A strange new bug in WordPress.com caused What Do I Do With My New WordPress.com Blog (and others) to release three days early. The date on the post was for July 29, and yet it posted without my knowledge on July 26.
Unfortunately, it released in the middle of the night and I woke up to no Internet access for hours. During that time, a lot of people found it, loved it, and linked to it.
Before I saw that it was released, I had awoken realizing I’d made a big error in the article (left an important part out). As I’ve described before, I work with two tab windows open in Firefox with the Administration Panel in one and a view of the site in another. As soon as I had Internet access, I hit refresh on the site view, and before it finished loading, I switched to the Administration Panels to edit the article. I made my fix, hit save, and then switched to the view of my site and screamed.
The post was there. For all to see. Even with the error. This has to be a mistake! I hit the refresh buttons and the post was gone. Whew! I escaped an unfortunate icky. Glad that wasn’t released yet.
I then switched back to the Administration Panels and found a bunch of comments and trackbacks to the article. The unpublished yet published article. The article now sitting back where it belongs for posting on July 29. Yikes!
I’ve notified the WordPress.com developers of the bug and problem. I’m awaiting a response. In the meantime, we have a problem, Houston.
What To Do When Your Link Dates Go Astray
If I release the article now, it will have the URL date of
2006/07/26 when it currently has, and is linked to by many, a URL of
2006/07/29. I’ve tested it and if I change the date, it’s Page Not Found. If I leave it to post on July 29, then it is a Page Not Found error, but it will work and everyone who linked to the article will have working links.
So I’m in a quandary. I know that most of you will say release it. Once the cat’s out of the bag, it’s out. But how do I account for everyone who already linked to it (traffic has been heavy hitting on that article so far!)? How do I get them to change all their links to my article? An announcement here? Come on, I might be popular but do you think that many people are going to even read this and then go back and edit their posts?
And what do I do about all the people eager to read this? Make them wait?
This would be a very easy fix if I had access to my site’s
.htaccess file which allows for easy redirects. Having had a similar problem recently, and debating that decision of having a misspelled word in a URL, I know that there is little I personally can do to fix this problem with my WordPress.com blog.
Though, there is something I can say. I’d like to take this moment to do a favorite rant of mine AGAINST DATES IN URLs.
I see no reason, none at all, and never have, for putting a date in a web address/URL. If you are a newspaper or timely media, and the “when” is critical, then great. It works for you. And you alone.
Personal bloggers blogging about their life in diary form, they can have the dates of their posts visible on their post pages. They don’t need them in the address. Who cares? Do you really care if Harry met Sally on July 20 or July 22? Is it really that important? Maybe to the writer, but definitely not to the reader.
The majority of web pages out there are not time or date oriented. An article I wrote on photographing patterns in nature isn’t going to change from 5 years ago or 50 years in the future. What? Are they going to invent some new patterns to photograph? I don’t see that as a major area of research today, do you? So who cares if I wrote the article in 1996 or 2096? Or yesterday? The information is still valid. The date does not belong in the URL.
Website addresses are a pain anyway. Since WordPress doesn’t really use folders or directories, these are just a made up link. The pages are generated and a technique called “permalinks” turns the links into “pretty links” with the date and post title. Why not save some coding and processing and either remove the date or shorten it?
If the article’s URL was one of the following, this wouldn’t be an issue. The post would still show up and I wouldn’t be ranting and raving about it:
It is well known by fans of search engine optimization (SEO) that search engines pay attention to the words in links. So why would it help us to
- Have dates in the link URL.
- Push the words deeper within the link text.
My recommendation has always been to keep it simple:
Or to use categories:
The problem with using categories is that WordPress treats categories as tags, and therefore encourages multi-categories for each post, so that post URL could easily be:
That doesn’t help either.
Still, I am not dissuaded from my rant. I think dates should be OUT of URLs. No dates in permalinks, unless you got a very good reason.
Do you honestly pay attention to the dates in the URLs and judge the worthiness of the content based upon the date in the address? Really? Most URLs are hidden on web pages anyway. Have you been peeking? ;-) Shame on you!
What To Do About What to Do With My New WordPress.com Blog?
Right now, I’m leaving it, hoping for an answer soon from WordPress.com support. I apologize to everyone for this recent mess, and I hope it will be cleared up. If I could offer any form of redirect here, I would.
As for those who are seeking the article on What Do I Do With My New WordPress.com Blog, it will be here soon. Sooner, hopefully.
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network