Showing posts from July, 2011

Host external files for Blogger with Google App Engine

One limitation of Blogger is the inability to upload and host your own external CSS stylesheets or JavaScript files.  There are a couple reasons why you would want to do this instead of embedding them into your template, or linking to third party hosted servers.  External files can be cached by your browser potentially reducing load times for your users, also if you are using a third party widget or gadget, there is always a chance of someone changing or removing the script on you without warning.

There are also many ways you can go about hosting external files for Blogger.  Some people use services like Dropbox, or Google Sites, or even host the files on their own web servers.  When designing ideas for my film blog, I looked at all these various solutions and finally decided on leveraging the power of Google App Engine for the task.

I found that Google App Engine offered everything I needed.  It's free (unless your blog is extremely popular and gets hundreds of thousands of page vi…

Tips: Optimize your blog loading times

A slow loading blog can prevent you from getting new readers and it can also adversely affect your Google rankings.  If you notice your blog loading too slowly, or just want to optimize the speed there are a few things you can do.

1. Use a free web analyzer to determine where your bottlenecks are.
 A couple good sites for this are Pingdom and GTMetrix.  These will test your site speed and list out all your elements so you can see which ones are taking the longest to load.  From there you can decide how to improve your speed.

2. Move JavaScript to the bottom of your template.
This doesn't actually make your blog load any faster, but it gives the illusion of it because browsers cannot load any other elements such as images at the same time as a script.  So moving them to the bottom allows your other elements to load and render on screen first making the user think your site is faster.

To do this, go to Design > Edit HTML and place your scripts just before the closing </body> tag…

Tips - How to fix and avoid common problems

Having spent a great deal of time in the Blogger help forums lately, I've noticed a few problems that other bloggers are frequently encountering.  Here are a few of the most common ones and ways to avoid them from happening.

Problem 1:  My post's text looks funny and I can't change it.

A lot of bloggers like to write up their posts on their desktop using MS Word, before going online then copying and pasting it in Blogger's post editor. The problem with using Microsoft Word as a post draft editor is when you copy and paste your text to Blogger's Compose tab, it copies over all the hidden formatting tags from Word. This will affect how your post looks because these tags override your blog's default fonts and styles and can even mess up how your overall blog template looks.

The solution is to either copy and paste into the Edit HTML tab instead of the Compose Tab of the editor, or use a plain text editor such as Notepad or TextEdit to write your posts.  This will r…