Notes on the move to WordPress

The change to WordPress from Subtext went without major hitch. This was great considering I was tweaking the design and articles right up to going on holiday (I wouldn’t do this in a professional environment but my blog is a sandpit for such dare-devil risk taking ;-)

Here are my notes on the experience.

Spam

Akismet is good but I prefer the invisible captcha that Subtext was using. I’ve gone from dealing with 1 rogue spam a month to 1-2 held for moderation a day.

View counts

The WordPress import format doesn’t deal with view counts. I wrote a query against Subtext to list them, a query in MySQL to identify article numbers then manually executed

UPDATE post_meta SET meta_value = meta_value + 123 WHERE meta_key = 'views' AND article_id = 456

For every article replacing 123 with Subtext’s view count and 456 with the WordPress article id. As my blog was previously on Blogger.com which doesn’t provide view counts they are a year or so lower than reality.

Preserving links

I chose a custom permalink format of /blog/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/%postname% which gives http://damieng.com/blog/2007/10/01/first-of-october for posts. This is similar to the old format of http://www.damieng.com/blog/2007/10/01/first-of-october.aspx but obviously has the file extension and www dropped. Apache’s .htaccess file made redirecting the old links a breeze which was important to me as my blog suffered big drops in Technorati and Google when I last moved from Blogger.com to Subtext. The required lines to achieve this, redirect /blog/ and keep the RSS going were:

RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/archive/(.*).aspx$ http://damieng.com/blog/$1
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/$ http://damieng.com/
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog$ http://damieng.com/
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/rss.aspx http://damieng.com/feed
RedirectMatch permanent ^/blog/Rss.aspx http://damieng.com/feed

Editing

The default editor is fast and for the most part okay although it lacks the ability to change from the default paragraph tag to headings, preformatted blocks, blockquotes etc. It also very annoyingly tries to be helpful by turning carriage returns into new paragraphs which would be fine if it was clever enough to leave <pre> blocks well alone.

Steve suggested FCKeditor which is very slow at initialising on my machine and also tends to really mess up my HTML :(

Going forward

There are still a number of things I want to do including further deviating from the Redoable theme. Lightening up the look somewhat perhaps with some soft gradients and alternative typefaces will go a long-way. I’ll also want to do a proper logo at some point as soon as I can decide what it should look like.

Being that WordPress is a higher visibility target Phrixus suggested hiding the wp-admin directory as an extra level of protection against automated vulnerability/brute-force attacks which I shall also try.

I need to speak to GrinGod about the download counting mechanism he mentioned too.

The original Blogger.com content from a year or two ago will be phased out/removed as it would appear it dilutes my page rank having almost-identical content elsewhere not to mention messing up traffic stats etc.

[)amien

2 responses  

  1. I really like FCKEditor – it does take a few seconds to load up but I think it’s worth it. I’ve never really had any issues with HTML, I occasionally use the ‘Source’ button particularly when I want to embed a YouTube video or something, but otherwise I generally don’t use it.

    steveSeptember 4th, 2007
  2. Not really the best person to comment as my blog is still in bits but I’ve found the TextMate WordPress bundle to be very cool indeed. But then I prefer to post in Markup having found too many glitches with the RTE

    RobSeptember 4th, 2007

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