wordpress.com posts

WordPress.com redirects don’t support HTTPS

Gah. Apparently wordpress.com is discouraging ‘https’ for self-hosted blogs: Their redirection service does not allow any protocol but ‘http’. I could swear it did when I first set it up, as I remember typing in my URL with ‘https’ and I thought I tested it with curl -I to make sure it works, but the docs have an explicit note saying:

Note: Site redirects will only point to a non-ssl ( http:// ) url.

I don’t remember seeing it before, but the wayback machine suggests it was there since 2013, well before I switched to self-hosted.

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WordPress code plugin, a quick solution

I’m slowly copying the markdown versions of my posts after my recent move of this blog. It really is tedious, and I don’t think I’ll finish anytime soon, so in the meantime I created a plugin to output the [ code] shortcode that wordpress.com put in my post export in the same way that markdown does. This is the first plugin and shortcode I’ve created in a long while, but it was relatively quick to do working off of my posts on plugins and shortcodes. The biggest time consumer was figuring out how to deal with whitespace issues. Apparently, WordPress sometimes will add <p> and <br /> to shortcode content. Also, there were leading and trailing line breaks adding unnecessary space. My quick solution:

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Blogs moved and merged

This weekend, I moved my wordpress.com “professional” (web development) blog and my “personal” blog both to my main website and merged them together. I had been planning on moving my blog from wordpress.com for a while, but recent problems with writing posts with code blocks pushed me to finally take the plunge. I’ve also been feeling like maintaining a separate personal and professional site might be more trouble than it’s worth. I do worry that the different sort of audiences that would go to the one wouldn’t want to see the content from the other and vice versa. I might be less inclined to write some personal stuff on my professional blog. But I think I will be able to find ways to mitigate those issues and make it work well.

Both sites are now redirecting to my main site. I had to pay wordpress.com ($13 a year) for the privilege, but I think it is worth it considering the “link juice” I have with that blog. I will probably continue paying for at least several years. With the use I’ve gotten out of WordPress so far, they’ve probably earned it.

There are still some things to fix:

  • The content imported from my professional blog didn’t bring over the markdown formatting, and thus all of the code blocks are messed up. I am going to have to manually copy them over one by one from the wordpress.com admin as far as I can tell. A pain.
  • I accidentally deleted all of the media files imported from the wordpress.com due to the way I deploy my site. I’m going to have to reimport on a local install and upload, then make sure my deploy ignores that directory. Hopefully the redirect I set up doesn’t cause problems for this.
  • There is plenty of non-blog content on my personal site that I will need to move to my main site. I don’t have any real “link juice” with that site, so I can move things wherever I see fit or not copy it at all if it doesn’t seem worth keeping.
  • The theme is just a slightly modified ‘twenty fifteen’. I’m going to have to decide what I want to do with it to better integrate it into the rest of my site.

My eventual plans are to move my blog out of WordPress and into the same system I’m using for the rest of my site. I may lose some things in the process, including possibly my connection to the WordPress project, but I will gain control.

I had a number of problems during my move, but am way too tired to write about them currently. Hopefully they’ll make for a few posts this upcoming week.

New Theme Again

It wasn’t long with that last theme. It had some undesirable issues, such as the cut off code blocks, no page tabs, and a few general appearance things. I had looked at this Monochrome theme before and skipped over it because it lacked differentiation for “code” blocks. However, I’ve discovered that it does put any “pre” blocks into boxes, and they have overflow set so that any cut off width can be scrolled to. So now I’ll just have to go back and put everything in “pre” blocks, and it should be much more readable.

The theme is very clean and simple and almost monochromatic, fitting better with the current theme on my own site. I like how post meta information is set to the side in such a way that makes it more readable as well as the post. I don’t like the dates on pages, but I’ll live with that. There is a fair amount of “white” space, making things more readable, comfortable, airy.

I would like it to have a flexible width, so that my code blocks don’t have to be so scrunched if they don’t need to be. It lacks header differentiation, but it doesn’t seem to matter as much since the headers stand out less in general and the break in meta information differentiates posts. It uses a fair amount of medium-gray on semi-dark gray, which does not pass WCAG luminosity ratio requirements and thus can be hard to read: I’ll live with that for the other benefits I’m getting.

WordPress.com: Webmaster Tools and Site Explorer

I’ve been using Google’s Webmaster Tools and more recently Yahoo’s Site Explorer for my other sites.  They allow me to see crawl errors, keywords and some query ranking info, crawl statistics, and some other search engine related info as well as set some settings for how these engines handle my sites.

Because of the way these sites validate ownership of submitted sites (an uploaded file or a meta tag), I didn’t think I’d be able to use them with WordPress.com.  However, with a little searching, I found this page, which says how to do it.  In fact, had I payed more attention when exploring the admin section of my account, I might have noticed that the capability is built into the “Tools” page.

You just submit the URL like for other sites, then choose to validate with the meta tag.  Copy the meta tag and paste it into a specified field in that “Tools” page.  “Save Changes” and then press the validate button on Google or Yahoo.

This worked instantly on Google.  For some reason, Yahoo is just saying “Failed”.  Since it says it may take 24 hours to validate, I guess I’ll have to wait.  You’d figure a message other than failed would be used to say that it hasn’t been validated yet, but I’ve looked at the source of the page and verified the meta tag was there.

[Update 1/24/10] Finally Yahoo has validated by retrying. I had done this a few times spaced out after the initial setup, but it had just failed. I’m not sure why it finally worked. [update]