The Story of the POCBlog
Over the years little Power of Change has grown up a bit. It began as a personal, hand coded site in 1996 where I would put newsletters for our ministry partners when Kasey and I worked with Athletes in Action. I was a recent graduate in Applied Computer Science and liked programming. Believe or not, the web was still new for many people and I wanted to learn the ins and out of HTML. The went through several redesigns but remained primarily a site for friends, supporters and a place to distribute resources to others in ministry.
In 2004, I began simple blog with the free service “Blogger” and I soon found that blogging suited me pretty well. Later on, I merged the Power of Change web site and the POCBlog and two became one. In 2006 I moved to the Movable Type bloggin platform with a re-design done by Mr. Tim Challies with some headers by my good friend Weylon Smith and the blog actually looked good and had some decent functionality for me.
Here are some pics from the Internet Archive for Power of Change.
PowerofChange.org - 2001 - Simplified - Got rid of annoying flyovers…and introduced a funny little plant logo thingy
2005 Blogger Blog
2006 - MovableType 3.2 Site
Finally, this last week I did something rash - I did an unplanned redesign. It had been three years with the old look and I had been wanting to try out Squarespace as I was hearing quite a buzz about the service. Designing a web site takes one of two things - money or time (along with a little know how). I was going to pay someone to do the redesign but I decided to give it a shot on my own with Squarespace. Being a church planter and money still not growing on trees, I also decided to host my doman’s email with Google Apps Standard Edition. Anyway, the redesign went really well and I finally got all my powerofchange email over to Gmail. Yet today, I realized I did not think it through well enough…and I probably killed myself with Google Search.
How to kill yourself on Google
Most people know that the net runs on Google - if you want your site to be read and people to find you, Google is the best place to be known. You can Yahoo or Live Search all you like, but Google is the place you want to be found. I realized this morning, through a fun little conversation, that I probably just shot the POC Blog in the foot…in terms of Googleability. A friend of ours, not a previous reader of the POCBlog, told me this morning that she was googling to find the name of the kinds story book Bible that was endorsed by Tim Keller. She was so excited to tell me she found my review at the very top of her Google search and didn’t even know she was on my site until reading the review. She asked me how that happened, how did my review got to the top of Google. Then I thought for a second, uh oh…all my old site links are likely nuked now that I moved to Squarespace and the new POCBlog design.
You see, your site and pages rise in Google’s algorithm as people read and link to various content on your site. All the links that were well read on the POC Blog, now no longer exist (at least the precise URLs) in the new site. The content is all here still, but Google can no longer see it. So, thankfully, the POCBlog is a hobby to me and not my livelihood. I have never placed an ad on the site and have wanted to keep financial concerns away from my writing.
Yet to show love to other bloggers, a few tips to keep your site pumping in transition.
- Keep your readers informed of your site’s coming changes. Give at least a week’s notice on your current site that a new site is coming. If your RSS feed URL is going to change, let people know this and post the new feed before shutting down the old site. Give time for transition. I gave mine a couple of hours - dumb.
- If possible, keep the blog archive links the same as previous links. This is possible but requires some planning in setting up your new blog software. This is most easily done if going from Blogger Site to Blogger Site, Wordpress to Wordpress, MT to MT etc. I didn’t do this - I imported every entry from the old POCBlog, but the links got structured differently with the Squarespace system. Any site that linked to something you wrote in the past will now be a dead link and will its popularity within Google will be lost. For instance, the ESV Bible Study endorsements page pulled something from the POC Blog and linked to it - that page has a new URL on the new site so that link from the ESV page is “gone.”
Overall, I blog, play with technology and babble about things technotheolosophical because it is fun and it keeps me dialed in with many friends. Hopefully it is of some value to God’s world and Kingdom…after all, here comes a post on “theosis” - oh joy.