Wednesday 23 April 2014

Editing with wordpress

I'm loving the experience of writing and publishing with Wordpress but it's not a flawless experience so I'm logging the things I've learn in case they help others.

Fullscreen editor with Kitchen Sink
The beauty of Wordpress is being able to just bring your words to centre stage while writing. There is a Distraction Free Writing button in the editor which makes the text full screen and hides everything else. This is just the way I have always wanted to edit but lacks one thing. The editing options I need all the time. You only get a limited selection that I rarely use. I need Heading 1 and 2 for example. The shortcuts DFW guide and more than 40 keyboard shortcuts to use in the wordpress editor

In blogger you can use keyboard shortcuts for links so the problem didn't exist but then you can't go full screen either or distraction free.

In wordpress I'm not the only one to want full screen editing with formatting buttons. They say you don't need Distraction Free editing you just need a full screen editor buy pressing ALT-Shift-G to toggle it on and off. That didn't work for me though. Either it's a windows/mac thing or (I work on moodle which has the same editor) it's a TinyMCE editor shortcut and has changed.

So I went to TinyMCE and tried the basic example. Right their I explored their menu and found that the View > Fullscreen shortcut is actually Ctrl+Alt+F. I assume its Cmd+Alt+F on mac. That works fine for me.

Problem solved.

Monday 10 March 2014

Migrate from Blogger to Wordpress

I've migrated my blog Lifeasplay to self hosted wordpress at The next step is migrating my blogger sites to self hosted wordpress.

I started with the same plugins as my other site. Then looked to import from Blogger.

I'm starting with I search for export blogger to wordpress.

So here's the process I'm using to migrate.
Importing the posts went pretty easily

Update Wordpress

For each new wordpress install I created my first task was to update it to the latest version. I consistently found that I would kick off the install process and no progress would occur. I would just see the message downloading wordpress.

What should happen is that the page slowly fills with all the completed update tasks and then an upgrade complete message appears. This generally didn't happen. The quick fix I found was to install another plugin and then come back and update wordpress. I reasoned that the update process was either not configured correctly first time or caching faulty data. Updating a plugin reset the process and it worked fine after that.

I don't know if this is specific to my hosting. I'm surprised I had problems with such a basic process as upgrading a fresh install but I share this incase it helps anyone.


These weren’t imported  by the importer so I just created and moved them myself.



Copy the site name and tagline from blogger to wordpress


I need to find something suitable. My template had a specific image.


I need to finish the redirection part of the guide. I adjusted the permalink structure. Now I need to adjust the blogger template to redirect to


How do I get them from blogger?


Promotion and redirection is the same for my self hosted wordpress site
  • Directories:I signed up competitive urge with a bunch of blogging directories. These need changing
  • social accounts: Adjust my blog url on sites like favebook. twitter, gplus

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Migrating from to self hosted wordpress

I've migrated my blog Lifeasplay to self hosted wordpress at so I thought I would share the process.

To make the process smooth I follow the excellent guide Going self-hosted: my step-by-step guide for users.

The extra details I would add are the plugins I have installed. Being a newbie to wordpress I'm going with the basic plugins I've been recommended. If you are like me I though this would be helpful. Most of these were recommended by the majority of people, books and blogs I consulted.


  • Jetpack: An amazing plugin that seems to do everything
  • All In One SEO Pack
From the book word press for beginners
  • Google XML Sitemap 
  • wp dbmanager 
  • contact form 7 
  • wp policies: Pages are hidden by default. Add them to the theme footer. The Plugins main page tells you how 

Wordpress isn't very secure by default. A friend suggested these plugins to lock it down.
  • BulletProof Security 
  • Look-See Security Scanner 
  • WP-Sentinel 


What I still have to do is tell the world my blog has moved
  • Add to blog lovin and the other blog sites I have registered with
  • Submit the site xml through Google webmaster if the plugins haven't already done this.

Monday 3 March 2014

Planning my blog migration

I like to plan and experience has shown me this saves a ton of pain later. My blogs have become really important to me which is why I am moving them in the first place. Of course I have a specific plan in mind and I have to talk to my new hosting company to see how best to achieve it.

Aidan from TSOHost emailed yesterday with the nice and professional mail
Thank you for your order, please let us know if you need any help in future.
This is why I went with them. So this morning I have replied to mail with my first set of questions.

I've included the text of the mail because you may have similar questions. It feels weird to share because it feels private but then I realised it's not. It's the future of this blog and all my others. This blog may become fit2thrive with my others being divisions of it e.g. and 

What I actually end up with may change but you may be interested in my current vision. I like it when others share their plans about their blogs, apps and things so I'm doing the same. I haven't gone into all the detail yet. I thought I would let that come out in time. 

So here is the mail I sent them. 

Thanks Aidan,
I've got multiple blogs to import so I'm picking the easiest first leaving the hardest until last.

My first task is to migrate my existing blog lifeasplay. It's a wordpress blog and I need to migrate it to wordpress on my tsho hosting. There are a few questions I have first

1) Sub domains: I want lifeasplay to be a subdomain of my main account with the url Before I do anything like install wordpress I want to understand how you guys achieve this.

Do you point subdomains at:
  1. specific directories on the same server
  2. separate servers or instances 
This then leads onto questions about how I will set up wordpress. Will I have multiple instances to maintain or just one instance.

I assume this is a common question so I would prefer your lead on achieving this best on your site.

2) Free migrations. Do I simply tell you what I want and you sort it out or do you need more from me. I'd like to see how you guys set things up atleast once so I can use this as a template for later. It would get me started much faster.

I believe you will need login details for the sites to migrate. I can supply these when needed.

I'm just starting the conversation first.



Friday 28 February 2014

What are TSOHost like to buy from?

Following on from my Search for wordpress hosting I will now share the experience of signing up with them and moving my blogs over. 

I'm planning a slow migration while I learn Wordpress in more depth, figure out the plugins I want and deal with migration issues. I'll move my smaller blogs first and learn the process before attempting Colchambers because with over 500 posts I need practice beforehand.

Account Details

I went for wordpress hosting on the professional grade. The free domain name I bought was


What impressed me right away was being able to pay through paypal. Services like this usually seem to use bricks and mortar credit and debit cards which are clunky. Paypal is a much nicer approach

mails of invoice and receipt came through instantly along with the new account details.


When you buy your domain you get a mail confirming your registration. It starts with

Hi Colin,
The domain name has been successfully registered. The details of your domain are as follows:
I like that in the mail they make it clear you own your domain and aren't locked in. Their words are:
Advanced Users: If you have hosting elsewhere, you can point this domain elsewhere by logging into and changing the nameservers or DNS settings.
 I like companies that believe in their ability to keep your loyalty without locking you in. It's good business in my eyes.


I did get a strange mail during the regeistration process.
Hi Colin,
Thank you for registering the domain name with Tsohost. In order to complete the registration, the registry require additional information to be provided.
Please visit my.Tsohost to supply these details. We will then re-attempt your domain registration.
Should you have any problems or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.
I've never had this type of email before when registering domains and there was no detail about the problem. I logged into my account and checked and found no more information. Not a good start!!!

I quickly emailed TSOHost and got a courteous and clear reply about 5 minutes later. The bad formatting of this response is down to blogger. It's part of the reason I'm leaving.
Hi Colin,
Our apologies for that.
It looks like that e-mail is in error.
I suspect there may have been a momentary delay in the registration process which caused our accounting system to log it as a failure.
The domain is registered, so that should function perfectly well once you've added that to the Hosting Account as a new site.
Please feel free to let me know if you require any further assistance.
Kind Regards,
 I can live with mistakes when I'm supported like this. So my confidence is restored.


So far I'm happy but of course that was the easy part. Next I've got to configure my account and start a migration. That's where the fun should start :-)

Wednesday 26 February 2014

How I submitted my Blogger sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools

So I came across my account at Google Webmaster Tools and couldn't help but have a look through. To my surprise I hadn't submitted my blogger sitemaps to Google. I did so years ago for this colchambers blog so I already had a guide but I thought I would just have a quick check to see if things had changed and also because I had forgotten what I did in the first place. 


I found a good set of instructions in How To Submit Blogger Sitemap To Google Webmaster Tools? and followed them. 

The only problem is that this describes adding only an atom rss feed. For colchambers I have submitted both an Atom and an RSS 2.0 feed. I forget why but in fact it proved useful. The atom feed had two errors yet the RSS 2.0 feed had none. 

RSS 2.0

I see them as backups. If one feed has errors the other will work fine. The sitemap tools have facilities for hundreds of sitemaps implying that there is nothing wrong with adding multiples. So that is what I did. 

To add this additional site map I simply used what I tried adding /feeds/posts/default at first in the way suggested for the atom feed. This worked fine but only returned 25 responses. I expect google works fine with this because it's just returning the most recent items but since the Atom feed could return 500 I wanted 500 in this feed too. 


This resulted in each sitemap submitting the same number of articles. Currently each sitemaps is shown as an atom feeding but they are still pending. I'll see if this changes when they are accepted. I compared with colchambers and the sitemaps there are categorised correctly. 

I hope this helps. Maybe you have a better way. I am not sure if the max results is required because colchambers seems to have been working fine with the standard feeds but then I haven't really researched and analysed this area thoroughly. 

At least I have now submitted my sitemaps to google. I can see if this has an impact in traffic or any other discernable impact. 

Monday 24 February 2014

Using AWS

I don't really know what AWS is other than it's a cloud based it infrastructure.

You get account details:


Key questions

  • AWS native or supplier like Bitnami?: Do I use AWS as it is or go through a 3rd party supplier and checkout the marketplace
  • Do I just stick with the hosting I have bought for now. Figure out AWS over time? It seems very complicated for now.
  • Do I just need to understand what AWS is instead of forcing PHP on it? Is it ready out of the box. e.g a data store on demand?

Simple DB

  •  Online games: Docs mention it is good for games