Random header image... Refresh for more!

A Side Order of Help With That: One

Welcome to A Side Order of Help With That, a monthly post where you can ask your blogging questions–both technical and etiquette-based. The questions for the month are below. If you have a question for the next post, please email me and I will include it (though please peruse the archives to make sure that your question has not already been asked and answered). Do not leave new questions in the comment section below, but please do leave comments and answers.

When answering a question, please include the number for easy scanning by readers.

  1. People have told me that my blog feed is no longer updating in Bloglines. I have contacted Bloglines about it, but they cannot find a problem on their end. I use Blogger as my blogging platform. Has anyone else run into this problem? How did you fix it? (Stirrup Queens)
  2. Is there any worth to putting those links at the bottom of every post to sites such as Digg, Kirtsy, or Stumble Upon? Do they really create more traffic or do people find them to be one more step in posting that isn’t really worth it? (Anonymous)
  3. How do you resize badges such as the one for the “Creme de la Creme” and “IComLeavWe” so they can be seen fully on my blog? The layout I have cuts them off. I’d rather not change the look too drastically, but I’d like to see the badges in full! My software is Blogger. (A Fifth Season)
  4. How do you create a second sidebar column on Blogger? (Mrs. Spock)
  5. How do you create a button/badge that links back to your blog or a post, and has a cute picture and whatever wording you want? (Mrs. Spock)
  6. What is the advantage of self-hosting, especially if you’re happy with your free blogging software? Is there a reason to self-host instead of use a free service? What host do people recommend? (Anonymous)

Do you have a question for next month?

  • A Side Order of Help With That (ASOHWT) is usually posted on the second Thursday of the month. I generally post a reminder for questions in the Friday Blog Roundup the week before.
  • Email me your question. Please place ASOHWT in the subject line. Try to keep it brief, but include as much detail as possible. Make sure you include your blogging program (Typepad, WordPress, Blogger, etc). In addition to technical questions, you can ask for a general opinion (eg. “why do you think it’s worth it to switch to self-hosting instead of staying with a free program”). Unless you wish to remain anonymous, please include your blog name and url so people can click over to see your blog if they have questions.
  • I will compile the list and post it on the second Thursday of the month (3/12, 4/9, 5/14, 6/11)
  • When the list goes up, please answer the questions in the comment box so you can (1) see if someone else has already answered it and (2) others who realize they have the same question can see the answer. Oh, and (3) the answers will all be in one place so others can access them in the future.


1 battynurse { 02.16.09 at 12:02 pm }

I have heard also from a couple people who use bloglines that my updates aren’t showing up in their reader. Not sure what to do about it.

2 Cathy { 02.16.09 at 12:42 pm }

5. To link an image, you use link tags, and then where you’d put the text that they would click on you put the image tags instead. http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tryit.asp?filename=tryhtml_image_link is an example of the code. I photoshop whatever images I need for webpages.

3. To resize things for badges, you can either alter your template or alter the image. I believe in blogger, if you go to edit html, you’re looking for the sidebar-wrapper and then adjust the width property (in pixels) to be wide enough for your badge. You can also play with the image size itself, within the image tags (in html, again) by setting the height and width to be different values or percentages of their original self. Go to the same link as above and check out the image tags with the height and width properties for an example.

1. I’d ask someone who is having the problem to delete the feed and re-add to to their bloglines to see if there was some disconnect on that end – i.e. if something changed about the feed between when they added it and now that makes it not register as updated.

3 Aurelia { 02.16.09 at 1:59 pm }

Mel, it terms of general advice, could you please please, pretty please ask that all bloggers always have an email address attached to the blog somewhere, so that people can contact them privately if they don’t want to leave a public comment.

It can be a fake email address, like a mask one, that forwards to your real one.

1. As far as bloglines goes—if you have feedburner on the blog in question, update to to google analytics. They are pressuring everyone to do it, and it maybe the reason. Also, in feedburner, ping the site. And think about putting in a help request to them, because frankly, feedburner and bloglines are not working well together these days, I think because Google has taken over feedburner and they want us all to change to Reader.

Send a message to bloglines as well. As they change over to Beta, they might have missed something.

4 Kristin { 02.16.09 at 2:13 pm }

#4…Mrs. Spock or anyone else who wants another sidebar…visit this site Three Column Blogger and it talks you through it step by step. If you need help or want to do a redesign like I did for my blog, email me.

5 Lori { 02.16.09 at 3:55 pm }

RE question #2:

I put buttons for Kirtsy and StumpleUpon in my code recently (not that hard to do), but to my knowledge, no one has ever clicked on either one.

Maybe readers don’t know what they mean?

I’ll as a question for next month: How do I get readers to click my buttons? (hubba hubba)

6 Michelle { 02.16.09 at 7:31 pm }

#4 I got instructions from this website http://www.bloggertipsandtricks.com/.

I get a lot of tips and tricks from there but it does walk you through how to do the 3 column blog.

7 Katie { 02.16.09 at 7:32 pm }

4. You can also visit this site,Tips For New Bloggers to show you how to make a 3 column blog using different blogger templates.

8 Aurelia { 02.16.09 at 9:56 pm }

1. Mel, I just realized that your post for Circle Time did not come through my bloglines, and that I think you might use some of the same code for it, with the automatic update thingy as you do for the LFCA, and that might be an issue.

Another idea? Is it because those posts, and certain others are never really done as all new posts, but instead are updated and changed to save time and typing and really the still the “same” post according to Blogger? What if you cut and pasted the text and links onto a new post everyday before it goes out? (I know, more work, but it’s still only a cut and paste, not retyping.) Just a thought.

9 NotTheMama { 02.16.09 at 11:25 pm }

Hhhmm.. I don’t really have any answers (I pretty much just type and hit publish!!) but I thought I’d de-lurk myself for once and say I enjoy your blog! 😉 Thanks for all the help!

10 eden { 02.17.09 at 4:46 am }

Oooh! Oooh! Lori I’ll click your buttons!

Mel, you so rock for doing this. Is it wrong that I call the abbreviation “ASSHAT”?

11 bubbledragon { 02.17.09 at 8:33 am }

Re: Non-free blog hosting.

I like being able to use my webspace for other things, including file storage and such. I like to be able to install whatever add-ons and plugins I like to wordpress.

This is a good host for cheap, if you don’t have an absolute swarm of visitors, but even still, 5gig/month is pretty good – I haven’t hit it yet, though I just started – but I’d have to have about 300 times my current visitors for the rest of the month, and then some.

I use Rails Playground because I like having the ability to code other things, and their cust service has always been spectacular, even when I needed help getting “pretty URLs” working on Drupal.

As for getting people to click our buttons, I dunno! I’m interested in this too!!

(Thanks for doing this, BTW, I like this column.)

12 Geohde { 02.18.09 at 4:47 am }

I always just edit the image size in paint until it fits my sidebar width.

As for linked images. that’s a matter of the code for thie image + the url, but how you do it depends on the platform. I’m good for wordpress answers 🙂

13 Sara { 02.19.09 at 12:02 pm }

Just wanted to let you know that I am new. I use Google Reader, and I have had a couple of feeds minimize to only show me the first three lines of a new post. If you know how to fix it, either from the post side or the reader side, I would love to know what is necessary. Thanks! sara.hammond.wa@gmail.com

14 Thalia { 02.24.09 at 10:39 am }

whatever you’ve done to LFCA, it’s been updating fine in bloglines for about a week – thank you!

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author