Four Things You Always Need To Check On Your WordPress Blog

ID-100241069A couple of months ago when WordPress upgraded to version 3.8, I started having trouble with my blog.   A number of things weren’t working correctly.

I couldn’t get my images to display, my permalinks weren’t working correctly and more importantly, my posts kept throwing a 404 when I posted on Facebook or Google+.

I checked the WordPress forums and this seemed to be a common occurrence with various people when they did an upgrade on WordPress.  Weird!

Now my WordPress Blog was not working! Really a bummer! The forums had advice to fix these issues but were sometimes beyond my level of understanding so I struggled and still couldn’t get anything resolved.

I complained to a few of my friends that the trouble started immediately after I upgraded WordPress to v3.8, but everyone was convinced WordPress was not the problem.

I know a few WordPress geeks and I reached out to them. Each worked with me diligently trying different things, discovering different things to correct and each time, (for a minute!), my posts didn’t throw a 404.

Things seemed to go back to normal and then BANG!!! It would happen again!  Each time I think I cried. 🙁 I was very, very unhappy.)

All these issues made me want to stop blogging and kill my wordpress blog. I started posting once a week instead of my normal twice a week, my traffic went down, my Alexa rating went up and my motivation went down.

I didn’t want to update to the next version of WordPress afraid that it would get worse!

Anyway, long story short, last week I touched base with Kumar Gauraw, WordPress Guru Extra-ordinaire!

Kumar is in my blog commenting group and is another WordPress guru/wizard. BIG UPS to Kumar – he got my blog fixed!!! WooHooo! Kumar owns his own business and does hosting, with security, speed, backups/, maintenance and more.  

Check out his website right here!

He found out there were a number of problems, not just one or two. After spending hours online with me, he finally straightened it all out. I was amazed and sooooo very, very grateful! 🙂   Thanks Kumar!  Can’t thank you enough!

So now, I’m in full swing again and as usual, I like to write about what I learned so I can pass it on to others.  So here are 4 Things To Always Check On Your WordPress Blog.

1. Plugins

One thing I learned is that I had too many plugins. In reality I only had about 15, all recommended by various people who know more about WordPress than I do, but (with the WP upgrade – I still believe this) some were interfering with others. We got rid of some of those plugins.

A plugin can be working perfectly until an upgrade or another plugin causes issues.  So we deactivated some and got them down to a minimum of necessary plugins needed for normal operation.

I’m also going to keep a list of what date I added the plugin so I can more closely associate dates with upgrades and know ‘where’ I should start to look first. 🙂

2. Backups

ID-100207536-backupKumar asked me if I did Backups and that’s when I remembered that I hadn’t seen any notifications that my files were being backed-up in a while.

What I discovered was that my Backup Plugin was not working! And guess what – I’ve lost a number of files/posts (I still don’t know how).

This was further verified when I went to Google to do my regular monthly cleanup on 404’s and many of the 404 errors were from posts I knew I wrote, but are no longer in my blog!  @#@$%$^% Yall know what that means, right?!!

So far, it looks like I’ve lost about 10 posts, but I know there are more. I ‘m still checking it out. I found another WordPress plugin for Backup, but if you have any recommendations, please let me know because I don’t know one from the next; good or bad.

I need a good one so I don’t lose any more files and I’d like it to be easy to implement.

3. Site Map

One of the things that Kumar discovered was that my sitemap was incorrect. Now I can’t begin to tell you how it works or why it was wrong. I would have never thought to look there to fix my problems.

If you’re like me and know nothing about site maps, I found out about sitemaps from this website is: “Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling.

In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.”

So Google was crawling my site, and I had a ton of 404 errors and some weird stuff like links with posts and categories that make no sense and do not link to anything on my site.

I’m in the process of cleaning up all that on Webmaster Tools each night. There were over 275 of them. I’m down to 242 as of last night. Knocking them out slowly but surely.

4.  Regular Cleanup and Broken Links

It was a natural part of this cleanup process.  I wrote a post a while ago on cleaning up in Webmaster Tools and broken links.  At least monthly, we should do a check and keep it clean.

So what did I learn from this experience?

  1. Never give up because ‘someone’ can fix you blog!  (I was soooo close to almost giving up!)
  2. Make sure your backups are always being performed. Losing all that hard work on some of my posts is really irritating.
  3. Check your plugins and make sure they are all up to date and working correctly. Sometimes a plugin is no longer supported and all of a sudden “goes away.’ Make sure you keep an eye on them as well.
  4. Check and make sure you clean up and get rid of broken links.  It can effect your traffic as well.  Check Webmaster Tools regularly and perform cleanup if you have too.

As usual, I hope this helps others who have similar issues. Remember if you have a backup plugin recommendation, please let me know in comments. Would love to know what’s best to use. Thanks in advance.

Take care for now,

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  1. says

    Hey Barbara,

    Great advice here! As a matter of fact both Kumar and Adrienne just mentioned to me last week that I had a bunch of 404 errors. The main reason for this is after I changed my theme, I also changed my permalinks with it. So I had to go back to each post and changed each link manually. I definitely feel your pain!

    I also remember the post you wrote about 404 errors. I haven’t cleaned that up since the beginning of the year. So I will go back to Webmaster Tools and start cleaning those up as well. I’ve seen that my bounce rate went down by 10% after I changed the permalinks from east post, so it’s looking good!

    Thanks for this remember and I hope you have a great week ahead!
    Sherman Smith recently posted…Using an SEO Checklist To Generate TrafficMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Sherman,

      I think we both changed our themes about the same time. I had the some of the same issues. Permalinks were wacky and 404s. I’m still cleaning them up. It will take me days! I’m cleaned up some and I’m seeing a difference as well (not so much in bounce rate – haven’t checked that), but definitely in traffic. Guess we have to get better (all of us at maintenance). Good luck and if you need that link for the ‘cleanup’ let me know. I had to look up the details myself again. 😉

      Take care for now and have a great week.

  2. says

    Hi Barbara

    As you know I had a very similar experience with my blog. Hmm I am very tempted with Kumar’s service it sounds very good.

    It is the part of blogging and WordPress I do not like and that being the constant updates and potential for things to go wrong. I also had quite a bit of time “off air” with HostGator.

    Thanks for this information Barbara.

    Sue Price recently posted…Reinventing Yourself: Life After 50My Profile

    • says

      Hi Jennifer,

      Doing well…now! 🙂 I was having such issues, but all is back on track now.

      Yes I encourage you to take a few minutes because right now I’m cleaning up 244 404 errors. Was 275. Ugh! Don’t wait…cause it takes a little while.
      It is very tedious to fix them all so it’s better to get started. I know the first time I ever did it there were over 200 and it took me days.

      Hopefully, you won’t have many. Keep me posted on your progress. It pays to work it now. 🙂
      Have a blessed week.


  3. says

    Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Thank God for Kumar!!! We are so blessed to have him in our group. I turned my entire blog over to him …because you know me, all the stuff goes over my head. Now if there is a problem, he is “Johnny on the spot” and gets back to me so quickly.

    Anyhoo…I’m glad you didn’t give up! Things like this can drive us up the wall. I spent the entire weekend fixing my 404 and broken links. I had read Adrienne’s post last week, checked my broken links and, well, you can imagine the Brooklyn Italian that came out of me. Thanks to David calmly taking over it took two days to fix things up.

    Now, I will check this stuff out more than once a month he he he! It’s such a pain in the you know what lately with all this stuff going on. Updates, plugins that fight each other, etc.

    Again, thanks for sharing your experience because many people are having the same issues.

    donna merrill recently posted…Have You Come A Long Way, Blogger?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Donna,

      For sure I understand *exactly* what you’re saying. I checked my links last week and I’ve been fixing them nightly. Just too many to try to do in one sitting! I put a Monthly 404 Check in my iphone to remind me once a month now because it is just to cumbersome. I was doing it monthly for a while, then stopped and look what happened! Ugh!

      Wish I had a ‘someone’ to take over mine I’m glad he came to our group too. Don’t know what I would have done without him or maybe I do. I was so very close to quitting. It was just taking too much time to post and now it looks all clear. Will also make sure I use minimal plugins and keep track of what I add and when I add so in case anything goes ‘flukey’ on me, I can narrow it down better.

      Thanks Donna for the encouragement and thanks to Kumar to for the fix and the encouragement! 🙂


  4. says

    Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for the mention and I am glad that I was able to help.

    I like when you say “Never Give Up” because that is mostly the difference between a winner and a loser most of the time.

    Anybody can start something and then quit after facing a few setbacks. But it takes a winner to stay the course and persist till the end!

    I am happy for you that you didn’t give up and because you wanted it so badly, our paths crossed and here you are motivating others now 🙂

    Congratulations and welcome back to full swing!

    Kumar Gauraw recently posted…My Experiments With Evernote And How You Can Use It TooMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Kumar,

      Thanks to you, back in swing! Feel so much better. You are soooo awesome and every one else thinks so too. 🙂

      I owe it to you because I was not happy and feeling more and more everyday like it was time to quit. God heard me and sent me you. What a blessing!

      Thanks again and I’ll be in touch.
      Have a fantastic week.

  5. says

    Hi Barbara,
    All the four point are really necessary to follow by each and every blogger. Sitemap is the main concern related to the search engines. It tell search engines about the pages, post of our website.
    All the plugins should be updated. It should be taken care as if the plugin we are using is lite or not. We should not use the plugin which effect the speed of our blog.

    Thanks for your post.

    Ravi Chahar recently posted…Effective Ways To Use Social Media Which Can Boost Up Your BlogMy Profile

  6. says

    Hi Barbara,
    As long as I’ve known Kumar, he has been Mr. Efficiency. If there’s something he doesn’t know, he will certainly find out. So, “Kudos to Kumar!” for setting your website straight.

    He’s my go-to reference for a number of things, including web hosting. I love stress free web hosting, and I know you do too now!
    Now, you should just be able to focus on your creativity and not be concerned about your blog.

    Kind Regards,
    William Butler recently posted…Near Death Experience: You Might Be Having One Right NowMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Bill,

      How’s it going? I haven’t switched over yet. This just happened the other day. But I had to give him his props! WooHoo Kumar. Thanks so much. Stress free web hosting sounds good.

      Thanks for the confirmation that it would be the right thing. 🙂

    • says

      Hey Gladys,

      Thanks. I’m so glad he was able to solve what no one else could solve. I guess we all have a different level of expertise. I’m glad I could help you when you needed it too. Really miss talking to you. Hope we can connect again soon. 🙂 Hope you are well.

      Barbara Charles recently posted…Facebook Jail – Heaven or HellMy Profile

  7. says

    Hi Barbara, I remember when you were having all of those problems with your blog and I really felt for you. Blog problems are very annoying. All we want to do is write but that part gets to be a minor factor when we’re facing blog problems.

    Thank goodness for Kumar who came to your rescue. For those of us who just want to focus on our writing, finding gurus such as Kumar can be a lifesaver!

    I use WordPress BackUp to Dropbox plus my hosting company does a daily backup of my blog. I’ve only had to restore once and all I lost was a few comments.

    WordPress 3.9 actually fixed a problem I had been having with my theme so updates can also solve problems, in addition to creating them.

    I wish you the best of luck going forward, Barbara!
    Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently posted…RIteTag – A Handy Tool to Make the Most of Your Tweets!My Profile

    • says

      Hi Carolyn,

      Looks like your first time visiting my blog. Thank you so much for coming! 🙂 And welcome.

      OMG, you’ve hit the nail on the head. All we want to do is write and technical blog problems makes me pull my hair out. I couldn’t believe it and Kumar was definitely my life-saver. Thanks for the Backup plugin you suggested. I really want to use a plugin and you bring up a good point. I’ll check with my posting. I think they do too which could help me recover the posts I seemingly lost. Great idea! Thanks.

      I’m sure updates do fix problems too, but now I’ve been bitten and I’m afraid! Not sure I’ll update just yet since I just got things going again. Maybe in a little while. 🙂

      Thank you for your well wishes. Really appreciate it. Hope you have a glorious week-end.

  8. says

    Hey Barbara,

    You KNOW I was feeling your pain but unlike Kumar, I can only help with so much. I’m no expert on the backend of how things work but I’m so glad you didn’t give up. I know that themes, plugins and updates can sometimes not play so well together. I hate when everyone says to uninstall all your plugins because it takes awhile sometimes to see the results so that’s hard to figure out at times too.

    I’m so glad Kumar helped you resolve these issues but I’m so sorry you lost some of your posts. That’s just strange and not sure how the heck that could even happen. But I had sent you my notes on how to backup your blog in your cPanel and I still religiously to this day do it manually. I’ve tried several different backup plugins myself only for them to fail on me too and that’s just not going to happen. I swear it only takes a couple of minutes to do and as you’re closing up shop for the day that’s when I do my backup so until you find a plugin just do it manually.

    Glad you’re back up and running and the maintenance part of our blogs is never fun but it’s a necessity. Let it go and you’ll definitely be ready to quit. LOL!!!

    Have an awesome day my friend.

    Adrienne recently posted…Why Broken Links Really Piss Me OffMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Adrienne,

      I know you know exactly how I felt. I think our problem is we know just enough to get frustrated that we don’t know how to fix something that comes up. Does that make sense 😮 Probably not, uh? What I mean is we know enough to blog and do some other small wordPress things, but not enough to fix our more serious problems. Very frustrating.

      When I first started talking to Kumar, I was unsure he could help because I had talked to Ben and Ashvini. But it was a combination of things so when we fixed one or two, things still didn’t work right.

      I don’t understand my posts are gone too. That is truly frustrating, but I’m moving on. I went back and looked for the pdf you sent me on how to back up from cpanel and I printed that. I’ll work on that tonight for sure. Thank you for reminding me that I have that. Valuable stuff! 🙂 But if I can find a plugin, I would really rather have that. One less thing to do.

      Blog maintenance! Another post, uh?

      Have a great week-end!
      Lov ya,


  9. says

    Hi Barbara.

    I loved your article. I’ve never experienced those particular problems with WordPress updates, but certainly know what it is like to fix hundreds of broken links. I had that on my previous website, until one day I just put everything aside to fix them.

    Now I spend about 5 minutes or so each day, checking everything on Google Webmaster Tools. In that way, I may see one or two errors at most, which I can fix in moments, rather than hours!

    I hope you have no more problems with your site.

    • says

      Hi Nathan,

      Thank you for visiting my site. I really appreciate that. 🙂

      Yes, I used to check Webmaster Tools for broken links every week, but life kinda gets in the way and things become so busy. I let it go for a while now I’ve got to clean up a bunch, but lesson learned, right?! I think I’ll have to put on my schedule again so I don’t get caught having to clean up a bunch later. Thanks for reminding me how I needed to do this.

      I should be good with my site from now on. And if not, I know who to contact. Kumar is a great resource!

      Again, thanks for stopping by.

      Take care for now,

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