It’s been quite a while since I posted a news type post on this blog. So here goes…
Of Buzzes, Blogs, and Forms
David from eCommerce-Tools spotted an interesting new plugin and sent me news about it – It’s called a Form Builder and allows users to create a wide range of forms that then email content and display a unique message to the respondents. I can imagine a dozen different uses from that on InvestorBlogger – surveys, content submissions, a non-spammable contact form, etc… I might even use it to replace my current contact form.
In fact, David was the blogger who ‘borrowed’ my content and he helped me to see how sometimes people can easily fall into this trap of borrowing content without realizing. In fact, I wonder if I haven’t done it myself when I just started out … Anyway, he’s made good on his promises and actually his blog already has a lot of good content on it that he wrote himself, so I’m looking to see how it matures in six months or so. I’m also nominating him for a BlogBuzz as I have a few of those left as well. If you’d like one, too, just drop on over to my BlogBuzz page.
Spam, Plugins, and Banning IP addresses
In other news, I was getting really annoying and vulgar spam emails from some guys in Africa. The spam were being sent through an insecure contact form called PXSmail and they all came from just one or two IP addresses. Worse, the form though simple and effective allowed HTML to be added to the mix meaning that it was easy to spam me. The mails often had dozens, if not more, of links and keywords. And it hadn’t been obviously updated in nearly 3 years.
So then I tried blocking IP addresses for a while, and that was effective. I used one of Lester Chan’s plugins called WP-Ban. Unfortunately, that’s like treating flu with a gun. Effective, but permanent. Then I tried filtering the mails, but that was unsatisfactory as I would miss important mails. So then I switched to a plugin that excluded any HTML – problem solved. It’s called Contact Form II and it works simply and effectively. There is a simple toggle switch that can be used to exclude URIs in the message. Simply uncheck this. Voila! Problem solved.
Mailing List: Yes, I have one!
Having moved to BlueHost after being on DreamHost for years made me realize that both companies provide quite different ways to achieve the same results. BlueHost uses CPanel and that took a while to get used to, but in fact many hosts use CPanel, so I’m glad that I’m now learning how to use it. I’ve moved my popular sites to three different hosts (2 on Bluehost, one on Hostmonster, and one on BlueFur), and each uses CPanel though their configurations aren’t exactly the same.
Yesterday I was exploring BlueHost’s scripts and I found Dadamail so I experimented by adding a mailing list to the site to see how difficult or easy it was to set up! I didn’t fill in many fields, just enough to get things working. To my surprise I already found I had one or two ‘brave’ guinea pigs sign up! Wow! I’d better sort things out and set it up properly…
Growing UP: Should I move to WordPress MU
InvestorBlogger is approaching two years on this domain and it is growing up. Traffic is double last year’s and still growing, so I’m now thinking of moving the whole blog to WordPress MU. Why? I already experimented with MU on Dreamhost for a while, and I found that it was quite stable and mature. It also enables me to create a lot of sub-blogs, each of which can be managed separately but which draws on just ONE install saving a lot of management time and effort. With over 1000 posts, I am finding that I would like to create new blogs that draw on the content and that are more closely tied to some of the themes I already explore. It would also help me to publicize IB much more, and be listed in more places that so far reject my blog as “off-topic” or as a non-PF blog. So I’m likely to install WordPress MU during some downtime. Since most of IB’s posts are in the ‘archives’ post, nothing will change for the current archives, and perhaps the front page. Eventually, though, I will create a lot more channels, with posts and traffic suited to each. Most of the machinations will be invisible to current readers for the time being.
New Channels: PF, Tech, Investing, Making Money Online, Business
These are the base channels that I will be starting off with, as I break up InvestorBlogger into component parts. This transformation won’t take place overnight, and all posts WILL be visible on the front page. I’m still not sure how I’m going to handle the feeds for each sub-blog, perhaps I’ll have one super-feed with blogfeeds as well. So subscribers will be able to choose which feed to subscribe, too. Obviously I won’t be able to produce daily content for each of these blogs, but I will likely keep up my current rate of one or two posts a day across the mini-empire! Wish me luck.