I’ve been so preoccupied with other things that it’s actually been four months since I last gave an update on what’s new with my blog. In my Blog Update post series, I list any notable improvements, modifications, or milestones related to my blog such as new plugins installed, design changes, or new features.
I only list things here that I haven’t already announced or touched on in other posts.
You may wonder why I make these Blog Update posts, where I mention very small or seemingly unimportant improvements and modifications. Well, while they may not seem too notable by themselves, over time these small things can (and do) make a big impact. The key is to keep looking over your blog or site with a very critical eye and to constantly try improving it.
By simply making small improvements here and there, my blog has evolved by leaps and bounds since it’s genesis three years ago. So, maybe you’ll pick up an idea or two by reading my blog updates. Feel free to search for my past Blog Update posts to get even more ideas.
I had a bug fixed in which bullets would not appear when placed near an image or the Embedded 300×250 ad.
New RSS Record
My RSS growth has continued to climb and the past couple weeks I’ve been setting a new record every few days. Yesterday set a new record of 1563!
However, the amount of growth did slow down some. In fact, March and April didn’t really see any change. The fact that my blog was down for a week didn’t help matters either.
WordPress & Plugin Updates
It’s very important to update WordPress as soon as possible whenever a security patch is released. Case in point: a few months ago I went to visit my blog to see that it was hacked: all of my posts – 3 years worth – had been deleted. Fortunately, I had daily backups in place and I was able to restore it to perfect working order within a few minutes.
I was hacked because there was an exploit in 2.3.2 which let a remote MySQL injection possible. I had actually read that there was a security update, but didn’t upgrade because I was too lazy. The next day I found out that I had been attacked…
So, after I restored my blog, I immediately upgraded WordPress from 2.3.2 to 2.3.3 which fixed the security exploit and I was once again safe. So, lesson be learned – install security updates ASAP, especially if you run a fairly large blog where you are more likely to be targeted!
After the 2.3.3 upgrade, I later upgraded WordPress again to version 2.5. This was a fairly big update, and caused a number of plugins to need to be upgraded as well (as you’ll see below). I later upgraded WordPress again to 2.5.1 which is the latest stable version.
Installed WordPress Link Cloak Plugin
I installed the WordPress Link Cloak plugin which autolinks and URL masks pre-defined keywords. Read my review of it here. I then uninstalled the Alinks plugin since it was useless with the addition of WordPress Link Cloak.
I upgraded the plugins:
- Exec PHP from v4.1 to 4.5
- Akismet from v2.1.3 to v2.1.4
- Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator from v2.7.1 to v188.8.131.52
- Email Users from v2.5 to v3.0 then to v3.1.1
Since I haven’t made a Blog Updates post in 4-months, there have been multiple changes in price. I decided to list them all for the extra curious:
Paid Review Price Increased
I raised the price of my paid reviews and paid plugs from $110 to $120, then from $120 to $130, and then finally from $130 to $140 where it is currently at.
I usually raise the price once I’ve done 4-5 reviews at that price (showing me that there is still demand for them at that level) and my RSS readership has increased by around 50-75.
Sitewide 728×90 Leaderboard Price Increased
I increased the price of my 728×90 leaderboard price from $250 to $300.
Embedded 300×250 Banner Size and Price Increased
I increased the size of the embedded banner from 250×250 to 300×250 in order to standardize it (since the latter format is a more common size, especially on blogs) as well as to provide more value to advertisers.
I then raised the price for it from $250 to $300, and just recently, from $300 to $325 in order to keep up with my raising RSS subscriber count (since this ad is displayed in the RSS feed).
Peel Away Ad Price Reduced
I reduced the weekly price of my Peel Away Ad from $20 to $15.
I removed Kontera from my blog for private reasons. It’s too bad since it was a good source of additional revenue for my blog…
PayPal Links Updated
I updated all the PayPal links on the advertising page to point to Merendi Networks’s PayPal account, since the corporation needs to start making money… it’s only made around $300 this year so far! It’s sure time consuming transferring everything over to it’s name.
Advertising Page Updated
I updated the advertising page with up-to-date stats such as RSS, Alexa, and Technorati. I also added an up-to-date Feedburner chart.
I’m always looking for more guest bloggers to occasionally submit posts on my blog. Why do I want guest posters? It’s simple really: there are times when I’m too busy to write a new post, and could really use a guest post to fill in the gap. Since I try to post every day, having a few guest posts on file for when I need them is very useful.
I’m looking for good writers who can write about Internet business, web design, marketing, web development, or blogging and the articles/posts must be written specifically and exclusively for TylerCruz.com.
In return, you’ll have your name attached to each post which can be linked to your own website. This is not so much for backlinks as it is to gain a bit of exposure and traffic. I’m also fine with you writing a small blurb (1-2 sentences) about your own blog within the actual post (preferably at the bottom).
With over 1,500 RSS subscribers reading your posts, you’ll also get the benefit of receiving a lot of feedback from readers, and the knowledge that you’re writing to a large, targeted audience. And, of course, you’ll be helping me out as well
The way it currently works is once a guest blogger submits a draft, and when I don’t have time to write a blog post, I then publish the draft into a post on the site.
If you’re interested, please contact me with a sample post or two.
If I think your writing style and post-length is suitable for my blog, I’ll upgrade your account to Contributor status within WordPress, and you can submit a post whenever you’re willing!