Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 20, 2009
When last we left, I was telling you about some of the plugin problems I was having after upgrading to WordPress 2.9. In my parting shot, I said that it was possible that my problem was having an older theme that might be messing with everything I was trying to do.
I run a theme called Simple Balance, and the version I had was 2.1. I run that theme on two of my blogs, and I love it because I found it easy to customize, though many people might not. Still, the one thing I was missing that was irritating me was the check box, and 2.1 was an older theme.
I decided to see if there was an update to the theme, and there was, Simple Balance 2.2. It said that if you loaded it over what you currently had that it would show the checkbox for people subscribing to comments, and it was also more compatible with WordPress 2.8, which we’re obviously past by now.
I figured this was what I needed, so I downloaded the file and uploaded parts of it. By that, I mean when I was reading the page, it said something about if you were upgrading you could just copy all the files and it wouldn’t erase anything unless you had made changes to the theme. Well, I had made some changes to the theme, so a full upload wasn’t going to get it done for me.
First thing I did was copy my theme from the website to my computer so that I could reverse any changes that didn’t go well. Then I uploaded files I hadn’t changes, along with new files. I then went into files where I had made changes, did a big comparison with what was in each file, and only changed certain things manually.
What happened? Nothing really changed at all. It still showed me as being on 2.1, and I still had no check box. I decided then to try something a bit more radical. I decuded to just copy over the entire file to see what happened. Since I had backed up the original theme with my changes to my computer, I figured if anything went really askew I could fix it.
I did that and looked at everything. Very few things changed, and all the settings I already had on my blog stayed the same as well; yeah!
Now it was time to look for that check box, but I still couldn’t find it. I’m not sure what the deal is, but it just didn’t come up as part of the theme or WordPress software like it was supposed to.
Now I was back at square one again, but I wondered about something. When I was talking about plugins in the other post, I mentioned how I had added back All In One SEO and how things didn’t work with it. I wondered if I deactivated that one plugin what would happen.
I deactivated it and everything came back except Other WordPress News. I mean almost everything. Broken Link Checker still doesn’t work, but every other plugin works again. So, I was able to put Subscribe To Comments back, as well as WP-Cumulus, and it all works great.
So, it turned out All In One SEO was the culprit. I kind of liked that program, but I had remembered some time back that there had been some discussions as to whether it really benefited you or not. After all, if you do your SEO properly, if you can, that should work just as well, right? Also, for what it’s worth, both Google and Yahoo said they don’t look at meta keywords anymore, and that’s what All In One SEO mainly did, right?
I went online to check some things out. I came across this post entitled What’s Wrong With All In One SEO Plugin, but it’s promoting a different SEO product instead. I came across another post titled All In One Update Extremely Dangerous where it talked about something set by default that, if you don’t know about it, could really kill your blogs search engine position. It also talks about all these people who use the Thesis theme and love the SEO aspects of it, but says that it pretty much locks you into it forever because the day you decide you want a different theme every post you’ve ever done anything with using Thesis loses all the SEO it created for you.
I continued doing some research online, and it seems other people have had problems with this plugin (which I’m now going to call AIO SEO), but for different reasons. Some people have found themselves losing page rank because of something called canonical url. Some have found that their meta tag words disappear. And a few have found that they’ve had some plugin issues. But it doesn’t seem like there’s this big outcry about it.
Too bad for me, I thought. I was ready to kill the plugin for that and other reasons. One was the constant updates; that’s quite irritating. The other was having the plugin keep making you have to activate it after updating it. The third was being hit immediately with their request for donations; it’s big and hard to miss.
Just as I was going to delete it, I noticed they had another update. My first reaction was “ugh, not again.” But I decided to see what the update said, and of all things it addressed problems with other plugins. So I figured what the heck, and upgraded it. This time, it didn’t ask me to go and enable it. I decided to take a look, and I saw that they had changed the settings so that it’s automatically enabled. Then I looked at my dashboard, and saw that it had brought back the WordPress Development Blog and the Incoming Links. Those were the two most important to me, so I’ve decided to keep it for a little while longer, but keep my eyes on it.
That’s on this blog. On the one I’ve upgraded to 2.9, it brought back Incoming Links, but that’s it. So, I’m not totally sold on it yet, and I’ll probably have to wait to see what happens when I upgrade this blog. I think I see at least one more post on AIO SEO coming; let’s hope it’s much shorter than these last two. And, as you can see, I threw in a picture just to break things up. Of course, it’s through Imagekind, which means you can purchase a print if you like it.
Overall, though, it proves just how important it is to keep testing your stuff when things are working properly. If you check your stuff and your dashboard is having problems, deactivate AIO SEO to see if that resolves anything. Then decide what you’d prefer to do afterwards.