Create a public blog site in Office 365 Sharepoint 2010

Applies to: Sharepoint 2010! It’s easy enough to add a blog sub site to your Office 365 public site. First, open your Team Site and go to site actions / site settings / site collection admin / go to top level site settings / site admin / sites and workspaces.
Or you can append _layouts/mngsubwebs.aspx to your domain which will take you to the same place.

blog1

Next, click create and give your blog site a name and an address. Under “Template selection” choose the “blog” template from the “collaboration” tab and click “create” at the bottom.

 

This will add a blog subsite to your public site. Now when you’re logged in, you’ll see a “blog tools” navigation area on the right which is how you manage your blog. Easy, huh? But the problem is even though the blog is a sub site of the public site, and should inherit it’s anonymous access setting, there’s no way to grant anon access to the associated comments/categories lists. They will trigger a log in because of the way 365 is configured, so it’s not of much use.
Fortunately, a 365 user named Martin Hatch has come up with a very user friendly solution to allow anonymous access to ALL areas of your blog. This has been tested to work in P and E type accounts. (Just like OLSB, it’s the user community that’s going to make O365 a more useful product!)
Click here for Mr Hatch’s article which outlines what you need to do. But since OLSB refugees may not be familiar with the steps involved I’ll give a bit more detail.

First download the .wsp file from the article.
Then open your Team Site and go to site actions / site settings / site collection admin / go to top level site settings / galleries / solutions and click the “solutions” tab. (You can also append _catalogs/solutions/Forms/AllItems.aspx to your public site domain to get there faster).
In the ribbon, click “upload solution” and select the wsp file you downloaded.

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Check the box next to “HatchSolutions.Office365.BlogPermissions” and click “Activate” in the ribbon.
Now go back to “website” (append /Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspx to your website domain if it’s easier)
Open the blog sub site you created. Click “site actions” and “Edit page”.
Under the “Page tools” tab, click “insert”.

blog3

Click “More web parts” and you’ll see all the web parts available to this site. You should see “Hatch solutions” in the left nav-click it and select the “Set anon blog permissions” icon.

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Click “Add” on the right and you’re done! The code that runs in the solution has done its job and changed the permission settings for your blog site, so you can now delete the web part if you like. Take a look at Martin’s article for more information.
And THIS blog is what your blog will look like. It ain’t the best looking blog in the world, but it works.
If you want to embed the blog on your public site, you can do so with the provided rss feed url which will look like this: 365 blog on a public site.
We cover that in another article:An Office 365 Blog served up using an rss feed.

Office 365 Sharepoint Online 2010 Public Site – Verify Your Site (Webmaster Tools etc).

Generate the Office 365 compatible meta tag code needed to verify your site with major search engines in 2 steps with our easy to use generator. You can also use it to add javascripts to the page’s -head- section and create the code for a favicon-like this too »
To add a meta tag verification to theof your site, the meta tag code has to be URL ENCODED for it to be recognized as valid by the search engine/verifying site. Simply pasting the code provided in the site’s SEO box won’t work. This generator will “encode the code” so it works. It can alse be used for ANY code you want to be in theof your site. Here’s how:

1/ Copy the search engine or other verification code
Log into your search engine account
Select “meta tag” as the verification method
You’ll get a piece of code like this:

Copy it – this is your unique verification key.

2/ Generate your code
Paste the key into the appropriate box in our generator form below RIGHT AFTER THE ” />.
You can do one search engine or all 3 at once
IMPORTANT: REMOVE THE FINAL CLOSING TAG which should look like this: “/>
This gets added automatically so leaving it will duplicate it and the code won’t work!
So paste the code like this:Click “Encode” and copy the output code from the box
Paste the output on a new line in the “keywords” box under the SEO tab for your home page (“page properties”).
When done, go back to the search engine site and click “get verified”.

Favicon
A favicon is the little image you see to the left of the address bar, tab titles and in bookmarks/history. The code to add one can easily be added to theof your site using the encoder. If you want one, create a 16x16px image. Save it as “favicon.ico”. Upload it to your DOCUMENTS GALLERY (NOT the image gallery!) Repeat the above routine for meta tag code, except use this exact code: on the end!

Adding javascripts to thesection. Though not always necessary, some scripts suggest you place them in the”head” section of your pages. You can use the same technique outlined here to do that: Paste your complete javascript or link code into the encoder and append the red part to make sure it works. So it would look like this:you see in the box below in place and paste your code right after it!!

Thanks to Eric Meyer at meyerweb.com for providing the encoder.
The URL Decoder/Encoder is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License. See Eric’s site for license details, user rights and use restrictions.

Questions?

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

How to redirect your OLSB urls to your new pages and keep the SEO gods happy

If you’re moving to O365, your page urls will change and be seen as new pages by the search engines. This solution won’t fix that but will mitigate its impact by ensuring backlinks, bookmarks and search result links won’t trigger 404 page not found errors. So at least your domain won’t get penalized for 404’s – and people will still get to your site.In summary what you need to do is create”mirror” pages in 365 with the same page address as your OLSB pages. Those pages will only contain a redirect code to your NEW page. If an OLSB link is clicked, the user will be redirected automatically to your new page.Method 1
1/ Open notepad and paste in this code replacing”new365page.aspx” with your new target 365 page address:

2/ Save file as”oldolsbpage.aspx” replacing “oldolsbpage” with the page address of your OLSB page.

3/ Open your site either in Windows Explorer or Sharepoint Designer 2010. To open it in W Explorer, click the ribbon icon from a document library. Click here for more info on opening site in SPD.

4/ Either drag and drop the file at the root of your site in W Explorer (ie NOT in any of the folders). OR, open”All Files” and use the import tool in SPD.

5/ Rinse and repeat for all your OLSB pages.

Method 2
You can save a step by creating the files right within Sharepoint Designer.

1/ Open the”All Files” object in SPD

2/ From the ribbon click”File” and select “ASPX”

3/ Rename the file to the same as your OLSB page name.

4/ Open the file in CODE VIEW and you’ll see a very simple html page code.

5/ Insert your javascript redirect code BETWEEN THE FORM TAGS ie like this:


Prepare to be redirected!

This page is a time delay redirect, please update your bookmarks to our new
location!

Save the file. Here’s how the above code would work – note how the url changes:
Click here>OLSBsite.com/blog.aspx

NOTE:This won’t work for the OLSB “default.aspx” page but you don’t have to “mirror” that page because 365 already contains a placeholder page with that address that ensures your domain opens your new 365 home page. Redirecting the default page is a little trickier so click here to ask in our forum if for some reason you want to do that.