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.
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 v18.104.22.168 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.
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.