Blog Move, Traffic and Plugins

In December I started my Bubbles of Mischief Blog on the hosted WordPress.com site. I had a really nice CMS which was easy to use (once I went though all the options) and had some features I was missing from posting in the Journal section of my Guild website.

Some of these were:

  • Stats – it’s good to know which posts your readers find interesting so you can try and pump out more of the same.
  • Comments – seriously, who doesn’t love a comment? On the old site it was impossible to leave a comment unless you were a member of the site.
  • Pingbacks – know when other bloggers, etc. have linked back to one of your posts.
  • Interactive blogroll – easily see who has a new post out (see Social Blogroll plugin below).

Today I was doing a google search for my Blog name and it popped up on one of the Analytics sites. It’s officially been 19 days since I moved from the free WordPress site to a self-hosted option over at Safe Shark Hosting. It was a move I made after wanting to do so at some stage but just wasn’t sure when. It wasn’t until I received a tweet from @vitaemachina after a sluggish uploading moment that I started to seriously consider the prospect of actually making a move.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that my blog is image rich. But it actually wasn’t a concern of mine until I realised just how many items would be involved in the migration. After quite a few emails going back and forth that afternoon, I decided to go ahead with it. Just have a look at some of the testimonials which helped make my decision; including mine which has been added since then. There were a couple of hiccups but all-in-all I’m really happy with the result. In fact, I haven’t stopped tweaking the Blog since the move… but that’s another story ;P

At the moment, the plugins I use are:

  • Admin Commenters Comments Count – Displays a count of each commenter (or rather their total number of comments) next to their name on any admin page. Handy when I see double-ups in my Wall of Fame or when details change.
  • Akismet – Spam filter for incoming comments and trackbacks.
  • Broken Link Checker – Pretty much does what it says. This was installed straight after the transfer and will pick up any missing images or links.
  • CommentLuv – Rewards your readers by automatically placing a link to their last blog post at the end of their comment. Encourage a community and discover new posts.
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com – offers a lot of the functionality that the free WordPress had like stats, shortlinks, sharing buttons and grammar check.
  • Simple Wowhead Tooltip – Hover over a link to get the popup tooltip straight from WoWHead
  • Social Crowd – Retrieves the raw number of Friends/Followers/ etc. from your favourite social networks including an easy link to connect.
  • Twitter Mentions as Comments – Any comments made on twitter which mentions one of your posts (only works when the URL is used) can be added to your comments section.
  • WordPress.com Custom CSS – allows you to change your CMS theme options without losing all the changes if you ever update the theme.
  • WP Social Blogroll – Displays your blogroll according to the latest post-title per site. Not ideal if you have a huge blogroll though.
  • WP Super Cache - Enables very fast caching for WordPress.
  • WPtouch – Formats your site with a mobile theme for smartphone users.

One thing I miss from the free WordPress is the Reader. It’s the default reader I still use to catch up on recent posts from my fairly large list of sites, not just blogs.

So there you have it. The main list of Plugins I’m using at the moment.

However, one of the reasons that prompted this post was the fact that my blog was listed at a Pagerank of 2 (The highest being 10). According to the Analysis, my site has been indexed on Yahoo but not on Google or Bing. Being a new site this is understandable and over time I’m sure this will improve.

But it’s not just about people linking back to your site. It’s about the big names who are ranked higher in the search engines – the more reputable sites and bloggers will actually help you increase your ranking as well. So it’s knowing the right people and being noticed.

This can also work the other way – too many incoming links from websites that aren’t relevant to your blog content can actually hurt your search engine ranking.

A few days ago, I listed my blog with Feedburner to see if that could increase my readership. Only a couple of bloggers have resubscribed to my new address which is a little worrying at the moment but I’ve also managed to get a few new subscribers which is great. If I’m still in peoples readers then that’s good news but I’m just concerned for those who haven’t updated their blogrolls with my new URL.

For everyone reading, the old bubblesofmischief.wordpress.com site has a paid redirect on it but once that time is up (Apr 2013) the old links will revert back to the old site, so please take this opportunity to check your links to make sure you’re all pointing to my new address at: www.bubblesofmischief.com

Tonight I’ve also added the meta key “content” value to verify my blog with two of the major search engines – Google and Bing. I’ve updated all my RSS feeds including the one on the Twisted Nether Wiki page.

Lastly, don’t truncate your feeds. Since a lot of people access your posts through some sort of reader you might actually lose readers if they don’t want to click through to your blog. This applies particularly to the first page of your blog as well.

Matticus recently posted a list of WordPress Plugins he recommends for a World of Warcraft blog, so check those out as well. We do double up on a few though. Great minds and all that :P

Also check out the following (found this after I posted mine)

As an exercise, I’d like all fellow bloggers who have read this far to link to one other blogger post (note the actual post and not the home URL) to encourage some pingbacks and backlinks – for those who can receive them. If you link to this post or any other I’ve written, I thank you in advance but that is by no means compulsory – just choose one that you think is worth linking to. I’m just trying to encourage some link love and hopefully increase our readership so our information can eventually rank higher in the search engines and get to the right people.

To finish off, are there any plugins, etc. out there that you’ve found useful? How about any here that you’ve liked? Let me know in the comments below :)

10 Comments

  1. I’ll have to bookmark this post. If I ever stop being lazy and move to a self hosted blog it will come in handy! Every once in a while WordPress adds something I like and then I decide to stay there.

    Reply
  2. I added the “Feedburner Feedsmith” plugin, which redirects feed requests coming in through the standard address to feed burner. After a couple of days those users will show up in the feedburner stats, too.

    Reply
  3. Good information – was thinking about activating my WordPress account, but maybe in a few weeks. Moving is never fun, but a chance at a new start, too.

    Reply
  4. This makes me want to change over. My pingbacks never work…

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the nods, Cym. Glad you found that stuff useful. Feel free to drop me a line if you ever wanna bounce any ideas or just talk shop and stuff ^^.

    Reply
  6. You really do seem to have the plugins covered and your site looks beautiful (much better than my first self-hosted, tell ya that). I have a couple “cannot live without” plugins if you’re interested.

    (1) Simple tags. OMG, tags can get really out of control, and you find out that you have one that says “gear” and another that says “equipment” and you realize they are the same thing… this plugin makes it easy to manage your tags as well as to go back and tag older posts quickly. It also works with categories. Tag and category management in the default interface is a MAJOR chore.

    (2) A feed footer. There are so many plugins for this out there, and really any will do. At the end of the feed, I have a simple “copyright blogname, posted in category, link back to original post”. That way if some butthead scraper starts using your feed, your site information is right there. It deters smart thieves, and makes stupid thieves look even more stupid. (Speaking of which, go ahead and get a creative commons license posted somewhere, it’s very easy and it can’t *hurt*.)

    Looks like you have this all under control. Happy blogging!

    Reply
  7. Congrats on your move! =D

      Isn't it wonderful to be able to use plugins you wish to you with no restrictions. Look afford to reading more of your blog and as always love what you share.
    
    Reply
  8. How’s the Social Blogroll working for you? I took mine out the other say, since it showed the webpage as “loading” for a long time. (the blue wheel thing in Windows). Of course, the fact that I have 200+ blogs in my blogroll has something to do with it, but I doubt that cutting it down to 100 will make much of a difference.

    Reply
    • I am using W3 Total Cache. However, if I understand this correctly, caching is not the issue. This blogroll plugin runs some javascript withing the readers browser, not on the hosting server. It’s perfectly fine to do this, but while it is running, the wheel remains on and gives the appearance of slow load times.

      Reply
      • @Tome – Thx. I’m glad you find the info useful :)

        @Feliz – Ah ok, I had just replaced my default feed here to the one on Feedburner (shows my subscribers list on the Social Crowd plugin to right)

        @Matty – Yep I really like WordPress, even the free one. Can’t say I really used blogger just the profile feature really for when I have issues commenting on some Blogger sites.

        @Navimie – you know how I feel about that already :)

        @Matticus – NW! Thanks for dropping by :)

        @Njessi – Thanks so much for the tips, they both sound great :)

        @Nightvyxen – Thx! Yep, I just wish I had done it sooner now :P I really appreciate the kind words too. :D

        @Feliz – Not too bad. I do try and keep it rather short but ideally it could be shorter but I like seeing when the other categories update. Have you tried WP Super Cache? It may help some with your loading issue but 200 or even 100 is still a huge no. :P

        Considering I have 24 feeds running under the plugin I still consider it a bit slow. I did have just the blogroll and comic sections running under the plugin itself but adding another category to the loading time didn’t make too much of a difference.

        What if you just have your essential reads, in a category by themselves and then leave the rest as a list/s. Alternatively, there’s a ‘Max number of bookmarks per category’ feature you can use too.

        Reply

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