This one is a freebie. If you want to learn the basics of becoming an online freelance writer, download So You Want to Be a Freelance Writer (also available in Kindle format).

Blog Consolidation Process    

Old TechnologyAs I mentioned before, these next few posts are brain dumps for me. I decided to consolidate all but 7 of my blogs. My goal is to complete the consolidation process in 30 days. The process goes something like this:

  1. Copy the post from the old blog
  2. Paste it into the new blog
  3. Copy and paste images from the old blogging directory into the new blog’s image directory and make the appropriate image location changes in the post. I don’t want the new blog to access images from the old blog location because eventually, the old blog will be discontinued. Once the old blog is gone, so are the images.
  4. Insert a 301 redirect in the old blog’s .htaccess file.

A Little More about 301 Redirects

If you own your own domain and pay for your own hosting, you should have a an .htaccess file in your root directory. This text file is the key to a smoothly running  and secure blog.

By inserting a few lines of code, you can redirect your visitors from your old blog to your new. Since I’m taking my time and moving one article at a time, I choose to make a separate entry for each post as I move it.

For example:

Let’s say that I move my I Love NY post from my old blog located at www.oldblog.com to my new blog located at www.newblog.com. The URL for the new post now looks something like this: www.newblog.com/I-love-ny.

When a visitor goes to the old blog and looks for the post, I want them automatically redirected to the new blog so I insert the following line in my .htaccess file on the old blog:

redirect 301 /I-love-ny/ http://www.newblog.com/I-love-ny/

New TechnologyEasy peasy. If you use this method, make sure your character spacing is correct. Adding one too many or too few spaces in the URL or between URLs will prevent your old blog from displaying. You’ll get an internal server 500 error message (I’m speaking from experience here).

If you get the message, go back to your .htaccess file and either fix or remove the last entry until you can figure out what you did wrong,

Once I have all of the posts transferred to the new blog, I then go back to the old blog and include a final redirect, which points the entire domain to the new domain as follows:

redirect 301 /index.php http://www.newblog.com/

What to Do After it’s Consolidated

After the blog is consolidated, I allow the old blog to sit there until the domain name expires. Fortunately, my blog domains don’t expire for several months so it gives me enough time to make sure that everything is properly transferred.

According to this article on Google’s webmaster support blog,  Google recommends (remember this is a recommendation, not a law) that you keep the old domain active for 180 days after the transfer to avoid confusion.  I think that recommendation is especially important if you are consolidating large sites. In my case, I have two blogs of about 100 posts, but the rest are all 30 posts or less.

Hmmm, 100 posts, I might have to re-think my 30-day timeline for consolidating 14 blogs.

Next: Blog Maximization


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About the Author: Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites which include Tidbits and Stuff, BLULOW, A Dose of Health and a few other sites/blogs scattered around the internet.

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  1. Angela says:

    I’d renew the old domain name permanently, if there are lots of incoming links. I consolidated two sites in 2009 and still get tons of hits on the old site (which is completely 301-redirected) because so many websites don’t update their links. It’s $8 a year so totally worth it.

  2. Terr says:

    Thanks Felicia, as always. I will bookmark this for future reference.

    As far the selling of domain names, would you or Grandma mind posting the site where we could find out our domain name value?

    Personally, I am looking to expand into domain name buying and selling in the next year. It’s one of the many profit resources online that those in the know make money from.

    Besides, since it’s been said that our hosted sites are like online real estate, we should know how what our real estate value is, right?

    • Felicia says:

      Terr, my best advice is to do a Google search for “domain value” or something like that. Some sites inflate the value while others don’t. Check out a few of them to get a domain value range.

  3. Years ago, when I was crazier and set up blogs for fun, I had one with a highly hyphenated name. I didn’t know better. Weirdly, it would get a lot of traffic, but I did nothing about it. Later, I consolidated its posts into one of my current blogs. Since both were blogspot properties, all I had to do was export-import an xml file and magically, those posts just adjusted themselves chronologically on the destination blog. So, peace there.

    I guess I’d better do some virtual house-cleaning. I started some blogs with big intentions but have had the time to manage only three :-), which don’t even make money, really. The funny thing is, I don’t even mind that because I enjoy writing there. Maybe I should figure out how to do that. Right now there seems enough on my plate. But a few dollars more never hurt anyone :-D.

    Felicia – I have to tell you this. Just now, I was deeply involved in writing something and I just glanced at my mailbox for a reference when I saw an alert from you and came running over to read. You’re so distracting, and am so glad about that.
    Vidya Sury, Freelance Writer & Blogger recently posted..Conversations

    • Felicia says:

      Vidya, you get it. You understand that it’s important to enjoy what you do and the money will follow. It took me a long time to understand that and now it’s just as obvious as the need to stay away from trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils (oops, still on my healthy eating kick).

      • Good for you. I am a healthy-eating freak most of the time. Deep inside I know it is because I am too lazy to cook when I am alone, and especially when am working on something. Being totally vegetarian helps, since my favorite fruits and vegs are edible, raw. By the way, I enjoy reading your “dose” of health too.
        Vidya Sury, Freelance Writer & Blogger recently posted..Conversations

  4. Jay says:

    Thank you for this article. I’ve been trying to do something similar with a few blogs with two concerns:

    1. Playing with plugins to try and reduce the time it would take to write 300 lines of .htaccess. Have you experimented with any like Dean’s or others?

    2. After the, say, 180 days, when the old blog finally expires… if the original links to that blog haven’t been updated, is that “link juice” lost, or do the redirects still continue as before. (I guess best practices might dictate contacting all original linkers to update their links, but that’s not always possible.)

    Hope I’ve expressed my questions well enough. Thanks again for the nice blog.
    Jay recently posted..Writer’s Block, Writer’s Fugue and Other Weak Excuses for not Writing

    • Felicia says:

      Jay, I haven’t tried a plugin to write code to the .htaccess file. Because I manually transfer the pages and use a check list, I do things the slow and methodical way when it comes to .htaccess. The .htaccess is so temperamental that I’m not so sure I’d leave it to a plugin just yet.

      Regarding the links and link juice, if the old links aren’t updated, then the old juice is lost. It is my belief that quality content will create new backlinks to make up for the old links that were lost.

      I’m not too concerned about link juice because my blog consolidation process is a phasing out process. My intent is to phase out much of my daily online writing in an attempt to enter a new phase. Once I get through making enough mistakes, my Phase II income should exceed Phase I’s.

  5. Ken says:

    Ok, wait. How does one consolidate different sites on different topics and make it work? A little creativity? Just looking for some ideas.

    Thx

    • Felicia says:

      I’m not so sure that combining different topics is a good idea. Some of my blogs are different shades of the same color so it was easy to combine them. The rest gets tossed into my playground, Tidbits and Stuff. Google may not have fond feelings for Tidbits, but I’ll never get rid of that site. It serves too many purposes. It’s my playground, it’s my catch all, it’s my best teacher of what not to do. :)

  6. Michael says:

    I am working on transferring my blog over from a content management system called XSitePro over to WordPress. Any advice/suggestions would be great.

    Good luck with your consolidation process, and I’m glad to see (from a previous post) that NJFM is here to stay.
    Michael recently posted..Books For Writers

    • Felicia says:

      Michael, I never used XSitePro. I have, however, transferred a hand-coded blog into a WordPress blog and then changed the WordPress blog over to a Joomla site. It was tedious because the site had about 300 pages.

      I believe the basic process is the same. You just have to take your time and meticulously track your transition. I had a checklist and a notebook. The notebook came in handy when I found articles/pages that needed special attention and the checklist helped me to keep track of the steps I needed to take.

  7. Deanna says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have thought about consolidating several sites into one but didn’t know how I would go about it. I had considered moving the articles one my one – like you are doing – but hadn’t checked to see if Google frowns on it. Now you’ve given me the info I need. :)
    Deanna recently posted..Finding a Literary Agent – My How Things Have Changed!

  8. Crystal says:

    This is exactly the clear how-to info I need, Felicia. I’ve got a small but tangled web of blogs and have wondered how to best consolidate the mess into something that makes more sense. Some are blogger or wp.org, however, so I guess I can’t do the 301 redirect on them?

    And you are so right in your answer to Grandma – any kind of decluttering is extremely freeing. Plus I’ve made about as much in the past couple of weeks selling my excess crafting stuff as I ever did writing during the same time period (which is not saying much) so I’m cleaning house and getting paid for it:)
    Crystal recently posted..DIY Hair Donation – Who Knew?

  9. Ken says:

    Felicia,

    Watching this very closely. I already know I’m going to have to do this in a few months. Learning from ya!
    Ken recently posted..Blog Like A Mad Scientist And Blog Different

  10. Grandma says:

    Two thoughts this morning…

    First, I have been getting a harrassing contact form email almost daily from one of my three websites. It is all junk and in Russian. I have been just erasing them and/or reporting the email sender address to the email host. Now I am just tired of it. Of my three websites, really only one is making money and/or getting any action. This particular one did generate only two clients, and one is a great one, but still, it is not paying its way and has not for years.

    So, I am thinking of just letting two of my three websites go. The domains are up for renewal next month, and why pay again? I can always do another one in the future if need be.

    The second thought is about your domains, which obviously are more valuable. Why not sell off your unwanted domain names? There was a link I sent you ages ago (forgot what) that tells a person how much their domain name is “worth” on the open market.

    I may keep my domain names a bit longer; have not decided that yet, because I only decided this morning to take down the one website.

    It is disappointing to have some nutcase screw around with your “baby” website, but bottom line here is that it is only costing me money and not making me any money. I admit to never really promoting the website, but that is another decision…it is too late…I am no longer interested in pushing it. Call it retirement?

    • Felicia says:

      Constant spam is an annoying part of doing business online. It’s amazing how many people waste their time sending out unwanted emails and leave unwanted comments.

      Grandma, I hadn’t thought of selling the domain names because most of the domain names are pretty new. However, it might be worth selling one or two of my older domain names. I’ll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.

      If your extra domain names aren’t working for you, maybe it is time to let them go. I found that I had accumulated quite a few domain names, but never really did anything with them. I’m finally willing to let them all go.

      As weird as it sounds, my blog consolidation process is a freeing experience. I can’t wait until everything is all streamlined so I can move onto the next. I know what you mean by calling it retirement.
      I’m retiring one phase (sort of) and giving birth to a new one.