Verify Your Home Directories

Last week I was creating a blog for one of my web clients. A quick down and dirty for informational purposes is that what you do is go into your host and create an area for your blog software to be uploaded to. If you’re domain is going to be your blog then you’re pretty much set. However, if you’re going to add your blog to your existing domain, then you need to create a subdirectory within it.


by Niels Hiedenreich

I went into her host account, which is also 1&1, and created the subdirectory. When you do this, you have to make sure you’re creating the subdirectory within the original domain as opposed to creating a subdomain outside of the main domain. No, I’m not even going to try explaining that because it looks and sounds stupid no matter how I might try to clarify it. lol

After 10 minutes I went to check and the new folder was there, all set for me to upload the software. I did all of that, using WordPress of course, and it took just over 5 minutes. I had already prepared myself by going into MySQL and creating a database for the blog, so I opened the wp.config.sample.php file and put the proper information into it, then uploaded it as wp.config.php, as you’re supposed to do.

All seemed to go fine. I went to the link for the blog, created a password, signed in and all looked pretty good; normal, I’ll say. I had gone searching for a few different templates for my client to select from, but I chose one to start with because I know she likes colors. I had to do this conversion thing to switch it from PHP 4.4.9 to PHP 5.2, and once I completed that I installed just a few plugins that I thought were important to start with.

Everything looked pretty good, but I had noticed when I was looking at one of the themes I was considering that there was some error code showing up. I had planned on sending her an email telling her about the blog, but decided to wait until the next morning.

Next morning comes and I try to find her blog; it’s not there. Neither is her website; ouch! Actually, her website was now showing up as a skeleton of what her blog would look like without any pattern or background. Nope, this wasn’t good. I thought that maybe I had done something wrong to the .htaccess file so I went in and deleted that; nothing happened. I reloaded all the blog software; nothing. As a matter of fact, I was now getting one of those Error 500 messages; things seemed to be getting worse.

I decided to delete all the blog files and start again; this was taking forever. When that was completed I tried to go to the main website and now I was getting Error 403. I wasn’t quite sure about that one so I did what I should have done in the first place. I went to the host site and then to their FAQ. I looked up Error 403 and it said that meant the site was being directed somewhere that didn’t exist as the main directory.

Suddenly it all made sense. I went into the domain settings and I had made a mistake. I had created the new directory, but inadvertently told the site that the new directory would be the new main directory instead of a subdirectory of the one already existing. Ugh! Had I checked the stupid FAQ first I’d have saved myself an hour’s worth of headaches. I went back into the domain area, told it that the original directory was the main directory, waited 5 minutes, and the website was back, proud as anything.

After that I reloaded all the blog software, et al, and the new blog is back in service, looking great, and the original website is back as well; whew!

As I look back on this I realize that I wouldn’t have found the error if I hadn’t started deleting some of the blog files. After all, I had that Error 500 thing, and I’ve seen that before. I put in all the tricks I knew of to get rid of it, the simple stuff, and none of that worked. Not a single reference I found even mentioned checking out the directory first. So, if I can save anyone a little bit of time by writing this post, then it’ll all have been worth it.

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Blogging Step Three; How To Create Your Blog

This particular post isn’t going to detail the process of downloading software or how to set up a blog on a blogging site. The “how to” is regarding how you want your blog to look, based on the purpose and your personal style.

As a for instance, when I decided I was going to create this blog, I knew that I wanted to have the middle for the content and sidebars on both sides of it. In other words, I knew coming in I wanted a 3-column template. You can get a blog without any sidebars, one sidebar, or even 3 sidebars, giving yourself four columns.

What are the purposes for all those columns? Let’s look at it in a little better detail, starting with only the one column. Basically this means you just want to write your blog and don’t want anything taking away from what you have to say. You’re not looking to advertise anything. The problem with this is that you probably won’t have many people link to your blog because many people like to at least have the opportunity to receive a link back, and a one column blog wouldn’t have a place to link. Also, blogs will keep archives of past posts, and it will break them into both categories and date ranges, but there won’t be a place for that to display so you can’t even show people that information. What I don’t know is how one would get into a one column blog to sign in, though there’s obviously a way. Overall, you lose a lot with this format.

Looking at a two column blog, usually it means the column where you’re entries are is wider than the other column, which can be on either the right or left side. This is the most common template, as it allows a person to show everything that’s meant to be shown, such as all the things I mentioned above, as well as allowing for some type of advertising if one so chose. The problem with only having one column is that you may end up having too much stuff in the one smaller column that your site looks junky. At the same time, since your content will probably be long, you have a lot of room to get things on there.

A three column blog offers more flexibility if you’re looking to advertise and also want to keep all the other stuff mentioned earlier. You can also add a calendar and many other things, and it offers you the ability to have some balances with your blog; I’m all about balance. What you have to think about, though, is whether you want the sidebars on each side of your main content or both on one side or the other. There’s no negatives to either, so it’s more of a personal choice.

A four column blog allows you to break things down even more, but in my mind, it’s too much and it’ll take away from whatever you’re writing about on your blog. A four column blog allows for the most diverse type of advertising, because you could have all your Adsense in one column, and all your affiliate ads in another.

The final thing to talk about, no matter which style you choose, is deciding on color. Overall, it doesn’t really matter what colors you pick depending on what you like, but you need to think about the readability of your blog for everyone who visits. For instance, picking green and pink for your blog might impede someone who suffers from color blindness from being able to read your blog easily. If you have a dark background with your blog you’ll want lighter print to offset it. Things always work best when there’s enough of a contrast to have either dark print against a light background or light print against a dark one.

Finally, be sure that the title background fits the image you’re trying to project in some fashion. I picked the background image for this blog because it was red and red is my favorite color. I saw some that had nice picture backgrounds, but those didn’t fit my style. I saw some that I thought might look pretty nice, but in the end decided they also didn’t fit my style. If you have the knowledge, you can always change the pictures or colors later on, though, so the most important thing overall is choosing the style you’d like.

And there you go. What’s coming up next about blogs? Stay tuned.


Dan's Chocolates

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