Better Late Than Never – Redirecting Old Blog To New

I had an old blog (from 2003) that had lots of good rep and some google rank just on the fact that it was OLD. I waited for years to move it from Blogger to WordPress on the basis that I really didn’t want to lose the ranking that it still held onto.

Well, due to the fact that I am a total amateur, I went through some very damaging steps because I simply didn’t know what to do. First I used a v-e-r-y slow meta-refresh to transfer people from the old Ilona’s Garden Journal to the new Home Garden Companion site.

Not a good idea. Besides being slow, it is seen as a malicious script.

I tried turning all 1000+ posts into drafts and taking the blog private. I felt like that was shooting myself in the foot!

So, finally I got serious, looked up how to make a proper 301 redirect and bit the bullet.

For those of you who don’t want to do all the really messy, bad stuff that I did…here is the really useful, clear page of instructions complete with the code you will need to make these happen.

How To Switch Using 301 Redirects

~From WP Beginner, great info for anyone trying to work on a wp blog.

The redirects appear to work well. I don’t know if I will recover the Google ranking after all my shenanigans, but it was Bing Webmaster tools and Google info that helped me realize the importance of creating proper redirects when moving a site.

Be sure to use Bing and Google webmaster tools (both of them). They are free, don’t take much of your time, and prove extremely useful when you need to know insights about your blogs.

Hope this helps someone else trying to move their large site from Blogger to WordPress.

This is the step, AFTER migrating the posts over to the new blog.

I found that step to be pretty easy because I used the included import plugin in the WordPress installation. It worked extremely well and I only had to upload some missing pictures. Which was relatively easy.


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Online Income, The One Rule

There is only one rule and this post will outline how that rule worked for me as I’ve been working to turn my blogging hobby into an income.

The only rule about online income:

It constantly changes.

Yes, that is it. Simple, isn’t it? And yet, that is what can make it incredibly challenging.

There may have been a time when millionaires were made overnight, but if they are still looking for their online business to provide income revenues they are working hard and still hustling.

In that sense, it is the same story as with any business. Success depends on hard work, and wild success is engined by people who love the process.

…Like gazillionaire Les Wexnerexample of someone who loved the process, who built his Limited empire less for the money and more for his drive to make his business grow and succeed ( I heard him on an interview given to a PBS show).

That seems to be the factor that almost all wildly successful business people have: they are driven to compete, most of all with themselves.

You may disagree with me… if you think it is something else I would love to read your opinion in the comments.

But Back To My Story

This is about how to make money, but mostly about not worrying if you don’t (yet)
source: Ilona Erwin
source: Ilona Erwin

Right. I was going to sum up my online pathway in generating income and how that looks:

  • At first I wrote entirely as a free service to others. I benefitted the “free” hosting, and in return I didn’t have to pay money for hosting. We weren’t allowed to have competing ads on our sites.
  • Then I discovered AmazonTheir rules have changed since my early days. You will need to make a sale or two to stay in the program. For years I made $0.00 -and was doubtful that anyone could make enough to qualify for the minimum for a payout.
  • Soon after I was able to sign up for Google Adsense. That also made me nothing, and with a higher qualifying payout. At least it kept whatever pennies were earned in an accumulating amount. Eventually, years later I did get that first payment.

Alrighty- the story here is that there is a learning curve to understanding what it means to monetize blogging.

Initially I was handicapped by the idea that it was crass to have ads on a blog. Yet, my html website was given ads that weren’t even my own while at Geocities. My idea translated into:

“I can’t make money with integrity on my own writing, but it is okay for others to reap income from all my hard work”

It was hard work I most willingly gave because I loved having readers enjoy and benefit from what I was offering. I wanted them to see beauty, to be inspired, to learn from me.

I can’t emphasize enough what hard work it was. But it was fun, stimulating, and gave me creative outlet. I also cannot emphasize enough how much I needed that as a stay at home wife with ten kids.

But I was using my life to give the blogs so much time and effort, and at the same time my husband and I were struggling financially.

I needed to improve the blog, and I needed for it to pay for itself. It wasn’t until much much later that I felt it should become a business (or even had the idea that it could)

Keys To Adsense and Amazon

The keys are placement and traffic.

source: tawheed manzoor on flickr

Now more than ever, there must be enough eyeballs visiting a page to create income from these two sources. That is traffic.

For you this means that you should not give up if you don’t see results. Keep writing. Keep building your blog

Along with those two keys, which are particularly important for Amazon affiliates, is that you must have enough places where products are included included within the posts and pages of the blog. One on the front page or a few in the sidebar won’t do it, for most of us.

That was always so hard for me because I am primarily a writer. Photos were a challenge, graphics were a challenge, and now including relevant items from Amazon? Yes, it seemed to be one more hurdle to writing a good post.

For years I didn’t even try. And I made so little income I privately thought it might be a scam. But it wasn’t, I just didn’t know how it worked.

So for Adsense there are two main things- having plenty of traffic to the blog and lots of content.

For Amazon, take the time to include links to the products you are advocating anyway. I always like the magazine resource pages that told me where I could get featured items, and that is what Amazon links on a blog can do.

I usually qualify for the minimum payout for Amazon now.

That isn’t something to boast about exactly… it is small potatoes, but at least it is potatoes on the plate.

Amazon Learning Center

lensThat is what I would call my time on Squidoo. Before I participated in that writing community (which is what it was for me), I had no idea how to include products within my writing. Not really incorporate them, or write income producing pages. I just wrote.

Squidoo (It is no more, it was sold and closed) had so many tutorials and tips from many writers. It had traffic. And it shared income.

Google Adsense is very up and down for me. My sites were google slappeddrops in search engine placement due to changes in how google gives results, like their Panda update so many times, that if I depended on that to pay the hosting bills, this story would be over.

Squidoo articles added up in small increments. The more I wrote the more I was making, sometimes it would surprise me which topics and pages could give me support.

Eventually, it paid the way for my other sites, including my garden site, Ilona’s Garden. I was able to buy Premium themes, which was necessary as WordPress had become more and more complex, and my sites were hacked. (Hacking meant I had to keep everything updated, and have reliably secure themes).

There is so much more to these stories that can only hinted at here … but it shows that income switched from Google ads to Squidoo ad-sharing community.

And a side effect of those pages was that my own Amazon affiliate earnings were finally increasing. They sent me traffic, due to their liberal policies on linking and adding your own affiliate products.

Squidoo became Hubpages, and for me, the adjustment is only in format. The income levels are about on par. I have no idea how long that will last.

But that could change at any time.

And that is the point of my story, online success depends on making the changes, and keeping abreast of what works and what doesn’t.

Secondly, but Importantly

Always, for me, everything is servant to the writing. I am one of those people who likes to craft, who wants to provide my readers with something worthwhile. Something that means something to me.

Making money from this is always secondary and I have had issues and difficulties because of that.

Other Things I Won’t Compromise

  • My family comes before the blog
  • I write from my inner muse, not in response to whether it makes money
  • I must be honest as possible.

Sure I make mistakes and sometimes deviate from the path, but those are my guiding principles in what I do, to create the blogs and to build income.

More Changes That Challenge

Blogging today is so different than when I started, although I saw many of these things coming.

What I didn’t foresee is how important the visuals would become. And how it would be a more proprietary environment.

We now need to have our own professional photos. Our own professional looking graphics. Participation on many social platforms ( which means lots of writing that never finds its way to the blog.

This makes a difference in income. Presently I have plough more than I make back into this blogging adventure.

Your Takeaways From My Experience

To sum up

  • Have diverse sources of income for your blogging/writing
  • SEO and traffic building are important
  • Each manner of generating income has its own rules and learning curve. They change.
  • Implicit, but previously unsaid, is the fact that you should concentrate on growing your own blogs and creating your own products.
  • Don’t give up too soon. The one thing it all takes is patience, work, and time. If it changes, change with it.

And it ought to be fun. You ought to enjoy creating and giving, or it just isn’t worthwhile.

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Evernote Helps Organize

I’ve been organizing my life. It is a twofold process, one with decluttering and getting rid of distractions; and two, organizing resources to best access what I need to keep and use.

In my online/computer work, Evernote is proving invaluable.

I started using it ever so slowly, but now that I realize how important it is to seamlessly go from the iPhone to desktop to iPad and back, this is proving such a mind and time saver!

I am using it for blogging ideas, random notes, saved links, and clips of information. I also created a file to keep track of my blog business expenses, which are piling up as I buy hosting, domain names, graphic files, premium themes, premium access to Picmonkey and apps like that.

Evernote organizes me. I am always losing paper scraps and making notes in whatever notebook was at hand was a losing proposition! This way I put everything in one place and can find it by just logging in, or through the program on my computer. It is super easy.

Some useful ways to people use this program/app:

  1. Cooks use it for recipes, making their shopping lists, and clipping directly from a cooking webpage.
  2. Homeschoolers could gather unit study materials, teaching tips, fieldtrip ideas, lists of curriculum or materials, science experiment info, just about anything! List of addresses and phone numbers, useful videos, urls of best resources, special graphics… I wish I had this in the years I was schooling my kids. I would have made a separate notebook for each subject, and one for each child. Keeping track of goals I had set would be smooth sailing with the many ways to search and access notes.
  3. Bloggers and writers can have a field day collecting and recalling all the places they find their research. The spurts of inspiration jotted down, the bits of finely tuned prose that swirls in our heads ; all now have a safe place where we can find them .


What are the features?

  • I use it on my PC, my iPad, iPhone, and Mac Laptop. I understand it can be used also on the Blackberry and other devices.
  • Most used? Type a note, clip from webpages (or the whole thing), screenshots, photos… lots of ways to gather info and data.
  • Everything can be searched. That is a huge help when you have collated lots of things that you want to use for a topic, especially over time.
  • Making a swipe file for things you need often: blog descriptions, social urls, etc. and it become so easy to find, on any of your devices that has the app.

Need more ideas?



Almost forgot! a new feature lately is the Workchat. You can share with team members or whoever you wish, the notes and the what you are working on. Cool. You just click the button and a window pops up for collaboration.

And that graphic? I made it with Skitch which can be synced to share directly into your Evernote file.

Making Graphics The Simple Way

Since making my own graphics became really important to blogging, I used to spend large blocks of time with photoshop or paint shop pro trying to get something that looked professional.

I didn’t always succeed.

Today there are so many fabulous apps for turning your photos and graphics into something spectacular in almost no time at all.

Picmonkey Graphics

The one I have been using lately is PicMonkey and I upgraded to their premium “Royale” membership, although it is very economical and gives good results to use their site for free, too. Especially good if you want to test it out before investing your money.

I signed up for $33.00 a year, which I think is a great value. They have so many elements, fonts, and papers that it saves loads of time look or trying to make them for your pictures.
PicMonkey Photo editing made of win
I have only made a few so far, but I think the Picmonkey graphics are really an asset to my pages. View one here, my Urban Gardening page. It is grungy, and has a cool font for the text that is one of many in the editing program. The overlay makes it look like those vintage, upscale photo effects that professional photographers sometimes use.


All graphics editors have a learning curve, but this program makes it fun and easy, and there are plenty of tutorial on their blog and from users on youtube.

While I’ve used other programs, this one is something I will be spending time mastering so I can quickly create updated feature photos for my blog (one of the things that most needs improvement on my garden blog. Blurry enlarged pictures just won’t do!

That reminds me of another feature I like in the Picmonkey program: the three easy sizing options. I used the smallest file size, resolution option for my web use. Next I plant to try out bigger files saved for printing purposes and see how that works. That means I can make a printable or my own Christmas cards. ( Without having to open a whole new program).


That is the latest and greatest from my experimentations… view the video to see how easy this is to use.





How To Use Picmonkey

Try it out and come back to tell me how you have been making graphics, or if this is your first effort.

Was it easy for you? did you get the result you were hoping for? How do you use this program… to make a card? for twitter or facebook? On your own blog? Let me know.

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Assorted Tips To Help You Blog

  • People love  “how-to” posts, illustrated with photos; they love lists “10 Ways To…” and reviews.
  • Make your titles interesting, clearly related to the post topic.
  • Fill in the “alt” tags on images with descriptive keyword that identifies the subject.
  • Link to your own content within your posts.
  • Create a Newsletter and publish it with interesting things to reward your loyal fans.
  • Add at least one picture to each standard post (this is an “aside” post type).

Continue reading Assorted Tips To Help You Blog

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