My Failed Sidebar Experiment And Why I Can’t Change It

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.


by striatic

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…

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Javascript Can Wreck Havoc With Blogs

Over the last bunch of days, sometimes my blog has been very slow to access. I wasn’t sure what it was, though, so I started doing some testing, and it seems that the lethargy has been tracked down to incompatibility of javascript created items that I’ve been adding to my blog.

Of course, we all have a lot of javascript things on our blogs if we’re monetizing them. Adsense is a javascript program. Widget Bucks is a javascript program. Chitika is a javascript program. I’ve had Adsense almost forever, and my blog never ran this slow. I’m not sure about either Widget Bucks or Chitika. I had two other minor things on my blog, both from Grader.com, and I took those off because each one was a javascript program.

Not that talking about javascript slowing down blogs is new. A blog post that probably didn’t get the attention it deserved comes from Alex Iskold’s Technology blog, where he wrote a post titled How Javascript Is Slowing Down The Web. In it, he talks about the problems that can occur when multiple “single” lines of javascript code come together from varying sources. He talks about how javascript performs things sequentially and not concurrently, and that anytime a piece of JavaScript is being loaded or evaluated, everything else has to wait.

Now, supposedly there’s things that can be done for different browsers, but none of those things are absolutes. That, plus it’s very technical stuff; most of us regular folks won’t understand it, let alone what to do with it. However, something I’m speculating is that when there’s two javascript programs next to each other, that’s when things have an opportunity to fail, even if the same company created both programs. When I first removed the Widget Bucks affiliate banner that was sitting next to their skyboard banner, this blog was running much faster. Since then, though, it seems to go up and down. Frankly, I’m not really sure what to do next, other than removing all javascript programs, and that’s not about to happen. It’s possible that it’s related to either the LinkXL or Kontera ads that have recently started running on this blog also; I’m just not really sure.

Luckily, the slowdown time is infrequent, so I hope it doesn’t overly disturb anyone. However, if it starts bothering me often enough, I’m going to start moving things around some more, trying to make sure there’s some kind of distance between all the javascript that’s going on. At least the Daily Puppy widget isn’t javascript; aren’t they cute? Anyway, Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome talks about how javascript works in web browsers, so I’m sharing that here; enjoy!

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Chitika

After months of my friend Sire beating me up about it, I’ve finally decided to sign up with Chitika. Chitika is another PPC (pay-per-click) advertising company along the lines of Adsense and Widget Bucks, but there’s a difference, which I’ll get to in a couple of minutes.

Signing up is fairly easy to do. You put in all of your demographic information, along with a preferred username and password, and make the determination of how you want to get paid. Then you hit the button, and you’ll get an email where you click the link to activate your account.

The next step is to pick the type of ad you want to display, and select the colors. Oddly enough, you’ll have two options, which I thought was odd until I read it a little bit better. I’ll start with option two, which gives you the opportunity to select an alternate link or product to advertise instead of their offering. They do that because of option one, which states that if you select it, the only people who will see the ad are people who come to your site via a search engine. Yup, that means if you’re a regular reader and therefore visit the site any other way, you’ll never see the regular Chitika ads, but anyone who might find you via a search engine will. The idea is that people who come to you via a search engine represents targeted traffic, and their advertisers will pay a higher rate for targeted traffic. At the same time, your normal visitors won’t have to be subjected to the ads. One other odd thing is that, as long as I’m considered as logged into my account, I’ll never see any of those ads either; weird, right?

Of course, that doesn’t mean one can’t represent them with affiliate tags, which I’ve done over there to the left. I didn’t read how much I could get if anyone signs up after clicking on the button; truthfully, I haven’t really paid much attention to any of the affiliate ads as far as how much I could get paid, which I now have to admit is a little strange for someone who’s usually as anal as I can be about these types of things. I guess I figure if any of them make money, I’ve done fairly wel.

So, we’ll see how it goes on the blog. Sire states that Chitika brings in more money on his blog than Adsense; I guess another test will tell the tale, but, since this blog brings in almost no Adsense money, it might not be a fair fight.