I Broke My Blog and WordPress Plugins You Shouldn’t Blog Without

If you happened to glance this way yesterday you may have seen a blank screen…nada…nothing! And if you came by today, you probably saw the home page with some error codes and not much else but 404 errors when you tried to go to a post.

I admit it, I broke my blog!

How did I do it? Well, in short, I blatantly disregarded the written warnings not to mess with the code in my theme files in WordPress. Being the do-it-yourselfer that I am, I was determined to fix something on my own. You know that motto of mine? “If a human being can do it, then there is a 95% chance that you can do it too!” Well, I guess I finally found that 5% that I can’t do!

Have I learned my lesson? Will I leave my blog code files alone? Maybe, at least for now I will.

Until that future date when I become a proficient coder, I will be relying on the fantastic WordPress Guru, Ashley, from MyFrontPorchSwing.com. She was able to recover my blog and bring it back from the dark abyss. I’m not exactly sure what she did or how she did it, but I am forever grateful!

Ashley is the code savvy person I used to switch me from Blogger to WordPress at the beginning of 2011. She was super helpful and spared me the headache of trying to learn to do it myself. She provides WordPress support and Blogger to WordPress conversions (in addition to social media promotions.) If you are thinking of making the big switch, contact Ashley.

 

Back Up Your Blog:

After this harrowing experience of breaking my blog, I have learned the über-importance of having a back up of my blog. Lucky for me, my guardian angels at BlueHost had made a back up a week ago. The tech support person I talked to was able to reload my blog from the back up they had created. However, the scare of losing all my posts has made me realize that taking back ups into my own hands is a necessity. Ashley recommended this WordPress Plugin that emails regular back ups to you: WP DB Backup

Stop Those Spammers:

When my blog was moved to WordPress the spam commenters came out of the woodwork. That was when Ashley told me to install Akismet (I installed the free version.) It catches about 99% of the spam comments and moves them into a folder for you to go through and delete anytime you have time (yeah right.) The spam comments add up quickly and there were repeat spammers. Which is why I loaded this other spam filter: Block Top Spammers. When you check a box next to the repeat offenders, the plugin  recognizes their IP address and stops their disgusting spam before it even goes into the spam folder. This has been a huge help for me because I don’t have time to go through thousands of spam messages and delete!

Speedier Loading:

This has got to be the biggest change I made to my blog! It is the one silver lining in this whole debacle that I endured for 2 days. Ashley told me about the W3 Total Cache plugin. It single-handedly turned my blog’s loading speed into a speed demon. I seriously can’t believe the difference it made! Load this sucker right away.

Uploading Multiple Images:

One of the biggest hassles I had when moving to WordPress was dealing with the image uploads. Being a tutorial blogger, I load oodles of pictures for each post! Faster Image Insert is a nifty little plugin that allows me to upload multiple images at once and choose one or all of them to insert into the post. I <3 this plugin!

Auto-Email Replies to Commenters:

Have you ever left a comment on a blog and months later you are back on that blog and realize that someone responded to your comment? Reply Me is a plug-in that automatically emails replies to the commenter and it is sent from the commenters email address so they can reply back with ease.

Creating a Site Index:

I have been struggling (and still am) with the best way to help my readers find past posts on my blog. But, I also wanted to make sure that the web spiders were able to crawl my site more efficiently. I found this cool plugin called AZIndex. It takes all of my posts and creates a site index. I placed the links on a page which is now my site index. The index is only customizable to a certain degree though. Some day I want to create a beautiful thumbnail directory for y’all, but until then this will have to suffice.

Loading the Plugins:

To load any of the above mentioned plugins into your WordPress blog, simply go to your WP dashboard, chose Plugins > add new and search for the plugin name I’ve highlighted above. I’ve linked each to their respective sites for more detailed information about each plugin.

I hope some of these plugins help you. I’d love to hear about any WordPress plugins that you love!

P.s. I hope to be back to the normal DIY tutorials this week. Thanks for your patience ;-). XXXOOO

 

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Comments

  1. oh THANK YOU for those plug-ins…so helpful!!!! I feel a little lost in this WP world sometimes…even though I’ve been here for months!

    SO glad you figured out your site too…I’ve heard it called the “WP White Screen of Death” hahaha :)

  2. Thank you for posting those plug ins! I will be switching over to WP the end of February. I’m really nervous about it but after hearing so many bloggers rave about it, I think it’s time!

  3. I don’t have WP, but after reading this realized I have been lazy about backing up my blog. I have another blog as my practice blog, but it’s not quite the same or have any of my posts…anyway, I am now making it part of my weekly schedule! Thanks, Brittany. Sorry you had a freaky kind of day losing your blog! Gaah!

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

    • I have a practice blog too, Becky! In fact, with all of the organizing going on this month, I’m trying to ‘organize’ my computer – bookmarks, old docs, etc . . . purge! And, yes, a schedule to back up my blog.

      Brittany, so glad you recovered everything! And thanks for the WP tips, even tho I’m not ready to make the switch yet ;)

  4. Glad you’re back, was a little worried there :)

  5. I am so glad you posted this! My family blog is still on Blogger and probably always will be. However, my special interest blog was set up as a wordpress blog and I’ve struggled! I’ve even done the same thing you have (broke my blog) last month. Luckily, I had manually backed it up but that was a pain.

    I am waiting for the plug-in you suggested to complete my first blog back up right now. Thanks so much for sharing it! WordPress is not very intuitive for nubes like me but I’m learning. Slowly. Glad you were able to get your blog fixed!

  6. haha! Very funny post… you made me laugh! Thanks for the great information too! Happy New Year! Angie xo

  7. Why did you move here from Blogger?

  8. Well thank goodness it’s back up and running – you must have been freaking out. Ashley is awesome. Remember when I had that blogger to wp redirect issue, she was the inky one to figure out what went wrong. She really is a guru! Great plugin suggestions. I have to look into the backup one and the cache. Glad you’re back! Jenna

  9. Glad you’re back! Thank goodness for Techie goddesses (in my case x10)!

  10. I think I would freak if I messed up my blog!!!! Thanks for all the great information! Happy Monday!

  11. Hi Brittany.

    I am so happy that you got your blog back up and running. I used to use WP Database Backup and one day it just stopped working. Not sure why, but I am looking into the Dropbox Plugin. Have you heard anything about that? It was detailed on page 244 of the book WordPress for Beginners. I am going to file Ashley’s contact info for future use.

    My best- Diane

  12. Speedy uploading is great for those of us who use our smart phones to catch up on blog posts. Glad everything worked out. FYI, Cathe over at Just Something I Made has a great page of thumbnails with all of her projects.

  13. Well that must have been terrifying! I also have a really hard time with the indexing and “best ways to find projects” stuff. Still struggling with it myself, actually.

    Love the backup plugin, thank you. I do mine manually and not often enough.

  14. Thanks for sharing this good advice!!

  15. Hi Brittany. So glad your blog is back up and sooo glad you posted this. I think the links you provided will help out my beginner blog and also a contact person too for the many questions I got. I’m a IT person and deal with computers all day but WP stumps me most of the time. :( I’ve googled, youtube and read just about everything and sometimes I can’t figure out with WP. But I hope this helps.

    Look forward to more happy blogging from you. ;)

  16. Yikes! That must of been nerve wracking! Glad the blog is back up and running smoothly!

  17. That had to be scary!! Glad you are good to go again :) I’m trying to decide whether to go from wordpress.com to the self-hosted wordpress.org. Techie husband says it will be a lot of work keeping it upgraded and working right (that I’m guessing he doesn’t want to do based on his response). Do you find that? I don’t want to add to my work load, but would like the plug-in options and customization of the self hosted option. Just wondering what your experience has been on regular maintenance (not blog recovery, lol!)

    • For what it’s worth, I was worried about keeping up with upgrades and such, because I’m definitely not all that techie (and don’t have a techie husband, either LOL), and it’s been a breeze. WP will actually tell you there’s an update for it (or your themes, or your plug-ins) when you log into your dashboard so you don’t have to try to figure out if something even needs an update, and then it’s as simple as just clicking a button and it will update itself. I’ve never had to manually install an update, which makes me a happy camper.

  18. So sorry about your scare and frustration, but glad it worked out! Thanks for the plugin info, will be adding some of the ones I don’t have! :)

  19. I didn’t even know you had to back up your blog, I just figured WordPress was doing that for me. Thank you!

  20. Thanks for the plugin suggestions :) New to ‘grown-up’ wordpress so been a bit lost! Also nice to know that other people do things like breaking their blog once in a while ;) x

  21. Thank you so much!! For some reason I was not able to find the AZIndex, but I added several others!

  22. Hi, I just installed most of these suggestions! I just switched this week so I am trying to figure out what end is up ! ha :) Thanks so much and if you have any new suggestions, please let me know :)

  23. Just discovered this via Pinterest – thanks for all the helpful suggestions! I am going to install W3 Total Cache right away. I wanted to suggest, if you’re thinking about using a plug-in to create a thumbnail gallery, check out the plug-in called Category Thumbnails. I used it to create several project galleries on my blog and I love it! A bit of a hassle to do the initial set-up, but now it’s totally automatic and has really helped to increase the time readers stay on my blog – love it!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] all the craziness of breaking and reviving my blog, I didn’t get a chance to tell you about some great ways to make your 2011 (or older) [...]

  2. [...] before I broke my blog, I was dangerously close to reaching 5,000 subscribers to this blog. Like only 85 people shy of [...]

  3. [...] of these plugins are seriously awesome!  Thanks to Allison, Amy, and Brittany for their great [...]

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