Some Postmortem Blog Lessons:
Looking back all these years since I first started blogging in 2008, I would like to think I’ve learned a thing or two. Unfortunately, some of those hard lessons learned come at the cost of messing up. That’s exactly where I find myself right now.
I’ve been trying to fill in the main pieces to this site over the past few days and I thought I’d take a look at the wayback machine on archive.org to see if there were any good posts I could salvage. But, as it turns out, it appears that my site stopped being regularly archived back in 2015.
I stared at the screen for a long moment, piecing the bits back together. 2015… what happened in 2015? Oh, right. One of the biggest mistakes I made with my old site was when I tried to change the post location and site structure. You see, I somehow got it in my mind that it mattered whether you were going to rbradyfrost.com/2015/5/whatever or /blog/whatever. It really was such a minor thing, but it caused no end of trouble. In the end, I got it to work but my site had so many 404 issues and missing pages because the addresses changed.
I started creating redirects, but it looks like that was right around the time that my traffic really started dropping off. My guess is that the web crawlers essentially labeled my site as a bad player, too many traffic issues and confused links.
Of course, I’ve taken the time to really build a stronger foundation this time around. I know how I want things set up and there won’t be a reason to try to change the architecture of the site later on. That helps me in the future, but today I’m looking at the mistake I made and how I unknowingly shut down yet another avenue to recover some of my old content.
I should have known better that to trust one untested source for my backup solution. There were other things I could have done to transfer the files. I know this.
Reflecting on the past and learning the lessons brought on by our mistakes is an integral part of the growth process, but it’s important not to dwell on those mistakes. As I mentioned in my last post, this rocky transition has been a bit of a wake-up call. Hopefully, this experience can also be beneficial to others out there. I had long suspected that something was causing my site to get very little search traffic. Now I think I know why. It’s a blog lesson I will take with me as I start this new journey.
If you’re considering starting up your own blog, whether it’s to showcase your writing or to write book reviews for novels you’ve read or whatever, remember this: a little planning at the onset and a determination to stick to it can help you avoid problems down the road.