mercredi 14 octobre 2015

Stop Blogger from Redirecting Blogspot to Country Specific URLs

Let's say you're from France and have set up - just for examples sake - a blog called frenchlitgeek.blogspot.com where you share your thoughts and insights on French literature. Now, with Google's country specific redirection in Blogger, you might be redirected to frenchlitgeek.blogspot.fr when you try to access your site. The thing is, you perfectly liked the .com and didn't sign up for the .fr but you find yourself being directed there. Sure, your blog works and all but you also wonder why.
blogger country specific redirection

Why Did Google Do This?

Google has always supported the expression of views, and they stated as much on their official blog. In the post Free expression and controversial content on the web, which was published in 2007, it said "Our world would be a very boring place if we all agreed all the time. So, while people may strongly disagree with what someone says, or think that a particular newspaper is total nonsense, we recognize that each of us have the right to an opinion."

The post continued, "We also know that letting people express their views freely has real practical benefits. Allowing individuals to voice unpopular, inconvenient or controversial opinions is important. Not only might they be right (think Galileo) but debating difficult issues in the open often helps people come to better decisions".

blogspot country redirection

While the company is clearly on the side of people freely expressing their opinions, they also believe that a line has to be drawn somewhere. Then again, for a company providing services in over 100 countries around the world and each with their own national laws and cultural norms, it's surely difficult for a company like Google to decide where to draw boundaries.

However, there are cases like child pornography which is illegal in just about any country where decisions are clear cut.

For a company whose products are "specifically designed to help people create and communicate, to find and share information and opinions across the world", how does Google deal with this challenge?

One of the most challenging areas where Google deals with issues regarding free expression is in Blogger, their content generation platform. Since Google can't check what you've written before you publish, they rely on active vocal users who are diligent in alerting the proper if a post borders on offensive. Then again, that in itself is a tricky issue as well because what one person may view as offensive, another might not.

In other words, it's always a work in progress with Google.

Fast forward to January 9, 2012 when Google announced it was making changes to the Blogger platform with regards to censorship. That said change would make use of a country specific domain to the Blogger platform. Doing this would allow Google to censor and remove content specific to a certain country.

In their announcement, Google said: "Migrating to localized domains will allow us to continue promoting free expression and responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law. By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers."

The move by Google come after pressure from countries like India that are working on hunting down content on social media sites which are considered inappropriate. Also, the move followed closely on the heels of Twitter's new censorship policies.

Since Google aims to "help people create and communicate, to find and share information and opinions across the world", it would be strange to take down a post that was just banned in a certain area. In essence, with country specific redirection, a piece of content can still be accessible by the world save for the country where it was blocked.

How Would Country Specific Redirection Affect Your Site?

Of course, not all site owners greeted the country specific URL change with open arms. A few of the issues brought up in regard to the change include:

1. A reduction in social stats. These are your Facebook Likes, Google +1s and so on from your blog posts. They might be reduced because the URLs from one blog post will be different depending on where your readers are from.

2. A problem with external commenting platforms. If you use Disqus - for example - for your comments section, then you might run into trouble because blog URLs will be different even if essentially the page being accessed is just the same.

3. A slight problem with AdSense earnings. Some users have complained about seeing a dip in their earnings when their pages are served through country specific domains.

4. An issue with link juice. You want external sites to link to you and not your country specific URL. But the issue here is that you can't control how others link to your page. They might use the top level domain or they might use the country code top-level domain.

Stop Blogger from Redirecting to Country-Specific Domains

If country specific redirection affects important factors such as traffic and link juice, and you need those in order to rank well, what can you possibly do? Well, thankfully, Google has provided a way to get around this. All you have to do is add an ncr/ to the end of the URL - ncr here stands for No Country Redirect. So basically, it goes frenchlitgeek.blogspot.com/ncr/.

That solution is great but do you want your users to always have to do that every time they visit your blog? To eliminate that hassle, and for the good of your site statistics, a simple redirection script will do the trick. Here's how:

1. Log in to your Blogger account.

2. Click on Template → Edit HTML.

3. Find the <head> tag in the HTML editor by opening the search box using Ctrl + F.

blogger country redirection

4. Copy the redirection code seen below after the <head> tag.
<script type="text/javascript">
var blog = document.location.href.toLowerCase();
if (!blog.match(/\.blogspot\.com/)) {
blog = blog.replace(/\.blogspot\..*?\//, ".blogspot.com/ncr/");
window.location.replace(blog);
}
</script>

5. Click on "Save Template".

Credit: labnol.com

And that's it! Whenever someone accesses your Blogger, they'll be taken to the top level domain rather than the country specific one.

samedi 10 octobre 2015

Insert Adsense Inside Posts: After the First Paragraph

Want to know which part of your site or blog will bring you more profit? Add AdSense inside posts and then check out the famous Google AdSense heat map. Recent studies, however, showed that placing AdSense after the first paragraph of a site or blog is one of the best AdSense placement. Unfortunately, the default Blogger platform offered by Google doesn't allow placement of ad after the first paragraph. But because it has become one of the most profitable areas, plenty of webmasters have tried to take advantage of the best AdSense placement. How can you enjoy the same level of profit?

To solve the problem, we will just move the locations of the ads to be displayed by adding JavaScript and DIVs. With the following script, you can easily choose the paragraph or heading after which you want to inject the ad to. This way, you won't have to manually change every post.

adsense inside posts, adsense placement

How to Display AdSense Ads after the First Paragraph in Blogger

1. Log into your Blogger account, select your blog and click "Template" on the left side. Open the Template editor using the "Edit HTML" button. Once the editor has opened, click anywhere inside the code area and press the CTRL + F keys (or Command + F) on your keyboard to open the editor' search box. Search the following line:
<data:post.body/>
Note: You will find multiple occurrences of <data:post.body/>, stop at the second one or if you don't see any changes, test the last one.

2. Add the below DIVs in red before and after, like this:
<div id='adsense-target'><data:post.body/></div>
3. Copy the AdSense code that you want to show and use this tool to convert it into plain text. Just above the line that we just found, add the following HTML and replace the "ADSENSE CODE HERE" text with the converted ad code:
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;'>
<div id='adsense-content' style="display:block;text-align: center">ADSENSE CODE HERE</div></b:if>
Screenshot:


Align AdSense Left or Right

By default, the Google AdSense ad unit will appear in the middle just after the first paragraph. If you are unhappy with the results and want to wrap text around the ad, you can choose one of the options below:

a) Align AdSense to the left: change <div id='adsense-content' style="display:block;text-align: center"> with
<div id='adsense-content' style="display: inline-block;float: left;margin:15px 15px 15px 0px">
After modifying it, the ad will display something like this:

adsense inside posts, adsense placement

b) Align AdSense ad to the right of the content: change <div id='adsense-content' style="display:block;text-align: center"> with
<div id='adsense-content' style="display:inline-block;float:right;margin:15px 0px 15px 15px">
4. Finally, right after <div id='adsense-target'><data:post.body/></div> (step 2), add this script:
<script type='text/javascript'>
function insertAfter(addition,target) {
var parent = target.parentNode;
if (parent.lastChild == target) {
parent.appendChild(addition);
} else {
parent.insertBefore(addition,target.nextSibling);
}
}
var adscont = document.getElementById(&quot;adsense-content&quot;);
var target = document.getElementById(&quot;adsense-target&quot;);
var linebreak = target.getElementsByTagName(&quot;br&quot;);
if (linebreak.length &gt; 0){
insertAfter(adscont,linebreak[0]);
}
</script>
Note:
- To insert the ad after the second paragraph, change "0" from the line in red with "2".
- If you want to put AdSense just below the heading h2 or heading h3 of a post, replace br from &quot;br&quot; with h2 or h3.

5. Click "Save template" to save the changes and you're done.

With this trick, you can insert AdSense after the first paragraph automatically in Blogger with ease. Now it's your turn to decide which format works best on your site.

mercredi 7 octobre 2015

How to Add Font Awesome Social Icons in Blogger

It's near impossible to find a blog or site these days without at least one social media account to their name. Be it Twitter or Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, or all of those for that matter, what's become increasingly clear is that social media helps increase your online presence.

Gone are the days when you used to rely on good old search engine results alone. These days, maybe you don't rank well in results for your keyword on Google or any other search engine, but you can launch a social media campaign that can hopefully give you the results that you want.

Essentially, your site and social media need to co-exist. One cannot live without the other, if you want another way of putting it. Social media is one of the best drivers of traffic on the internet, and if you want to increase your chances of being seen, then you have got to get an account on one or more platforms as long as it fits with your brand's identity.

font awesome social icons

Spreading Awareness of Your Social Media Presence

Once you've set up your social media accounts, you don't just leave it there to be discovered. Sure, you can make use of hashtags and communicate with industry leaders, but that's not enough to bring awareness to your customers. To let them know you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine or Pinterest, you have to make use of the real estate on your website.

How exactly do you do that, you ask? Well, by means of social icons.

Social icons are those little images you see that represent a symbol associated with a particular social network. For example, social icons for Twitter usually feature a blue bird. If not that, then a lowercase letter T.

The presence of these images remind your viewers that they have other ways of being up to date with whatever you put out. Social media use is pretty high these days thanks to the immediacy of the medium as well as the fun factor. And more likely than not, your audience would want to know whether you're on any social network.

If you're on the Blogger platform, you can add these social media representations through Font Awesome social icons.

What is Font Awesome?

Font Awesome "gives you scalable vector icons that can instantly be customized - size, color, drop shadow, and anything that can be done with the power of CSS". In essence, it functions as a toolkit where you get access to more than 500 icons for use on your site - free of charge.

Now, if you've used social media icons before, you know that there are non-vector varieties. But those offered by Font Awesome are scalable vector icons, and in the long run, they are the better option for your site.

Why is that the case?

Well, a very good reason would be that images take time to load. Yes, these images are tiny but the point still stands. Plus, images tend to lose their quality as computer resolution increases. In other words, if you want your icons to load faster and have a nice, crisp and clean look, then you're better off with using the collection of Font Awesome. Also, the chance to customize your icons accordingly is definitely an attractive factor too.

Why you should start using Font Awesome?

Of the many providers out there, why stick with Font Awesome?
  • Large collection of icons. You'll not only find social media icons here, but other traditional icons as well.
  • CSS support. With CSS, you can adjust the icons according to what suits your site best. You can tinker with the colors, size, shadows and other components. This is something sorely lacking with non-vector images because you're stuck with the icon you chose.
  • Speed. Vector images are lightweight and therefore load faster.
  • Free. You don't have to pay a single thing when you use Font Awesome.
So now you know the importance of icons on your site, it's time to learn how to add Font Awesome icons in Blogger.

Adding Font Awesome Social Icons in Blogger

The adding of icons to your Blogger isn't rocket science. In fact, the process is pretty straightforward.
Here's what you have to do:

Add Font Awesome Stylesheet into Blogger

Follow the steps below to get Font Awesome working with your blog:
1. Download Font Awesome from the official page.
2. Copy the entire font-awesome directory into your project.
3. Open your Blogger dashboard, go to Template and press the Edit HTML button. Find the <head> tag then add this line of code referencing the location of your font-awesome.min.css stylesheet.

font awesome stylesheet

Or if you'd prefer the easiest method, add this line just below the <head> tag:
<link rel="stylesheet" href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/font-awesome/4.4.0/css/font-awesome.min.css" />
4. Start playing with Font Awesome!

Using the Font Awesome Icons

After you get the steps in the previous section done, you're now ready to use Font Awesome in your blog. The first thing you need to do is add the social icons links to the HTML and delete the icons that you don't need anymore. This is a sample HTML that you can add:
<div id="fawesomeicons">
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Facebook" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-facebook"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Google Plus" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-google-plus"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Twitter" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-twitter"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Pinterest" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-pinterest"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Instagram" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-instagram"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Bloglovin" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-heart"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Tumblr" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-tumblr"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="RSS" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-rss"></i></a>
</div>
In the above HTML code, we can see 8 separate social icons which can be recognized by looking at the link title attribute. For example, the first one is for Facebook.

To use the social icons, paste your URL where it says URL-HERE for each social icon you want to include. Put the link between the quotes and make sure to not remove any of the quotation marks.

If you want to remove a social icon, just delete that line of code starting with "<a href" and ending with "</a>".

Now, keep in mind that Font Awesome works anywhere with the <i> tag as it was designed to work with inline elements. Although you can use <span>, official documentation prefers the <i> option for brevity.

Font Awesome icons can be placed anywhere using the CSS prefix fa together with the name of the icon. For a list of social media icon names, you can refer to the official website of Font Awesome.

Let's say that you want to display a Youtube icon so you can link it to your official account on the platform. Find the Youtube icon on the list and click on it:

font awesome icon

That will bring you to a page for Youtube where you will see this code:

font awesome social icons

To include the icon within the list, copy any line starting with "<a href" and ending with "</a> from the code above, paste where you want it to appear and replace the code starting with "<i class="fa " and ending with "</i>" with that of your chosen icon.

Finally, after adding the icon, the list will look like this:
<div id="fawesomeicons">
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Facebook" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-facebook"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Google Plus" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-google-plus"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Twitter" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-twitter"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Pinterest" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-pinterest"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Instagram" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-instagram"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Bloglovin" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-heart"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Tumblr" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-tumblr"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="RSS" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-rss"></i></a>
<a href="URL-HERE" title="Youtube" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><i class="fa fa-youtube"></i></a>
</div>
Note: don't forget to change the title and add your URL between the quotes.

Once you've finished editing the icons, insert the code into a HTML/Javascript gadget by going to "Layout" and click on the "Add a gadget" link. If you're using WordPress, paste it in a Text widget.

Customize the Font Awesome Icons Using CSS

Suppose you want to make the icons a lot bigger than they currently are. That task is made simple with the use of CSS. Here's a sample code:
#fawesomeicons a {
    font-size: 16px;
    width: 30px;
    height: 30px;
    line-height: 30px;
}
To change the font size, increase or decrease the 16px value. Below are the values (30px) for the container's width and height which should always match. Increasing/decreasing these values, will increase/decrease the size of the container where is the font.

Here are some different styles for the font awesome social icons. In the CSS, look for the #background-color, #border-color, #font-color and #hover-color text so that you can know here to put the color codes. You can use this tool to generate the color code: Color Code Generator. If you don't know how to add CSS, follow this tutorial.

font awesome social icons

#fawesomeicons {
text-align: center;
}
#fawesomeicons a {
background: #background-color;
color: #font-color;
display: inline-block;
font-size: 16px;
width: 30px;
height: 30px;
line-height: 30px;
margin: 0 1px 6px;
}
#fawesomeicons a:hover{
background: #hover-color;
}

font awesome social icons

#fawesomeicons {
text-align: center;
}
#fawesomeicons a {
background: #background-color;
color: #font-color;
display: inline-block;
font-size: 16px;
width: 30px;
height: 30px;
line-height: 30px;
margin: 0 1px 6px;
-webkit-border-radius: 100%;
-moz-border-radius: 100%;
border-radius: 100%;
}
#fawesomeicons a:hover{
background: #hover-color;
}

font awesome social icons

#fawesomeicons {
text-align: center;
}
#fawesomeicons a {
border: 1px solid #border-color;
color: #font-color;
display: inline-block;
font-size: 16px;
width: 30px;
height: 30px;
line-height: 30px;
margin: 0 1px 6px;
}
#fawesomeicons a:hover{
background: #hover-color;
}

font awesome social icons

#fawesomeicons {
text-align: center;
}
#fawesomeicons a {
border: 1px solid #border-color;
color: #font-color;
display: inline-block;
font-size: 16px;
width: 30px;
height: 30px;
line-height: 30px;
margin: 0 1px 6px;
-webkit-border-radius: 100%;
-moz-border-radius: 100%;
border-radius: 100%;
}
#fawesomeicons a:hover{
background: #hover-color;
}

font awesome social icons

#fawesomeicons {
text-align: center;
}
#fawesomeicons a {
color: #font-color;
display: inline-block;
font-size: 23px;
margin: 0 6px 6px;
}
#fawesomeicons a:hover{
background: #hover-color;
}

Now, what if we want to change the background or font color of a specific icon? First, we need to identify the icon class which is just after the <i class="fa ..." and add it like this:
#fawesomeicons a .fa-facebook {
background: #background-color;
color: #font-color;
}
Here, we can change the background and color for the Facebook icon but we can do it for any icon you want. For example, let's add another rule for the twitter icon:
#fawesomeicons a .fa-facebook {
background: #background-color;
color: #font-color;
}
 #fawesomeicons a .fa-twitter {
background: #background-color;
color: #font-color;
}
To make the fonts bigger, we can add the CSS code like this:
#fawesomeicons {
text-align: center;
}
#fawesomeicons a .fa{
display: inline-block;
font-size: 16px;
width: 30px;
height: 30px;
line-height: 30px;
}
#fawesomeicons a .fa-facebook {
background: #background-color;
color: #font-color;
}
 #fawesomeicons a .fa-twitter {
background: #background-color;
color: #font-color;
}
To apply, copy the code above and add the CSS rule with the icon class that you wish to change.

Important: When adding the class for your icon, always put a dot (.) in front of it as you can see in the example above, otherwise it won't work.

And that's it! Hopefully, this tutorial helped you to add Font Awesome social icons in Blogger. If you're still in trouble adding them, please take a look at Examples page.