Category Archives: Blogging

My MySQL Upgrade Battle; The Short Version

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!

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

What’s The Deal With Disqus?

You know, sometimes it seems like some of us repeat ourselves because we just have to. The lessons that we feel we learn by our own experience are put into what we write on our blogs, people see them and comment and seem to agree, then they go back and do exactly what they wanted to do in the first place.

I have spent time on this blog talking about the benefits of commenting on other blogs, which I truly believe helps people get noticed in the blogosphere, at least initially. And you know by now that I believe there’s a fine line between success and failure and a lot of that could be because of many people not feeling that commenting will do them a world of good.

At the same time, I’ve lamented at how many people seem to set up roadblocks to commenting on their blogs. I wrote a post asking if it was easy to comment on your blog. I wrote one saying why I hate logging in to comment on blogs. And there was quite the discussion when I talked about why I dislike Blogger blogs.

Lately, I’m turning my attention to these blogs that make you double opt-in to comments. They haven’t made it hard for you to leave a comment, but they do make it generate a lot of stupid extra email to make you do something extra just to see if you really want someone to notify you when or if someone has responded to your comment or not. I hate that also, obviously; if I left a comment of course I’m hoping to know that someone commented back on it. If I didn’t, why would I leave a comment in the first place? Yeah, I know, some people only want link bait, but those folks know the consequences of leaving comments to begin with.

Now there’s this thing with this plugin some folks have called “Disqus.” The basic principle behind it is to create kind of a discussion community that potentially has the ability to spread beyond just the one blog you’re commenting on. This link potentially can help spread your reputation far and wide, and the only thing it requires is for you to create an account and make sure you sign in.

Uhhh, just asking, but did anyone notice I posted a link above about not liking to log in to things to comment? So, I’m not doing that. Disqus doesn’t make you do that. What it does do, however, is ask you if you want to log in or post as a guest, which is irritating, and then you get an email asking you to respond to the link if you want to receive comments to your comment or any comments after yours. Hmmm, I think I addressed that above also.

Sometimes we get enamored with the next great thing. We like to find these things that we think are cool and use them for our benefit. That’s all well and good. But if we’re blogging with the intention of having other people participate, the idea is to make it easy for them to do so. Irritating people isn’t a good way to encourage them to keep coming back. Sure, there are certain people within the community who will love coming back and playing the game, but the overwhelming majority are going to move on.

I find that I rarely comment on Blogger blogs these days, because I don’t always want to comment and have it directed to my business blog. And I’m not setting up another account; to be truthful, I never remembered setting up the one I have. I’ll probably find myself not leaving comments on more blogs that have this Disqus feature, and there’s another one I’ve seen often enough that I can’t remember right now that does somewhat the same thing.

I’m taking my own stand; any more blogs where I comment and receive email asking me if I want responses to the comments, I’m removing from my blog reader and never commenting on again. I may miss out on a lot of stuff, but I guess I’m ready to take that chance. As for some of you who I already follow, well, I probably won’t remove your accounts immediately, but if you hear less from me you’ll know why.

Freedom, justice, and the right to comment without restrictions; viva la commenting!

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The Fine Line Between Blog Visitors Success And Failure

For the past two years, I’ve wondered one big question over all others; what is it that makes one person get thousands of subscribers versus someone getting a hundred.


by Laurence Simon

It’s an interesting question to look at because, though we know that traffic that’s meaningless isn’t supposed to mean all that much, the truth is that traffic really is the key to everything.

If you want to make money you want traffic. If you want readers to see you as an authority on something so that you’re asked to go and speak to others in person and make money off it, you want traffic. If you’re looking for some kind of validation that you’re words are communicating with anyone, you want traffic.

Something I do that I’m sure others do from time to time is check out what some of the top bloggers are saying or doing that seems to be working for them, then compare what they’re doing with what you’re doing. Hey, you know it’s true.

In my mind, I don’t see lots out there better than what I do. I do see some things much different. I see some people write some fairly technical stuff, but not as many of them. I see some folks who write a lot of nothing and rank better than I do, and I’m not sure how that happens. I see some of the big time bloggers who may write only half the time, allowing others to guest post on their blogs. Heck, I allow that myself, but I don’t have a lot of people who take me up on it.

So, what really makes the difference? I think it has more to do with having some bonafides when it comes to whatever it is you do. For instance, John Chow is a guy who’s made a lot of money online. Truthfully, he’s made a lot of money offline as well. People know that, and it gives him a built in audience before he says word one.

Darren Rowse is the same. When you look at her early stuff you see that he had few commenters. But somewhere along the way he broke through, got advertising, was able to show that blogging could make someone a millionaire, and that was that.

Y’all see this book I’m helping to promote, Beyond Blogging, there to the side. Well, every person in that book is a 6-figure a year blogger. Some of those six figures are more than $500,000 a year. Even if those guys didn’t try to make money by blogging, they’d be making some money from blogging.

I’m not mad at anyone who makes a lot of money blogging. Heck, I’m not mad at anyone who makes a lot of money at anything. What I am, though, is wanting the knowledge to figure out how these folks do what they do. It’s not that they all help each other out. It might have been at one time, but no one would have helped anyone if they hadn’t shown something beforehand.

Also, there’s something about participating in the entire blogging community. The way I believe I’ve helped my subscriber number grow is by commenting on other blogs. There are a lot of new people visiting that I might never have met if I hadn’t visited their blogs. Okay, a big ups has also come from both Sire and Kristi in the last month, so I have to give them some big things as well. But I really believe subscribing to lots of blogs so I have something to comment on has helped greatly.

Commenting on other blogs might provide that big difference between success and failure. Things like running a contest might get you a blip, but most of those people won’t stay beyond the first entry. Truthfully, other than finding not only a niche that will bring a lot of visitors but also finding a way to stand out, I can’t think of anything other than commenting on other blogs that will help generate visitors to come to your blog. Well, maybe writing 10 posts a day; I don’t see that happening any time soon.

What do you think about all of this? Share your thoughts on the topic, and let’s see if we can come up with solutions.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

All In One SEO Is My Culprit

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.


imagekind

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.

Sounds True, Inc.

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Be Sure You Know Your Audience Before You State Your Case

You know, since September, I’ve decided to be a bit more personal in how and what I write about on this blog. I feel it’s served me well, and since my subscribers went up, I guess y’all feel okay about it. I sometimes take on controversial subjects, as I’m wont to do because I don’t shy away from stuff that’s getting on my nerves. I’m ready to put myself out there and state my opinion, and not worry all that much whether someone agrees with me or not.

Emiliano via Compfight

However, I do have a limit. For instance, if I believed dogs and cats should marry and move in with each other, I might not write on it because I’d know from the get-go that it would be a controversial thing to say (or funny, but go with me for a minute here). Or, if I decided to get on my high horse and spout something about that I thought I’d find a lot of agreement on without thinking about it first, such as if I said that I believe Tiger Woods didn’t have sex with nearly enough women (oh man, there goes my Tiger-free zone cred), while I knew the world was pretty much thinking that he’s a horn dog who doesn’t appreciate the hot wife he already has (that, plus his choice of women after that certainly shows a lack of taste and discretion), and expected everyone to agree with me just because I said it, I’d be living a delusion that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Such is the case for an internet marketer named David Risley, who I guess is also a professional blogger. I have to admit that I’d never heard of this guy until yesterday, but supposedly he’s a big time blogger. Our friend Sire wrote what I thought was a great post called Why I No Longer Link To The Likes Of Problogger And John Chow, where he basically said that these guys are so big that he doesn’t need to go out of his way to support them any longer, since it seems they don’t appreciate their readers enough to ever comment back to any of them. Now, he is going a step further than I am in not even reading their blogs anymore, but I agree with the sentiment that it’s nice for even the top guys to respond to their commenters every once in awhile, especially since they hope these commenters are also buyers of their products from time to time.

Anyway, someone mentioned David’s name, and I guess he’s got something set up where whenever his name is mentioned, he gets notified through Backtype, something else I’d never heard of, but after looking at it actually looks pretty cool overall. I’m not going that route, because I get way too much email already, but I also use Google Alerts to tell me whenever my name is mentioned somewhere; well, my websites and blogs anyway, because whenever it finds Mitch Mitchell it’s that other guy, and people are still talking about him way more than me. 🙂

Anyway, someone mentioned his name and he popped over to Sire’s blog and left a comment basically defending these guys, and himself, for having the right not to respond to comments because they see their blogs more as a business than as a “fun” or less serious blog. Of course, I got into it myself, being nice in my way, and we bantered back and forth, as he wanted me to quote where he’d said something and I wanted him to quote where Sire had said something; stalemate. My main point overall was that both of the guys Sire mentioned have written in the past on their blogs that responding to comments is the way to build up your community, and both seem to have forgotten that.

A quick disclaimer here. I have noticed that every once in awhile Problogger will respond to a quick comment early on in a post. He actually responded to something I wrote once when I was one of the top 3 responders because I kind of, in my own nice way of course, went after him for saying something in his blog post that, in my mind, seemed to run counter to what he was doing on his own blog. Sometimes one just has to call a… no, I’d best not go there. lol

Today, David went the next step. He decided to kind of write a blog post about it, and he put up a video explaining his position. Then he asked the people what they thought about what he had to say. Lo and behold, at least at the time I looked, being alerted through Twitter about it, only one person supported his position. Even in his response back to these folks, it just seems that he’s somewhat missing the overall point, that being people want to feel like they’re part of a community, no matter who it is.

Now, to his credit, he did respond back to people, though I don’t know if that’s a regular thing because, at least for now, I don’t see myself subscribing to a blog where I know someone feels they have a right not to respond to anyone, whether they do or not, as long as he’s making money, which is also why I’m not giving a link to his blog through here, but you never know long term. You can find it on Sire’s blog, I believe, or he’ll tell you if you ask him where it is so you can see it for yourself.

Now, I respond to almost every comment I get here. Every once in awhile, I’m not sure what to say back to someone, so I’ll just let it hang, especially if it’s a one line comment that I don’t believe is spam. And, after engaging someone, I’ve learned that I don’t have to always have the last word on this blog, so I’ll let some of those go also. I think that’s only fair.

But it’s funny how folks can forget some of those simple lessons in life. One, don’t forget where you came from and how you started. Two, don’t ask people to support your position without really knowing that people will support it; if you care, that is. Be controversial, yes, at times, because controversy can be fun. But try not to be “right”, only to find yourself being very wrong in the court of public opinion unless you’re wearing your position on your sleeve.

Now here I go; right or wrong?

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