Webmaster Tools with Hosted WordPress

I just noticed that in the Tools section of the administration pages on my hosted WordPress blog (this one), I can insert the metadata tags which the big sites’ Webmaster tools require to verify a site.  By doing this verification, you can improve your readership and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your blog.

If you’re interested in doing this, the page where you enter the metadata tags is:

https://[your blog URL]/wp-admin/tools.php

At the bottom of the page is a section entitled: Webmaster Tools Verification.  If you’re not sure how to go about getting the right metadata tags, check out the support information.  The capability is currently provided for Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo! Site Explorer, and Bing Webmaster Center.


Fun With My Blog Stats

One of the great things about WordPress, and one of the main reasons I switched my blog over from Live Spaces, is the Dashboard.  The statistics that it shows you are really helpful in understanding what you’re writing about that people actually find useful. (Or at least click on.  There’s no beating comments for real feedback.)

I thought it might be interesting for you subscribers out there (and thanks, guys and gals!) to see which of my posts have gotten the most hits since January when I moved over from Live Spaces.  I am constantly surprised by the changes in the rankings.

Top Posts
  1. IE8 and the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar 152 views
  2. Why Won’t SharePoint Designer Recognize IE8? 108 views
  3. Displaying the First N Words of a Long Rich Text Column with XSL 104 views
  4. “Failed to load the workflow” Message in SharePoint Designer with Vista 99 views
  5. SharePoint Web Services as Data Sources for DVWPs 93 views
  6. Rolling Up Content in SharePoint Using the Data View Web Part (DVWP) 93 views
  7. Error When Trying to Delete a Master Page: “Server error: This item cannot be deleted because it is still referenced by other pages.” 79 views
  8. Rollup Data View Web Parts Revisited 67 views

The first two posts in the above rankings aren’t very pithy at all, but talk about the fact that the IEDT is built into IE8 and an error that I’ve been getting in SharePoint Designer, respectively.  Number 3 is one that I actually am sort of proud of that gives you a nifty little XSL template I wrote.  5, 6, and 8 are posts about the trusty DVWP, which is at the core of my development interests.  4 and 7 are just little workarounds for a couple of SharePoint and Designer issues I had run into.

There are days when I see a really strange bunch of hits on some old, seemingly useless post.  For a few days last week, my post about How to Fix Recurring Meeting Workspace Error: ‘g_InstanceID’ is undefined got a bunch of hits.  I wondered if maybe there was a new hotfix or something that might have caused this error to be triggered in a lot of places, but I didn’t see any indicator for what might have spiked the interest anywhere.

If nothing else, watching my statistics points me to places where I can do some housekeeping.  A lot of my old posts don’t have tags in WordPress because I got lazy after I moved over from Live Spaces.  I also recently learned the cool WordPress trick for displaying source code painlessly from my buddy Pete Sterpe, so if a post is getting a decent number of hits, I’ll go and implement this so that the code can be more easily copied.

Even better is to watch traffic to see what all of you out there in ‘Netland might want to hear more about.  My DVWP stuff consistently gets a good number of hits, and I hope that it is helping folks out there.  I don’t post for vanity or to become famous; I really do want to provide good tips and tricks, if not downright solutions, for those of you who manage to make your way to my blog.  I love developing with SharePoint and I just want to spread the word!

If there’s something that you’re struggling with or something that you’d like me to blog about more, drop a comment on this post and let me know.

Importing Blogroll Links into WordPress from an Outlook 2007 OPML Export

If you’d like to import your RSS feeds from Outlook 2007 into your WordPress blogroll, you can use the Tools / Import capability, as outlined in this WordPress support article.  However, when I went to do this, no matter how many times I tried it, it wouldn’t work.

I finally exported my existing blogroll from WordPress and compared the OPML files.  Turns out that you need to do two search and replaces in your Outlook-generated OPML file for the import to work:

  1. Replace all type=”RSS” with type=”link”
  2. Replace all xmlUrl= with htmlUrl=

So, for instance:

<outline text=”Heather Solomon – MVP, WSS – SharePoint Branding and Design”
type=”rss” xmlUrl=”http://feeds.feedburner.com/HeathersBlog”/>


<outline text=”Heather Solomon – MVP, WSS – SharePoint Branding and Design”
type=”link” htmlUrl=”http://feeds.feedburner.com/HeathersBlog”/>


p.s. Yes, I know that all of my links are now to the RSS feeds and not the sites themselves.  All the better to subscribe to!

Problems with the WordPress Twitter Widget

I was finding that the new WordPress Twitter Widget was giving me the “No response from Twitter.” error the majority of the time, so I thought I’d try switching to the RSS method for a while until they work out the kinks with the new widget. Turns out that the RSS option isn’t much better.  My guess is that the Twitter servers are just really overloaded most of the time.  Maybe it’s time to find a business model to fund some bigger iron!

Moving My Blog from Live Spaces to WordPress

This post is copied from my Live Spaces blog, and was the last post I’ll make there.
I’m finally biting the bullet and moving this blog.  While I’ve had it parked at Live Spaces for over two years now, I’m just not seeing Live Spaces keeping up with the enhancements that others are offering.  After a highly scientific analysis (I found a good tool that would let me grab my posts from Live Spaces and move them to WordPress.), I chose WordPress as the new home.  The new URL is: http://sympmarc.com. (Note the ‘s’.)
WordPress seems to offer much more flexibility and real analytics, which Live Spaces just doesn’t have.  I wanted to stick it out with Microsoft’s attempt in this arena, but I decided that there were greener pastures.
For those who might want to do the same, here is how I did it.  There’s no easy way to get your blog content out of Live Spaces.  (Microsoft certainly doesn’t offer an export utility like many others do.)  Someone named Wei Wei has written and posted a Python script that will export your blog to an XML file which can be uploaded to WordPress.  The code is over at Google Code.  Be sure to follow his instructions well.  You do need to use versions close to what he recommends for his script to run: Python Runtime 2.5.2 and Beautiful Soup 3.0.6.  Python Runtime 2.5.2. wasn’t available for download, but 2.5.4 worked for me.
Well, so long Live Spaces.  I’m going to leave things here for a while, but all my new posts will be over at http://sympmarc.com.