Since I don’t have time to read complete sentences, much less wait for a rotary dial phone, I’ve been setting up this blog in hurried moments amidst working, doing laundry, getting on planes, and racing to finish books in time to discuss them at meetings. It’s definitely still a work in progress. So, what have I done so far besides ramble about my cats and Britney Spears?
- Hosted the domain on a separate IP address. No, you don’t need one IP address per domain, but I figured if this domain was on the same IP as say, my Buffy site, some of you (and you know who you are) would find it entertaining track it down. And since I developed that site years ago, it really needs some work and I didn’t want you to find it yet. Of course, now that I’ve mentioned it, you’ll find it anyway and mock its incorrect use of meta tags.
- Installed the latest version of WordPress and found a theme with a layout I liked. Then I tweaked it with my own graphics and modified the CSS a bit. I’m still tweaking. Obviously. If you load the site and everything’s purple and yellow, reload! It’ll get better! Or maybe I’m trying some new Web 5.1 thing and doing an experiment in contrasting colors. Don’t worry. You’ll learn to love it.
- Changed the URL structure to be name-based. This version of WordPress has lots of different URL options (including easy ways to customize), found under Options > Permalinks. Why did I do this? Mostly to reduce my own confusion. No way I’ll know what /?p=527 is, but I when I see /which-willow-hairstyle, I’ll know just which post that is.
- Switched the order of my title tag to be post name then blog name. I’m still not quite finished with this; I still need to tweak it a bit. Since my blog isn’t targeted at anything, I’m not worried about using particular keywords in my post titles. I’m not trying to rank for water and air. As far as you know.
- Signed up for Feedburner. I was following the advice in this Search Engine Land post about maintaining control of the feed domain name, and thought I’d try the plugin recommended in the comments for that. As far as I know, using Feedburner is the easiest way to get Google Reader and personalized home page stats.
- Installed the following plugins:
- Redirected the non-www version of the site to the www version using a 301 rewrite in my .htaccess file (I never remember how to do this, so I always just do a Google search for [htaccess redirect]). The entry in my .htaccess file looks like this:Edit: John in the comments pointed out that in my haste, I hadn’t tested my .htaccess code and it simply redirected every non-www URL to the home page. I’ve seen that so many times too; I can’t believe I didn’t think to check that out. He linked to a WordPress plugin that takes care of the www/non-www issue, and it works great. Thanks John!
- Signed up for webmaster tools and submitted my RSS feed as a Sitemap. While in webmaster tools, I verified my site using the meta tag option and set my preferred domain to www.ninebyblue.com. Since this is a brand new site, my account shows no links (that data is only generated once a month) or query stats (that data is generated once a week and I imagine this site isn’t being returned in search results yet) and much of the other data is empty also, since there’s no data to show yet. One thing that I discovered by using webmaster tools? This site has a robots.txt file! I had no idea! My guess is that WordPress adds it, since it has an option that lets you choose whether to be indexed by search engines or not. Apparently, my robots.txt file doesn’t disallow any bots, and is returning a 200 response, so that’s good to know.
That’s about all I’ve done so far other than start posting.
The site went live late Saturday and got a few links beginning on Sunday. I’m not really expecting to be indexed by search engines yet, four days in. Are my expectations too low?
- I’ll check live.com first. A search for “vanessa fox” doesn’t return the site in the first two pages (in this initial experiment, I am too lazy to look beyond the first two pages of results), and a search for site:ninebyblue.com doesn’t return anything.
- What about Ask? Don’t see this blog on the first two pages of results either, although I’m asked if I want to expand my search into “welfare problems”. (And while the site doesn’t seem to be indexed in Ask at all, Ask’s blog search does oddly suggest my comments as a top feed.) At least Ask isn’t suggesting I marry Rand.
- Speaking of Yahoo, have they found the blog? Maybe they’re making up for the whole Rand situation, because they’ve got this blog ranked #2 in a search for my name. (Dave’s now edited blog post is #4.) A quick check of Site Explorer shows that just the home page is indexed so far.
- And what about Google? A quick check of my name doesn’t bring this blog up in the first two pages of results, although Dave’s post that links to the blog comes up on page two. But a quick site search does show that three pages are indexed. The home page was indexed soon after I registered the domain, when it was still parked at the registrar (hopefully that page will be recrawled soon). And Google Blogsearch does seem to be indexing the posts.
So, as it turns out, my expectations were too low. Two of the four engines are already on it. Who’s winning so far? Google’s got more pages indexed, but I’m going to have to give this round to Yahoo for that great SERP position. And I’ll keep tweaking between airports and book club meetings.