Blog Updates: September 2009

September 30, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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It’s already been over 2 months since I last gave an update on how I’ve been evolving my blog.

These blog post updates are continuing to become less frequent because I believe that I have my blog set up pretty much the way I want it.

However, as usual, I do implement a small number of modifications to my blog so here is a list of the changes and improvements I’ve made during the past few months.

In these "Blog Update" posts I list any notable improvements, modifications, or milestones related to my blog such as new plugins installed, design changes, or new features. However, I try to 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 its genesis four 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 on how you can improve your blog. 

New RSS Record

I used to do everything in my power to increase my number of RSS subscribers and would even hold contests and giveaways in order to do so. However, that was over a year ago when I was focusing more on growing my blog.

I haven’t actually tried to grow my blog since then. Instead, I’ve been busy working on my other projects and am simply trying to keep my blog going by publishing 2-3 posts a week.

As a result, my RSS subscribership has pretty much stayed around the same, although a couple weeks I did hit a new record of: 2,342.

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I’m continuing to fall behind most of my friends now though:

  • ZacJohnson.com: 8,166
  • WinningTheWeb.com: 4,595
  • JonathanVolk.com: 2,855

WordPress & Plugin Upgrades

Upgraded WordPress from v2.8.1 to v2.8.2 then to v2.8.4

I always like to keep up-to-date with the latest WordPress versions to help protect myself from any security or bug exploits.

I still do all the WordPress updates manually (as opposed to the automatic upgrading) as I trust that method better and also have to modify a few other files by hand each time as well due to certain special tweaks and modifications.

Upgraded MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate plugin from v1.7.5 to v1.8.1

I forget what this update did, but I think it was mainly to fix some very minor bugs. This is an awesome plugin, and while it’s not exactly cheap, I still highly recommend it.

Upgraded Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator plugin from v3.0.3.1 to v3.1.6

Since I have so many plugins, I don’t always update them right away since it is too time consuming with close to 20 plugins frequently coming out with new versions.

However, I hadn’t updated this particular plugin in a very long time. In fact, my plugin version was nearly 2 years old, so this was a very important plugin update for me.

Modified AdSense Deluxe plugin with a special fix

I needed to use this plugin a couple weeks ago but kept encountering errors whenever I tried to do so. Apparently, WordPress v2.8.2 created permission problems with this plugin.

Unfortunately, this plugin stopped being supported by its developer years ago so I was unable to find a solution at the official plugin website.

However, after a bit of searching on Google I found a fix for this issue thanks to this blog.

Added WP-Polls v2.50 plugin

I added a great poll plugin to my blog that can be seen in action here. It’s a great poll plugin that that is quite versatile and works great. You can add polls to the side or inside of posts and it has a lot of customisability.

Removed MyAvatars and Brian’s Threaded Comments plugins

I had been using these two particular plugins for years on my blog, and while they required quite a lot of code tweaking and modification, they worked great.

However, since WordPress now comes with built-in functionality for the features that both of those plugins provided, I removed them simplicity’s sake. Unfortunately, this caused my comments template to appear real ugly. I spent literally 4.5 hours straight trying to fix and format the comments to my liking, but was ultimately unable to.

After giving up, I contacted Dave from LifelineDesign (formerly RealityHosting) who was the one who originally designed my blog’s theme for me, and asked him to fix it for me. After the weekend, it was done, and it now looks just like it did before.

In fact, it’s actually better now since the avatars now display images from Gravatar instead of MyBlogLog which the MyAvatars plugin used. I had received several comments in the past from visitors who had complained that their avatars weren’t showing up – this is why.

Therefore, if you’d like a personalized avatar to appear when you comment, simply sign up for a free Gravatar account, it only takes a minute or two.
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Advertising Changes

Updated advertising page stats

It was getting close to a year since I had last updated the stats and metrics on my advertising page so I updated that. It’s too bad my traffic hasn’t improved all that much, but at least it hasn’t diminished.

Removed Embedded 300×250 Banner Rule

I removed a rule on my advertising page that required the Embedded 300×250 Banner to be a static banner image. Previously, I didn’t want to allow animated banners in that spot as I felt it was too obtrusive to readers since the banner was placed within the main post text.

However, I decided that I’d remove this limitation since it’s really not too bad and since all other sites and blogs I found seem to allow 300×250 animated banners. It also gives greater value to the advertiser of this spot.

Guest Bloggers Needed

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 affiliate marketing, making money online, blogging, marketing, or web development 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) plugging your own blog within the actual post, either at the very beginning or end.

In addition to having over 2,200 targeted RSS subscribers reading your posts, you’ll also get the benefit of receiving a lot of feedback from readers with 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. Please understand that I’m looking for fairly long, well-written posts that I think my readers will enjoy.

If I think your writing style and post-length is suitable for my blog, I’ll upgrade your account to Contributor status within WordPress, so that you can submit a post whenever you’re willing.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: September 30th, 2009 under Blog Related  

39 Responses to “Blog Updates: September 2009”

  1. The comments look A LOT better :)

  2. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    I love to read statistic of others’ blog, sometimes I would compare others and mine and ask why people can do that and I can’t, after that I’ll try to improve my blog.

    Anyway, I would like to be guest blogger for your blog Tyler. I’ll be sending a post for your consideration in shortly. :)

  3. Nomar says:

    I like the new commenting also

  4. Belajar seo says:

    You change lots of thing, keep improving.

    Kus

  5. Greg Ellison says:

    I like the comments now because my information stays so I don’t have retype the information because that bugs me a lot, and that Gravatar shows now. Congrats on breaking a record. Greg Ellison

  6. WP Themes says:

    What about the income report you used to do… Would prefer to occasionally read about that than the blog update.

    Mike

  7. do you think that using rss feedburner readers is really an accurate representation of how your blog is doing?

    I don’t think feedburner is very accurate.

    it would be cool to see your unique visitors and pageviews over time to really get a sense if people are visiting and engaging with the site vs some number feedburner is half guessing at. ;)

  8. Kevin Lenton says:

    Great work on the blog. I like the new commenting as well. Keep up the good work.!

  9. eh? the thing about the feedburner, is it true? co’z im wishing i have many readers

  10. You are falling behind in the rss count. Get to work.

  11. I might sign up for one of those free gravatar’s today, pretty cool.

  12. Great outline on the work that goes on to keep the site running. Its not just about the posts we read since more is happening on the back end. The gravatars are a great add!

  13. Briefcases says:

    Tyler it sounds like you have made a lot of improvements to the blog, despite saying it is about where you want it. Keep up the great work.

  14. Hi Tyler, Just wanted to say Congratulations on hitting that rss record, having over 2000 is quite impressive ( most I ever had was 400 something ). Anyhow take care, and keep getting those subscribers!

  15. it-aroma says:

    i like the google xml plugin the most because if we publish a post in our blog it becomes indexed in google in a short time. And i also like comments improvemnetsm thannks.

  16. Typhoon says:

    Really nice that you started using Gravatars. I recommended using it one time in your comment, if you remember.

    Well Nice Updates and Also Nice to see myself in that screenshot :)

  17. Keep posting these blog update posts. I find them extremely interesting.

  18. TV Spoilers says:

    Tyler, keeping up with changes and looking for ways to improve your sites can’t be overlooked.

    I recently emailed Revver to let them know their site had been hacked and all Feature links were being re-directed to porn sites.
    4 days later, they noticed my email and fixed it.

    I think it just goes to show you need to be vigilant and always take pride in your work.

  19. Nice changes Tyler,I might have to come to your blog multiple times a day now.

  20. used tires says:

    Thanks for giving us the blog updates, I know alot of people are fans of these, and I am one of them as well. Great change with the comment section, it really looks crisp and clean! =D

    Till then,

    Jean

  21. EarningStep says:

    nice .. i have my face on your post…lol

  22. Sounds like a win/win situation for both parties. Have you had lot of people submit articles?
    -Jack

  23. Congrats on the RSS record, most I had was around 400 on one of my blogs.

  24. keep up the good work tyler your the best I might have to come to your blog multiple times a day now.i really love your site it makes me enjoy to read it.

    Network Marketing

  25. [...] 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz Paid Advertisement It’s already been over 2 months since I last gave an update on how I’ve been evolving my [...]

  26. Carol Dent says:

    I found your blog on Google. I’ve bookmarked it and will watch out for your next blog post.

  27. evdeneve says:

    Thanks for giving us the blog updates, I know alot of people are fans of these, and I am one of them as well. Great change with the comment section, it really looks crisp and clean! =D

  28. oyun says:

    Great outline on the work that goes on to keep the site running. Its not just about the posts we read since more is happening on the back end. The gravatars are a great add!

  29. Tyler it certainly sounds like you have made a lot of improvements to the blog, despite saying it is about where you want it. Keep up the great work.

PeerFly

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