My Failed Sidebar Experiment And Why I Can’t Change It
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 4, 2011
Sometimes you read something that sounds pretty cool and decide to give it a shot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Most of the time you just correct things or change things and move on; this time, it’s not happening.
If you look to the left side of this blog you’ll see something that I’m calling my Top Ten Favorite Posts. I don’t even remember which blogs I read this on, but at the time it really sounded like a great idea. The belief was that if you shared your top 10 posts with others, not only would they get an idea of the types of things you write about on your blog but that they’d become some of the most visited pages on your blog, which would help your rankings because people would be paying more attention to some of your older posts.
I went through my blog and selected what I considered as a pretty representative list of my top 10 favorite posts and popped it over there. I didn’t use a widget because my these doesn’t support widgets on the left side. I actually have to code everything that’s on the left side of my blog by going through the Editor, which most of you new folks or non-technical people shouldn’t even try. I removed whatever else was using that space, put those posts there, and figured life would be sweet.
I’ve had those posts there for 5 weeks, which of course means more than a month. I checked Google Analytics and the results are in; that idea is a flop. Out of the 10 articles, only one cracked the top ten, the one on diabetes, and it’s sitting at #50. As a matter of fact, it’s the only one in the top 100 as well. Major come down from what seemed like a great idea.
I wanted to replace those and pop something else in there. I also want to remove the Chitika ad on the side and replace it with something else because I’ve noticed when I check my blog via my smartphone it pops something up that’s actually quite irritating, and man, I hate being irritated (this is in reference to a guest post I recently wrote on Basic Blog Tips, which I just linked to above).
I went into the leftsidebar.php file of the editor and tried to remove all those links. When I went to save it, I got sent to a 404 page instead; what the hey? That’s never happened before, and I have to admit it was confusing. I kept trying but no dice. Then I checked on my other 3 blogs and found that I had the same problem, with different themes, on two of them; one of them is fine.
And what’s the deal with the last blog? I haven’t upgraded it to WordPress 3.1.3 yet. I started thinking that might be the issue, and indeed it is. I’ve been searching the entire internet looking for a fix for the problem. It seems that someone else had this same 404 problem a year ago when upgrading to WordPress 3.0. After trying everything he could and looking for information he tested it on another site and found it had the same issue. His thought then was that it might be a server issue so he contacted his host and indeed found that his host had blocked something because it saw a bunch of some type of errors coming through. They removed the block off his site and got it working.
I called my host; no dice. They’re blaming WordPress; then again, so am I. So I’ll do what I can, and we all know that at some point I’ll figure it out; I always do. Actually, I already know a fix but it’s ugly and I really don’t want to do it. However, now I’ve forgotten what I was going to put into that space; sigh…