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I recently developed this website, my first with WordPress. After working as an in-house SEO for a few months, I decided it was time to develop my own site, to practice what I preach.

One feature I knew that I needed to have was a way to interconnect my posts, not only for SEO purposes, but for usability purposes. So I did some research and thought that LinkWithin would suit my needs. Boy was I wrong.

The issue with LinkWithin

Once my Distilled Stole My Page Title post got some exposure, I was digging into my Analytics to see what was going on behind the scenes. I wanted to see how well my site was keeping users on the page. I was looking at Referring Sites as well, and started to see this:

LinkWithin Redirects

"Widget.linkwithin.com" redirected people through their site.

I thought that was strange, and I had never really clicked around my own site to see how well it flowed (lesson learned). Much to my chagrine, I clicked on one of the “Related Posts” on the LinkWithin widget, and I was redirected through the LinkWithin site back to my own site.

Sigh.

LinkWithin is a parasitic widget. It redicts your traffic through their own site, effectively linking to themselves from all over your site and then 301 directing you back to your own site, thus effectively stealing your internal link juice. Ouch.

What I Switched To

I did some more research, and decided to change to nRelate Related Content. I found it easy to activate (others took some coding and I did not want to deal with it). Once I installed and activated the plugin, it took approximately 30 minutes (too long for the number of posts I had at the time, in my opinion!) to index and cache all of my posts and pages.

Why I Like nRelate

I like nRelate for a number of different reasons.

1) nRelate is a highly configurable plugin that uses a cool patent-pending (apparently) algorithm to associate your post with other posts on your site.
2) It requires no coding to activate on your site.
3) You have the option to show featured images of your posts, or only text links. If you do not have associated photos with all of your posts, they have stock photos that will show.

What I do not like

I was a bit disheartened to read Joost’s review of nRelate where he pointed out that because of the scripting used, the plugin does not pass much internal link juice. However, he did point out that it would be possible to do, and that the code overall is pretty good.

Maybe next I will try YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin), which requires a bit of coding to implement, so I hear, but is also highly recommended by other SEOS.

But for now, don’t use LinkWithin, whatever you do.

*Update* – I hear rumors that LinkWithin no longer redirects through its own internal pages. I am still seeing it, however, on a lot of websites. Use at your own SEO peril.

I set up a WordPress.com blog account around the beginning of January because I had heard increasingly more about WordPress since I began my job in the Search Engine Optimization industry. I wanted to create a personal portfolio website that I could use my developing SEO skills on, as well as publishing my writing about SEO, Social Media, and Book Publishing.

I quickly realized that WordPress.com was not for me, because you had to pay for every upgrade, to edit the CSS, to use a custom domain name (that I had already bought elsewhere), and to add plugins and widgets. It was not to be.

I decided to migrate my website to WordPress.org. Here’s what happened, and also how you can solve the problems.

Migrating to WordPress.com when your domain name is already assigned to WordPress.com

First, WordPress offers a great 5-minute Installation Guide that is pretty accurate and helpful. I suggest reading it first and reading the rest of this post if it does not help you.

After I signed up with Bluehost as my hosting provider and installed WordPress using SimpleScripts, I changed the nameservers over at my domain host (GoDaddy) to point to the WordPress nameservers (note: if you have multiple domains, make sure that you change the correct one. My first mistake.) When I went to load my new site, however, I was still accessing my old WordPress.com site instead of the new WordPress.org installation.

Here are the steps I took to solve the issue

First, I deleted the domain name from my WordPress.com account. I had already set it up to forward to my WordPress.com URL. Even after I deleted the domain from WordPress.com, it still took about 30 minutes to propogate. I chose to take a shower.

Second, I uninstalled and reinstalled WordPress on Bluehost using SimpleScripts. They actually make it very easy. One note: Unless you want them to automatically generate you an account access username and password combination, click “Advanced Settings” and set your own.

Third, I set my GoDaddy nameservers back to the default. Once that change took effect, I was able to change them to the Bluehost default nameservers (ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com).

What I Learned

Don’t skip steps. Pay attention to what you are doing. No seriously. If your changes are not taking effect, backtrack everything you have done, short of paying for your host and domain name again, and start over. If your domain name is assigned to a WordPress.com account, delete it from your WordPress.com account without forwarding it before you change nameservers

Questions: Have you encountered these issues before? What did you do to correct? What advice would you offer to someone self-hosting a website for the first time?