Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 19, 2013
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been spending time here and there going back to clean up comments. This is a daunting task by the way. The blog is over 5 years old and there are nearly 26,000 comments. The reason I’m looking at comments isn’t to pick on anyone in particular. What I’m doing is taking care of some maintenance because of Google’s Panda and Penguin and also because I had to get rid of that Broken Link Checker plugin and the one I’m using right now isn’t quite as good; okay, it’s not even close.
With that said, as I’ve been going through some of the much older comments I’ve seen 6 different things, one that’s actually more a help to you if you decide to do the same type of thing than the others are. Let’s take a quick look shall we.
1. On WordPress blogs (I’m not sure about wordpress.com blogs but possibly), if you want to delete someone’s link you don’t have to go into edit or quick edit to do it. There’s an X right next to the link; just click that and it’s all gone. If you have CommentLuv it looks like it eliminates that as well, though you’ll still see it sitting there.
2. It’s amazing just how long some blogs and websites have been gone. While some blogs had totally disappeared, many blogs still existed somehow. By that, I mean there wasn’t anything new on those blog for 3 to 4 years, but most weren’t hooked to a website and weren’t on a free blogging site, so I wondered if the people paid for 5 years or more when they made their initial purchase.
3. I found that there have been some folks other than my buddy Sire who’ve been participants on this blog for a long time. Two of them, Rummuser and Ajith, have been coming by since 2009; thanks guys! Others have popped in here and there for the past 3 years; I thank you all.
4. There were some pretty good bloggers who have stopped by here and there over the years. I’ve looked at a lot of sites and some of them I decided to stop by and leave a quick comment on a recent post. It’s so cool seeing some old faces and I lament that we seemed to have drifted apart on the blogosphere. It kind of makes sense; how the heck could we all keep up with each other in the long run right?
5. There were a lot of bad sites as well. You know, when we first get going in blogging we just don’t pay much attention to the links that are coming into our sites, and as I was going through I was stunned by what I was seeing. Luckily I think BLC (see above) took care of lots of those links in some fashion but some of the rest… Folks, you need to make sure you take care of your blog by looking at some of the links people drop.
6. There were some old friends who’d stopped blogging for one reason or another. Out of three that I used to talk to all the time I know one stopped blogging because he got sick, another stopped blogging because she got a gig writing for her local newspaper, and the third… well, our bet is that he got sick and just up and disappeared because he had a pattern of doing that, and the previous time before this one he was laid up for 9 months. The rest… well, you just never know what someone’s circumstances might be, and as I think about it my belief is that one day it’s going to happen to most of us because I’m betting most of our spouses have no idea how to do anything with our blogs. So, one day there just won’t be any more posts, and unless we live close to a person we’ll never know what happens, only be left to suspect. Kind of sad isn’t it?
That’s all I’ve got. Any of you doing any maintenance on your sites? If so, what are you seeing?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 14, 2012
Sometimes I think my reason for being on this earth is to mess things up so I can warn you not to do it. In this case it’s specific to blogs, at least WordPress self hosted blogs, although I think it’s a general lesson for everyone.
Yesterday I was checking in on this blog I write for an accounting firm. I went into the Admin panel and went to posts, where I discovered that two posts didn’t publish when they were supposed to. That was bothersome because, as I do with my own blogs, I tend to write posts ahead of time and if I wasn’t going to be able to do that there it was going to really complicate things.
The first thing I did was publish both posts. I actually had to “fake” change the date by changing the time a few minutes, then the Publish button came up and I was able to publish them for the dates they were supposed to show up.
Then I went online to do some research into the issue; y’all know how I like to research. I came across something that recommended adding something to the WP-Config.php file, as it stated that some themes were missing this particular code. I added the code, then went back to write a new post.
Only when I clicked on the link to the blog, it had reset itself back to the beginning. I was horrified; I hoped that maybe when I typed in the username and password and went back to the theme I had selected for the blog that everything would be as it was; nope. Oh the horror (some of you know that line)!
Now I was stuck. The lucky thing is that this is still a relatively new blog; the unlucky thing is that I’d never gotten around to backing it up. What to do, what to do, what to do?
I went to Google to pull up the cache of older blog posts. Only Google doesn’t seem to have that link anymore that gives you the cache of old posts or pages; what the hey? I looked everywhere, even did some research on that, but nothing worked. I then tried Bing, and they didn’t have anything either.
Yahoo did the trick. I put the blog’d address link into the search and it pulled up the one entry, but it also had “cache”. Through that link I was able to recover all the older posts, but not the two posts I’d done earlier in the day. Hey, I took what I could get, and that was a lot. I was able to post all those articles back for the same date that they originally were posted, then three posts, one to replace a post that was supposed to be for next month, then two more that are supposed to go this month.
I’ve scheduled one to go live today, but it’ll be after this post so I don’t know yet if it’s working or not. Either way, it’s reminded me of the importance of backing things up before making radical changes, even though I hadn’t thought that was a radical change. I’m just glad that I can write fairly fast; I’d have hated to spend a long time having to rewrite those articles.
Yes, please learn from my mistakes; don’t do them.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 7, 2012
The last couple of days have been interesting with this blog. Some of you might notice I’ve created a new header. Yeah, not fancy, but I like it. It’s an expansion of the one I created for my Facebook page. Nothing fancy, but I think it’s me, and I hope you like it at least a little bit.
The other thing I’ve been doing is fixing broken links. Well, that’s not quite accurate. What I’ve been doing most of the time is killing links and every once in awhile fixing a link. I have the plugin Broken Link Checker, but I had turned it off some time ago because it can slow your blog down if you’re doing things in it and that was irritating me. I also really hadn’t paid all that much attention to broken links, figuring it was all stuff in the past; seems that’s not quite true.
As I was griping last week about the loss of traffic I started looking around for answers. Two were actually provided by a comment on that post by Lisa, who mentioned two things. One was the sitemaps thing, another plugin that I’d deleted from this blog, and the idea of broken links. Although I didn’t see a lot out on the search engines talking about sitemaps and traffic, I did find a lot of people have written about broken links and traffic, especially search engine traffic.
I decided that I did want to clean up the blog, so I turned on the plugin and let it do its thing. I was hoping it wouldn’t do what going online and doing a search did for someone else, which was to alert him to over 18,000 broken links on his blog; ouch! I got lucky; I came up with just over 750, and I didn’t think it was that bad.
What was surprising is just how many of those links actually came from people who had left comments on the blog, and now those blogs or websites don’t exist anymore. Initially I was looking at a bunch of them, and that was time consuming and frustrating so I decided I wasn’t going to waste that much time.
However, there were still some I did decide to look at, and those are the ones I’m going to talk about more because I still talk to some of you. What I found is that you either changed your permalink structure or the location of where you put your blog or blog posts, or you’ve changed websites or blog locations and either didn’t remember or decided against bringing some of your old content with you. In one case one of you has started a new blog space and left more than 3 years of content elsewhere that can’t be accessed anymore; that’s a shame because it was great stuff.
Any time you change how your information has been put out there, if anyone has linked to you it suddenly becomes a bad link. If you’re keeping your content, at the very least you need to make sure there’s a way for people to find the new link if they care to try. For my purposes if a few people were using the Archives widget I could have easily found what I was looking for. However, so many people decide to use either that one or Categories and not both, as I do, and thus I had no chance to find the posts I wanted and just gave up.
In any case, it points out the importance of doing maintenance every once in awhile and in making sure people can find your content in whatever way they deem easiest. And look, my traffic has gone up; whoopee!!!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 24, 2009
Goodness, what I’ve been going through with my business blog!
It all started when I tried to upgrade it to 2.9. My business blog is my oldest blog, which I began in March 2005. It was created in MySQL 4.0. To use WP 2.9, you have to be on MySQL 5.0. This meant I had to upgrade my blog to the new database.
The first thing I did was to export a file of all my posts. I did it straight up instead of as a zip file; do both, which I eventually did, just to cover yourself. Then I went to my host, 1&1, and I exported my current database to my computer, then created the new database. All good thus far.
They I tried to import the new database, but there was a problem; my file was too big. You can only upload a maximum of 2 MB on most hosts, and my file was 3.5MB; lots of data over 4 1/2 years.
So I had to contact my host to ask them to do it. They were hesitant, and instead walked me through a process of uploading it myself through a special SSH program. That process didn’t work, though they didn’t know why and I did. I had to use the unzipped file to upload and it only allowed a maximum size of 16MB, but my file was 29MB; you’d think they would have known that.
The next step was on their end. They ended up finding a way to get my old database files into the new database, though it took them half a day to get it done. I went in, changed the WP-Config.PHP file to the new database settings, and all was a go.
Nope, not quite; nothing works that easily. All my posts suddenly didn’t work anymore, and that was problematic obviously. Nothing was coming up, but the strange thing is that I could get into my dashboard without any problems, and I could get into the editing area of each post. This was freaking me out.
My blog was down for two days, as tech support looked at it and determined they didn’t know what to do. They told me they had gone as far as they were allowed, and that maybe I should hire someone to fix my database. Hey, this is me!
The first thing I did was go online to see if anyone else had my problem. I couldn’t find that specifically, but I did come across this video called How To Fix WordPress MySQL Crashed Tables, on a blog called WonderHowTo. I thought that might be the issue, so I logged back into my host control panel and went through that process. One of my tables, WP-Options, had a lot of stuff that I had to run the “fix tables” process on, but it worked almost immediately. I went back to the blog; nothing.
I decided to see if upgrading to 2.9 would work. I tried the automatic upgrade, which has never worked before, and viola, it worked! Well, the upgrade worked; now I have at least one blog where that works. I still didn’t have any of my posts, though, and that stunk.
Still thinking, I decided to try deactivating all my plugins to see what happened. Nothing. However, something stuck out in my mind that I had seen while going through my searches. There was a lot of conversation about permalinks and checking the structure of those things. I went there and didn’t see anything out of place, but then remembered that, on that blog, I had a unique plugin called Dean’s Permalink Migration. I had added it to that blog to remove all the dates from my posts, which get in the way of SEO efforts.
I reactivated that plugin and went to check its settings. Then I hit update options, and all my posts were back; whew!
Then I went back to the plugins page and added the most important ones first and tested; all worked perfectly with the dashboard. Then I added the other plugins one at a time; all worked perfectly once more. Then I thought I’d try something and I added the WP Database Backup plugin, which used to shut all my blogs down; works perfectly.
I decided to go one step further. I went and found All In One SEO to see what would happen. And, of course, it loaded, my dashboard works perfectly, and all is right with the world.
At least on that blog. It seems that by upgrading the database that blog works the way it’s supposed to. As for my other two blogs, I’m still confused because they’re already on 5.0, so I shouldn’t be having any problems with anything. For now, I’m not going to worry about it.
What are the important lessons here? First, always make sure you back everything up, just in case. Export whatever you can to your computer for your protection. Second, if you have to, contact customer service and let them handle some stuff, even if they seem somewhat irritating. I’ll be writing a post about that on my business blog. Third, don’t panic if things don’t go correctly. Fourth, verify to see if you have your blog database first. If you can actually access your information in some way, you’re still running good. Five, test and question everything you have, and you’ll probably figure it out.
And if none of that works, go through forums, or, of all things, mention it on Twitter, and you might get a response or an offer of help. I’ve licked this one; whew! Since I probably won’t be posting on Christmas Day, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 30, 2009
Tuesday night I did something that I’m betting almost no one else ever does. Probably most people don’t have to do it as much as I do, but it’s something that they should think about doing in some way every once in awhile.
by Pete Birkinshaw
I spent a few hours doing maintenance on this blog. I think this is post #540, and I went through every post on this blog, looking for my ads that might be missing or that might have been altered in some fashion. As you know, I have either an affiliate link or a product at the end of almost every single post. I put products there because I’ve tried to figure out the types of things visitors to this blog might like every once in awhile. The thing isn’t so much that they might want to buy that particular thing as much as they might want to buy something similar to it. They, or you, can still click on that product link, look around the site for other things, and I still get paid from that.
However, what happens every once in awhile is one of three things. One, those advertisers are expired, which means those links are dead. Two, the images have changed and, though the link would still work, without a visual product who’d even think about clicking on it? And three, that product is discontinued, and therefore I have to change products.
So, I spent some time doing that. The next maintenance project will be activating Broken Link Checker, just to check all the links on the site, then deactivating it again. Some of you might remember when I wrote about that plugin and others that kept giving me server errors. It works great, but I don’t keep it running all the time on any of my blogs.
How often do you go back and check things on your blog to make sure they’re still working properly? It might take you some time, but most of you don’t have close to as many posts as I have, so go ahead, take some time, and while you’re at it, think about optimizing or monetizing your old posts in some fashion. Remember, the entire product of your blog helps your blog to rank better, and better rankings means potentially more visitors.