Blog Housekeeping 101

Blog housekeeping 101I use my weekends to take care of odds and ends. Laundry, housekeeping, blog shit. Shit I don’t want or have time to deal with during the week.

This weekend, I sat down and finally installed Disqus as the comments manager on both RedheadWriting and RedheadedFury. Feeling so-damn-good about having done that, I realized in the midst of the process (since it encouraged me to backup prior to installing Disqus)…

When’s the last time I backed-up my blogs?

That prompted me to set about cleaning-up my blogs. So, my readers get to benefit from my panic today and read about some simple things you can do to make sure your blog is in tip-top shape. Mind you, I’ll be addressing these from someone who runs a WordPress.org installation on a self-hosted domain. If you happen to run on another blogging platform, there’s still sound advice here for you but I can’t speak to the how-to’s.

CALL THE MAID: Backup your blog!

Oh. My. God. This is like, Computers 101. Considering I’m part of the legion who has not yet converted to a Mac and held captive by Microsoft products, I really should know better. Depending on how often you post, you may want to backup your blog once a week. It takes about five seconds and I’m pretty much an idiot for not having this on my ToDo app on my iPhone.
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  • In your Admin Panel, go to Tools then click Export.
  • Click Download Export File.
  • You’re DONE.
  • Optional step: pop-open a beer.

CALL THE MAID: Get an XML Site Map. NOW.

I don’t know what made me compare the plugins I had installed on my two separate blogs, but boy – am I glad I did. Holy Lost Blog, Batman – I had an XML sitemap on one and not the other! Aghast at my behavior, I put away the razor blades only when I realized it was a simple fix. But you ask – Redhead: what’s a sitemap? A sitemap is simply a file that makes it easy for search engines to find shit on your blog. It’s easy to add one to your blog, so why not do it today and do a little SEO housekeeping?
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  • In your Admin Panel, go to Plugins.
  • At the top right hand corner of your screen, there’s a blue button that says Install Plugins. Clicky-clicky.
  • In the search box on the next screen, type in/paste XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress. (This is my personal sitemap plugin of choice.)
  • The search results screen will give you Google XML Sitemaps (version 3.1.7 is the most current as of this post). Click Install on the right hand side of the screen.
  • When it’s complete, click Activate Plugin.
  • Don’t forget to configure the plugin (easy-cheesy) once it’s activated.
  • Don’t forget to request an Application Key from Yahoo so that your blog updates are reported to Yahoo.
  • Don’t forget to click on the link in the top of your configuration screen to initiate the build-out of your first Site Map.
  • Optional step: give a little audible “Awwwwyeah.”

CALL THE MAID: Shut your yap and organize the yapping. Comments, comments, comments.

I’m an active blog commenter and I appreciate those who take the time to comment on my posts. This past month, I’ve seen more and more Disqus-powered comments on blogs. Considering how easy they make it for people to quickly leave a comment without typing in all their vital stats (ad nauseum), I finally took the plunge and installed Disqus.
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I like Disqus because for many reasons. Not only is the visual interface attractive, but as the blog owner, you can help your commenters leave more comments. You can let users authenticate their information by using their Facebook, Twitter or OpenID (bah! poop!). When you create a Disqus account, you can even see everywhere you’ve left comments, just by logging into your account. Now that’s scrumdiliumpcious!
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Disqus also minimizes the spam comments from unauthenticated users on your blog. That. I. Like.
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If you want to ride the Disqus train with me (woo-woooooo), here’s the step-by step:
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  • Create a Disqus profile.
  • In your Admin Panel, go to Plugins.
  • At the top right hand corner of your screen, there’s a blue button that says Install Plugins. Clicky-clicky.
  • In the search box on the next screen, type in/paste Disqus.
  • The search results screen will give you Disqus Comment System (version 2.12.7121 is the most current as of this post). Click Install on the right hand side of the screen.
  • When it’s complete, click Activate Plugin.
  • Don’t forget to configure the plugin (easy-cheesy) once it’s activated.
  • Cool shit? You can manage multiple blogs from a single Disqus profile.
  • Optional step: do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight.

Final thoughts this blog-tastic Monday:

22 replies
  1. Kate
    Kate says:

    Okay. I'm turning to you. That does it. I did a dumb thing. I blog on Blogger, with over 1000 unbacked up posts. I own a domain, but its not where my blog is. When I started blogging, I started using someone else's gmail sign in. (alright, we'd been married for a decade, so I figured that was safe. Silly me)

    Blogger won't let you transfer ownership of a blog to another account!! What the fuck!? So I have to move my blog.

    Panic. Abject panic.

    Do you know, oh wise one, can I move the entire contents of my blogger blog to my own domain that I already own, and keep the name?

    FREAKED! It took so long to build up my readership, and its suddenly growing FAST, I don't want people not to be able to find it!!

    Any suggestions? I'll do your laundry for a week, I swear. (Okay, probly not. But I'd think hard about it.)

    Reply
  2. Kate
    Kate says:

    Okay. I'm turning to you. That does it. I did a dumb thing. I blog on Blogger, with over 1000 unbacked up posts. I own a domain, but its not where my blog is. When I started blogging, I started using someone else's gmail sign in. (alright, we'd been married for a decade, so I figured that was safe. Silly me)

    Blogger won't let you transfer ownership of a blog to another account!! What the fuck!? So I have to move my blog.

    Panic. Abject panic.

    Do you know, oh wise one, can I move the entire contents of my blogger blog to my own domain that I already own, and keep the name?

    FREAKED! It took so long to build up my readership, and its suddenly growing FAST, I don't want people not to be able to find it!!

    Any suggestions? I'll do your laundry for a week, I swear. (Okay, probly not. But I'd think hard about it.)

    Reply
  3. Kate
    Kate says:

    Okay. I'm turning to you. That does it. I did a dumb thing. I blog on Blogger, with over 1000 unbacked up posts. I own a domain, but its not where my blog is. When I started blogging, I started using someone else's gmail sign in. (alright, we'd been married for a decade, so I figured that was safe. Silly me)

    Blogger won't let you transfer ownership of a blog to another account!! What the fuck!? So I have to move my blog.

    Panic. Abject panic.

    Do you know, oh wise one, can I move the entire contents of my blogger blog to my own domain that I already own, and keep the name?

    FREAKED! It took so long to build up my readership, and its suddenly growing FAST, I don't want people not to be able to find it!!

    Any suggestions? I'll do your laundry for a week, I swear. (Okay, probly not. But I'd think hard about it.)

    Reply
  4. Kath
    Kath says:

    #1- No ( I don't use RSS ) I like the element of surprise & delight when I visit a blog and discover they've updated.

    #2 – You betcha!

    #3 – Always!

    #4 – Most definitely 🙂

    #5 – Yeah, but you're more interesting than all of them lumped together.

    Reply
  5. Kath
    Kath says:

    #1- No ( I don't use RSS ) I like the element of surprise & delight when I visit a blog and discover they've updated.

    #2 – You betcha!

    #3 – Always!

    #4 – Most definitely 🙂

    #5 – Yeah, but you're more interesting than all of them lumped together.

    Reply
  6. Lara Galloway
    Lara Galloway says:

    Hey Erika! I am totally guilty of being a crappy housekeeper on my blog (and in real life…oh well). I’m logging in now and going to do the backup and the sitemap. Thanks for the great info, as always!

    Lara Galloway
    The Mom Biz Coach
    @mombizcoach

    Reply
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