November 22, 2015

How to make a blog free on Google?

This post is in response to search queries on a post we earlier published on starting a free blog. It appears that very new bloggers confuse between .blogger, .blogspot and Google blogs. So comes this post.

Google is not only the biggest and a very modern search engine, its bouquet has a lot many products and services. Among them is Blogger, a bogging platform, on which you can open any number of blogs, all for free!

When you open a blog on Blogger, you get the blog's name with .blogspot at the end of it. For example, there is a blog with the name

When you make a blog on Blogger, it get as the ending. Interestingly, when you open this very blog in a country where Google has installed a server, you often get the same blog with the country ending! So don't get confused if in India, you get the blog in the above example as

In short, a Google blog is the same as Blogger blog or the one with ending.

Things might look even more confusing if you checked the very first letters of a Google blog: it might have http:// or https:// . Both are the same in the case of Google blogs. The second one is a new and safer version recently started by Google. Instead of getting confused, you should generally avoid typing this part at all. The browser (Chrome / Mozilla / Explorer) will automatically take you to the right version. For example, for the blog in our example, just typing this in the address box will open the blog: (without http://)


Well, in giving you clarity about Google blogs, we forgot to tell you how to make a blog on Google. You just need to go to and follow their instructions. We have already made a slide show and a post on this, which you can visit by clicking here: How to start a blog - a fantastic blog

November 18, 2015

Bloggers beware! Broken and dead links hurt badly.

Broken links and dead links are hyperlinks on webpages, which do not link to the destination.

Broken links arise due to many reasons, the main ones being:
  • The linked content's URL has been changed.
  • The author of the website / blog typed the URL wrongly.
  • The URL has gone private.
  • The host server has gone bad temporarily (e.g. down for maintenance or attacked by a malware or overburdened due to sudden spike in traffic) or permanently.
  • The URL has been blocked or removed due to its controversial or harmful nature.
  • Links to user generated content, for example on putting a query, can generate temporary URLs that vanish immediately after use. Similarly when content that comes up only when the user logs in can not be see through the URL by non-logged in users.
  • Bad or broken or dead links get multiplied on blogs and many other CMSs by replicating the same URLs in many places. For example, a bad link might come up on the search pages and category pages in addition to the page where it lies.


There are three BIG reasons you must care that all the links on your website work:

  • Broken or dead links irritate visitors.Visitors might not return to a website that has many such links.
  • Broken / dead links also give the impression that you are not serious about the site. It hurts your online reputation as a brand and as a blogger.
  • Search engines are supposed to penalize sites for broken and dead links.



The 404 error code and some hlml messages that announce 'The webage is not responding.' are quite prevalent on the web. We encounter these messages routinely when we visit a hyperlink whose destination is not available.

A source on the Wikipedia page on 'Link Rot' states (as in November 2015) that about 5% links are found to decay every year. Some web libraries and archives have reported over half of their links going bad over a long period, leading to references on research journals becoming untraceable.

We have seen during our blog directory compilations over the last about six years that many hobby bloggers keep a large blogrolls and after a time, many of these blogs either wither away, turn private or are taken off. Our blog directories too are susceptible to it. In our latest broken link check a month back, we had to remove 36 broken links from our directories as some blogs that once looked great had closed down while some had grown and migrated to new domains without redirecting their old blogging resources to new blogs.


Checking websites and blogs for errors must be a regular maintenance activity and checking for broken links must be part of that. You need to take the following preventive and maintenance actions:

  • Check each hyperlink's working after publishing the page / blog post. If you have blogroll on your blog, be even more careful.
  • Do not, to the extent possible, link to a PDF document, or a standalone image.
  • If linking images or documents stored online, e.g. in dropbox, be sure that you are not going to password protect or remove such resources after some time.
  • Avoid linking URLs that are generated on your browser when you make a data query on a website. (For example, when you look for comparison between two gadgets with many filters on a gadget site.)
  • Check all your links every six months. If the website or blog has many links, use a link checker. (There are many available on the web, free.)
  • Have a custom '404' page. This is a botheration but is important especially for big websites that are frequently updated and get tons of traffic. In their case, even a single bad link can have a cascading effect. If your CMS / host provide that facility, direct any bad link page to a page that says sorry and takes you to a related page so that the visitor is not put off seeing a rude '404' error page.


There are many broken link checker tools (mostly free) available on the web and we are not in a position to recommend any particular one. After you have got the list, go to individual bad link and take corrective action.

Remember, you must fix broken and dead links as a regular SEO, site optimization activity.