Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In Blogging News...

I've been doing quite a bit of research this month on problems resulting from Google's imposition of "Autopagination" on Blogspot blogs. You can read my previous posts on Autopagination here and here.

I discovered that, because I've been blogging a relatively long time (five years this summer), I am still using a "Classic" template which is HTML based. Among other things, classic templates do not have the "older posts" and "newer posts" buttons at the bottom of the page which newer blogs using a "Layouts" template have built into the template. Classic blogs also aren't able to support the "followers" feature and other features common on other blogs.

Autopagination is preventing access to the first half of each month's archives for all blogs with Classic templates. You can pull up a title from the first half of the month if you know what you're looking for (i.e., if you search for a movie title reviewed in the first half of a month), but it is not possible to scroll through the archives.

Unless Google decides to bestow an "older posts" link on Classic templates, which is probably not likely, this problem will not be going away. It may be possible to get around the problem in the short term by changing archives from monthly to weekly, as discussed in a prior post, but the only long-term solution for those who want to archive monthly is "upgrading" (I use the term advisedly) to Layouts.

Last weekend I set up an experimental "dummy" blog in Layouts, which mirrors a few posts from this site, so that I can learn how to use Layouts before I hit the "conversion" button. (One reader has already come across it!) My understanding is that I will have to manually reconstruct parts of this blog, such as my blogroll, so I want to have a good understanding of how everything works going into the conversion project. The Layouts format is much different from Classic, using "gadgets" which can be dragged into place.

I'm simultaneously exploring the "new" editor...the jury is out for me on that. Sometimes when I use the "insert link" feature the cursor then moves back to the top of the post, which I find annoying. And why do link lines have "http://" on them when you're going to copy that in anyway as part of the link? If you don't erase it, you end up with the "http://" doubled. I think maybe it might just be faster for me to continue typing the code for my links, since I've been doing it that way so long, but we'll see.

Although this situation has been rather frustrating, given the other ways I would prefer to be spending my free time...like watching movies and blogging...I am looking at this at an opportunity to expand my technical know-how. I have already learned quite a bit about why other blogs are different from mine; for instance in Layouts it does not appear possible for a post title to be a link, which was common when I started blogging.

I'm sharing the above so that if anyone stumbles across my "practice" blog you'll know what's going on, and if you click here one day in the next couple weeks and find things looking a little different, that probably means I'm working on converting! I also thought this info might be helpful if any other Classic template bloggers come across this post. When another blogger suggested setting up a "dummy" blog before converting I thought it was a great idea. It's made the experience much less intimidating since I can try out anything without being concerned about what it will do to my blog.

Thanks again to those of you who have taken the time to answer some of my questions on technical blogging topics!


Blogger Rick Moore said...

I was a little hesitant to go to the Layouts format too. At the time I switched I think I had over 12,000 posts and I wasn't sure what was going to happen.

There is some adjustment that will have to be made, but the Layout format is pretty slick in terms of organizing items in your sidebar and using some of the newer features. There will be some growing pain, but I would recommend the move.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks very much for your note, Rick. The uncertainty about what the change would do has been one of my concerns. I am very encouraged to hear from someone who has successfully made the transition!

I've liked some of the Layout features I've tried out on my "practice" blog, such as being able to quickly move around sidebar elements -- my biggest issue so far is that I don't like the placement of my blog name, as it's higher on the page than it should be, and I haven't been able to move it much. I'm hoping when I make the conversion my current blog name will somehow end up in the right spot. :)

Thanks again very much for taking the time to share your experience!

Best wishes,

12:53 PM  

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