Monday, 9 April 2007

Technorati blog authority: New Blogger 1-click to add widget; what's Technorati "authority"; and New Blogger homepageUrl tag

Blogosphere search engine Technorati recently launched 3 new widgets, including what they've called the Technorati Authority widget.

It's a bit of Javascript code that you can put in your template sidebar to display, live, your blog's current "Technorati Authority (the higher, the better)" (according to the Technorati blog post on this by Tantek Çelik).

If you're keen to add the widget in your blog, below is how you can do it easily, for both New Blogger and Blogger Classic blogs.

But read on after that if you're interested in an observation or two about "Technorati Authority", and also something about the New Blogger template tag for a blog's URL.

How to add Technorati blog authority widget to New Blogger blogs with one click

UPDATE: Blogger keeps messing up the code in the form on publishing, so I've given up. See the Add button plus other "add widget" buttons here. Just click the Add to Blogger button below (UPDATE: this is odd. Blogger Help say you should escape code inside the widget.content and widget.template bits. But escaping anything inside the b:includable tags seems to muck things up so the button below doesn't work. NOT escaping that makes it OK again. Hopefully this version should work now):

Step by step instructions on how to add New Blogger third party widgets to your blog: see my post on the Technorati link count widget (the steps relate to the linkcount widget launched last year, but the principles are the same). For this widget I'd recommend leaving it in your sidebar as it's for the whole blog and not just a particular post. You can see it in mine on the right.

Give it a couple of minutes for things to "take" on Technorati - the badge won't appear on your blog instantly.

(The Add form tool above is a Magical Sheep production (as in, I have a go at something, and Kirk fixes my mistakes and vastly improves on it!), created for your convenience as people can now make and share their own widgets so that bloggers can easily add third party widgets to their blog layouts with a few clicks without having to know any coding, e.g. the Bluepulse widget, on the now feature complete fancy New Blogger, formerly known as Blogger Beta)

How to add Technorati blog authority widget to Classic Blogger blogs

Copy/paste the following code into your Old Blogger template, wherever you want the blog authority badge to appear:
<script src="" type="text/javascript"> </script><a href="<$BlogURL$>?sub=tr_authority_t_ns" class="tr_authority_t_js" style="color:#4261DF">View blog authority</a> 

How to add Technorati blog authority widget on other blogging platforms

The code given by Technorati is quite straightforward, use the Old Blogger code above but change <$BlogURL$> to your blog's URL.

One gotcha which Kirk discovered - you must use your home site URL without pointing to any specific pages. Technorati doesn't seem to like it, otherwise. So for instance using would work, or or even - but not (any "www" is fine, it's just the .html or similar at the end that will stop it working).

Technorati Blog Authority - what is it, really?

Now some thoughts about Technorati's "blog authority" figure.

See my blog's authority in my sidebar on the right? At the moment it's 201. See the screenshot from Technorati below?

Nope, I don't see a "201" there either. In fact, at present my blog's "rank" is 18,653. The closest number to 201 is 198, the number of blogs which have linked to my blog in the last 180 days (this Technorati blog post explains all three of the figures given for each blog on Technorati; a few months ago they tweaked how they produce those blog statistics).

As it happens, last night the two numbers did match - number of linking blogs, and number shown by the widget.

The "blog authority" figure is in fact the number of blogs who have linked to yours in the last 6 months, so like share prices it may go up or down. Why the widget shows a slightly different number from the live search on Technorati's site is beyond me, but I suspect the widget may take a while to catch up.

Here's a couple more screenshots to illustrate - in relation to Liz Strauss and John Tropea's blogs. You'll see that "authority" really is the number of blogs linking to their blogs; and that for them, at the time of this post anyway, the widget and Technorati's page do match:

Screenshot of Liz's info on Technorati:
Liz's blog authority badge:
I've used screenshots so you can compare the two, but if you want to see the live widget it's here: View Successful Blog's blog authority

Screenshot of John's info on Technorati:

His blog authority badge:John's live widget: View Library Clips' blog authority

So, this is a little confusing. Technorati have introduced another concept, "authority", which isn't in fact explained by them explicitly anywhere that I can see. And it is different from "ranking". Why they haven't introduced a widget for "ranking", I'm not sure - it would be easier for most people to follow, I think (the higher the rank, the better). Maybe they will, at some point?

New Blogger's data tags: homepageUrl

Now, a thought and questions on Blogger's data tags.

With New Blogger's layouts approach using widget tags, there are data tags which have replaced the classic Blogger template tags.

In New Blogger, the equivalent of the old tag which gave you the URL of the blog seems to be <data:blog.homepageUrl>. However, unlike the old Blogger equivalent, BlogURL, that data tag doesn't produce the main home URL of the site - for the homepage URL it in fact prints out, e.g. in the case of my blog, Yup, with the "index.html".

Result: you can't use the tag with the new Technorati blog authority widget, it just won't work (see the note above under other blogging platforms). Kirk, who spotted this, had to do his usual Javascript jazz to strip out the index.html from the URL output by the data tag, in order for the Technorati widget to work properly.

We're curious as to why Blogger designed the new data tag to do that. Will they be coming out with an alternative data tag that just produces the homepage URL, without the "index.html", for use in third party widgets that only function properly with the base URL? Maybe Pete, Eric or Lexi or someone else from Team Blogger might be able to enlighten us?

UPDATE: as mentioned above, another oddity is that if you try to include the form for adding widgets within a Blogger post, the Blogger post editor does something funny to the code. You're supposed to escape the bits inside widget.content and widget.template but the post editor just extra escapes it so the tags and script inside the template, once the widget is added, won't work properly.

I've had Blogger post editor do weird things to my posts before with lots of extra ampersands and semicolons in particular, when I've tried to set out example code within a post (or edit a post with code in it). I'd be interested to know if others have had that problem too. I've had it since Old Blogger. I guess that it's not a priority for Blogger as I suspect relatively few of their users post code. Maybe the lesson is, if you have to have code, or forms, put them somewhere else other than in a Blogger post (like upload them to Google Pages)!


ME Strauss said...

As always I so enjoy reading your analysis of a product. Thanks for including me in this one, it was fun to be part. It was especially fun to have this occur right after I thought I might try a new layout and got so frustrated with what it required to gain back the information my sidebar. I eventually just reverted to the classic form. :)

Improbulus said...

Thanks for the comment Liz, nice to hear from you! Yes working out how to reproduce your functionality in the new widgety template is not easy.

Stay tuned, I've been looking at all that and mean to post on it as soon as I can. I'm still on classic myself!

John said...

I've noticed that blogger tends to choke on scripts in widget code and have resorted to using javascript's encode and unencode functions to get around the problem. There may be another solution of encapsulating the script inside of an XML comment that I'll check into when I get the time.

I've put together a blogger widget generator that helps me encode and escape all the needed tags and scripts; you may find it useful too.

Improbulus said...

Thanks for your comment John. Yes Blogger do say that you have to escape the code in the widget.content bit. I've used Centricle to do that, for ages - it's excellent, and free.

I've not had the chance to try out your form generator yet but it looks very useful, thanks. Excellent idea.