Blog Comment Spam

Blogs are seeing increasing numbers of blog comment spam. This shouldn’t be encouraged.

Signs of blog comment spam:

  • Name is not a real name, but a commercial product –
  • The URL link is to a commercial site.
  • The comment is vague and could apply to any posting on the internet. “Hey nice blog, very informative, thanks for info!”

These kinds of blog comments are not entered by humans but sent programmatically.

Some bots are clever and first comment has no link, but when first comment is approved, secondary comments are just to get links to their site. Spam comments can be marked as spam.

Backing Up WordPress

With wordpress it is always advisable to backup your database, and not just rely on your hosting company to have a backup.

However, I have had experience where for some reason uploading database doesn’t work quite as it should.

As a triple back up, you can export your blog as an XML file. This offers a second way to back up all your posts, categories, tags and images. Also, with an XML file, you can easily import to another blogging platform. Whearas with just a database, you’re stuck with wordpress.

It is very easy to get an XML file,  just go to tools and export.

Vasudeva Server has various backup policies. But, there is no harm in getting your own XML backup.

Finding Images in Public Domain

If you wish to use images, you need to be careful of copyright. These sources make sure that the images you use are in the public domain and free to use. However, you still need to check licence agreement, you will probably need to acknowledge source e.t.c.

1. Wikipedia Commons

If you wish to find an image of a person or place which is in public domain, Wikipedia or Commons Wikipedia is a good source.

E.g. for Nelson Mandela :

2. Flickr Creative Commons

If you visit advanced search at Flickr You can search through images which are licensed under a creative commons licence. Just click the box ‘search by creative commons’


N.B. Creative Commons means you need to still acknowledge author.

3. EveryStock Photo

Everystock Photo – searches through different public domain sources. But, you still need to check licence and rules for each image and site.

Fair Use of Images

Generally, using images does not fall into the category of ‘fair use’. However, under certain criteria images of dead people can fall into this criteria.

Royalty Free

Royalty Free means under a certain restrictions you can use the image without having to pay. But, note that the license may be restrictive for certain purposes.

Vasudeva Server in NY and Italy

Vasudeva Server show when it comes to making signs, you can’t beat old fashioned pen and paper. The Four Muskateers, Tejvan, Nirbhasa, Jwalanta and Atmasamarpan.

Nirbhasa tries to convince he comes into Panaroma Cafe ‘to get things done’ rather than for the tea and chocolate cake.

In Italy

Priyadarshan in great shape by Lake Garda

During our three days, we pondered great and weighty issues –

  • mysql vs posgres databases
  • managed dedicated hosting vs VPS,
  • and of course how to choose 3 different ice cream varieties….
  • We did our share of testing as well. Here Tejvan does his testing of Italiano ice cream.

    Embed Video

    <object width="400" height="274">
    <embed src="" 
    href="" target="myself"
     type="application/quicktime" wmode="transparent" width="400" height="274">


    to show a different video change the video url

    Google Analytics

    There are many statistics programmes which track web visitors. Google analytics is one of the best free statistics programmes.

    To add Google analytics

    1. Visit Google analytics – you will be instructed to get a google account.
    2. Add your site and then add the code they give you into your web pages.

    Blogger Template.

    If you have a blogger (blogspot.domain). You would edit the blogger template and add the code.

    WordPress Template.

    In a wordpress, it is good to add the analytic code into the footer file

    It will look like:

    <script type="text/javascript">
    var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-17xxxxxx-6");

    6. Giving Access to Others

    Click on access manager, when you have logged in. This allows others to have access to your stats.

    With Google Analytics You Can

    1. Track unique visitors, page loads.
    2. Find sites sending you traffic.
    3. Find the keyword searches that are sending people to your site.
    4. Find which countries people are coming from.
    5. Where People enter your site, how long they stay and where they exit.
    6. Many other features.

    How To Set up A Blogger Blog

    It is fairly straightforward to set up a blogger blog. Just follow the instructions at:

    1. You will need to Create a google Account
    2. Then click on Create Blog.
    3. Give it a Title and choose domain e.g.

    Title: "How to Grow Potatoes"
    Blog URL:

    1. Choose A Theme.
    2. Your blog is created!

    To Use Your Own Domain Name

    If you would prefer to have rather than You need a few extra steps.

    1. Click on Settings.
    2. Click on Publishing
    3. Click on Switch to Custom Domain
    4. Buy A Domain with Google. They will then switch your blog to your new domain name.
    • You can do this at any stage, google will automatically redirect your old .blogspot domain
    • You can buy a domain name elsewhere, but you will need to switch cmod or something like that. That starts to get a little more complicated.

    Keeping More Visitors

    I watched a fascinating video about how to keep visitors on your site for longer.

    One thing that stood out is that web viewers get confused and bored with reading long lists. If you have a navigation bar with many items, people can’t be bothered to read through it, so they leave the site.

    If you make the navigation bar shorter, they are 25% more likely to click on something.

    The optimal number of text blocks is 5-7.

    This is a problem if you use Plone navigation bars – they can become very long and unwieldly

    Compare these 2 examples of a navigation bar at Sri Chinmoy Poetry

    Hopefully, you will find the navigation bar for happiness makes it easier for the eye to choose a page.

    This fits neatly in with the principles of Don’t Make Me Think

    BTW, I like the principles of:

    Having paged comments in WordPress

    If you have a very popular blog it might be worth dividing your comments into pages for easier viewing. Fortunately there is a WordPress plugin called Paged Comments to do just that, thanks to Keyvan Minoukadeh. However it needs a bit of tweaking to work on your site.

    Installing and configuring

    • Download and extract plugin files to a folder locally.
    • You can change the number of posts per page and some other useful settings by editing the paged-comments-config-sample.php file (its all fairly well explained in the file), then save the file as paged-comments-config.php.
    • Upload the whole paged-comments directory to /wp-content/plugins/ and enable the plugin through the WordPress admin interface.

    Template hacking (yuck)

    • We need to include the comment ‘pager’ in our template. If you are using a common theme, it might already be taken care of: just go to /wp-content/plugins/paged-comments/themes, open your theme folder, and then copy the comments-paged.php file there into your theme folder at /wp-content/themes
    • If you are not using any of the themes listed in /wp-content/plugins/paged-comments/themes then go to your theme and copy the comments.php file to comments-paged.php

    We will then modify the comments-paged.php as follows:

    In the code at the start

    <?php // Do not delete these lines
        if ('comments.php' == basename($_SERVER['SCRIPT_FILENAME']))
            die ('Please do not load this page directly. Thanks!');

    change comments.php to comments-paged.php

    To add the pager, place this code

      <!-- Comment page numbers -->
    <?php if ($paged_comments->pager->num_pages() > 1): ?>
     <p class="comment-page-numbers"><?php _e("Pages:"); ?> <?php paged_comments_print_pages(); ?></p>
     <?php endif; ?>
     <!-- End comment page numbers -->

    before the <ol class="commentlist"> line and again after the </ol> marking the end of it

    If you want to make comment number visible on the blog, add this line of code

    <div class="comment-number"><?php echo $comment_number; $comment_number += $comment_delta;?></div>

    You can add it anywhere between <?php foreach ($comments as $comment) : ?> and <?php endforeach; / end for each comment / ?>, but the best place is probably before the author name (<cite><?php comment_author_link() ?></cite>). In practice, this hasn’t worked too well for me, so use with caution.