Monday, December 31, 2007

Exciting news. Highly interesting widgets for Bloggers

Sorry readers, for reasons best kept to myself, I have to remove the content of this piece as I had been subjected to very unfair treatment. Please note carefully. It has nothing to do with the comments in this post.

For those whom I promised updates, I apologize for not being able to do it anymore.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Increase traffic: participate in rssHugger

Through my activities in an an Environmental blog: Enviroman Says and my activities in Freecycle, campaign to keep usable items out of the landfills, I have come across TreeHugger, a very popular environmental site.

Now here comes rssHugger, a site that helps bring visitors to your blogs and surfers find blogs on subjects that they are interested in. rssHugger says they use the power of the environmentally friendly Internet and viral marketing to bring blog authors and blog readers together.

How does rssHugger works to bring about the above objectives? Truthfully speaking, I do not know yet. But I am a retired scientist, and scientists do experiments and research. That is what I am going to do. I will experiment with rssHugger and now after a long absence from my account with Statcounter, I will now have to start checking this blog statistics again.

Just in case some of you get uneasy about my mention of Statcounter, a free visitor counter, I would like to assure you Statcounter is only a hit counter which track hits to a website by putting cookies into your computer plus get information about what screen resolution, operating system, web browser, IP address of the visitors. It does not collect any personal identifiable details like your name, home address, etc., and is not a spyware although some time ago, its cookies are identified as spyware cookies by AdAware. I believe they have stopped that now as
AdAware have finally come to the conclusions cookies from Statcounter are not spyware cookies.

How does one gets to participate in rssHugger? You either write an honest review of rssHugger on your blog like this one or pay a one time review fee of $20 for participation of 10 years. I am afraid I am a pensioner who still have a son to put through college on my pension plus by nature, is a penny pincher. So here is the review which unfortunately is not much of a review as I am not in the program yet. The owner of rssHugger will personally check your blog for quality before accepting your blog into the program as he obviously is interested in quality, not quantity.

As I am keen to do this test, I have to make sure that this blog gets accepted into this interesting first ever program. I will thus have to somehow convince him this is a quality blog. I want to bring to his (and any other visitors) attention to the fact that this blog got listed in DMOZ, the most important directory (click BACK button to get back to this page) and the hardest to get listed, and this was without even submitting the blog to DMOZ. And the human editor who did this is not the only one who are of the opinion that this blog in very informative. You can check what grateful bloggers says about Blogger Tips and Tricks (click BACK button to get back to this page). By the way, that compilation was not compiled to boast, but the reason is given right at the top of the post.

Well, if this blog gets accepted into rssHugger, I will then have to update this post with some statistics, etc. Let's see how it goes.

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Error codes: What to do?

See List of bX- error codes

This is a common request for help: "I did..... and then got this message "error code bX-t8j6yl ......". I had made a feeble attempt to compile these error codes to try to make sense of them but have given up. What I normally do now is as follows:

I ignore error messages, try again AND often succeed on the second attempt. If not, then the third or the fourth or .....

Other thing you can try - use a different browser. This is not a "cure all", but what I consider as a "cure many". I have come up with all kinds of problems like unable to upload photos, a website took forever to download, cannot log into Blogger, online banking, all kinds of problems. When I get faced with such problems, I almost automatically use a different browser and in many cases managed to get done in another web browser. The web browsers I like the best are those web browsers with tabbed browsing.

Using a different browser may or may not help depending on the cause, but that has helped me through many, many different difficulties. Once you have the browsers in your computer it is very easy to do. See What to do when you cannot upload photos, sign into Blogger, etc.

I am so enthusiastic of this, I have 4 browsers in my computer - Internet Explorer, FireFox with Google toolbar, Opera and Flock. I used to have Netscape, but didn't download and install it after I got a new core-2 processor computer.

If you want to know more about why I am so enthusiastic about having many browsers, surf over to Why you should be using more than one browser (click BACK button to get back to this page) and get convinced. NOTE: THIS MAY OR MAY NOT HELP DEPENDING ON WHAT IS CAUSING THE PROBLEM, BUT HAS HELPED ME MANY TIMES

My favorite browser is FireFox. In this post, FireFox with Google toolbar, you wil see a screenshot of a section of the Blogger Help page where Blogger recommend FireFox. I recommend FireFox with Google toolbar for I find both very useful. You can download and install it via the "Make your PC more useful. Get the free Google Pack" text referral link in the left sidebar. Google Pack includes FireFox with Google toolbar plus other useful stuff which you can choose to install or exclude.

I previously uses the Google toolbar built-in spell check tool to check spelling (click BACK button to get back to this page) of my posts before I publish them. I find it much much better than the spell check tool in the Blogger post editor toolbar. That was FireFox 1.5. Now it is impossible to get FireFox 1.5. It has been upgraded to FireFox 2.0 and the FireFox Google toolbar no longer works with the Blogger post editor.

Regarding the FireFox with Google toolbar, there may be some privacy issue if you choose to add the Google toolbar with PageRank checker that you can install via the "FireFox with Google toolbar" button or via the "Google Pack" referral link which includes FireFox, or the "Browse the web better. Get FireFox with Google toolbar" text referral link, but that is not an issue for me as I don't think I have anything to hide. In any case, if you are worried about privacy, you can choose not to add the PageRank checker. Then there will be no privacy issues.

Others have recommended clearing cache and cookies, Me, I prefer to do that when I chose and not when I am forced to, to leave that as a last resort because clearing cache and cookies means you have to start a lot of thing from scratch and some pages may take longer to load. Once you have extra browsers installed, it is a very simple matter to use a different browser.

You can also try contacting Blogger support (not easy but not impossible). Refer to Problems signing into Blogger (Dashboard), etc (click BACK button to get back to this page) or contact Blogger Support (click BACK button to get back to this page).

UPDATE: Just had some problem uploading photo using Flock browser. Repeated attempts resulted in error code bX-i54acw. What I did - changed to FireFox. Problem solved. Photo uploaded with just one attempt.

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature

Monday, December 10, 2007

PageRank downgraded or unranked: What to do.

Let's address the second question first. All now website start with no PageRank. It is also probably not indexed. See Check if your website is indexed and how to get it indexed. For those who are in a hurry, see Fastest way to get indexed by search engine.

Your website may also be black listed by search for practicing Black Hat SEO (Search Engine Optimization) such as making text invisible by making the font color same as background.

A blogger complained his blog's PageRank has been downgraded to unranked. There can be various reasons why a website's PageRank may be downgraded. One of them is what they call the "Google Dance". Google changes its algorithm and some websites may get their PageRank increased, some downgraded, some downgraded very badly. I am not aware of anything we can do about this, unless you know the inner workings of Google search engines which they will NEVER reveal.

Or perhaps, you can. Check Google Webmaster Guidelines and see if you are complying with their guidelines.

After ensuring your website complies with their guidelines, if you don't already have a Google sitemap for your website, add Google sitemap (click BACK button to get back to this page) to your website, then go to Google Webmaster Tools, click "request reconsideration", select "request reconsideration", select the website if you have more than one, submit request, then pray hard.

Recently, I read that Google has downgraded blogs which participate in "Pay per post" to ZERO (0). I heard too that those who have Text Link Ads on their websites got their PageRank downgraded.

NOTE: Some sites recommend adding rel="nofollow" attribute to the <a> hyperlink tag that someone paid you to add to your blog, and then asking for reconsideration. This will probably work. Each person have their own views about what is right and wrong, but my view is that if someone paid you to put that link and you add that rel="nofollow" attribute to get your PageRank up again, I think one should inform the person who paid for the link and see if they agree or have some feedback. But of course don't take this as me telling you what you should do.

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature

Friday, December 07, 2007

Music for blogs or websites: Summary

Many bloggers are keen to have music, and though I am no big fan of music in blogs, they say customers are king. So here are some links to any posts I can find related to music:

Add music to your blog (click BACK button to get back to this page)

Add music to blog easy way (click BACK button to get back to this page)

eSnip music player in sidebar (click BACK button to get back to this page)

Embedding Imeen playlist

Embedding music with Imeen Part 2

Invisible music for blog

THIS ONE IS FOR SLIDESHOW BUT THE MUSIC YOU ADD IS GUARANTEED COPYRIGHT FREE TO USE

Music slideshow with Fliptrack (click BACK button to get back to this page).

Peter Chen's nice graphic signature

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