Blogger Titans Interview #1 : Andy Page

Blogger Titans Andy Page

From today we will be starting the Blogger Titans Interview series. As the name suggests , we will be interviewing people who have unparalleled expertise and understanding of the Blogger Platform. From Blogger Forum Top Contributors , Template Designers to Gadget Creators , we will be hosting everyone who has extensive experience with Blogger. To kick things off our first guest is Andy Page , Blogger Forum Top Contributor as well as the owner of one the most visited site on Blogger platform , SpoilerTV. Let's dive straight into the interview

Stylify Your Blog : Can you introduce yourself to our readers

Andy Page : Hi, I’m Andy the owner of SpoilerTV and a Blogger Top Contributor (TC) in the Blogger Forums.
Been a computer programmer and project manager for various companies including Price Waterhouse, IBM, Western Geophysical, Unilever, Cygnite/Unipower

SYB : Since When have you been using Blogger and what has been your experience with it so far ?

AP : Been using Blogger since around 2005 when I started the LOST Site, DarkUFO (darkufo.blogspot.com).

I really enjoy using it find it’s a fantastic way to create a web presence with 0 cost.

The Blogger servers are very fast and reliable and can handle any huge spikes in traffic. As they are hosted on Google Servers they are available worldwide and we don’t have to worry about any server issues, hacking etc. It allows us to concentrate on making posts and articles rather than fixing server issues.

Being a Blogger Top Contributor, what does a normal day look like ?

Basically I first check each morning to see if any of the support tickets that I'm working on have been updated/replied to. If so I go through and work on those posts.

After that I check to see if there appears to be any wide scale outage or issues affecting lots of users.

Finally I look at any new support tickets that have not been replied to by other TC’s.

What do you think are the biggest Advantages and Disadvantages of Blogger over other blogging platform ?

Advantages
- Free
- Fast
- Unlimited Bandwidth and a huge amount of space for Photos and Videos
- Ability to Customize the full template
- Managed Security
- Very Reliable, 99.9% up-time.
- Deep integration with other Google Products, eg. G+, Photos etc

Disadvantages
- Can only have 100 Max Authors
- Can only add 20 Labels Max to a post
- No built in Author Profiles


How do you picture Blogger 5 years from now ?

I don't see it changing that much to be honest. I think we’ll see lots of small incremental improvements. I hope that we get to see some of the following.

- New and Improved Templates
- Provide Templates that provide the ability to easily make a blog be responsive.
- Improved G+ Comments
- Improvements to the Android and iOS apps.


With new features being released in Blogger nearly every month , Any specific feature that you want in Blogger and why ?

Here are a couple of things I would like to see.

- Provide a new level of Security access. Currently we have Reader, Author and Admin. A new level would be Editor. An Editor would be able to edit existing posts but not be able to make any Admin Changes.

- I would also like to see a Special Level of Security called “Owner”. Only the Owner can add and remove Admins. It would stop rouge admins from deleting other admins.

- Categories , I would love to see the introduction of Categories into Blogger. Currently we can only assign Labels to Posts, it would be great to have Categories and that we can use those to remove certain Categories from displaying on the Homepage.

- Improved support for Multi-Author blogs so that Authors can create a custom “footer” for their posts.

- Allow blog owners to have a central place to see all their comments they have left on other sites

- Provide the ability to “undelete” a post or comment that was accidentally deleted.

Do you think Google+ poses any risk to Blogger's existence ?

Personally, No . G+ is great but not for everyone. G+ only has a small subset of features that can be found in Blogger and provides very little customisations.


Recently there have been many reports of errors in Blogger Forum , is this normal or something uncommon ? ( Recent errors with Text Widget , Post Editor , Template Designer )

These things seem to happen from time to time which is unfortunate. Blogger releases new code/fixes/optimisations on a weekly basis. It appears sometimes that bugs slip through the QA Process. Normally they get fixed within a week, or in some cases work-arounds found.

Your site Spoilertv , which has grown tremendously after your LOST fame , is in many ways the best example of what can be achieved using Blogger platform when its taken to the extreme , How have you been able to do that ?

Thanks :)

Lots and lots of hard work and help from a lot of people. I started the site as something to do once LOST was over, and the site just grew slowly. As we grew we added more helpers and writers to help us post content, and reviews.

We expanded the number of shows we covered, added our Episode Database ( www.stvplus.com ) , plus our own Image Gallery ( spoilertv.co.uk/images ).

One of the key things was to build a great community and we use the Disqus commenting system. It really helps us control the spam and keep trolls at bay :)
You can see our About Page here for some stats/info

Like many Professional Blogger , why have you not made a Switch to WordPress ?

Very simple really. The amount of traffic we get would mean we would have to purchase a very large and expensive server, along with a monthly bandwidth fees.

Also, I would have learn a whole new templating system and reconfig over 150 RSS Feeds and 50+ twitter accounts.

I just don’t see the benefit in using WordPress over Blogger.


What are your thoughts on Blogger allowing developers to add templates in the Blogger's centralized Template Gallery ?

I would love to see more professional themes added to the standard gallery.


Why are there less developers developing widgets and templates for Blogger than other platform ? ( Bad publicity or no extensive promotion by either Blogger nor any person or any other reason)

Good question. I think mostly because developers have more control and better to understand features in WordPress. Plus developers can charge for their widgets if they want.

Blogger Widgets seem like a bit of an afterthought and not very well supported or easy to create/maintain.

What do you think will be an instrumental move by Google to make Blogger once again the champion amongst CMS's ?

I think Blogger need to make it a little simpler for first time bloggers. eg. Tumblr is very quick and easy to add content. Blogger can sometimes seem a little daunting and over complicated to new users.

But apart from that I really can't think of much. I don't think Blogger will ever overtake WordPress in terms of userbase/ecosystem but I don’t think it needs to. Both can co-exist quite happily.

WordPress is great for some people, whilst Blogger is preferred by others.


How can people follow you , contact you and give you money ?

We don’t ask for money ;)
darkufo [at-the-rate] spoilertv.com
www.spoilertv.com
plus.google.com/+spoilertv
www.facebook.com/SpoilerTV
spoilertv.tumblr.com


This was a insightful and interesting interview , we would like to thank Andy Page for taking out time for us. Do not hesitate to share your thoughts , questions and opinions about this interview in the comments .

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Written by Prayag Verma

A self proclaimed Blogger Evangelist. He has been blogging for the past 3 years and likes to help people having problems with Blogger . Get more from Prayag on and Twitter

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Post a Comment
DarkUFO said...

Thanks Prayag, glad you enjoyed it :)

Prayag Verma said...

The pleasure was all mine , it was really great experience having you on the blog.

Interesting interview Prayag!

Andy is pointing out the most benefits and some weaknesses with Blogger.Although, you get pretty much as it´s free.Maybe, they could add some more templates but don´t forget that one has use for some basic knowledge on advanced customizing to get a professional look to it.

Rakesh Kumar said...

Thanks Andy and Prayag for some awesome information about blogger. I was little confused about wp and wordpress. I love wp but I do not have enough money to get sailing high in the initial run. After seeing your post, it makes me extremely happy with your words stating that blogger can handle great amounts of traffic. @Andy: Templates are not a problem at all. There are many templates out there for now. But the problem comes with bloggers inbuilt css though it can be avoided. The commenting system in blogger is nasty. I wish the blogger team to enable people to tweak it atleast with respect to css. >>Important<< Andy, Prayag can you please confirm whether blogger could handle a million visitor traffic per month without deleting my blog. If yes, I am really very glad.

ambarish said...

Thank god, lately i found some1 who luvs blogger platform.

Prayag Verma said...

You are correct Mattias , the biggest advantage of Blogger over other platforms is that it is totally free of cost

I agree that customizing Blogger templates requires some knowledge of HTML,CSS,XML and JavaScript which might frighten non-coders. This is a area that Blogger can surely improve by introducing more features into the Blogger Template Designer

AnZ JoY said...

People Always love blogger

Prayag Verma said...

Hi Rakesh , thanks for your thoughtful comment

Other than the comment form everything in the Blogger comments section is customizable , many people have been asking to enable the option for customizing the Comment Form for quite sometime , But Blogger still uses the iFrame Comment Form, which due to security concerns as laid down in the W3C specs cannot be modified by CSS alone (Cross domain access) . Recently though a new Comment Form design was released and it is very well thought (with the exception of the Sign Out button which is placed in a bad position if usability is taken into account)

Yes , Rakesh as you can see in SpoilerTV's About Page , for the last two years it is getting sustained traffic of over 60 Million+ Page Views

Kashish Jain said...

A very nice interview Prayag, never knew about Andy and the fact that a blog on blogger can generate these many views especially when you see many top bloggers in your profile using wordpress. I just wish that blogger could develop a way in which widgets could be updated and customized by the developers independently like we have plugins in wordpress.

Carlost said...

Nice interview! :) Glad to see Andy here.