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Should you be worried that Blogger will delete your blog?

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deleteA real concern for Blogger users is whether Blogger could (and would) delete their blog without warning or explanation. Indeed, there are many forums where people have posted their horror stories regarding the deletion of their Blogger blogs.

After reading such stories, many Blogger users begin to panic and make arrangements to “defect” to WordPress believing this to be  safer place to home the hard work they have put into their posts.

Should we really be concerned that our Blogger blogs will be deleted without warning?

In short, the answer is “NO”!

The vast majority of Blogger users should not feel concerned in the slightest. Only blogs which are believed to violate Blogger’s Terms of Service or Content Policy will be deleted; even then a warning will be issued to the owner of the blog to explain these issues along with the means to appeal against the threat of deletion.

Why would Blogger delete a blog?

Those who complain their blog has been “suddenly” deleted by Blogger generally fall into one of two categories:

  1. Those who have consciously broken Blogger’s terms of service (spammers, scrapers and malicious hackers)
  2. Those who have not logged into their Blogger account for a long time  (and whose contact details are not up to date) whose blog was flagged under suspicion of malicious content and did not respond in due time.

Blogs which have violated Blogger’s terms of service are likely to contain:

  • Spam or transmit malicious code (viruses)
  • Infringements of copyright (where the author has unlawfully copied copyrighted content without permission)
  • Hateful content, which is directed to any group of people (based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity)
  • Violent content, where threat is directed towards a person or group of people
  • Private or confidential information (such as social security details, credit card numbers, and other personal information)

In my opinion, only a small percentage of Blogger users would deliberately violate Blogger’s terms of service by publishing such content on their blogs. Since these bloggers bound themselves to these terms when signing up with Blogger, they should also be prepared for their service to be suspended when found to be violating these terms.

My blog has been suspended/deleted – But I haven’t done anything wrong!

Unfortunately, some innocent Blogger users find their blogs to be suspended (or worse, deleted) because they are suspected of publishing content which violates Blogger’s policies.

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There are literally millions of blogs using the Blogger platform (a Google search today produced 305,000,000 results!). Policing this vast number of blogs manually would be a mammoth task requiring thousands of participants. Instead, Blogger uses automated systems to analyse blogs for potentially malicioius content; sites which are suspected of violating the content policy are then suspended. When this happens, a notice will be sent to the owner of the blog in question, and a notice will be posted on the owner’s dashboard along with details of how to appeal:

If your blog is disabled, it will be listed on your Dashboard, but you will not be able to click on it to access it. If this is the case, there will be a grace period during which you can request that it be reviewed and recovered. The disabling is a result of our automated classification system marking it as spam. Because this system is automated there will necessarily be some false positives, though we’re continually working on improving our algorithms to avoid these. If your blog is not a spam blog, then it was one of the false positives, and we apologize (from Blogger Help).

Blogs which are suspended are not deleted right away. Instead, the owner has around two weeks to respond to this suspension by means of appeal. Each appeal is examined personally (by a human) to determine whether a violation of content has actually happened, or whether the automated systems identified a false positive.

Where a genuine mistake has occured and an appeal filed against the suspension, the blog will be fully restored (usually within a few hours).

In cases where an accidental violation of content has resulted in suspension of the blog (for example, after embedding a widget or script which seemed innocent but violates content policy), more details would be provided to the blog owner so the offending content can be removed before the blog is restored fully.

Blogs which potentially contain content which violates Bloggers terms will be deleted after a certain time unless the owner appeals against the decision. Therefore, it is very important to keep your contact details up to date with Blogger!

If your email address is outdated, you will not receive such notifications from Blogger and risk having your blogs deleted in the (unlikely) case that your blog is flagged as “spam”.

To update your email address simply sign in to your Google account and add/edit your email address in the “Personal Settings” section. The “Primary” email address is that which such notifications will be sent to, so be sure this is an email address you check often!

If you have not updated your Blogger account to link this with your Google account, you can log into Blogger using your old log-in details and will be prompted to create/manage your Google account. After this, you will be able to update your email address in your Google account settings.

My blog has been deleted. Can I get it back?

Even if your blog has been deleted and your grace period has expired, there may be a chance you could have your blog restored. Check your dashboard to see if there is any notification of suspension and if so, follow the steps offered to appeal against this decision.

Alternatively, contact Blogger support by filling in a form from this page or by posting a polite request in the Blogger Help Group which is monitored by members of the Blogger Support team.

What about “Adult” sites?

Blogger does permit “adult content” to be published using the platform as outlined in the content policy. Those who choose to post adult content are advised to have a “content warning” page before the main content is shown which advises visitors of potentially objectional material. This setting can be toggled through the “Adult content” setting in the Settings>Basic section of the Blogger dashboard.

This setting is useful to prevent minors from accidentally accessing the page, but as some Blogger users have informed me, this also prevents results from their blog appearing on “safe” searches of major search engines.

Those who publish adult images/video in their Blogger blogs may find their blogs subject to a mandatory content warning page as outlined in Blogger’s Content Policy:

Image and video content that contains nudity, sexually graphic material, or material that is otherwise deemed explicit by Google should be made private. Otherwise, we may put such content behind an interstitial.

Adult sites published for commercial purposes are not permitted at all.

Are Blogger’s Policies Fair?

Although there are a handful of web hosts which turn a bline eye to malicious code, copyright infringement and other unwanted content, these are few and far between. Reputable blog hosts and blogging services have similar terms of service to those imposed by Blogger, and would delete/suspend accounts which violate these terms in much the same way.

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Blogger seems to have attracted an unwarranted bad reputation for deleting blogs which violate the terms of service, especially when cracking down on the number of spam blogs in the system (when innocent bloggers are caught in the crossfire).

We must understand that Blogger hosts millions of blogs with few limitations on what we can post. Our blogs are hosted for free with no limitations on the number of posts or size, and there are no time limits for how long a blog will be available to read or update.

Due to the sheer scale of Bloggers service, there are also many voices of complaint. But when you consider the terms of use, and the methods Blogger use to try and make the community a spam/virus and friendly place to blog, is it reasonable to accuse Blogger of being unfair?

Think about it this way: if Blogger was to delete blogs “willy nilly”, there would be a massive outcry from the whole blogging community. Blogger does not delete blogs for no reason: only those which are suspected of malicious activity will be deleted, and only then after a suspension and grace period where the author can appeal.

Would you prefer Blogger to be a service where spammers, hackers and content scrapers run riot or one which looks after the community as a whole, removing questionable blogs where nescessary and ensuring false-positives can be rectified where innocent blogs are suspended?

I imagine 99.9% of Blogger users prefer the latter option; those who choose the first would be better posting elsewhere…

How to ensure your blog is not deleted

To ensure the safety of your blog, you only need to do two things:

  1. Adhere to the terms of service
  2. Ensure your contact details are up to date

Blogger continually refines the methods used to automatically scan and suspend blogs suspected of questionable content, though a tiny percentage of false positives occasionally occur. By ensuring your email address is up to date, you can deal with any issues quickly. Rather than complain about blogs being suspended, feel safer in the knowledge that Blogger is working to make this service a safe and enjoyable experience for us all.

Image credits: Delete button by .::HIMU::.; Silence by circo de inviern0; Balancing child by Pink Sherbert Photography. All via Flickr Creative Commons.

Amanda is a freelance blogger and web/blog designer. She writes about Blogger at www.BloggerBuster.com and maintains several other blogs on various subjects.

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7 Habits That Can Make You a More Efficient Blogger

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Starting a blog is exciting, whether you’re using it as an extension to promote your current business or you’re just trying to maintain the blog as a personal endeavor. In any case, part of your success will depend on your ability to write new blog posts at an efficient rate; if you aren’t producing new blog posts fast enough, your audience could lose interest in your content. Similarly, if it takes you too long to write a new blog post, your profitability is going to decrease.

The solution is to focus on improving your efficiency as a blogger, so you can accomplish more in less time and end up with more raw content as a result.  

The Best Habits to Improve Your Efficiency

These are some of the best habits to improve your efficiency as a blogger:

  1. Dress professionally. If you’re working from home or blogging in your free time, you’ll be tempted to wear the most comfortable clothes and lounge in the living room while writing. But if you want to be successful and work efficiently, it’s much better to dress professionally and establish a professional work area. The idea is to treat your blog work like it’s your job. You’ll take your work more seriously, and you’ll be less inclined to follow distractions. It may also change how you think about your work and how you approach problem-solving.
  2. Practice good hygiene. While you’re at it, make sure to practice good hygiene—especially if blogging is your full-time job. The most obvious habit here is to shower regularly, but you’ll also want to keep your clothes clean, take good care of your environment, or as 14K Gold Teeth suggests, clean accessories like custom gold grillz. You’ll feel more professional in your environment and will have less clutter to distract you.
  3. Stick to a routine. Routines are vital for improving your efficiency. They help you establish consistent processes, which you can follow to save time and refine your habits. They give you something predictable to work with, so you aren’t scrambling to figure out what to work on next. They also reinforce your most productive habits, so you can continue working without thinking too much about it—in other words, they’re procrastination-busters.
  4. Set a strict schedule. While you’re developing your routine, try to create and stick to a strict schedule. For example, you might set a timer for one hour to read the latest news, a half hour designated to preparing an outline, and another hour to finish your full first draft. These temporal limitations help you avoid Parkinson’s law, which states that the amount of time it takes to do a task will swell to fill whatever amount of time is allotted to it; in other words, the tighter you set your timetables, the more efficiently you’ll be motivated to work.
  5. Keep an editorial calendar. Create a high-level editorial calendar as early as possible, and stick to it the best you can. This will help you ensure your high-level goals and priorities never fall out of your sight, and make sure you never run out of work. Set target dates for drafting and publication, so you’re always working toward something, and jot down your new topic ideas whenever you get them.
  6. Stay organized. This should go without saying, but the vast majority of new bloggers suffer from not being organized. They read new material that could serve as inspiration for a new post, but lose the original article. They set goals for themselves, but forget them or change them too frequently for them to take effect. Create a system for taking notes and keeping track of your high-level priorities, and stick to it.
  7. Keep reading on a regular basis. Reading is one of the best ways to consistently and reliably improve your writing, so make time for it in your schedule. Reading work like yours can help you generate new ideas, improve your vocabulary, and increase your fluency, so you can write faster.

Learning and Improving

It’s a good idea to track your time while working on blog-related tasks. It will allow you to gather data on your productivity habits, and ideally, see how they improve over time. If there’s a particular task that takes up a disproportionate amount of your time, you can drop it or focus specifically on improving it. If you notice a strategy is making you more efficient in one or more areas, you can use it more frequently or apply it to different areas.

In any case, the real secret to becoming a more efficient blogger is committing to improve over time. Pay attention to how your habits develop, and continually refine your approach.

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Oh, Now I Get It! How to Explain Complex Topics to Your Audience

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Technical writers have a great number of skills, but perhaps the most important is the ability to adapt your language to the level of comprehension your audience has. A highly technical and complex article can overwhelm readers or even bore them.

“But it’s impossible to delight my readers and keep them engaged when I’m talking about the

IEEE 802.11ac principle of broadband technology,” We hear you cry. And, we get it. Turning a technical article into a sexy piece of content can feel like a daunting task, but it’s not mission impossible.

Here are a few content creation tips that will help you explain complex topics to your audience in a delightful manner.

Imagine That You Are Explaining the Subject to a Non-Tech-Savvy Friend

One of the most important things when creating technical content for a more broad audience is consistency. So, as much as possible try to use the same tone, level of knowledge, complexity of vocabulary, and so on. The easiest way to calibrate your writing style is to imagine that you are writing for a friend or a relative that has nothing to do with your area of expertise.

Imagine you are trying to explain a particularly complex topic to them, in a friendly and light discussion. How would you approach the subject? What elements you think would bore or frustrate them?

What helps you in the real world is adapting your style and vocabulary to the other person’s knowledge. You know that you don’t have to explain what an Internet browser does, but you might have to tell them more about the coding behind it when discussing responsive web design, for instance. Use common words and keep them engaged with a lighter, friendly style.

Adapt Your Vocabulary and Structure

Let’s take a look at how you can flip your technical writing to be more approachable. First of all: use concepts that your audience is familiar with or at least has a general idea about them.

A good start is to check what search words visitors use when browsing your website. You will identify commonly used terms that are related to the technology that interests them. Use those keywords yourself to keep visitors on your page.

Also, be careful about the structure of the text when writing online, especially when you are trying to explain something complex. Make sure to split your text into readable chunks. You can also help the reader understand the subject better by using titles and subtitles to separate the main ideas of your article.

Build up the Knowledge of Your Audience, from General to Detailed

Once you have established a common language and vocabulary between you and your target audience, start methodically presenting your topic, from general level information to more detailed aspects. Applying this rule will help you readers understand the topic better without wasting too much time. Online readers tend to ignore content that is, irrelevant or hard to understand.

While it is important to get the basics straight before getting deeper into your subject, make sure to summarize the purpose of your article at the very beginning, as it will let your audience know what they will learn about after going through it.

Use Style Tools That Help Your Audience Relate to the Topic

The fun part of writing about technical topics for a general audience is getting creative with it. Because you can’t use the “boring,” “stiff” technical jargon, you must come up with expressive comparisons, examples, and analogies. You can even evoke anecdotal evidence to support the facts since they are highly relevant for many of the users.

Helping them relate to the topic you are writing about is the key to grabbing their attention. Use day to day examples for the systems and processes you are describing, or mention the best-known similar thing. Give them examples of possible situations when they can come across the topic you are writing about and enable them to talk about it themselves.

Ultimately, is all about correctly identifying the level of knowledge your audience has. Encourage them to comment and ask any questions and keep the conversations alive.

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IT Management Solutions: What is the Key to Improving Employee Efficiency?

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There are many ways you can improve your employees’ efficiency. From decluttering the workspace to encouraging a stress-free environment, there is a whole range of things you can do to make your work life run smoother. One such technique you need to adopt for your company is an IT management solution.

What Does It Do?

An IT management solution such as SysAid takes all of the day-to-day programs that a business will use and consolidates them into one easy-to-use package. Every employee should be able to log on and complete all their work without having to leave the initial program.

It can contain such subsections as project management, customer relationship management, billing and invoicing, and a whole host of other features.

Why Should Employers Implement Such a Solution?

A system such as this allows managers to have better visibility over the company as a whole. They will be able to tell if an employee is completing their daily tasks to the best of their ability and will also allow them to see where they are lacking.

The data from the completion of these daily tasks can easily be tracked and analyzed to see where employees are struggling with efficiency. With some adjustments, efficiency can then be improved in these areas.

Project Management

One of the key reasons to install an IT management solution is for the project management aspects. A good project management program lets all employees know where they are with their projects at all times. Whether you are just working on the project or a project manager, you will be able to see the stage that the project is at and all the steps and processes that still need to be completed.

This collaborative nature helps improve speed and efficiency and stops the project becoming grounded in a lack of communication. If you are not yet using a project management system, you will notice that many small but important problems like misuse of resources will be greatly reduced.

Customer Relationship Management

By having your customer service staff use one portal for all their needs, you will see a great improvement in efficiency when it comes to handling customer enquiries. An IT management solution can contain a database with all your customer’s information. This means that if a case needs to be passed from one team member to another, there is little to no chance of any relevant information being lost in the transfer. Everything should be in place in the one database.

Invoicing and Billing

Keeping your various accounts and invoices in different places can lead to items being forgotten or double-charged. By using an IT management software, your managers and accountants will be able to successfully keep track of all costs and reduce unnecessary spending. This will improve efficiency as multiple enquires are not being made to complete invoices and other reports.

There are just some of the ways an IT management solution can improve your business. If you feel you need to improve your company’s efficiency, consider implementing one today.

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