates quite extensively.

In this world, nothing is ever perfect as it is. Everything man-made can always be improved. Not everyone will have everything they want. What are some of your thoughts on the Blogger wish list? What features would you like to see added? One last thing that I forgot to mention is I would like the labels to be able to automatically show up when using classic template de
signs for ftp publishing, just like in the XML template designs provides the sidebar widget to display the labels. Currently for classic templates you have to create the list manually for the sidebar areas.

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  • Gordon says:

    I publish by remote ftp and the timeout that Google has by default is far too short and really needs to be extended or variable in the account settings. My blog is 5MB and it can time out four or five times during publishing.

    One of the features I do like about Blogger is the ability to email articles in from my blackberry, complete with photographs taken on the phone if I want to do that.

    Here is an example.

    All you do is make the title of the email the subject of the post, the body the text you want and attach any images, then email it in to the special blogger address set in your account and it appears within a few minutes.

    One way to get static pages is to create blog posts for those pages and add them to the sidebar navigation in the blogger template.

    Talking of templates, I have never actually bothered making one, I just adapt one of the standard ones as I go, but its good enough for what I do. I keep the template backed up on my own computer in case of accidents, change a copy of it and paste it into the blogger modify template page so I can revert easily if I make a mistake.

    December 21, 2008 at 4:30 AM
  • Jim Warholic says:

    Gordon,

    Excellent points about backing up your template on your computer. I suggest using Notepad and save the template as a standard text (.txt) file with no word wrap. That way, there won’t be any extra characters that you might get using Microsoft Word or some other document writer. If you do happen to make a mistake in editing your template online, and can’t quickly see what you did wrong, you can always go back to the beginning by reloading the template back to where it was at first. Once you have verified the changes the way you want them, make a new backup copy of your template from that point forward. Use a different file name to retain both versions just in case.

    It’s important to note that there is a difference between the XML templates and the HTML classic templates. Make sure you fully expand the XML templates before you copy them into your text editor. Whereas, with HTML classic templates, there is no need to expand the view before copying. Also, be aware that you may also export the templates using the export feature from the Blogger template tab area in HTML edit mode. It is best to have both an XML export, as well as the Notepad file for quickly viewing the differences between what you had to begin with and the changes you might have made.

    Note: I don’t believe all the inputs to the widgets will be retained. For example: If you have the links widget, the widget will be retained but not the links. It will be like it is a virgin template with no information. More testing is required to confirm this for XML templates.

    HTML templates will retain all information when copying to Notepad.

    December 21, 2008 at 10:32 PM

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