Recently with the Wikicliki show opening, I took a long hard look at my various websites and decided to update my semi-dormant website, dbbd.sg. For a long time, I’ve tried not to meddle with the web design of my website (because its a rabbit hole of tinkering that I am apt to fall down into), but its been a few years since my dbbd.sg site was made and maybe, just maybe, I guess I should be applying my commercially useful UX/UI/web skillz (which I teach in my day job) to my own web presence!…
The funny thing about this blog migrating to wordpress is that, it being a very busy time, I actually contemplated hiring a Fiverr to save me the time and trouble of porting my blogger blog (openurbanism) to my own server. But bizarrely, when I looked into my own server, it appears that on 31 Dec 2020 (a good time for making and breaking new year resolutions), I discovered that I had already ported my own blog over to a wordpress installation on my server??? – and then promptly forgotten about having done it?!?!
I would like to congratulate the Debbie in the past for having the foresight to do all the hard work, thus saving Present Day Debbie all that work.
Well I guess it must have been too simple – to the point that I blanked out the entire memory of doing it. No wonder the rates on Fiverr for this task are so low. If I try to retrace my steps, it seems it was just a matter of downloading an XML containing all my 371 of my existing blog posts and then importing it in to a new wordpress installation, and then throwing in a few useful plugins to quickly download all my remotely hosted images to the wordpress media library. Finally, I just roughly smushed an old but classic WordPress template together to make it look like an acceptable blog (twentysixteen, nevermind that its now twentytwentyone, but i don’t like the newer wordpress defaults). The WordPress template isn’t the best yet because the amount of time I’ve spent on it is too limited, but let’s try to keep it about the documenting, and let’s not fall into the rabbithole of the obsessive editing of tiny css snippets again!
So here we are, my newly ported blog, and this is post #372!
What would happen to my Web Presence if I unexpectedly died?
It may sound ridiculous, but it has surprised me how some of my embarassingly old websites on services like livejournal and blogger have stood the test of time and survived without any intervention from myself, whereas the many paid domains I have bought and retired have disappeared from the internet (after I stopped renewing them). I worried that if something unexpectedly should happen to myself, then no one would know how to keep my websites alive. So for the longest time, I decided to relinquish a little design control in exchange for hosting it on a fuss-free long-lived platform like blogger – also in order to stop myself from compulsively tinkering on the web design (being the obsessive pixelpusher that I am).
But…. now that I have decided I will take back control and consolidate my web empire, what does it mean for the longevity of the site? What if Debbie unexpectedly stops paying her credit card bill for her web hosting and web domain name registration and everything? What would happen to the site? Would it vanish overnight, once my hosting bill is not paid?
Well, to look at things in perspective, all my writings would not be truly lost. I found that my dbbd.sg website has indeed been archived by the Internet Archive almost every year since 2012. I’ve also always kept the openurbanism blog on the lowdown, like a public blog which feels like a private blog or well-kept secret from me just being intentionally terrible at publicising or sharing when I have posted new stuff. To be honest, I document my process because it is a cult of being “done” to me. By posting about it online, it makes me feel like the work is “done” and that I can get closure and move on to a new task. I suppose it helps me get over the sometimes paralysing need to make things perfect.
Do say: The various iterations of your website have been successfully archived by internet archive!
Don’t say: The various iterations of all your embarassing livejournals since you were 17 have also been archived by the internet archive!... 😱😱😱😱😱
The next problem is that my blogger categories had translated over into WordPress categories, but I know that WordPress has both categories and tags, and they were being used differently.
According the WordPress’s support page:
“Categories are best used for broad groupings of topics. For example, if you’re creating a site that reviews media, you might use categories such as Books or Film or TV.
Tags are much more specific topics that you want to use to associate related content. For example if you were creating a site that reviews media, you might want to use tags such as science fiction or horror or action adventure.”
Unfortunately, I had been writing my blogger categories as if they were tags, so it means I might have to manually go through all 371 posts and recategorise and tag them all. 😱
I contemplated editing it in mysql but have messed up databases before, and there were several free plugins out there which were very limited in function, but I eventually found a plugin ($) which would convert categories into tags in bulk so that I wouldn’t have to spend hours trawling through all 371 posts and copy the categories over to tags (not a very meaningful task). But now that I have replaced all categories as post_tags, I have to append each of the 371 post with unique categories again…
This blog will be a work-in-progress!
Design choices: To avoid the occupational hazard of spending too long tinkering with the wordpress template and web design (instead of doing the actual DEBBIEWORK I want to do!!!) I simply took the default WordPress template from a few years back and adapted it briefly for my needs. I looked at all the default wordpress templates over the years and decided that I liked the simplicity of twentysixteen, the year before I moved back to Singapore. I like this shade of #0000ff blue (attempted to print my MA thesis in this colour) and I needed a strong contrast colour so the blog is basic internet blue and red now. I didn’t make the font black because it looked boring and these are not finalised or “resolved” documentations of my works. Its a process blog!