If you blog, you’ll have problems sooner or later! Don’t worry – here’s how to get help with blog problems like crashes, broken WordPress plugins, and misplaced code…
Before the tips, a quip: “Making money from blogging requires you to do only two things: drive a lot of traffic, then maximize the income from that traffic.” ~ John Chow (a six figure affiliate marketer).
Yeah right, Mr Chow: only two things are required to make money blogging! I wish. Getting a lot of traffic is fabulous – until your blog crashes because your web host or server can’t handle the load. Mind you, you don’t have to worry about that if nobody is reading your blog – which is why a book like The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing is vital to your blog’s success.
If your blog has ever crashed, if your WordPress plugins have punched each others’ lights out, and if you’ve ever seen ugly strings of code in your blog header or footer, then this post’s for you…
Since I can’t solve every possible problem here, I’m sharing my best ways to get help when your blog has gone belly up. So far, I’ve solved every blog problem I’ve ever had (and I have six blogs and two years of blogging under my belt) with these methods…
Figure out what’s causing your problem. Some blog problems are a result of faulty WordPress plugins, plugins that don’t play well together, or plugins that don’t mesh with certain themes. Other blog problems are because of wobbly web hosts or servers, or misplaced code because of a theme glitch. Even the most experienced bloggers and computer programmers may not be able to immediately tell what’s causing the problem! But, if you can narrow it down to something specific (eg, you recently installed a new plugin and now your theme is a sickening thatch of messy code), then you’re halfway to fixing it.
Pick a theme that offers support. Yes, it’s important to find a blog theme you love looking at…but it may be equally important to find one that comes with support from the creator. I’ve tried a dozen free themes; some had theme creators who jumped at the opportunity to debug a blog or fix misplaced code. Other theme creators are less available. How do you know if a programmer or web designer is available to troubleshoot blog problems? Visit the theme’s home page and look for a forum or comments section with active questions and answers. Or, send the creator an email asking if she offers support.
Purchase a WordPress theme, and contact the creator when problems arise. I bought several themes from Solostream – including the one you’re looking at right now! They have a fantastic forum that includes all their themes (I think they have at least a dozen). Every time I have a problem (Why is everything on my blog suddenly in bold font? Where did my RSS feed icon go?), the tech support has an answer. I vividly recall agonizing over whether I should purchase a theme, and I’m so happy I did! Buying a WordPress theme is a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about making money blogging.
Install a free theme, and check the WordPress forum. My theme for See Jane Soar is called Alkivia – it was free – and the theme creators put a direct link from their Theme Options page to a section of the WordPress.org forum. This section consists of threads dedicated to questions and answers about that theme. I’ve posted two questions on that forum (How do I change my link colors? How do I remove the top “Next” and “Last” box?), and their answers are prompt and effective. Even if your theme doesn’t have a direct link like this, search the WordPress forum for solutions to your blog problems.
Ask the plugin creator. When my plugins don’t work, I often contact the plugin creator directly or through their website. They’re usually easy to find; their website is listed with the “Upload Plugin” information. Janis Elsts, who created Broken Plugins, doesn’t only have a comments section that she watches with an eagle eye, she’s also gone into one of my WordPress blogs and fixed the code for me! Many WordPress plugin creators welcome feedback and problems because it helps them debug.
Reset or deactivate all your plugins if it’s a plugin problem. WordPress plugins can create a surprising number of blog problems! Some don’t mesh well – I guess they have personality conflicts just like people do. There’s a “reset” plugin that strips down all the messy code that misbehaving plugins create, and allows you to reactivate all your plugins. A fresh start! If that doesn’t work, simply deactivating all your plugins and reactivating them one at a time can help. But, don’t forget to go to your blog and refresh it every time you reactivate a plugin, to find out which plugin is causing the problem. (If this doesn’t make sense to you, please feel free to ask about it below).
Contact your web host provider. I can’t say enough good things about my web host, Host Gator. When my blog has problems that I know aren’t related to my theme or plugins (ugh – the dreaded blog crash), I’ve always relied on Host Gator to help. They have 24 hour support through the telephone or Live Chat – which I now prefer. I think they couldn’t help me with my blog problem once, because it was a plugin issue.
Ask Google. “Why do I have misplaced code in my header or footer?” is a question that Google may be able to answer, depending on the reason your blog has that code problem. I’ve asked Google dozens of questions about blog problems, crashes, and misplaced code, and I’ve often found solutions.
Okay, it’s your turn! What do you do when you have blog problems or blog blips? I envy you if you’re married to a web designer or computer programmer…