Monday, March 31, 2014

Blogger, forgive us!

Here's a great unsung feature of Blogger: Undo.

If only it applied all the time.

If you need to change a published post, you can edit and update it. If you back up your template before you tinker, you can revert to the backup if need be. Or to any of the default templates at any time.

You can revert posts to draft. You can preview. If you delete your blog, you have 90 days to undelete it. As much as Google wants to push you to Google+, it will let you revert back if you do not like things there.

The fact that everything is tentative and reversible is a signature feature of Google products generally. It frees you to try stuff, to experiment, to change your mind. It's great.

Except when it isn't.

Delete a post and you are out of luck. If you sneeze and delete all the text in your draft post, you can lose the whole thing. Change the permissions on your photos and you might break all the photos in your blog—with no way back.

What follows is a catalog of Blogger horrors: innocent actions that can screw up your blog and can't be undone.

Blink and your whole post is gone for good. Blogger repeatedly saves unpublished posts as you write them. Great! But if you hit the wrong key you can delete your entire blog post that way.

Blog enough and this will happen to you.

Is there undo? Version control? A "recycle bin" for your work? Nope, it's gone. Blogger, forgive me!

Deleting posts is forever. Again no trash bin to rummage through and undo, though there are some amazing tricks that sometimes work to get deleted posts back.

Kiss your blogspot address goodby. It's easy to change your blogspot url, but not to change it back. You must wait until it becomes generally available again and then get it before anyone else does.

Dear Blogger: If the danged thing is not generally available, why not give prior owners the ability to revert back? Can't you cut us a little slack?

Don't change those photo permissions. Bloggers hosts your photos in albums on Picasaweb or Google+ Photos. The default privacy setting is a limited share, where no one can see the photos except through a link (like the one in your blog that displays the photo there).

If you switch the setting to private, the photos will become unviewable and replaced by the European "Do Not Enter" symbol. But that's not the problem, because this is the expected behavior of that setting.
This symbol means the image exists but is not viewable.

No, the problem is that you can't set it back. If you try you will get a second copy of the photo with the desired permissions (limited share) but a new web url. The photos in your blog, meanwhile, remain linked to the old, blocked url.

If you have hundreds of photos in your blog, boy is your blog broken now. Fortunately, if you then set permissions to public—anyone can see—both copies of your photo will become visible to anyone.

So maybe not so bad after all, once you know the secret. But why can't we get the old privacy setting back? Why is it so hard? So unforgiving? So weird?

Can't undelete a Blogger comment. Sure, if you erroneously mark a comment as spam, you can un-spam it. But accidentally delete one? Gone forever. Blogger does not forgive.

Lose all your photos at the click of a mouse. In much the same way that we can transfer a blog to a different account, Google lets us transfer photo albums. If you are changing accounts you can transfer the photos for your blog and access them without having to sign into the old account.

But here's the secret kick in the pants: If you then delete that old account, the web address of every photo will change, breaking all the links to them in your blog. There is no warning, no remedy, and no recourse, even if you immediately restore your deleted account


Most of the time, Blogger greets us with the sort of friendly behavior we have come to expect from Google. It doesn't penalize us for innocent errors and it encourages experimentation.

Somehow that makes these glimpses of a harsh dark underbelly all the more horrible.

Blogger, we are only human! Please cut us a little slack. Okay, we make mistakes. Please, please forgive us!

Blogger, forgive us!

Here's a great unsung feature of Blogger: Undo.

If only it applied all the time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A sidebar-widget beastiary: 6 gadgets and what do do with them

Smart bloggers populate their blogs with widgets to connect readers with older blog posts (and with related content on the web).

Three sidebar areas take widgets: Top, side, footer.

Here's a quick appraisal of a half dozen powerful widgets you should know.

Profile You know this one, but do you know everything it does? The Profile widget shows the photo and other short information from your profile page, to which it links. There's room for more about you on your profile page.

Add authors and the title switches from "About Me" to "Contributors" and the gadget shows only links to the profile pages of each.

You can edit the title to whatever you want, and if you don't like what the Profile widget shows you can make your own.

Archive Along with Profile, this gadget is included in new blogs by default. It lets readers find older content by date, displaying the post titles as clickable links (unless you turn that part off).

The default "hierarchy" display, with little flippy triangles, is pretty slick, but you can also configure it to be a drop-down menu or a flat list.

You can change the title of this widget, the order it displays links, the way it displays dates, and the time interval used (month, week, or day). If you disable the display of post titles it will just display the interval, which links to an archive page of posts from the selected period.

Link List This underrated gadget lets you post a list of clickable text links. You input both the text and the web url and determine the order in which the links appear. In most templates, if you drag the Link List to the top area between title and post, the widget will format as tabs.

Link List's stability, simplicity, and control contrast favorably with the more-specialized Pages widget. If you'd like to use it for a tabbed menu bar, this little refinement might interest you.

Pages There always seems to be something wrong with the Pages widget, originally designed as a navigational toolbar to help readers find static pages. It has since been expanded to allow you to add other links as well.

Consequently, Pages now duplicates the functionality of the Link List gadget, with the added promise that it can include static pages automatically. In practice Link List has proven itself to be more stable, configurable, and easy to set up.

HTML/JavaScript This, the Swiss army knife of sidebar widgets, will render HTML and Javascript output on your blog without any edits to your template. It's not really for the novice, though if all you are after is formatted text and hyperlinks the editing tools for this widget should be perfectly intelligible.

What it really does, if you know what you are doing, is to make custom widgets. I like to use it to list every post in a label topic.

Use this awesome widget only for good, however, by posting code only from trusted sources.

Labels This widget lists labels in two modes, simple list and a "cloud" of labels differentiated by size and color. In both each label name is a link to its related label-search page.

Label your posts intelligently and this gadget will make a handy topical index to your blog.

The list order can be either alphabetical or by frequency for all the labels or any subset. You can also show the number of posts per label. Tinkerers can tweak the appearance of the cloud list further by adding formatting for css classes .label-size-1 through .label-size-5.

Be a widget skinflint. Everything you add slows your blog down and adds clutter. Avoid sidebar bling. Only use widgets that clearly add more than they distract.

The striking images in this post are from the Aberdeen Bestiary. They are in the public domain.

A sidebar-widget beastiary: 6 gadgets and what do do with them

Smart bloggers populate their blogs with widgets to connect readers with older blog posts (and with related content on the web).

Three sidebar areas take widgets: Top, side, footer.

Here's a quick appraisal of a half dozen powerful widgets you should know.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blogger, Google+ pages, and the frontiers of science

The R&D Division here at Too Clever, ever pushing the envelope, has used a Google+ page of a regular Blogger blog to create a second blog.

To be precise:
  • a Google+ page identity (not a personal profile)
  • that was created for a regular Blogger blog
  • in turn created, and now administers, a second blog.
Here is the proof that, when it comes to Blogger, a Google+ page can do everything your blogging account can. Including being anonymous.

The blog, called "Proof of Concept," has no purpose other than to illustrate how a G+ page can do any and every blog-related thing that a plain-vanilla blogging account can do.

Specifically, a properly constituted Google+ page can
  • be anonymous or in the name of your blog or business or brand
  • be a blog author and write posts
  • be a blog administrator and moderate comments and change blog design and settings
  • share blog posts on Google+
  • leave Google+ comments on a blog that enables them
  • leave regular (i.e., not G+) comments on a blog that enables them
and now
  • create and administer blogs
all using the page identity, not a personal profile.

Proof of Concept could have its own G+ page, which could create another blog, which—but let's not get carried away.

It's science I tell you! And they call me mad. (Nevit Dilmen image)
Is there anything this Google+ Page can't do? There are some differences in how it behaves in Google+ compared to a Google+ profile.

For instance, a page can have multiple administrators and is not subject to Google's real-names policy.

And you do need at least one Google+ profile to administer the page.

But in terms of Blogger, it does everything a regular account can.

Everything.

Microscope image courtesy Scalefree Network via a Creative Commons license; the image has been flopped and is available under the same license.

Blogger, Google+ pages, and the frontiers of science

The R&D Division here at Too Clever, ever pushing the envelope, has used a Google+ page of a regular Blogger blog to create a second blog.

To be precise:
  • a Google+ page identity (not a personal profile)
  • that was created for a regular Blogger blog
  • in turn created, and now administers, a second blog.
Here is the proof that, when it comes to Blogger, a Google+ page can do everything your blogging account can. Including being anonymous.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Claiming your blog's Google+ page

A Google+ page for your blog can be a (nearly) freestanding identity. It is your blog's own Google account.

If you want your blog to have a presence on Google+ but don't want it linked to a personal profile with your name on it, that page is made for you.

Assuming you know that you want one and why, here's how to set one up.

1) You need a Google+ profile
Google+ pages are nearly full-blown Google accounts, but unlike regular accounts they do not stand entirely on their own. Pages must be managed by at least one Google+ profile.

So if you want a page for your blog, you must set it up with a Google+ profile, and you must, at least temporarily, make that profile an administrator of your blog.

You need not use this profile for any other purpose if you do not want to, and you can hide its connection to your blog if you like. But you do need a G+ account to play.

2) Use the profile to set up a page
Once the profile is an administrator of your blog, setting up a G+ page for the blog is straightforward. Google's help page has step-by-step instructions.

If you've remembered to make the profile account a blog administrator, confirmation that Google recognizes the connection between your blog and your page should come swiftly. (Otherwise, you may have to link the two manually.)

Once the page is so linked to your blog you may remove the profile as blog administrator if you like.

3) Make the page a full-featured Google identity
Giving your new page its own password will both (1) let you log in to the page separately from your profile and (2) give your page access to the full range of Google-account powers.

A G+ page so activated can be made a Blog administrator, among other things. So if you like it can become an administrator, even the sole administrator, of your blog.

If you've weighed the benefits and disadvantages of switching to Google+ Comments on your blog and decided to try them out, your page may be the best identity for responding to comments. It's a G+ account that speaks with the name of your page, which is the name of your blog, rather than with your name.

4) Log into your page to avoid confusion
You'd normally access the page from your Google+ profile, in effect being signed in to both accounts at once.

However, logging out of all accounts and then logging in only as your page will avoid any confusion about who is speaking if you use the page to write blog posts, leave comments, or share to Google+.

5) Fine tune your page
Consult Google's help pages to learn how to configure and use your new page. (There's even more about Google+ in general here.)

You can even give that page its own Gmail address. This can be handy if you have not already created a Gmail account for your blog.

6) Know what you are doing—and why
In a previous post, I sketched what a Google+ page can do in relation to a blog. In this one I explain how to set one up.

But what you should do with it? That's up to you, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer.

What's your goal? What's your strategy? I hope you will give it some thought before you start.

Claiming your blog's Google+ page

A Google+ page for your blog can be a (nearly) freestanding identity. It is your blog's own Google account.

If you want your blog to have a presence on Google+ but don't want it linked to a personal profile with your name on it, that page is made for you.

Assuming you know that you want one and why, here's how to set one up.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Give your blog its own Google+ identity

You can give your creation a Google+ identity of its own
I will cut to the chase: Your blog can have its own page on Google+ that, for all intents and purposes, is a Google account without your name.

Google+'s "first and last name required" policy is a challenge if you blog anonymously or with an institutional or business or group identity.

If so, Google+ pages are designed for you.

I've been testing a Google+ identity for another blog of mine. Here are my key findings:
  • Google+ pages are, with some minor difference, the equivalent of G+ profiles, but for your blog, not for you.
  • They can have multiple managers, none of whom need be expressly named on the page.
  • A G+ page does not expose your own name unless you put it on the page.
  • Setup requires at least one page manager with a G+ profile.
  • In some ways, it's more work to use a G+ page to promote your blog than to use a personal profile—the choice is yours.
    Setup is tricky enough to deserve some forethought. But a Google+ page can do anything in relation to a blog that a regular Google account can do.

    Specifically, a G+ page can be a blog author or administrator, write blog posts, and leave comments—even regular Blogger comments—on any blog with comments enabled.

    Update: Such a page can even start a blog.

    These pages are intended for businesses, nonprofits, brands, web sites, and blogs.

    Nonetheless, in my judgment, it will be harder for most bloggers to attract a following to a page than to a personal profile on Google+. (Not impossible. Just more demanding.)

    You do need a Google+ profile to play, but that profile need not be associated with your blog.

    That's because all G+ pages must be managed by at least one G+ profile account. When you set the page up you will need to do so using a G+ profile that is an administrator of the blog

    But the profile does not need to be publicly associated with your blog, and the G+ page you create is not publicly linked to the profile (unless you add such a link to the page).

    So with a little careful planning you can keep your online identities separate using a Google+ page.

    Update: Here's how to set up a Google+ page.

    Public-domain image of puppeteer Bill Baird (R) and Charlemane in 1963.


    Give your blog its own Google+ identity

    You can give your creation a Google+ identity of its own
    I will cut to the chase: Your blog can have its own page on Google+ that, for all intents and purposes, is a Google account without your name.

    Google+'s "first and last name required" policy is a challenge if you blog anonymously or with an institutional or business or group identity.

    If so, Google+ pages are designed for you.

    Friday, January 24, 2014

    The silent-partner gambit

    It's your move
    On its face, Google+ breaks privacy with its requirement that your G+ account bear your actual name.

    But you can preserve your blog's anonymity if you like, Google+ notwithstanding.

    Not everyone blogs anonymously. But can we agree that there's nothing wrong in using anonymity to manage your online identity?

    Consider the case of Uther Pendragon (not his real name. Or blog). It's not that he's ashamed of his extensive cupcake blog. Far from it: he revels in the attention it gets from the cupcaking world.

    It's just that Uther works in a field where he'd rather not be pigeonholed as "the cupcake guy."

    Having his blog publicly associated with his distinctive name would be an issue for him.

    So far this has been easy. Uther blogs anonymously as "Cupcake Guy," using a Google account of that name.

    But Uther wants to bring his blog to Google+. If he upgrades Cupcake Guy to G+, he'll suddenly be blogging with his real name, retroactive to his first post. Unless he is ready to come out of the pantry, this is not a good option for him.

    Instead, Uther has a second Google account, upgraded to plus and featuring his name and photo. It's his public online persona. He has a Google+ circle of 'cakers with whom he shares cupcake news and gossip, including his own blog posts. No one else sees that connection.

    There's no sign of his G+ self at the blog at all, which is how he likes it.

    Uther is interested in integrating his blog even more tightly with Google+, as long as he can continue to blog anonymously.

    Which he can. He's going to turn his blog into a team blog in which the "team" is him, by adding his G+ account as a blog administrator.

    Profile widget
    First, however he'll replace his Profile widget with a custom profile widget. If he didn't the standard Profile widget would change to show links to each author's profile when he added +Uther.

    The custom widget will look just like his current one, complete with a link to Cupcake Guy's profile page.

    This custom widget will hide that Uther Pendragon of Google+ has any connection to Cupcake Guy. Instead, +Uther will be a sort of silent partner, invisible to blog readers but still able to perform G+ functions behind the scenes.

    Here are two things that Uther must never do if he wants to preserve that separation:
    • He must never post to the blog, or reply to comments there, from his +Uther Pendragon account.
    • He must never publicly share blog posts on G+, only to his circles. (He can probably get away with this once in a while.)
    Once this is set up, Uther can
    • link his blog to Google+ 
    • share any posts on the blog to his circles from within the Posts section of his Dashboard.
    Uther is a little disappointed to realize that this doesn't add very much. The "link to Google+" is hidden and the post-from-dashboard feature is very like sharing the link from within his G+ page; Uther was already doing that.

    But linking to G+ unlocks two very significant, if controversial, Google+ superpowers for the blog. When linked, Uther can
    More follows, but for now let's leave Uther to ponder his options.

    Thanks to the two women of Foodfetish for making their cupcake photo available through a Ceative Commons license(I have modified the original image by cropping it.) Check out their delightful blog, too. The Go image is by Luis de Bethencourt via Wikimedia Commons.

    The silent-partner gambit

    It's your move
    On its face, Google+ breaks privacy with its requirement that your G+ account bear your actual name.

    But you can preserve your blog's anonymity if you like, Google+ notwithstanding.

    Not everyone blogs anonymously. But can we agree that there's nothing wrong in using anonymity to manage your online identity?

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    The case for Google+ comments

    The greatest problem with switching to Google+ comments on your blog?

    They are restricted to people with G+ accounts. That locks out a lot of people.

    Nonetheless, for some it's worth the sacrifice. Google+ comments promise some compelling benefits. Every blogger should weigh them carefully.

    These benefits are explained lucidly by David Kutcher in his "Growing Evergreen Content with Google+ Commenting." Just to lift one key point from David's article,
    ...when someone leaves a new [G+] comment the default behavior is a share to Google+. Their comment on your article is a share on their stream that they commented on your blog post, the message they posted, and a link to your post. It's a SHARE. To their whole network stream.
    Google+ shares are high-quality personal endorsements to people who know the sharer. They are signed with the sharer's real name and photo and include a link to your blog post.

    Consequently a G+ comment on any post can revive the post by placing it before a new audience. If a conversation ensues in the comments this effect can bring an old post back to life in a big way.

    You don't get that from plain-vanilla comments! Which, however, have the advantage of being open to everyone, if you like.

    The case for Google+ comments

    The greatest problem with switching to Google+ comments on your blog?

    They are restricted to people with G+ accounts. That locks out a lot of people.

    Nonetheless, for some it's worth the sacrifice. Google+ comments promise some compelling benefits. Every blogger should weigh them carefully.

    Friday, January 17, 2014

    Have your Blogger identity and Google+ too!

    You can have it both ways.

    Do you have privacy concerns about linking your blog to a Google+ account?

    You can promote your blog on Google+ using a separate account not linked to your blog.

    But associating your blog with a G+ account unlocks more options. And you can still keep the account hidden on your blog and stay as anonymous to your readers as you like.

    Upgrading your blogging account to Google+ changes nothing until and unless you also "connect to Google+" by switching from your blogger profile to your Google+ profile.

    So one strategy for continuing to blog anonymously, or with an institutional name, is to refrain from taking that step.

    However, switching to your Google+ profile activates new options in your dashboard. It also reveals your real name, on your G+ profile, your posts, and your comments.

    Photo: Jessica
    Wait, didn't I promise you could keep your blogger identity?

    You can.

    The trick is to add your Google+ account to your blog as a sort of silent partner with administrative privileges. Hidden from your readers, but still present behind the scenes.

    Here's what you can do if you use a hidden account to "connect to Google+."
    • You'll be able to share any post to your circles from the Posts section and even share new posts automatically. The result is the same as if you had pasted a link to the post in a share from your Google+ profile.
    • You'll be able to create a Google+ page for your blog. You can share to, and even blog from, that page (rather than your regular account) if that makes sense for you.
    • Finally, you'll also be able to enable Google+ comments for your blog. In some ways this is the biggest trade-off of all, with the biggest potential reward.

    Have your Blogger identity and Google+ too!

    You can have it both ways.

    Do you have privacy concerns about linking your blog to a Google+ account?

    You can promote your blog on Google+ using a separate account not linked to your blog.

    But associating your blog with a G+ account unlocks more options. And you can still keep the account hidden on your blog and stay as anonymous to your readers as you like.

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    Anonymous blogging on Google+

    Google+ can send you readers whether you plus or not.

    But odds are that's not going to happen often unless someone actively promotes your blog. So you might wonder if it is a good idea to join Google+ to get readers and blog traffic and search reputation.

    Google+ profiles bear owners' real names. For some bloggers that makes G+ a nonstarter.

    However, your G+ account does not need to be the same as your blogging account (though it can be). You can set things up so that there is no link to your Google+ identity from your blog.

    You do need a Google+ account, using your real name, to play. But you don't need to connect that account to your blog.

    You can use an "unattached" G+ account to promote your blog by sharing blog posts to people in your circles or publicly. Each link will be a one-way connection from your G+ identity to your blog, but not the other way.

    You can even connect your blog to a Google+ identity in ways that do not show on your blog. Here's how.

    Anonymous blogging on Google+

    Google+ can send you readers whether you plus or not.

    But odds are that's not going to happen often unless someone actively promotes your blog. So you might wonder if it is a good idea to join Google+ to get readers and blog traffic and search reputation.

    Google+ profiles bear owners' real names. For some bloggers that makes G+ a nonstarter.

    However, your G+ account does not need to be the same as your blogging account (though it can be). You can set things up so that there is no link to your Google+ identity from your blog.

    Sunday, January 12, 2014

    Nonplussed: How Google+ affects every blog

    Even if you are not on Google+, someone who is can share your blog to his or her G+ circles.

    These shares arrive as personal recommendations from the sharer, usually with his or her photo, a link and, if there is one, an image from your blog. Usually the sharer will add a few thoughts about why your blog post is worth reading.

    That's great word-of-mouth publicity that can bring you attention and new readers.

    The sharing can continue to circles of circles and beyond.

    In addition, Google+ readers can "+1" your posts if you have enabled share buttons in your post template. These mini endorsements can improve the placement of your blog in certain kinds of Google search (though the effect is limited).

    With or without a Google+ account, you can view the "+1 count" for your posts on your dashboard in the Posts section. If you have any pluses, the count will be between the author name and the comments count in the tabular listing of posts.
    Between author and comments count

    What does this mean for you?

    If you don't mess with Google+, the network of circles is just another channel for people to find your blog. You don't have to do anything and nothing on your blog changes. I've gotten new readers and followers that way.

    Of course, if you do mess with G+, you can actively promote your blog there. Here's how to do that without blowing your cover.

    Nonplussed: How Google+ affects every blog

    Even if you are not on Google+, someone who is can share your blog to his or her G+ circles.

    These shares arrive as personal recommendations from the sharer, usually with his or her photo, a link and, if there is one, an image from your blog. Usually the sharer will add a few thoughts about why your blog post is worth reading.

    That's great word-of-mouth publicity that can bring you attention and new readers.

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

    Your secret blogging identity

    Photo courtesy of Jessica
    On the internet, as the New Yorker cartoon famously noted, no one knows you are a dog.

    Anonymity, and pseudonymity, have been features (or bugs) of online life since the internet's inception.

    Google is moving away from that model towards one where a single account, under your real name, manages Bogger and all of your Google services.

    There are some very good arguments for that approach. No more anonymous internet trolling, at least on Google+, and some clever new ways to promote and publicize your online projects (such as your blog) with you as the hub.

    But for many of us, managing our online identity is nuanced and compartmentalized by design. Adopting the new model means surrendering our freedom to be creative.

    You don't have to be a whistleblower or a democracy activist in a totalitarian country to value the power to choose how you appear to others online. It's normal to walk in multiple worlds, personal, civic, and professional, and to want to keep some boundaries.

    Privacy = Freedom
    Do you really want prospective employers or clients to know about your awesome beer blog? Is it helpful to your social life if your Game of Thrones fan fiction is front and center?

    Would you be as creative as you are in all your projects if your boss and your dates and your mom were looking over your shoulder? Would you be as free to take risks and try new things?

    Or might you practice a little self censorship?

    Of course the answer to all of those questions (but the last) might be yes. But if it's no instead, that's not being furtive or gutless or wrong. That's your choice, because you know best what is best for you.

    Wikimedia image
    Fortunately on Blogger you still have that choice. You don't have to join Google+ but if you do you can have other plain-vanilla Google accounts and associate your blog or blogs with the accounts you want.

    Blogger comes with a profile gadget that you can take, leave, or modify. You can remove all your fingerprints from your blog if you choose.

    In practice it may be good enough for many of us to just obscure the connections between your online identities, rather than erase them completely. But it's still up to you.

    Your secret blogging identity

    Photo courtesy of Jessica
    On the internet, as the New Yorker cartoon famously noted, no one knows you are a dog.

    Anonymity, and pseudonymity, have been features (or bugs) of online life since the internet's inception.

    Google is moving away from that model towards one where a single account, under your real name, manages Bogger and all of your Google services.

    There are some very good arguments for that approach. No more anonymous internet trolling, at least on Google+, and some clever new ways to promote and publicize your online projects (such as your blog) with you as the hub.

    But for many of us, managing our online identity is nuanced and compartmentalized by design. Adopting the new model means surrendering our freedom to be creative.

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

    Make a custom Profile widget

    Profile widget, stripped-down edition
    Blogger provides an excellent ID widget for your sidebar.

    It pulls your photo and, if you want, other information from your Blogger (or Google+) profile page.

    The widget is connected to the profile page, so if you change the page information the widget revises
    automatically.

    If you add an author or three, the title changes, automatically, to "Contributors" and the content becomes a clickable list of all authors, each linked to its profile.

    You can change the default title to whatever you want, and elect to omit or include the small amount of profile information to which it is hard wired.

    This is an altogether admirable gadget, one of only two that Blogger puts in your sidebar by default. (The other is the Archive gadget.) But if it is not right for you, you can remove it and write your own using Blogger's generic HTML/Javascript widget.

    Why might you chose to do so? I think you'd know if the default gadget isn't working out for you. Perhaps you want to have multiple authors on your blog, but only feature one of them.

    Maybe you want to feature not your profile but the name of a business or organization.

    Perhaps you'd like to write a blog-specific profile page, and link to that. Maybe you'd like to customize that widget in other ways.

    Below I provide the HTML code to reproduce your profile widget. Just substitute your information for the matter in red (code edits) and in blue (content edits) and paste the code into the HTML/Javascript gadget.
    <a href="http://www.blogger.com/profile/06245776593991049317"><img alt="My Photo" class="profile-img" height="70" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_QWPl_ePs3uk/S4lrxvBhNgI/AAAAAAAAAAM/FoBwtgN5veA/S220/Opalescent.jpg" width="80" /></a>
    <dl class="profile-datablock">
    <dt class="profile-data">
    <a class="profile-name-link g-profile" href="http://www.blogger.com/profile/06245776593991049317" rel="author" style="background-image: url(//www.blogger.com/img/logo-16.png);">
    Adam
    </a>
    </dt>
    <dd class="profile-textblock">Your information here.</dd> </dl>
    <a class="profile-link" href="http://www.blogger.com/profile/06245776593991049317" rel="author">View my complete profile</a>
    The code edits are as follows:
    • The long digit 06245776593991049317, which appears 3 times, is my blogger ID number. Replace it with yours.
    • Your Blogger ID is the long digit at the end of the web address for your Blogger profile page. If you use a Google+ profile instead, or if you'd like to link to another page as a profile, replace the entire url (not just the long digit) with the entire url of the page you want to use. Do so in all 3 places.
    • If you use the Blogger profile today but switch to your Google+ profile tomorrow, the widget will still be good. The link to your Blogger profile will forward to your G+ profile.
    • The www.blogger.com web address ending in .jpg is the link to a generic profile image. Replace it with yours, or that of any photo you want. (To find the url for your actual profile image, click on the image on your profile page.)
    The content edits, in blue above, are as follows:
    • My name; change it to yours.
    • "Your information here." Put anything you like here, or leave it blank. Brevity is good.
    Shortcut: If you know HTML, it is not too hard to find the code generated by your actual profile widget in a code view of your page, which includes the you-specific code and content. (Search for things like "About Me" or class="profile-name-link g-profile.") If you copy this correctly you can paste it into an HTML gadget without further edits.

    The description, from my profile page, would be confusing for this blog. I could use a custom widget to make a blog-specific version.
    Either approach mimics the appearance of your Profile widget.

    Unlike that widget, however, the custom HTML's connection to your profile page is strictly one way. Changes you make to that page, for instance to the description or profile photo, are not automatically reflected in the widget.

    Of course you don't need to use this code to make a profile-type widget in your sidebar, but this approach will ape the appearance of a "real" Profile gadget.

    Summary Workflow
    Shortcut if you know HTML: View the source page of your blog and copy the code for your Profile widget.

    Paste that into a Javascript/HTML widget and save. Done.

    Otherwise: Copy the above code and paste it into a Javascript/HTML widget.

    Edit the code as indicated and save. Done.

    Make a custom Profile widget

    Profile widget, stripped-down edition
    Blogger provides an excellent ID widget for your sidebar.

    It pulls your photo and, if you want, other information from your Blogger (or Google+) profile page.

    The widget is connected to the profile page, so if you change the page information the widget revises
    automatically.

    If you add an author or three, the title changes, automatically, to "Contributors" and the content becomes a clickable list of all authors, each linked to its profile.