Saturday, September 11, 2010

Labels, tags and categories for multiauthor blogs

We were recently asked a question ( about multiple users. Here we state a few rules for asking questions on this site as well as suggestions on where else you might find answers.

Here’s a Google translation of that question:

Hi, I come to you with a technical problem on Blogger.
In short: I have a blog with three authorized authors. I’d like to have links in the header to each author, so if you click on the link only the posts of the chosen author will appear.
Complicated variant would be to add the label with the name of each author wrote that every post, then give the search and make search link to where I want. The problem is that there are over 200 posts and fuck me until I start to put labels on each.
I guess it would be another possibility, but I'm not good at XML / HTML and Google search did not help me in this case. Does that piece of code be put in the template to do what I want automatically?

There are a few ways I can think of to solve this problem. The easiest is if the text of each post contains a “signature” in the form of a set of word unlikely to be found in other articles, such as “Written with passion by Author A” or “Published with charisma by Author B”. You could then post links in the header in the following form: or Provided that you replace “” and / or “” with the URL of your own blog, clicking on any such link would display only the article where the search terms can be found.

Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. You will have to most likely try solution number 2. I provide the others for completion.

1. Blogger Blog Tags

These are code elements used in blogger templates to manage widgets and can be edited in the “HTML” of the template. There are two kinds of tags.

a) Static Label Tags

These do not change in each post unless you edit them by clicking the Edit link in the Blog Posts widget in the Dashboard –> Design –> Page Elements. The are:

Static Tag Description (phrased displayed next to ~)
authorLabel the post author’s name to indicate who wrote the post.
timestampLabel the timestamp of the post.
postLabelsLabel the list of labels for a post.
commentLabel the number of comments.

b) Dynamic Data Tags

These tags change with each post; you change them by editing/manipulating the actual article.

Dynamic Tag Description (it displays the ~)
author date of the post. If more than one post is published on a date, then only the first post will display the date; all subsequent posts will return a blank value for this tag. The format of this tag is defined in “Settings->Formatting->Date Header Format.”
numComments number of comments for the post
dateHeader date of the post. If more than one post is published on a date, then only the first post will display the date; all subsequent posts will return a blank value for this tag. The format of this tag is defined in “Settings->Formatting->Date Header Format.”
timestamp when was the post published. This tag is exists for every post. The format of this tag is defined in “Settings->Formatting->Timestamp Format.”

list of labels for each post. There are additional tags associated with this label:

  • name – the name of the label.
  • url – the URL of the page that contains a list of all posts for the label.
  • isLast – indicates if the label is the last one in the list. This value returns true or false.

title title of the article (post)
url URL of the article (post)

If you were to resolve the issue of easily displaying authors and separating them using a combination of HTML, JavaScript and Blogger CSS you’re in for quite a bit of work. I recommend an easier solution, as follows.

2. Blogger Labels (Categories)

Using Labels (Categories) to differentiate articles written by different authors seems like a no-brainer, since this is the main organizing scheme for the platform. Adding such labels should not be difficult, once we understand that this does not have to be done individually for each post. Blogger offers a way to add or remove labels for multiple articles in one shot.

If you go into Dashboard –> Edit Posts for your blog you will find something similar to the following:


If you do not use Windows Live Writer to write your articles (and even if you are), you must be very familiar with the powerful interface. A lesser known feature is the “Label Actions..” drop-down list, which allows you to easily perform in one step label changes to a 300 articles at a time.

You can select what to display by choosing from “Your Posts: All, Drafts, Scheduled, Imported, Published”. Using the left hand Labels box, you can display only articles belonging to a certain label. You may also click on the “Select: All” next to the “Label Actions…” drop-down list. You can even search within the text of articles for the author’s name and display only those articles published by a certain author.

Going back to your particular situation, here’s what I would do. I am assuming that the vast majority of articles on your blog are created by one author A and only a few recent ones by the other author B (this will work however even when there is a more even split).

  1. Go to Dashboard –> Edit Posts for your blog.
  2. Display only Published articles and choose 300 posts so that your work is easier (choose All instead of Published if you have a significant number of articles in Draft or Scheduled).
  3. Select: All next to Label Actions.. drop-down list. Try to deselect the articles written by Author B before applying the label.
  4. Click on Label Actions arrow and choose New Label… to create a new category for Author A, such as “written by A” or “articles by A” or simply “Author A”, containing just the author’s name.
  5. Repeat step 4 as necessary so that all articles have that label.
  6. Try to select only the articles written by Author B then repeat steps 3-5, this time creating a label corresponding to Author B.
  7. If you make a mistake, you can select the articles with the wrong label and then choose “Remove Label” for that particular label, as needed.

Working with labels in the Edit Posts window is very simple and much faster than changing labels for each individual post in the article editor..

Labels Article Editor

..and then republishing by clicking on Publish.

If you want to rename a label, you could select all articles containing it, add the corrected label as a new label, then remove the old label.

Finally, assuming you have used the Labels “lucubrated by Author A” and “emanated by Author B” you would have the links:

  • http://<subdomain>
  • http://<subdomain>

Make sure you make the appropriate substitutions not only for the label, but also for the subdomain. If you are using a custom domain name, such as <yourblog>.com, replace “<subdomain>” with your domain name in its entirety.

Finally, let me encourage you to direct such questions which may be unrelated to any particular article on this blog either to our FAQ page or to our Facebook forum (link below).

Sources / More info: questions and answers at blogidol


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