As 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:
- Copy the post from the old blog
- Paste it into the new blog
- 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.
- 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.
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/
Easy 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