The Day I Broke My Internet

Oh, Heaven, help me. I am just not made for technical stuff. Suffice it to say it has been a rough week blog-wise. A week full of me trying to be independent and proactive and trying to figure out complicated things on my own, all culminating with me accidentally deleting my site from the internet and ending up in tears on the phone with Mr. C while he was at work. Did I mention I’m not made for technical stuff?

When I began this blog two years ago, I pretty much just plunged in head first, figuring things out as I went. By trial and error and within a short period of time, I had what I thought was a pretty nice looking site set up and running. I was anxious to begin writing, and that’s what I have happily been doing since. All was right in my blogging world. Until…

This past week I started doing some in-depth research on how to increase web site traffic – a.k.a. SEO. And that’s when my naive little world went from smiles to tears. In my attempt to be technically independent, I found myself completely overwhelmed, flailing helplessly in a sea of advice about everything I never wanted to know about blogging. Keyword strategy, title case, alt attributes, metadata, duplication, broken links, 301 redirects, indexing, reindexing, web crawlers, site mapping, and the big one that started this whole debacle, permalink structure. Before I knew it, I had installed three separate SEO plug-ins (one of which turns out has not been tested on my theme), turned various functions on and off, and somehow managed to loop my URL around on itself so that it disappeared from the internet altogether. Can you see why I was crying tears in my beer?

Did you know that the WordPress default setting for the permalink structure is not optimized for SEO? Neither did I! And did you know when you mess with your categories, tags, and slugs you break links which screw with your SEO? Neither did I! Did you know it’s a good idea to add a meta description to your post and images? Neither did I! Did you know about Yoast? Neither did I! I think you get my point. This blogging business can make you feel like a fool!

Thank God for Mr. C who is a technical wiz (by the way, where was he when I was setting up this site two years ago?!). He assured me we can get things back on track by asking Google to reindex my site. So, in an effort to fix my mess, I have spent the better part of four days completely overhauling two years’ worth of categories, tags, and slugs per all that crappy, confusing advice I read out there. After all, I already broke the hell out of it once, so why not go all the way!

Last night, Mr. C took the necessary steps for Google to do its thing. The downside is that it could take a few days or even a few weeks for their servers to crawl my site and reindex my URL’s. I’m still not convinced it will fix things but Mr. C says to be patient. For people who hit my website using WordPress Reader, that’s no problem. But it does mean that out there in Google land, My Plaid Heart is a dysfunctional, disorganized, unprofessional mess. Ugh. Have I mentioned that I’m not made for technical stuff?

What about you? Do you have any technical horror stories you would like to share? If you aren’t technically minded, how do you deal with learning and understanding the essential aspects of running a blog? Do you have any success stories about things you did to increase your post hits? Tell me in the comments below!

Here’s to a better week ahead and no breaking of blogs.


27 thoughts on “The Day I Broke My Internet

  • I have learned that all the advise on SEO and influential posts etc are sometimes beyond my scope too. What I do know is that organic growth and building a “tribe” comes with authentic conversations. I always enjoy my visits to your blog!!

    • That is good advice and I agree with you. I like the way you put it, “tribe”. That really is what your community becomes. I enjoy reading your thoughts as well. 🙂

  • I’m about at par or below you in terms of understanding computers. The language alone is impossible!
    What I’ve learned is, the best way to ‘have a friend is to be one.’ Old school, I know, but the more folks I followed, the more followed me and the numbers grew. The more you post and interact with other bloggers, the faster it grows. I guess that is why they call it ‘social’ media. 😉
    Of course, I never wanted 10K or a million followers or to monetize my blog, but I’m happy with what I have created so far. 🙂

    • Good advice, Eliza. I’m curious, how do you personally balance building a community of people you follow without taking on more than you can handle? Following more people ultimately means your own blog will grow, but it also means less authentic interaction. It’s a concept I grapple with.

      • Yes, same here. I spend a lot of time reading blogs, which I enjoy, but at times it does overwhelm. Some folks just choose a day of the week that works for them to go through their Reader and visit other sites. Replying to comments is my first priority, so I try to pick a day to post where I will have time to respond. I used to return ‘Like’ visits as a courtesy, but as my blog grew, I had to scale that back to commenters only. My favorite bloggers are on my email, whom I visit every post. I consider them my WP family. 😉

    • So glad to know I’m not alone! I definitely know more about all that than I did a week ago, but I honestly don’t think I’ll ever really understand it. 🙂

  • My heart hurts for you sweet girl. I’m so sorry the doohickey on the tech thingamajig went kerwack when it should kerrhump. I hope my smart boy can duct tape it back together. I love you! Mom
    (try baling wire if the duct tape fails)

  • Yikes! But it looks like your blog site has fully recovered…beautiful again.
    I’m with the others here…just do your thing, do it well, do it consistently, and do it authentically…which you do!
    I’ve learned a lot from Dan Blank, his blog and a Facebook group. He’s all about helping creative people, authors especially, max their skills and reach. You might like what he has to say.

  • Wow, I think I must be the Wild & free type. Absolutely know nothing technical stuff. I haven’t even dared used the new block editing on WordPress yet. I just do everything on my phone instead. I try and only follow blogs that interest me and hope they feel the same about mine & follow me back . xx

    • I was afraid to use the block editor at first but I love it now! It makes editing sooo much easier. You should really give it a try. I’m like you. I never follow anyone just for the sake of following. I think I”m going to strive to be more ‘wild a free’ lol.

  • My heart goes out to you, Wendy. Whenever I have a glitch, I panic. There’s almost too much advice out there – and not all of it’s any good! Not wishing to add to this, my advice is to take it one step at a time. Technical stuff aside, visiting other sites you want to visit is a huge problem; I’ve given up worrying about it – you can’t visit them all.

    • I appreciate your comment. I agree, so much advice and most of it seems to be written for people who already have a fairly good understanding of technical things. Oh well. I’ve decided to just focus on what I do best and not worry about all the other stuff. Blogging is meant to be fun, after all. 🙂

  • J > Oh I do understand, I do I do I do! There are times I really question how it is that I’m still at the computer at 2am having to rework the website because some technology geek in California has decided it’s time we stopped using Gizmo A and used Gizmo B. Grrr! I have drastically cut the number of categories and no longer use tags. (Some might argue that if only one of these, it should be tags. Lets agree to disagree!) I feel Yoast is un-necessarily complicated, since Google no longer gives much weight to meta data, as it produces its own (keywords are, I understand, virtually redundant. I now use the Plug-In ‘All in One SEO Pack’, which is easier and simpler than Yoast. I manually enter a Meta Post Title and Meta Description, that’s it. Also, in WP Edit, I write an Excerpt. I find doing these things produces good Google search results – better than leaving these things to be generated automatically.

    • Oh, it is so nice to know I’m not alone! Your note made me laugh. 🙂 I might need to check out that ‘All In One SEO Pack’ you mentioned. I need simple, that’s for sure. Thank you for the advice!

  • Hi Wendy!

    At first, i would like to congratulate, you have fully recovered from the nightmare of attempting to be technically independent like the skill you possess for writing beautifully sketch of the visits with stunning pics.

    I firmly believe if we want to monetize the blog, hire the Professionals. Else i follow the statement of blogger Clanmother advice “– organic growth and building a “tribe” —-“, a scale of satisfaction which we decide.

    Life is
    What happens for good, i believe

    Wendy, your feeling is amazing, surprise, wonderful and a lesson event — whenever you think over your naive attendance in technology arena.

  • Ah, sorry for your troubles, glad you got things back in shape. I’m in Anabel’s and Mr. C’s camp … I started learning some SEO stuff a while back, shook my head at all the confusing, conflicting, and outdated information, and decided not to worry about it. Keep in mind that SEO advocates are often trying to sell you SEO services or plugins, so they have their own biases as a result. After breaking a previous version of my site several times with plugins I really didn’t need, I now try to keep plugins to a minimum and shy away from those that affect the editor or seem to add too much complexity.

    WordPress’s Jetpack plugin gave me a lot of capability that I could use instead of other plugins, so I got rid of almost all of them (including an SEO plugin) and bought a Jetpack premium plan. That gets me backups, several security functions, and some SEO capabilities that seem to take care of themselves. Their support for the paid plan is great; I’ve always gotten responses to any of my questions within a day.

    I could probably do better about adding descriptions to images I post, but (rolling eyes) by the time I take photos, process them, upload them, write blog posts, proofread, and publish … I usually skip that and just hope the search engines are satisfied … or satisfied enough! 🙂

    • It’s all so overwhelming, isn’t it? I’m just glad I was able to correct everything that had gone wrong. I’ll have to check out the Jetpack plugin you mentioned. Thanks for the advice. Nice to know that I’m not alone in the technology minefield. 🙂

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