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Blogger Updates The Platform

Blogger LogoNot normally a news item, updates are something that happen to every type of software. Last night, however, Blogger (a popular blogging platform) updated a number of features and added a few others. I took a little time to go over what looks to have changed and here’s a list of what I’ve seen so far.

Update: Google has published a post about these changes as well as information on how to create useful 404 pages.

1. Fixing the post menu – an annoyance to many, the default view of posts was missing the Drafts and Scheduled menu items. Blogger now does what it needs to do to display these correctly.

2. Adding the rel=nofollow attribute – If you add links to your blogs that you don’t want search engines to count (or follow, you can now specify this with a link. Uses for this are links that might be spam or sites you don’t want your blog associated with.

3. Editing the meta description tag – One setting that many new bloggers want to change for better search engine exposure. Blogger now allows you to change this on a per article or global basis.

4. 404 pages – One big addition to Blogger is being able to customize what people see when they try to get a page that doesn’t exist on your site (404 is the error code people get on the page returned). Customizing this goes a long way to making your blog look more professional (and less like Blogger?)

5. Redirections – Only for those on the “blogspot.com” domain and not a custom one like “cwl.cc”, Blogger will let you setup a redirection from a shorter url like blog.blogspot.com/article to the larger Blogger url counterpart

Other stuff like robots.txt support rounds out this update. I don’t see anything else that has changed here – but there are likely other things that will come to light as others continue to blog.

Stuff I’d still like to see changed
1. Feature: Scheduled blog indicator –  days that have blogs should be highlighted or a different colour to indicate you have an entry coming out on that day. This would save bloggers from having to open a new tab and cross-check other blogs coming out.

2. Bug: Adding extra
tags
– When switching between HTML and Compose mode in Blogger – new line tags are added before ads (possibly before anytag?). This also includes editing and reediting blogs without going into HTML mode. I found this bug more than painful when doing a live-blog of an event recently.

3. Feature: A notes area – I keep notes on various tags, code that I want to use and other misc items. Since I can’t keep a note on the side, this note has to sit as a Draft blog. It would be great to have a spot where these details could be kept off the main area.

It was great to see Blogger responding to what others are saying about the platform and taking time to fix some things. I’d love to hear from you, notice any other updates?