Combining Two blogs into One A Geeks Holiday Weekend

Holiday weekends are tough on Geeks. We are supposed to be doing things outside, with family, going to community or family outings and cookouts. When all we really want to do is that geeky project we have been putting off and now we have the time to do it. Saturday, I pulled the trigger on integrating two blogs into one. It wasn’t as pretty a picture as I had hoped but all is well.

The Combining of Tucson Real Estate in the News with Tucson Real Estate

Tucson Real Estate New Theme

Tucson Real Estate New Theme

I wrote about the testing process and how that had gone on last Monday, my internet day in Hell so to speak. I planned and planned and did more testing on how to pull of this integration project.

I thought I had it pretty well worked out DUH!

First I created the 301 redirect file for all the blog posts 250 + of those. Then I did backups and more backups and wrote down the procedure like it was a check off for a NASA lift-off.

When I ran the test integration last week I noticed the pages which were duplicate on each site were integrated so I had 2 contact pages and 2 sitemap pages and 2 archive pages, etc. I didn’t want to have to delete all these duplicates once the integration was complete. I deleted each of the duplicate pages from the original blog before exporting the files.

The procedure I followed to the best of my memory LOL

  1. Delete the duplicate pages from the News Blog (the one being integrated)
  2. Export the pages, posts, categories, comments, tags using the Export Function under the Manage tab.
  3. Backup the receiving blog database using the WP Backup plugin
  4. Backup the content using the same Export function above
  5. Import the file created from the News Blog into the Tucson Real Estate Blog
  6. Upload the new .htaccess file with the 301 redirects
  7. Process complete go do something else (This didn’t happen)

Where it all went wrong

Everything proceeded according to plan till I got to step 5. After the first 65 post were integrated I got an Apache server error. I think it timed out. I repeated the process it passed those first 65 posts and said “already exists” it added another 65 posts till I got the same error. There were 250 + posts to integrate so it took 5 times running the import process to get to the bottom of the list and have the “All Done” message show up at the bottom.

Duplicate posts 5 copies

Not all the post were imported 5 times, it seemed two or three posts which were on the bubble of the 65 time out limit each time were added each time I did the import, even though it said “Already exists”.

The solution: I went to the manage tab and went month by month and removed all but the first import of the post. Everything about those posts was imported so it didn’t really matter which one I deleted just so I got it down to one.

The News blog had 7 months of content predating the other blog that is where I found the most duplicates, once I got to where those post were integrated into existing post the duplicates stopped.

Duplicate Categories

This got a little trickier. It duplicated the categories as well but it showed 4 of them with no posts in the category and all the posts in the first one created. This meant I had to be careful to delete only the empty duplicates (which I did).

I had one category show up as empty which I knew had 9 posts associated with it. Rather than try and figure out what this might be caused I I decided to close the browser now that the duplicate posts and categories had been taken care of and reopen. That did it. That category filled with the 9 posts.

The .htaccess file and redirect 301 saga

I thought it might take a little time for the new .htaccess file to “catch”. I was wrong! I got 500 server errors immediately and after waiting an hour switched back to the old file, immediately everything was back. What to do.

Try adding a few redirect lines at a time instead of all of them at once.

First 10 went well. Second 10 didn’t Then a light bulb went on.

The Easy Solutions that took hours to figure out

I had moved all the posts and categories and the permalink structure was the same on both blogs, (THIS IS IMPORTANT WHEN COMBINING TWO BLOGS) Maybe all I had to do was redirect the main directory change and that would be all I needed. A single line instead of 250+ lines.

I took the old .htaccess file and added this line

redirect 310 /tucson-real-estate-blog/ http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com/

The important part was that final / at the end of the redirect. It worked prefect. Hours of creating a huge .htaccess file with lines of 301 redirects wasn’t necessary and besides, it didn’t work.

What’s happened since Saturday Aug. 30, 2008

The reader reported from Feedburner have gone from 32 to 74 as of this writing.   The news blog was showing 87 readers when I made the integration.

The blogtopsites went from 56 to 27 as of this moment.   Traffic to the site hasn’t doubled but it has increased significantly and I suspect as the week progresses the desired effect of combining Google juice and incoming links will have the desired effect.   I’ll write an update on the progress in a month.   (Note to self Oct. 1 blog post on the integration of the two blogs).

Blogroll Change Request

If you have linked to Tucson Real Estate In the News http://www.barbaralasky.com/tucson-real-estate-blog/ in your blogroll, would you please change the link to http://www.tucsonazrealestateblog.com I would really appreciate it.

Comments

  1. Congratulations on the integration! Looks great.

    I remember my days in IT. The rest of the company got to play on the holidays while we implemented the next great thing.

    Even though losing those holidays was not fun, the satisfaction of completing a job was always worth it!

  2. Tom,

    Thanks, I spent a lot of years in IT myself and those same holiday weekends. LOL, seems like those of us bent this way find it a somewhat satisfying way to deal with holidays and the satisfaction factor is one of the biggest.

    I’m looking forward to blogging more on the combined blogs already it doesn’t seem like such a chore to come up with new fresh content when I know I only have one mouth to feed instead of two.

    Of course there are still the other blogs I write, including this one. But even combining two has lightened the load.

    Have a great week Tom.