Creativity Base

Blogging: Blogtaststrophe averted! Beware of rogue plug-ins…

by on Feb.09, 2009, under Tips & Advice

Yesterday I coined the term ‘blogtastrophe’, when I vaporized my blog’s back catalog of posts by tinkering with some new WordPress plugins. Having only discovered the wonderful blog platform of WordPress a little over two weeks ago, I had been impressed by the stability and user-friendliness of the system. Obviously, WordPress’ team can’t guarantee the same rigour in its vanguard of external plugin and widget developers, so that was where my suspicion fell.

As an eager freelancer and budding entrepreneur, the plug-ins I was looking at had been options for expanding my blog to include a revenue stream through on-site advertising. I had earmarked two for this purpose: SmartAds (which uses Google’s popular AdSense engine and is currently running beautifully) and the more ambitious Revver plugin.

For those embedded in the world of online video, you’re probably aware that Revver is one of the few sites which offer a return for content creators. Not only would this plug-in start me off towards an ad sponsored pay-per-click system of sharing our video productions with the world, but it also promised to integrate other aspects of my Revver profile into the WordPress backend. I read nothing about a feature designed to destabilize and discombobulate my entire blog!

The party began immediately after installing the Revver plugin. All of my blog content links were appearing as ‘not found’. I realized that a swift undo operation was the order of the day, but alas, the Revver plugin did not offer a convenient method. I checked my options… I could copy and paste the articles from my Google Reader feed. I could download the files from Google’s cache (via its search engine), and re-post them. Oh no I couldn’t. New posts weren’t appearing either! I then discovered that the data had not been wiped afterall, and I could edit the posts provided I went to them via editing comments first. Edit, yes. Make re-appear? No. My two weeks of prolific posting was simply orphaned from its would-be readers… entombed within a buggerised backend. So I put the challenge to the experts at the WordPress.org forum, and Steve from the great WordPress tutorial website EduChalk came to the rescue.

Steve’s medicine was fast, effective and professionally administered. In a couple of hours, my blog was restored to peak fitness, and I thank him dearly for his professionalism, generosity of time and spirit. Incidentally, when I revisited the plugin’s page at the WordPress plug-in directory, it told me that the plugin had ‘not been tested beyond WordPress v. 2.6’. The moral of this story: always read the fine print… or… act in haste, repent at leisure as my Grandmother would say!


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