Rey Bango

Web developer, honey badger

Self-hosted WordPress Thanks to David Walsh

If¬ you’re reading this, it’s probably because you heard about my recent decision to move off my dedicated server and onto a WordPress blog.¬ It’s been an interesting exercise shifting off your own space and onto a cookie-cutter service, which is what I did yesterday when I setup my blog on WordPress.com. Overall it was a trivial task which only took a couple of hours to do from sign-up to launch.

The downside of using a service like WordPress.com is that you’re kind of bound to what they offer the general public and as a power user that can be immensely frustrating. It’s no fault of WP. Their business is to cater to a broad audience on WordPress.com and if you’re a power user, they offer the code for you to customize. So I’m not one to complain because they’ve got a great model going & they’re doing right by everyone.
dwalsh
So I was chatting with my friend David Walsh, who BTW is a really talented developer & bares an uncanny resemblance to Kid Rock, about my migration and sharing some of my pain points. Well, here’s what he said:

David Walsh: i can’t let a brotha live on wordpress.com

From there, he proceeded to totally hook me up with a self-hosted WP account of my own; DNS updates and all! That was a very cool thing to do and I’m grateful for his help. This now gives me so much more flexibility to tweak things as I see fit and even dive into PHP a bit, something I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t found the right circumstance to do it in.

This also means that I may have a chance to save the posts from my original blog software, BlogCFC. I have to say that I’ll miss BlogCFC and the tweaks I made to it (some of which ended up in the software). Raymond Camden continues to really make it a great blogging platform and if I was back on a ColdFusion hosting provider, it’d be the first piece of software I’d install. Raymond also offered me BlogCFC hosting (which I am so grateful for as well) but David had already gone through a lot to set me up and I wasn’t going to back out at that point. And I think I’m ready for a new challenge as well. WordPress is a different monster and it’ll force me to rethink some things.

The final change you may have noticed is that the blog is now on its own subdomain. Originally, when you would venture to reybango.com, you’d see the blog. In hindsight, I really should’ve separated out the blog and used the main domain for something else. That’s the case now with the blog residing at blog.reybango.com.

So I want thank David for totally squaring me away. It’s amazing that a person that I’ve only chatted with on IM would be willing to help me out. It truly is a testament to the power of the Internet but I also think it’s a little bit of karma. :)

New Blog Host. Same Goodness.

Yep there are some big changes being made, mainly driven by pure economics. I’ve decided to shift over to WordPress.com for my blog hosting. I already use WordPress at work and on Ajaxian.com so it’s a natural fit for me. In addition, I’ve switched my email management to Google Apps which, like WordPress.com, is basically free. It had become increasingly obvious that the expense of a dedicated server wasn’t doable so moving to these services made sense, especially since apart from my blog, I host only one other application, GotCFM.com. Ben Nadel was kind enough to allow me to host the site on his VPS so that’s one less worry I have. Ben’s a great friend and I appreciate his support.

Yes, times are tough and while I’m not in the poor house, I’m also not flowing in big bucks that could justify the $100 monthly hosting cost. I’ll certainly miss the flexibility of having my own little rental spot on the web but I’m sure I’ll find some other plot of land to call my own for my own little projects.

The main drawback is that I’ve pretty much lost all of the other posts that I’ve done throughout the years. Since this isn’t a WP instance that I’ve installed but a hosted instance at WordPress.com, the scripts that migrate from BlogCFC to WP won’t work. That kind of sucks.

I guess starting fresh has it’s advantages as it allows me to rethink what I want to chat about.

So please be sure to update your feeds so you can keep up with my madness. :)

Of Monetizing my Blog (or should I put up some ads)

So recently I was chatting with someone and they asked, “Why don't you have any ads up on your blog?”. The honest answer was that I had never considered it and wouldn't even know where to start.

So after some thinking, I really started to consider the option. We're officially in a recession, I have a new addition to the family as well as 3 teenage girls with ever-growing needs & in general, my expenses have gone up.

But I'm not keen on the idea of turning my blog into some banner rotating link farm and bombarding my readers with crap at every turn. I think it would devalue the blog to some extent but there has to be a good balance. I'm also not interested in selling my soul to blog about crap that I would never use or anything remotely associated with that. This is my little nook of the web & I don't want it viewed negatively.

Again, I'm not even certain how to start but I do really want to consider it. I just bought the book Problogger to see if it can give me some ideas. Maybe you guys can give me some advice. A few extra bucks certainly wouldn't hurt & would definitely help in at least paying my hosting fee! :D

Some Thoughts About my Blog Stats

Since my wife decided to take the girls to the mall, something of which I have no interest in partaking in, I decided to check out some stats on my blog. The nice thing about using BlogCFC is that it gives you a nice & tidy stats page. It's not overbearing and gives enough info to have some fun with.

Here's what I found:

My first blog entry was 04/17/06 and I've post 205 entries so far.

The total views for all entries has been 368,924 and I average about 1799.63 views per entry. While I'm not a Ray Camden, this does make me happy that people find my posts interesting. :)

The post that generated the most views (9,864) was a bit I wrote on a Cool Ajax Interface to phpBB. The interface was built by Ext JS founder Jack Slocum prior to the Ext being it's own lib and still an extension to YUI. The link to the interface no longer works but you can see what it looked like here.

Another post that generated a number of views (9,448) was “Flex vs. Ajax: Which is Better? Check this out. While I didn't compare the two, it did point to another blog that did. Nonetheless, the comments for my post were certainly lively with both sides of the debate jumping in.

The top category in terms of posts is definitely representative of where I stand in terms of the above mentioned debate. The top category in terms of postings is “AJAX” followed by “jQuer”. This makes total sense considering I'm a member of the jQuery project team and thing JavaScript, Ajax, & open web technologies are the driving technologies for the future of the web.

But while I had more Ajax-related posts, the number one category in terms of comments and IMO, user involvement, was “ColdFusion”. Being an old school ColdFusion developer dating back 10+ years now, I've developed many relationships in the community, enough so that people still respect my opinions on CF. It doesn't mean I haven't pissed off a number of them (especially when I openly called out Macromedia & Adobe) but I think they know that I'm not a CF slouch.

I think the post the was my most controversial was “Younger developers are better & faster?”. Suffice it to say that I was none to happy about the premise that youngsters are better or faster and it seemed like I had a lot of support on this one.

By far the oddest search term I found was “PHENTERMINE” which Google tells me is an appetite suppressant and a pretty good indicator that blog spammers were very concerned about my weight. Thankfully, my weight hasn't lead me to need that.

Finally, the person that seems most in love with my posts, as displayed by being the top commenter on my blog, is Jim Priest (AKA: The Crumb”). Jim is a sharp guy (obviously if he's visiting my blog) and I love reading his blog as well. :D

This was a fun exercise and I'm glad that Ray thought about adding this feature.

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