Friday, July 8, 2011

Tips - How to fix and avoid common problems

Having spent a great deal of time in the Blogger help forums lately, I've noticed a few problems that other bloggers are frequently encountering.  Here are a few of the most common ones and ways to avoid them from happening.

Problem 1:  My post's text looks funny and I can't change it.

A lot of bloggers like to write up their posts on their desktop using MS Word, before going online then copying and pasting it in Blogger's post editor. The problem with using Microsoft Word as a post draft editor is when you copy and paste your text to Blogger's Compose tab, it copies over all the hidden formatting tags from Word. This will affect how your post looks because these tags override your blog's default fonts and styles and can even mess up how your overall blog template looks.

The solution is to either copy and paste into the Edit HTML tab instead of the Compose Tab of the editor, or use a plain text editor such as Notepad or TextEdit to write your posts.  This will remove any formatting tags and paste just the text.

An alternative program to use for composing your blog posts on Windows is a program called Windows Live Writer.  It has a word processor like interface and will allow you to post directly to your Blogger blog.

Problem 2: My gadgets are missing or appearing below my posts.

This one is most often caused by an unclosed HTML tag in one of your posts.  You can figure out which post is causing the problem by going to each individual post shown on your home page.  Most post pages will look normal, so find the one that is messed up and that is the post you will need to fix.

Luckily, you don't actually have to sift through your post HTML or know any coding to figure out what tag is missing, just open the post in the editor and toggle back and forth between the Edit HTML and Compose tabs a few times and the code should correct itself.  Now just republish your post and check your homepage again.

Sometimes but rarely, the above procedure doesn't work, so you may have to delete and rewrite the post to correct the problem.

Problem 3: My blog only shows X number of posts.

Another frequently asked question is this one.  Why does my blog only show X number of posts even if I set it to a greater number than that?

This is caused when your home page exceeds a certain file-size or contains too many image links.  Blogger's servers automatically limit the number of posts shown to reduce the bandwidth and the time required for users to load your blog.  This is called "Auto Pagination".

The best way to avoid Auto Pagination is to insert a Jump Break into your posts to break up the content.  On the toolbar at the top of the post editor is a button that will place a Jump Break at your cursor location.  You can also manually place a <!--more--> tag into the HTML code of your post where you want the Jump Break to occure.

However, sometimes even with a Jump Break, Auto Pagination can still occur, especially if you dragged and dropped an image onto your post.  Even though the post editor supports dragging and dropping images, it is not recommended to do so because that will encode the image file as base64 data directly into your post, causing that post's file size to be unusually large.

To prevent this from happening, always upload your images by using the "Insert image" button on the toolbar at the top of the post editor.

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