Blogger: troubleshooting common issues

Blogger (the blogging platform) sometimes behaves weirdly. Not that there are bugs or it gets confused, but mostly because we are not familiar with its tools. Though there are Blogger help and Blogger community help, they are not proerly maintained. 

Blogger Help that actually works

I have listed below some issues that bloggers usually encounter and given their solutions:

  • I do not see all editing tools on top of post/ page editor. 
The editing tools will be there, hidden from view. If you see three dots at the end of the tool bar, click on it. If the dots are not visible, resize the browser to a smaller size. ( On Mozilla and Chrome, you can do so by pressing ctrl and minus keys together.)

If the blog is a multi-author blog and you do not have editing rights, you will not see the editing tools.
  • On posts, I apply Heading tag on my sub-titles (using the tool on the tool bar). The font becomes ALL CAPS, which I don't like.
If you do not want to tinker with the HTML, the only way out is to avoid this tag. Go for Major Heading or Subheading or Minor Heading formats.
  • I cannot change the permalink of the post.
You might have already published the post. If so, you cannot change permalink once the post is published. If you are still keen to have a different URL, create a new post; paste all content, labels, search description etc to the new post; give it the desired permalink; publish it; remove the older post. 

If you replace the old post with a new one, the links to your old post will be lost. The traffic you earned on the old post will also be lost. Therefore, you should not do this replacement after a long time of publication of the original post.
  • I have no option to give permalink to my pages.
On Blogger, stand-alone pages do not have this option. The way out is to give exactly the same title to the page as you want its permalink to be, then save it. After that, change the title the way you like it. Changing the title now will not change the permalink!
  • I can't upload images to Blogger.
Check if on your browser, the popup blocker is on. If so, give permission to pop ups from Blogger. 
  • I can't see preview of the blog or the preview appears on top of the editing screen.
This also happens when the popup blocker is on. Give permission to pop ups from Blogger. 
  • The Blogger is behaving weirdly of late. 
This can happen due to many reasons. Try using a different browser. If that does not help, try private window/ incognito mode. On your default browser (on which you normally open Blogger), clean cache and cookies. The problem will go away. 
  • I am told Blogger is not SEO optimized, so I will lose traffic by opening a blog on Blogger.
Don't believe such crap. Blogger is a Google product and Google does not favor or disfavor this blogging platform from SEO point of view. You need to take simple, ethical SEO actions to improve search visibility of the blog. You can visit the linked posts on ITB, which tell you how to do effective SEO on your blog/ website.
  • My blog is not being approved for AdSense ads.
There are many reasons that go against AdSense approval. These include the blog being very new, not having many posts, very poor quality of content, copy-pasted content, inappropriate content or language, etc. Correct the issues and then apply again. If there are serious issues, AdSense will send you an email... take action as advised on the email.
  • My blog has suddenly disappeared.
What was your blog's domain name? If it had a country-specific suffix (e.g. example.blogspot.in), most such blogs now have .com suffix (e.g. example.blogspot.com). So, you can visit the blog at the .com address. 

Blogger blogs are rarely taken down by Google. But that can happen when you don't follow their content policies, e.g. you publish child porn or violence against animals. If you have violated their policies, they will send you an email while taking down the blog. Act as advised in the email. If no email has been received, look at the list of your blogs as advised below and take action.

Are you sure, you have not deleted the blog by mistake?

On the Blogger dashboard, look at the left column where the blog names appear. Click on the down arrow. Most probably, your blog will be listed there as deleted blog or one that has been taken down. In most cases, you can un-delete the blog and can make appeal against take-down.
  • My post was visible and has disappeared after I updated it.
If your post does not appear on viewer's browser after a recent edit, you might have clicked on Revert to draft icon (post editor screen: right top, or list of posts: one of the options on the right) by mistake. If so, again click on the Publish button.

If an old post of yours does not appear because you subsequently deleted it or changed the blog's domain name etc, you can try luck with wayback machine. This website keeps archive of all websites by crawing them at a regular interval. If it saved the web page you are looking for, you can open it there.

If your post is there on Blogger but its content has disappeared, you might have by mistake selected the content and then it got deleted and Blogger autosaved the deleted blank post. Can't help that. You need to be more careful in future so that such issue does not recur. The trick is to open the post on a different browser as a back up against such mishaps, but you will have to take care that you do not edit/ save the back up post while the same post is being edited elsewhere.

Blog maintenance and Blogger help
When you need to fix things on the blog!
 
I have also found that opening the same post in mobile app and laptop or on two tabs/ browsers can cause loss of data if you are not careful. You can keep the post open in another place for the sake of backup, but NOT edit the same post at two different places.   
  • My old links to the blog do not work anymore.
If your link worked earlier but is not working now, these could be the reasons for that: You changed / deleted the resource (blog/ post/ page/ image) you are looking for. Or, you have the blog with a country-specific suffix in its URL and it has now changed. (See answer to a question above.) If an external link is not working, that link might have been removed by its owner. 

If your links are not working from the beginning, the link might not have been placed properly. Sometimes the links do not work when they have/ do not have www at the beginning of the link. Also check the http vs https at the beginning of the link; if the concerned web page does not have proper https redirection, this issue may arise. (On your Blogger blog, go to Settings>HTTPS and switch on redirect.)
  • My blog's images do not appear on visitors' devices but show an ugly minus signs in place of image.
This is an ongoing issue with Blogger. If your image is there on a post but on visitors' browsers, it shows up as a minus sign or gives a message that the image is missing, that means your image is not getting properly linked.

The easiest way is to insert the same image again and remove the old image. If that works, fine. If not, do the following. 

Open the post. Right click on the image placeholder (minus sign/ blank square/ message with a small icon). Copy the image or image location. On a new tab on the browser, paste the copied link and look at the URL of the image on the address bar. It will be something like this: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xDO-BVsJ... example.jpg. Change the first digit to another digit between 1 and 4 (one at a time) and see what happens. It is likely that the image comes up. (In this example, the image appeared on the browser when I changed 2 to 1.)
 
Now go to Blogger's post editor, click on pencil icon or  < > icon to go to HTML view. Press ctrl and F to open search box; type src in it. You will see the src highlighted. (In case you have more than one images in the same post, there will be more than one src. Ensure that you are at the right src.) Change the first digit of the URL to the correct digit. Now save the post. The image will now be seen on the post.

If the images have been embedded from a web link and are not showing up, the link might have broken. Go to the source website and check whether the image is still there. If so, correct the link URL.

One word of caution: do not copy-paste images from computer or smartphone directly into the editor. Use the image icon on the post/ page tool bar. Copy-pasted images can create a variety of problems. 
  • My image sometimes does not show up as 'featured image' or post thumbnail. 
The reasons for an image not showing up are given in the answer above. But if the image shows up in the post but not as thumbnail or featured image, the following might be the culprit:
 
When a website or blog is opened by someone, the browser fetches images and video from folders within that website/ blog. Then it collects images or videos from external sources. Blogspot blogs are known to have issues in fetching outside resources for some places such as featured images. 
 
Therefore, image not showing up as featured image or post thumbnail (but appearing on the post) mostly happens with images taken directly from external sources (when you insert the image by clicking on the image icons in the tool bar and then using 'by URL' option). 
  • When someone opens my blog, their browser shows that it is not a safe website.
This happens mostly on self-hosted blogs, not Blogger. Yet, you should take a simple step: Go to Settings>HTTPS and switch on redirect.
  • On browser, the table is flowing out of the column.
Do not insert fancy tables or tables with many columns. When there is an image/ icon within a cell inside the table, it will interfere with resizing. The text may also force the table to go wide if it inherits the font-size from the blog's other code. 

Many columns or long text may also create another issue: the text will flow too long down the page or will be clipped. These all make the table unreadable on smartphones. So, simple tables only!
  • On a viewer's browser, images bleed out of the column.
Images do not have the same placement and size on the blog as they appear on the post editor or page editor. So, preview the blog often to check that the images are properly aligned and are of correct size. 

If an existing image is bleeding out of the column, go to the post editor and click on image. A small window will pop up with a number of tools. Use the - (minus) tool to reduce the size of the image. 
  • My blog's title image is not fitting properly.
Blogger usually does a good job of resizing images according to width of gadgets or the blog's viewport (=visible area) but sometimes the image parameters are beyond the code's limits. 

Do not try to fit a tall or square image into the title area of the blog. Use an image that is much wider than tall. The aspect ratio should be something like 1200 px x 200 px.  

Be sure that you have applied the right sized image as title background (Layout> Header gadget) or blog background (Theme>Customize>Advanced). If your image is not aligning properly or goes out of the title area, resize the image on your device and replace the existing one with the new image. 

You can try these easy steps for resizing image for title (there are better ways but they need some technical knowledge, so I am giving a non-technical solution): Open the blog on computer; right click on the title image and save it. Right click it on your device and see information. (You can also see this information by opening the image on a program/ app and checking it there). Now go to Theme>Customize>Advanced and look for Title . See the width of the title in that theme. Chances are that the width of your image is bigger than the Title width. 

Blogger has been making changes to theme customization and image editing. What I am suggesting here may not work exactly the same way on your blog, depending on theme etc, but the idea remains the same: edit the image width according to the width of the widget/ blog.
  • Gadgets do not appear when the blog is seen on mobile. 
This issue occurs when the theme does not render the blog properly on small devices. 

Blogs and other websites were earlier coded for computer screens. If you opened those websites on a narrow screen, only part of the website would show up. For some years now, the coding is being done by writing the code for different widths. This is called responsive website design. Blogs or websites with responsive design adjust themselves to different sized devices. 

If your blog does not render well on small devices and its gadgets/ menu bar disappear, you need to apply a modern theme (Soho/ Notable/ etc). When the blog with one of such themes is opened on a smartphone, the mobile version is displayed. Usually the main column (posts) is displayed and menu etc are taken down or are hidden behind three dots or three lines. 

If your blog has a classic theme or a layout with 2 or more columns, and you want to retain these features, do not apply a modern theme. Your blog will now be seen on small devices exactly the way it shows up on desktop but in smaller size, and the viewer may have to zoom in the screen to browse it. But that is a compromise so that the menu and widgets are seen on mobile devices.

As said before, Blogger is frequently experimenting with theme designer these days. You will need to look for options available for that theme; some options may not be available in your theme.
  • I get too many unrelated comments on the blog. Do they harm my blog or are just nuisance?
Some of the unrelated comments that you receive on the blog can be harmless but most of such comments are made with a wrong intent.
 
Do not approve comments of the following type: with promotional matter about their product, with links, with inappropriate content (e.g child porn, hate, crime), anonymously made comments, those seeking some action on your part (e.g. donation, visiting a site). If you are not moderating individual comments, delete such type of comments immediately after you find them on the blog. 

For avoiding comment spam, you should moderate comments. Blogger allows that: Settings> Comments> Comment moderation.
  •  I used to compose my posts on MS Word and then paste it on the Blogger's post editor. My friend told me recently that this is not a good practice.
He told you the right thing. Word processors have a lot of code in the background that keeps doing complex formatting, styling, etc for each character/ word/ paragraph/ page/ document. When you copy-paste text from there, some of that formatting etc also comes to the blog and tries to convert that into HTML tags. That leads to a lot of junk HTML. 

If you like to compose posts on MS Word etc becasue you can do useful stuff such as spell-check and find/replace, continue to use these programs. However, do not decorate the document with formatting/ styling etc. Copy the text into Notepad and then copy it from there to the blog. You will have text with clean HTML. You can do styling with the help of the tools available on Blogger's post/ page editor.
  • In my area internet connection is very erratic and I keep losing my content while composing posts. What can I do?
You will have to find the best way based on your resources and the device you use. Some suggestions:
 
Keep saving your blog post regularly so that unsaved chunks of text are not lost. If you work on laptop or desktop, give it wi-fi connection from your smartphone also and make it automatic in case your main landline or wi-fi goes off. Do the same in case your internet connection is reliable but the wi-fi router is energized with unreliable electric connection.

Desktop based blogging apps are supposed to work when there is no internet and then sync with the blog. However, at present no good free app seems to be available for Blogger blogs.
 
In absence of good alternatives, one simple way to keep blogging when the internet connection has gone without a back up is to shift to Notepad and keep composing your post. When the internet comes back, you can copy-paste the text on the blog. You can use Word or other word processing software for composing the post but take care while pasting the text on Blogger, for the reason given in the answer above.

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