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Troubleshooting WordPress Problems

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wordpress-logo-200It’s what every blogger fears. Something has gone wrong with their blog. It could be something minor, such as, as with my case, excerpts not working, or it could be something major, such as the site’s home page being nothing more than an error.

This is not the time to panic. Most problems with WordPress are easily corrected but there is a very real risk that, by attempting to fix the problem through the wrong methods, you may do more damage than the issue itself.

So take a deep breath and start troubleshooting the problem. To best do that, you have to first understand exactly what is going on and then take precautions to prevent the problem from getting worse before you take any additional steps. Fortunately, the process is actually fairly easy and most of it can be done by just about anyone.

Step 1: Understand the Problem

The first step is always to try and figure out exactly what is going on. If you get an error message, search for it using Google. Odds are you are not the first to see the error and you’ll likely find some good resources that explain the problem and how to fix it. Pay special attention to any results that come from the WordPress.org forums as they are likely going to be your best resources.

This should help you deal with any of the common mistakes. Issues such as bad database passwords and so forth are common enough that a quick Google search can find both the problem and the solution.

If you don’t have a specific error message, meaning that something is simply going wrong, try to replicate the problem and test different scenarios. If it is a problem in the admin panel, try logging in from different accounts. If it is a problem with posting comments, try logging in as yourself and posting as well as posting as a stranger.

When you think you understand the exact problem, try describing the symptoms in a Google search and see what you find. Even if you aren’t successful, you will still have a better handle on the problem and can better diagnose it down the road.

2. Consider the Changes

Next, think about if you’ve done anything to your site recently that might have triggered the problem. Especially with obscure problems, it may have taken you a few days to notice the issue so be prepared to stretch your memory in those cases. Here’s a list of some of the more common things that can trigger problems in WordPress.

  1. Updating WordPress Itself
  2. Installing/Updating Plugins
  3. Changing a Setting
  4. Moving to a New Host
  5. Switching Themes

In short, anything you did to alter or change your WordPress install any way, including many things that seem innocent, can cause problems. This is why it is important to keep track of what you’re doing in case something goes wrong.

3. Backup

By now you probably have either figured out what likely caused the problem or what the more common solutions via your searching. Either way, you’re probably ready to take some kind of action but, before you do, it is worthwhile to take a moment to backup.

If you don’t have a good, recent backup of your site it is imperative that you make one now. Specifically, you need to make sure you have a copy of your WP-Content directory, specifically your plugins, themes and uploads folders, as well as a copy of your database, which will likely be obtained from your Web host’s control panel.

Even though your site isn’t working perfectly, there is likely still plenty of useful data that may be in danger of being overwritten.

4. Follow Advice from Steps 1 & 2

If you got a tip on how to resolve an issue from one of your searches or can think of something that you did recently and can easily undo, take that step now. This can include following directions on the WordPress forums, deactivating a plugin you recently installed or reverting back to an old theme.

If any of these things fix the issue, you at least know what caused the problem and can move forward without it, at least until the problem is patched.

5. Check Your Plugins

If there was no help available, your recent action couldn’t be easily undone (such as with a WordPress upgrade) or the steps didn’t solve your problem, a good place to start looking is your plugins.

Deactivate all of your plugins and see if that corrects the problem. If you can’t access the admin panel, you can use FTP to rename the plugin directory temporarily. If that fixes the problem, then you can assume it is one of your plugins creating the issue. You can then reactivate one plugin at a time until the problem resurfaces, letting you know which plugin is causing the problem.

These types of issues are especially common after WordPress updates its core files as many plugins have compatibility issues with new versions. Once you have everything working, you can check to see if there are any updates for your plugins that may address the issue.

6. Check Your Database

Using your site’s control panel, open up your database and, if possible, perform a “repair” on it. This will fix any errors in the database and ensure that everything is running as smoothly as possible. This should only take a few moments on a large database and is relatively safe to do. However, once again, it is important to have a backup available in case data is lost.

7. Reinstall WordPress

If it is not a plugin issue, then you may want to make sure you have a good clean install of WordPress, especially if you just did an upgrade. Sometimes core files can become corrupted and create some odd errors. Download a new copy from WordPress’s site and upload it via FTP.

Generally this is safe to do with a good FTP program, but it is especially important to have your backup ready in the event something goes wrong.

8. Ask for Help

Nearly all WordPress problems are beaten by this point but, in the event you’ve gotten to this point and nothing has worked, it is time to ask for help. I would submit a post to the official WordPress forums and get the help of the gurus there. If your problem seems to be related to a specific theme or plugin, you should probably ask your question on its site.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to do so publicly. Remember, if others were hesitant to ask for help in the public sphere, there would be no results for others to search for.

In short, by asking for help and discussing your problem on a public site, you’re assisting those who follow you to find the answer they seek. They find the answer faster and the same question doesn’t have to be asked hundreds of times.

Bottom Line

If you’ve got a WordPress problem, the most important thing is to not panic. Most of the problems can be easily addressed though, if you go in and start tearing things apart right off the bat, you may damage your site in ways that can’t be repaired.

Taking your time and being methodical will not only help you get your site online faster, but ensure that it’s available for a long time to come.

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Blogging

Why Cold Pitching and Bartering Do Not Work in Blogging

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2 words: nobody cares.

I just checked my email. One stranger who came in cold – as strangers always do – emailed me a reply:

“Is that your lowest price?”

I deleted his email. On a day when feeling less compassionate, I junk the email. Label it as spam. Why?

Nobody cares.

I genuinely care about someone who genuinely cares about me. I do not care much about a stranger who tries to barter with me when he ignored the email where I told him my final, fixed, non-negotiable price. Thousands of strangers have tried this approach. Thousands of strangers get ignored.

Nobody cares.

That was one of the bartering emails.

I received a handful of cold pitch emails. Bloggers emailed me as strangers, asking to guest post on my site. 90% did not even bother to address me by name.

2 words: nobody cares. Meaning, I do not care about them. I delete. I ignore. I move on.

I checked my spam folder to delete the emails. I scanned. 3 more pitch emails popped up in spam. The bloggers pitching through these emails pissed off enough bloggers to ensure; all future emails of theirs land in spam. Try building a blogging business from the spam folder. I dare you.

Genuinely, nobody cares.

Analogy

Imagine someone knocking on the door of your home right now. Go ahead. Visualize this scenario.

This person wants to sell you a vacuum cleaner. You shut the door in their face unless you are 1 of 1,000,000 people who would actually buy a vacuum from a stranger at your door. The remaining 999,999 human beings either buy one on Amazon or via their local department store.

Save the 1 person, nobody cares about a stranger who blindly pitches their sales services or who blindly pitches an opportunity at the door of their home. Just like nobody cares about a stranger who blindly pitches them a guest posting opportunity.

Nobody cares.

How to Get People to Care

If you want people to care enough to buy your blogging course or to feature you on their blogs, care about them.

If you want to land on Blogging From Paradise just do these things:

  • spend 3-6 months promoting me on your blog
  • spend 3-6 months promoting me on social media
  • publish 2-3 posts weekly
  • practice writing daily; offline

I begin to care about people who care about me generously and genuinely.

You stand out from the thousands of strangers who I do not care about when you care about me. It is such an easy tactic to build bonds with leading bloggers. Simple, too. Care about me as a human being. Ask for nothing. Expect nothing. Pay your blogging dues. Be generous. Be genuine. Be patient. Be persistent. Guaranteed; you will stand out from the crowd eventually. You have to, because generosity is always repaid in some way, shape or form down the road.

My generous, skilled friends get links on Blogging From Paradise for free.

Strangers need to pay my rate. If a stranger tries to barter my rate after I noted my fixed, non-negotiable, price, I delete the email. I may spam the email. People who do not have enough respect for me to read the entire email belong in spam. Landing in spam is the blogging business kiss of death; you will fail blogging for 1,000 years if your emails wind up in spam. The Blogging Scarlet Letter is S, for Spam.

Just freaking care about bloggers. How hard is that? Stop focusing on yourself and your needs and what you want to GET out of me and do some GIVING. Fool proof, simple, powerful way to build a successful blog. Plus you will have the money to invest in sponsored posts so you need not try to barter like a cheapie. Plus you will receive more and more free links on top blogs.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

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Blogging

Why Insta-Impatience Damages Your Blogging Campaign

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I posted a few images on Instagram right now.

Sweet snaps from Thailand.

Instantly, a few generic, lifeless, bland, spam comments popped up. Nice post. I love your profile. Keep up the great work.

These people get swept up in the culture of Instagram Impatience. A hefty majority of Instagrammers want something for nothing. Spam commentors want me and my followers to click on their profile link to Like their updates and to buy their stuff. Being too impatient to:

  • address me by name
  • make a specific comment clearly related to the photo

I ignore their spam. Wasted time. Wasted energy.

Some of these fools take it even further into blogging delusion, believing their Instagram profile is an actual blog. You do not own Instagram. You sit on rented real estate. You can be evicted at any time for any reason. Plus you have nil branding potential on Instagram. But I digress.

If you allow Insta-Impatience to bleed into your blogging campaign you will:

  • want something for nothing
  • spam fellow bloggers with generic comments
  • destroy your reputation
  • struggle
  • fail

Good things take time. Impatience breeds failed ventures.

Monks, Fish and Thailand

I observe Buddhist monks walk on alms every morning here in Pong Noi, Thailand. We live by a temple.

Monks are poised, patient, calm individuals who built up these qualities through meditation and by renouncing a worldly life. If you give everything up you cultivate detachment. If you are detached, patience is your natural state.

Inst-Impatience is the polar opposite of a Buddhist monk vibe. You want 5, 10 or 100 Likes in a split second. You want sales in a split second. You fear waiting. You fear working. You fear wasting time creating and connecting. Apply this vibe to your blog and you will fail because you skip the stuff you need to do to succeed.

I recall the Japanese Wisdom spouted concerning cooking a fish; overcook fish and it becomes shoe leather, under cook fish and it remains raw. At best, under cooked fish tastes terrible (unless it is sushi). At worst, you become horribly ill consuming under cooked fish.

Inst-Impatience creates a raw, unfinished, unpolished blog. Best scenario; people take a bite, hate the taste and leave. Worst scenario; people trash your blog and brand, you lose your reputation and your blogging business fails.

Solution

Be generous, patient and persistent. I spend little time on IG to avoid the culture of mass impatience over there. People expect to make a fortune with 3 lines of copy and 20 hashtags.

Good things take time, energy and generous effort.

Look here:

I have helped people on the Warrior Forum since 2010.

I have written 5,361 posts.

There are no shortcuts to successful blogging.

Patience, Grasshopper, patience.

Follow the lead of Jane Sheeba and Sue-Ann Bubacz. Both bloggers patiently, generously and persistently create value and build bonds. Both bloggers know success is a marathon, not a sprint.

Do not panic. Do not lose patience.

Blogging Becomes Easier with Your Generosity and Patience

I would only write one post weekly a decade ago. I was not generous. I was stingy. I struggled because blogging simply mirrored back my stinginess to me.

At 10:25 AM Thailand time on a Sunday morning I have:

  • published 2 posts on Blogging From Paradise
  • published this guest post
  • broadcast live on Facebook
  • mentioned 2 of my blogging buddies above
  • commented genuinely on blogs

Each bullet point is generosity. The more patiently I have displayed such generosity the more easily worldly blogging success finds me.

Give freely.

Be patient.

Receive generously.

 

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Blogging

What Is the Harshest Blogging Wake Up Call?

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My harshest blogging wake up call occurred nearly a decade ago.

I would write and publish one post weekly. I spent 1 hour writing and publishing the post.

I spent the rest of the week:

  • watching TV
  • watching YouTube
  • working out
  • hanging out with friends

After a good year of following this routine I saw a few visitors to my blog daily. I recall 3 daily visitors for many months, stumbled upon my blog.

I experienced a big time blogging wake up call; you cannot build a successful blog by listening to music and watching TV all day long, minus the 1-2 hours you spend blogging, weekly.

The harshest wake up call: blogging gives you what you give blogging.

Blogging Gives You What You Give Blogging

I know of a few bloggers who complain about having terrible business prospects. When will they get more clients? When will they get more traffic? When will they make more money? I mean, they have been blogging for 5 to 10 years already. Things should be growing SO much more quickly right now, they say.

These individuals will get more clients when they stop watching Netflix all day. Do you want to be a professional Netflix watcher or a professional blogger? Pro Netflix watchers spend hours daily watching Netflix. Not sure how well that job pays. Professional bloggers spend 6-8-10 hours daily:

  • creating helpful content through your blog, through guest posts and through videos
  • building your friend network by generously promoting other bloggers and by genuinely commenting on their blogs
  • freely promoting your premium products and services through each piece of content you create
  • generously following the prior 3 steps for months

The person who follows each bullet point for months, then years, sees more and more clients. Traffic increases over time. Blogging profits increase over time. Blogging gives them what they give blogging.

Janice Wald is always after it. She’s a hustler. Follow her for inspiration.

Ditto for Saurabh Tiwari. He is one of the most dedicated bloggers I know. Follow him for inspiration.

Do Not Fight Good Advice

I have personally coached bloggers who fight my smart advice. These people say networking is not for them. These folks resist creating content because they do not want to force it. This crowd ignores good advice, then goes back to watching Netflix or sports for the next 3 hours.

If you fight good blogging advice, you will struggle and fail. It has to be that way; you are doing the opposite of what it takes to succeed. Put your ego to the side. Follow smart advice. Succeed.

Listen to the guy with this home office in Thailand. He knows what he’s talking about.

Your mind wants you to fail because it fears the fears you need to face to become a successful blogger. I feared facing deep fears years ago, so spent most of my time and energy doing everything BUT blogging. You may nod, then, go back to watching Netflix or YouTube for the next 2 hours. 2 weeks down the road, after you spent only 2 hours of your time and energy blogging daily, you feel frustrated and want to quit because you have signed up no new clients, money seems to be running out and no business looks promising, on the horizon.

It is 100% YOUR CHOICE to spend 6 hours watching Netflix today and 2 hours blogging. You are doing this. You are making this choice.

It is 100% YOUR CHOICE to make a massive shift; spend 8 hours creating content and building connections, today.

Blogging just mirrors back to you your choices and energy, you make every waking hour of every day.

Right now, you have the next 8-10 hours to generously help people through creating and networking, or you choose to focus on yourself, watching TV, streaming Netflix, hanging out with friends.

Spend those 8-10 hours daily blogging for 3-6 months, and eventually, you will see more clients.

100% your choice, your decision, your energy, your commitment to blogging success.

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