Monday, October 31, 2005

Blogger and the Case of the Disappearing BlogRoll

BlogTipsBasilI got an email recently regarding an issue that affects many, but not all, Blogger-based blogs. SeanS from Shoot a Liberal wrote in:
I find that when I click on a permalink on my blog (Blogger), my blogroll vanishes. Where does it go? How do I get it to stay when someone clicks the permalink?

At first, I was unclear on what the problem was, but a quick look at the site and I knew what was happening.

Here are the symptoms:

When someone clicks on a permalink, the sidebar content changes. Specifically, he BlogRoll disappears.

Here's what's really happening:

Blogger has special tags in its templates that determine when certain content appears.

The home page is considered the Main page. If old posts are grouped by week or by month, those are Archive pages. And the individual post can appear by itself on a Item page.

Each of these items has a tag associated with it.

Oh, no! Not tags!

What that means is that, on Blogger, any content on the template between the and tags will appear only on the Main page (the "Home Page").

Likewise, anything between the and tags will appear only on the Archive page (the week or month grouping of posts).

All content between the and tags appears only on the Item page (the page that shows one particular post, accessed via the Permalink).

The and tags, as you might figure, shows the content between the tags on both the Archive page and the Main page.

There's more, isn't there?

Here's the other thing: If you want your content to appear on ALL pages, don't put it between any of those four tags.

And one more thing: You can have as many of these tags as you want. That is, you can have as many tags as you want anywhere you want.

So, what's all this mean?

In the specific blog the author wrote to me about, he had his BlogRoll between the and tags. That meant that it showed on the Main page and on Archive pages, but not on the Item page.

Remember that the Item page is accessed via the Permalink, this meant that, when he clicked on a Permalink, the page loaded as an Item page and stuff inside other tags didn't display. And, since the BlogRoll was between the and tags, it didn't show.

Can it be fixed?

There are a couple of ways to solve this.

If the only thing (or everything) inside the specific and tags should actually display on all pages, you can remove those tags.

However, if there is lots of content between the and tags, leave the tags and move the desired content ouside the tags. Keep in mind that content that is not between these special tags will show on all pages.

For this particular instance, I'd just remove those tags.

But will that work?

I got a copy of the template sent to me. I replaced the template on my Blogger test blog with his template, found I was experiencing the same symptoms, then made the change I suggested.

It worked.

Now what?

That's all that's necessary to fix the issue. Other than remembering to back up your template before you make any changes!

Speaking of Blogger...

As long as we're talking about Blogger, I have a question for you. And you'll see the reason behind the question in just a little bit.

Here's the quesiton: What do you dislike about Blogger? If you used to have a Blogger blog and moved, why? If you looked at several options and rejected Blogger, why? If you are currently on Blogger and want to move, why?

Tell me what you don't like about Blogger. I've been asked about alternatives to Blogger, but the answer depends on what about Blogger is disliked. I know what I don't like about it, but I'm very curious what you don't like about it.

Drop me a line at and vent about Blogger. And we'll come up with some good alternatives that address those problems.

Cross-posted at The Alliance.


  1. Basil Rocks

    Why, you may ask? Well, I had been having some trouble with my blogger template. Specifically, the blogroll labeled as "My Reads" would disappear everytime I clicked on a permalink. Basil to the rescue. Even though he's been so incredibly busy setti...

  2. I don't care much for the Blogger search bar with the 'flag' button. My content should be my choosing but I have to adhere to Google's rules. I also dislike their comment area. I can't administrate all comments together like I could with haloscan, but I keep the blogger comments for the 'word verification'.

    BUT... it IS free and I'm cheap.

  3. The morning after ...

    Today's dose of NIF - News, Interesting & Funny ... It's Kerry-180 Tuesday (+Open Trackbacks) .. Blogger dislike = that it is not working reliably RIGHT NOW!


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