From the category archives:

Case Studies

Tim Dierkes’s MLB Trade Rumors blog is one of the preeminent baseball blogs. Tim has carved out a niche by covering every baseball rumor of substance and doing it in a timely way while adding his own commentary where appropriate. Dierkes recently made the transition to full time blogger and in an effort to spruce up the site submitted it for a Problogger Community Consulting Review.

The results of the review are up, and while they are specific to MLBTR, there is considerable information that all sports bloggers might want to use. These include:

  • Adding an Advertise Here page
  • Making RSS subscription prominent on the page, as well as including an email option
  • Cleaning up the sidebar
  • Tips for trying to find more relevant advertising (which should convert better)
  • Adding more art (some blogs such as Roar of the Tigers already excel at this)
  • Suggestions for attracting more social media love

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Leaving Blogger – a week later

by Bill Ferris on January 2, 2006 · 0 comments

in Blog Software,Case Studies

Now that I’ve been off of Blogger for a week, I of course found things that broke in the transition.

The biggest issue was probably that the transition seemed to break the “tables” I made using pre tags.  It didn’t seem to handle the the line breaks with in the tags well – or at all.  The result is that the the line breaks aren’t observed and it overflows the area.  Depending on the browser, this can either screw up the template, or just look really bad.

Fixing it also proves difficult using the WYSIWYG editor which tries to help too much.  I’ve found it best to turn off the editor when correcting these problems.  This can be done from the Users menu with a check box at the bottom.

The tough thing is finding all the effected posts.  If you’re comfortable with MySQL you could query the database to find all posts with the PRE tag.  It still requires a manual fix, but at least you know which posts to target.

I’ve also worked my way back to add categories.  Any posts I’ve been fixing I’ve been adding categories to.  Also, I’ve looked forward those popular posts (like interviews) and made sure that those were categorized as well.  Now I won’t categorize all 1000 posts, but I did do about 100 of them.

As for performance (visits, page views, revenue), it was tough to judge the impact because of strange traffic levels due to the holidays.  It’s something I’ll probably address in a month or so.

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Leaving Blogger – How

by Bill Ferris on December 26, 2005 · 0 comments

in Blog Software,Blogging Tools,Case Studies

Earlier I posted about my reasons for moving from Blogger to WordPress. Now I’ll discuss some of the steps I took to make the transition. I planned to go into considerable detail, but seeing as how WordPress 2.0 offers additional support for importing from various platforms, I’ll keep it brief.
Wordpress ships with a script that will import from Blogger. What the script didn’t do was insure that permalinks would remain the same. It also didn’t import comments. Fortunately, people way more talented than myself took the initiative to fix both the former and the latter.

The first step I took was to setup a subdomain to install WordPress to. I didn’t want to be working in the same directory as my live site. If you’re using Blogspot to host your blog, you wouldn’t need this step. You would however need to secure web hosting in the first place. After setting up the subdomain, and installing WordPress it was time to configure Blogger. This involved changing the template (backing up the old one first of course), and changing publishing and date formatting options. Once the options were configured correctly, I published the blog to my new subdomain (test.detroittigersweblog.com). Immediately after the publish was complete I restored Blogger to my original settings. This isn’t completely necessary, it was just my own paranoia about forgetting what my previous settings were.

Fortunately, it appears that in 2.0 the import script handles the Blogger configuration for you. I haven’t tried it yet, but it appears that you simply provide WordPress with your Blogger login information and it does the rest.

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Leaving Blogger

by Bill Ferris on December 25, 2005 · 0 comments

in Blog Software,Blogging Tools,Case Studies

I started blogging with Blogger almost 5 years ago. Sure, Blogger frustrated me at times but I had developed a certain loyalty. Back in the day, it was one of the most accessible, easy to use, and free offerings available. However, the competition has caught up with Blogger and in many cases surpassed it. When I launched this blog, I chose to try WordPress, and I couldn’t be happier. While there was a slight learning curve for working with the templates, the features, functionality, and ease of installation overwhelmed me. Finally, this week I transferred 4.5 years of my Tiger blog from Blogger to WordPress.

I know many sports bloggers started off using Blogger. Many are still using it. Some have probably considered switching platforms, while for others it may have never crossed their minds. I’m going to do a two part post about my migration from Blogger to WordPress. The first part (this one) will focus on my reasons for switching. Many of the reasons aren’t specific to WordPress, and many of the same principles apply to a variety of blogging software. WordPress just happens to be the one I picked. Part two will cover the steps I took to do it, and will be more specific to WordPress.

Republishing Hell
One of the biggest fundamental differences between Blogger and many other solutions is static versus dynamic pages. Blogger uses static pages. To achieve this they republish pages whenever you post or change your template. Many other services use dynamic pages, where they typically use a programming language (like PHP) to query a database (typically MySQL) to generate the page when it is requested.

In my case I had nearly 1000 pages of content. Every tweak to the template, like changing links in the sidebar or changing Chitika keywords, resulted in the republishing of every one of those pages. For me this meant making all changes off hours. If I tried to republish while the east coast was awake, it would frequently timeout in the process. With dynamicaly created WordPress pages, all I do is save changes to the template. There is no republishing because the next person to request a page will see the changes.

I don’t know if this was the biggest reason for me switching, but it was definitely the one that pushed me over.
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