blogging Web

Welcome Dublin!

It’s now easier than ever to use Google Analytics thanks to the interface revamp it’s gone through. Michele had the scoop yesterday and I’m very impressed. From your dashboard you can drill down to various aspects of your website’s traffic.

One of those is a clickable map of the world that eventually led me to the following map of Ireland. That’s a lot of traffic from Dublin, but it’s probably something to do with the way Internet traffic in the country is routed. That, or the fact that a quarter of the population live there. Welcome Dublin people to Holy Shmoly!



A few days ago I listed the keywords people use to visit my site but now it’s easier to find that information and dig deeper into archived traffic stats. Inside the new Analytics interface, go to “Traffic Sources” where you’ll find “Top Traffic Sources”. Click on the keywords for pretty graphs!

Update! Some people aren’t happy with the new upgrade. Chris Silver Smith thinks it’s a downgrade from the old interface.

blogging Web

Top 10 dodgy website keywords

Would that be the top 10 keywords for a dodgy website, or top 10 dodgy keywords for a website?

It would be the latter actually. Thanks to the Keyword Rreport in Google Analytics I found out what the most searched for terms that brought people to Holy Shmoly! were and it wasn’t a pretty sight.


At least “cgwd” is a Linux word.

There is a positive side to this however. A lot of keywords are used to find this blog. The top ten are only a small slice of the pie so even though those keywords drive a lot of traffic here they are not the main sources it.


I found out about the Google Analytics Keyword Report through this post via James who kindly linked to my previous post!

What are the top ten keywords for your blog?


Please type my name

I just had a thought after filling in an anti-spam keyword in a comment form. Sometimes my thoughts are interesting but this isn’t one of them. Justin Mason asks you to type his first name as a means to defeat spam bots. I bet if I did the same, even going so far as writing my name next to the box people would misspell it. “donnacha”, “donacha”, “doncha” and “dunacha” are all variations I’ve seen. You don’t want to know how Sky Digital butchered it!

For extra fun I could have an audio clip saying my name instead. I might not ever receive a comment ever again!

Jacinta and Adam came home from the hospital yesterday, my brain is lightly fried, with chips and tomato sauce. Thank you so much Mairead for making us dinner and minding Adam so we could get a short rest! Aren’t family great?

blogging Web

What the heck is that RSS thing anyway?

I’m not going to explain it but a short video I found on Conor’s blog will. It’s produced by Common Craft and explains in easy to understand terms why and how this stuff can make your online life so much more efficient and fun. When you’re done watching the video, click on the Subscribe link over on the sidebar and subscribe to my blog to see how easy it is! You’ll never look back after you discover the power of RSS syndication!

And one final tip, if you’re following the comments on a blog post, you can subscribe to that post so you’ll be notified when a new comment appears! Say you don’t like cats, well my 8 reasons to hate cats post would be right up your alley. It seems to be very popular for some reason. Instead of refreshing the same page over and over again, look for the “Feed for this entry” link and subscribe to it. The cat-hating conversation appears in your news reader along with all your other feeds!
PS. I love cats!

blogging WordPress

How I move a WordPress blog to a new host

Aaron Brazell described how he moves his WordPress blog to a new host and it’s very familiar since I’ve done something similar a few times over the last few months.

I’ve figured out a few things from those moves which you might find useful if you get sick and tired of your hosting:

  1. If you’re self hosted and have a domain name, set the “time to live” (TTL) to as small as possible, say 15 minutes. You should do this about 24 hours previously. Doing this will mean that visitors to your bog will start seeing your new host sooner!
  2. Just after you dump your database to a file for export close all your posts to comments. I do this with the SQL, UPDATE wp_posts SET comment_status='closed'. Now quickly transfer your db over and get your site up and running in the usual manner. Your old site will still get traffic for a while yet. Googlebot will still visit too, but nobody will leave comments there so you don’t have to worry about synchronising your comments table. You could do the same with ping_status too if you get a lot of pings.
  3. For extra brownie points add a small message in the comment area informing the visitor that, “Comments are disabled. This site has moved to new hosting. Please check back later to leave a comment.”
  4. If you fiddle with your hosts file make sure there isn’t an entry for your domain pointing at the old site. That happened to me on my Macbook and even after updating /etc/hosts it still didn’t work right. I had to reboot the laptop!
  5. Say “Thank You” to anyone who helps, especially support staff!

Good luck moving, it’s not as hard or as daunting as it might be. ssh, scp/rsync, mysql/mysqldump and tar/gzip are your friends when moving!

Further Reading:

PS. Thanks to Linode for hosting, Blacknight and Michele for DNS, and you for WordPress.


Knock! Knock! Hallloooooo?

Is anyone out there? Next time you come across a blog post without a comment, take a few minutes to stop and chat and leave some feedback. You’ll make someone’s day, I promise.


Blog meet Blook

In the grand old tradition of book publishing it seems that everyone has a story to tell and these days it’s getting easier and easier to get published. Whether anyone is reading or not is another matter.

This Sunday Times article on the Blookers book prize caught my eye the other day because it’s further mainstream acceptance of blogging as a serious source of writing talent. Unfortunately there’s plenty of dross out there too, some of which has spewed from these very pages, but I digress. The shortlist is sponsored by, a “self-publishing” company who publish on demand. It’s an easy way to get your work published and perhaps read.

[One blook] The Doorbells of Florence, has just been nominated for a new literary award, the Blookers. The shortlist, which was revealed last week, celebrates books that have sprung from weblogs or other websites.

This appears to be a growing phenomenon. It is only the second year of the $10,000 (£5,100) prize but the judges had to work their way through 110 titles.

Is your work worth $10,000? You’ll never know unless you try but the article does gloss over the difference between “publish on demand” and normal high-street bookshops who carry a ready supply of books. Don’t expect to see your Lulu books in Waterstones I’m afraid.

I’ve toyed with the idea of publishing my own photos but the closest I’ve got to publishing in a book was as part of the US book a few years ago. You may yet see them in print form shortly but I have to keep that secret a little longer!

Fellow Corkman Ryan contributed to Raw, a book by several Irish photographers. It can be purchased on Lulu. Robertto Grilli has some photos of the book too and it looks very impressive. Go buy a copy!

Who would you like to see published? I briefly mentioned her before, but The Swearing Lady should get a book deal. She writes one of my favourite blogs. A book deal is on her list to Santy and everything, and it’ll make her very happy and bring her writing to a whole new audience! Damien had the same idea this morning. Great minds eh?

Finally, what about fame and riches? Well, as a blogger you’re already famous, in your own mind anyway, but riches? I leave the last word to the author of “The Doorbells of Florence”,

“I’ve sold a grand total of 17 so far, not including copies bought by myself,” Losowsky admits. “I make £1.22 from each one. The Ferrari is on hold.”

Later .. as reported in various places, Twenty Major has got a book deal! Well done! Looking forward to seeing it in the bookshop.


Not everyone likes you

The best place to be is where people either love you or hate you. Not so great in inter-personal relationships but it’s super when you’ve got a product that you want people to use and maybe buy.

WordPress is there. There’s a vocal group of WordPress haters out there, but we’ve worked hard over a number of years to get to that level of hatred. It hasn’t been easy. On the other hand even more people like using WordPress. Thankfully someone would care if WordPress disappeared in the morning.

That’s why I’m envious of Twitter. In the course of a few months they’ve gone from being a darling of the blogging community to the nemesis of all things good and proper.

I predict that when teenagers discover Twitter the increase in txt speak will put off everyone else. Not that it will matter at that stage. Twitter will go on to become a global teen phenomenon much like myspace or bebo. Oh how we’ll gnash our teeth then. The negative feedback now won’t be anything like it will be later on! “Proper bloggers” might just ignore it but I doubt it. We They need something to bitch about and it’s an easy target!

I signed up there a few days ago but I’ve since turned off sms notifications and haven’t looked at my profile page in a while. If anyone mentions me I’ll know about it. Oh isn’t RSS cool?


Bite size entertainment

It’s rather sad that I prefer to click on the Dilbert cartoon feed rather than the one for the author’s site in my news aggregator.

After being offline for most of last week due to a dodgy internet connection I’m still playing catch up and trying to fill in the rest of my life too. I think we need cranial networking now so we can scan and read blogs in a timely manner. Or a world wide moritorium on blogging for a few days perhaps.

Blogging by Twitter anyone? If all the posts in my Bloglines account were a max of 140 characters I’d have them read in no time at all! Oops, I’ve gone over my allo

blogging Web

How I know who's talking about me

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while but Scott Adam’s post about using Google Alerts to find people talking about Dilbert prompted me to put fingers to keys this afternoon.

When someone anywhere in the world mentions my name in a blog post or even a comment, on Flickr, on Zooomr or anywhere with an RSS feed I know about it within a few hours. Occasionally it might take longer, maybe a day or so, or even a few months sometimes, but that would be unusual.

How? I use a “news aggregator” called Bloglines to track my favourite websites. Bloglines also has a search engine to search through their database. Nothing extraordinary there, but the magic happens when you subscribe to that search. “Subscribing” is just like subscribing to a magazine. You’re sent updated news and information as it happens at the source. When you subscribe to a blog, every time that blog is updated their new post appears in your aggregator. No need to fret about missing the latest news any more.

Instead of having to reload a search page every few hours Bloglines does that job for me automatically. The Bloglines feed list reloads periodically. A quick glance at it’s page in my browser window shows me if someone mentions me. It’s less stressful than checking my email all the time and news is delivered into my browser where I want it.

To be sure I search as much of the Internet as possible I do the same search on Technorati too.

I wonder will Scott find this post or comment on it? Probably not but hopefully someone else will find this useful.

Too Frickin’ Cool