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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Advantages of Custom Domain for New Blogger

I have used Google Blogger (blogspot.com) for years and have been very happy so far. Google Blogger is extremely generous. Now Google Blogger have become even more generous by introducing New Blogger Custom Domain which allows you to register your own domain names so that you can have a URL which is your very own property (not a sub-domain of Blogger) and do not have the .blogspot.com at the end of the URL of your blog. Not only that, Blogger will host the blog for you for free!!!!

Of course you can chose to host your blog on your own, probably using a third party web host, but you will have to pay hosting fees, worry about getting a reliable web host with proper security, etc., getting enough bandwidth and if not sufficient for the amount of traffic your blog receive, pay for more bandwidth, get a FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software to publish your posts via FTP, forced to use the old classic Blogger template and not the New Blogger template and thus miss out on all the new features that New Blogger has to offer, and a host of problems I would like to avoid.

I have stuck to using Blogger's sub-domain for up till now and you can read why at Why I never use custom domain (click BACK button to get back to this page). However, a recent discussion with another blogger budge me into registering some domain names.

Reasons:

1. I have been struggling with the question as to what happens to my blogs and all the hard work I put into them when the time comes when I am no longer able to update and maintain my blogs. None of my children has indicated any interest in taking over, and if they had, the interest was lukewarm.

2. With my own domains, they can choose to either continue with it or put it up for sale if it has good PageRank, have regular visitors and drawing good traffic. I was told John Chow's blog was either offered or sold for millions. I am not exactly aiming to become a millionaire, but becoming one is not going to hurt.

3. People have more respect for a top domain like

bloggerfordummies.com

rather than a sub-domain like

bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com

It is rather like using your home address rather a real business address for your business. Now the PageRank of this blog is a very respectable PageRank 6 at the time of publishing, but the problem is the PageRank belongs to blogspot.com rather than to me. With your own domain names, the PageRank will belong to you and not to Blogger.

So don't be surprised when you start seeing my blogs using my own domain names rather than sub-domains of blogspot.com. When I do so, I hope to remember to put a link here to how I did them.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

HTML Color Codes, color charts and color tools

If you are a blogger fussy with appearance of your blog, or you get involved in activities like Blending colors of your advertisements with the colors of your website or Blending color of your search box with the colors of your website or Change main background color of Rounders template blog, you will have to be familiar with hexadecimal HTML color codes. HTML color codes are codes with a # in front of either 3 or 6 alphabets or numbers or combination of them. An example is #FFFFFF which is the HTML color code for white. It can also be written as #FFF. Of course those with 6 alphabets or numbers or combinations will have a greater range of colors than those with only 3. There are various ways of getting the HTML color code you want.

HTML Color code chart

One of ways is to refer to HTML color charts of which there are many on the web. The URLs of the websites given below are not active (clickable). You will have to copy the URL and paste it into the web browser address bar. The best is to use a web browser like FireFox with tabbed browsing. Then while you are doing whatever you are doing, you can open a new tab and paste the URL into address bar in the new tab. After you get the HTML color code you want, just go back to the original tab and do whatever is needed:

HTML color charts with the # already added in front of the hexadecimal codes:

http://www.webmonkey.com/reference/color_codes/
http://www.computerhope.com/htmcolor.htm

HTML color charts without the # in front of the hexadecimal codes. You will have to add the # yourself:

http://html-color-codes.com/
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Network/2397/
http://www.immigration-usa.com/html_colors.html

HTML color code by clicking on a chart

These works slightly differently from a color chart displayed on the web page. Some of them are:

http://www.colorpicker.com/
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~FX6M-FJMY/java09e.html

To illustrate, let me show you a screenshot of how the first one works:

HTML color code by clicking on a color chart

The red arrow shows where I clicked on a color on a color bar. The HTML color code is highlighted by a red ellipse #815D19. Not that the large square display slight variations of that range of color (all various shades of brown) and the tiny circle which is the shade of brown you selected. The actual color represented by the HTML color code #815D19 is shown in the small square on the left.

Now if you want a different shade of brown, what you can do is to click on a different area of the large square to the left. To illustrate, I will show below another screenshot:

get HTML color code of a different shade of a range of colors

Note that this time I clicked on a different area of the large square on the left indicated by a tiny circle plus the arrow representing the mouse cursor and further highlighted by a red ellipse. The HTML color code is now #595143 (highlighted by another red ellipse and again the actual color chosen is displayed in the small square on the left.

There are still more choices for you. Suppose you don't want any shade of brown, by you want blue instead. What you can do is to click on the blue section of the color bar in the middle, again I will illustrade with a screenshot below:



Note that I have clicked on the lower (blue) section of the color bar (cursor shown as a white arrow highlighted by a red arrow. This time the HTML color code is #434558 and the shade of blue is shown by a tiny circle in the large rectangle on the left and the actual color displayed again in the small square to the right.

Just as above, if you are not happy with this shade of blue, just click on the appropriate point in the large rectangle on the left and you will get a different shade of blue, and so on.

Using color tools

Instead of selecting a HTML color code from a color chart, there are also tools to help you pick the HTML color code from a website which might be your own or others. Some of them are:

http://iconico.com/colorpic/
(free and the one I use)

http://www.adesdesign.net/php/products_color_picker.php
USD 9.90 at time of publishing

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Haloscan commenting system: Problems

I used the Haloscan commenting system in one of my blogs Natural Remedies because someone asked and I need to get some experience so that I can respond. However, I have been having problems because I set the comments for moderation, but each time I get an email notification, click on the link, I get to a page to post a comment. This has been going on for some time, but I got another 3 Haloscan comments to approve. This is the last straw, and I will have to take time off from my other tasks to take care of this one first.

Maybe it is because I am quite satisfied with the Blogger commenting system and don't care so much for the Haloscan system, and probably there is something I don't know. If any of you happen to be using Haloscan system, and you can provide some useful feedback, will highly appreciate you leaving them in the comments (Blogger commenting system for this blog).

Meantime, I will just show what is the problem I am facing. I get an email from Haloscan:

New comments have been posted to your account. To manage these posts
visit:
http://www.haloscan.com

XXXXXX (******@gmail.com) wrote the following:
http://www.haloscan.com/comments/foodasmedicine/7297772000829228166/
Thanks for Papaya Tips.

I have Posted a comments It was not published yet.

This comment is awaiting moderation

To unsubscribe from these email notifications, click the following
link:
http://www.haloscan.com/members/settings.php

Regards,
The HaloScan Team


I click on the link to approve, and this is what I see:

Haloscan comment moderation problem

This is for me to post a comment, not to approve or reject a comment!!! I don't have much time to go learn how Haloscan commenting system works, so I give up. If you have some good tips, please leave them in the comments (Bloger, not Haloscan). Will be highly appreciated by me plus this blog readers.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Does meta tags need to be closed? (or do meta tags occur in pairs?)

The majority of HTML tags occur in pairs, an opening tag and an closing tag. Example, the opening tag for an unordered list is <ul> will be followed by a list, and at the end of the list, you must have the closing tag </ul>.

However, some tags do not need a closing tag. Examples are the line break tag (to force a line break) <br /> and the image tag <img src="photo URL" />. These tags do not need a closing tag, but they have a space followed by a backslash / at the end.

Now do meta tag need a closing tag? Or putting it another way, does meta tags occur in pairs? Look at this PDF book:

http://practicalbooks.org/pdfs/META%20TAGS.pdf

In HTML, Meta Tag definitions do not need to be closed with </ (Added by author of this blog: I believe when is meant by </ is a closing tag </any closing tag>), however you should not include any line breaks in your declaration of the Meta Tag as this can cause your web page to be incorrectly read by the search engine spider programs.


So what the author of that PDF book is saying is meta tags do not need a closing tag. However, please not that there is a difference between HTML and the newer XHTML (we should all try to follow XHTML now). In HTML the <meta> tag has no end tag. In XHTML the <meta> tag must be properly closed by putting a space followed by a backslash /, that is <meta />. Note that if there are other attributes after meta, the space and backslash must come after all the attributes and should be at the end of the tag.

Example:

<meta name="keywords" content="blog, blogger, blogging, blogger tips, blogger tricks, Blogger templates, Google Blogger" />


and

<meta name="description" content="Google Blogger tutorials and useful information, tips and tricks for bloggers" />


My take on tag without a corresponding closing tag in XHTML kind of close itself by add a space followed by a backslah / at the end of the tag.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

AdSense ads below post for old classic Blogger template

There are still bloggers who use the old classic Blogger template, some because they have too much customization and too attached to it, and some because they choose to use custom domain and host on their own. Got a guestion on how to add adsense text link ad in below some specific posts.

You cannot add AdSense ads only below the post you choose. There is a way to add ads below the post, but you cannot pick and choose. Blogger will choose for you.

REMINDER: This is worth repeating because it is important. Backup your template before you make any changes to it. Refer to Backup and edit old classic Blogger template

Here is an example of a blog with AdSense ads below the post: Test old classic Blogger template

Anyway, here is how to put ads below Blogger posts. Sign into blogger.com (Dashboard). If you are using the old classic template, you will see a link TEMPLATE in the section of that blog with the classic template. Click on that and you will be taken to the template editor. Look for this block of codes:

<div class="post-body">
<div>
<$BlogItemBody$>
</div>
</div>

Generate the script from your AdSense account and copy-paste below this block of script. Preview, and if satisfied, click "Save template".

If you have any difficulties in finding those codes, copy part of the codes, press CTRL+F, then paste them into the "Find" field in the task bar at the bottom of the page.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Homepage, archive pages and individual post pages (permalinks) of a blog

Responding to a blogger question "What is a homepage?"

The homepage (index or main page) of this blog is Dummies Guide to Blogger (click BACK button to get back to this page) and a surfer will get to the homepage by clicking on the above link or by typing or copy pasting the blog URL of this blog which is

http://bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com

into the address bar of a web browser like FireFox, my favorite web browser, Internet Explorer, Opera, Flock, etc., and pressing the ENTER key.

What is displayed in the homepage of a blog is a number of the most recent posts (Blogger display the latest posts first and this chronological order cannot be changed to display the oldest posts first, but can be done with other blogging platforms). Then number of the most recent posts displayed in main page is by default 7 posts, but can be changed. See Changing settings of New Blogger blog.

The characteristics of a blog (or weblog) is the existence of the main page, the archive pages and the individual post page of a post (permalink). You can click on the archive of any particular month in the ARCHIVES in the right sidebar to see all the posts published in that month.

The individual post page or permalink is a web page that has only a single particular post. Click on the link to see an example of an individual post page (permalink) which hopefully I have somemore information on permalinks:

How to make permalink more prominent.

The URL of that individual post page or permalink which is about permalinks is given in the scroll box below:

http://blogger-tricks.blogspot.com/2006/05/tip-how-to-make-permalink-more.html


That post originally exists in 3 separate pages - the main page, the archive page of that current month during which the post was published, as well as its individual post paage (permalink). As you continue to publish new posts, they will displace the older posts from the main page until they no longer exist on the main page, but only in an archive page (of the month it was published) and the individual post page of the post. Hopefully this post will make clear to you what are the characteristics of a blog or web log.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The fastest way to get indexed by search engines

The fastest way to get indexed (to have information about your site in the search engine database) and to be "findable" or "searchable" by search engines is to get a link from a website that already has been indexed and regularly spidered (crawled or having a kind of robotic program that enables search engines to read what is in your website), preferably by a high PageRank website like this one whose main page (home or index page) (click BACK button to get back to this page) has 6 (at time of publishing. There is such a thing as what they call Google Dance, that is, PageRank of a site changing with time.) If you want to know how to get the PageRank of your own and other sites, refer to How to get the PageRank of your blog or any other website. Note that the actual PageRank used by Google search engine may not be exactly the same as what you get via this method as Google takes some time to update it, but it is a very good guide.

If you want to find if your website or blog is indexed, type

site: website or blog URL

into the search box in the Header of this blog, tick the radio button (.) Web (currently the search box is configured to search this blog only by default. By ticking the radio button beside WEB, the Google search engine will search the whole web. To make it clearer, type or copy paste

site: bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com

into the search box above, tick the radio button ( ) beside WEB and press the ENTER key and you should that there are results. If you see no result, please alert me by leaving a comment and I will have to check what is wrong.

If you are not knowledgeable regarding What is URL and how to get it, click on the link and learn more about it. Substitute bloggerfordummies.blogspot.com with the URL of your own website or blog in site:

site: yourblog.com

into the search box above, tick the radio button for WEB and search. No result - not indexed yet. If you get some results, your site is already indexed.

I have many blogs, and if you are in a hurry, you can contact me via the "Click here to contact me" link near the bottom of the left sidebar and I will see if I can help.

Note that normally your blog or website will eventually be indexed even if you do nothing, but your site may rank very low in search engines. When surfers search for topics relevant to your site, that is, whatever they are searching for is contained in your site, the link to your site in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) may be buried so deep in it you will not see it, but it is there.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Page Source: How and why

A blogger asked, so here is the answer.

How to view page source (source code of a web page

This part is easy.

FireFox browser

For FireFox browser, my favorite browser, at the top of the browser, click on VIEW > PAGE SOURCE in the menu bar. To make this clearer, see screenshot below:

Firefox browser view page source

When you click "Page source", a new window will open with the source code used to display that web page. Actuall, the option says "Page source ctrl+U" which tells us that there is a keyboard short-cut. When you press the control plus U keys simultaneously, you will get the same result, but I prefer the above.

Internet Explorer browser

For Internet Explorer, it is VIEW > SOURCE but in the case, the source code is in a Notepad file. In this case, there is no keyboard short-cut. See screenshot for clearer picture:

Internet Explorer view page source

Flock browser

Same as for FireFox browser. Not surprising as Flock is based on Mozilla FireFox.

Opera browser

For Opera browser, it is VIEW > SOURCE from the menu bar or ctrl+F3 (keyboard). Page Source code will open in new tab or window depending on your settings. See screenshot below:

Opera browser view page source code
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