Category Archives: blog

Fixing 500 Internal Server Error with WordPress and 1and1.com hosting

We interrupt these postings with some really geeky stuff…

********UPDATED Below*********

I have several blogs hosted by 1and1.com. I have been adding some plugins and kept coming across 500 Internal Server Error. I went back and forth, activating plugins, deactivating plugins and deleting them off of the FTP server. I was also coming across the WordPress blank screen on my admin dashboard. It was getting very frustrating. Then I came across something about one of the plugins generating the 500 Internal Server Error when the hosting company was not using PHP5. So I did some research into 1and1.com with WordPress and found a solution.

Find your .HTACCESS file on your server. It is a hidden file so make sure your FTP client (I use filezilla) can view hidden files. Open up the file in your text editor and add the following line after the line # END WORDPRESS.

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php

That’s it. Since I added this line I have not had an error 500 and all of my screens in WordPress have not been blank. Note: I did have one time when a plugin rewrote the .HTACCESS file. So keep a copy of the file handy. If you come across the error 500, just copy your backup of this file onto your FTP server.

*******UPDATE****** Since writing this post 1and1.com had made it easier to make this change. Simply login to your customer account. Look for the Web Space area and click on Global PHP Version.  Select PHP5 from the pull down menu and click Save. That’s it. For those of you who are not on 1and1.com the original posting above should work as well.

…we now return to our regularly scheduled postings.

Podcasting 101: Posting your Podcast

Now that you have recorded your podcast, it is time to post it so everyone can listen and/or download it.

There are several choices when you are posting your podcast. Do you want to host the file on your hosting provider or do you want to put the files somewhere else. I’ll start with putting them in the same place as your blog. You simply create a directory/folder on your FTP server (you should have a tool to do this already, I use FileZilla). Then you FTP the files to that folder. When you create your blog post about the podcast you will need a link to the file, in order for Feedburner to recognize the location of the media file. If you are using WordPress, there is a great plugin called Podpress. Once you have this installed, it adds an on line player and several other features that make it easy to add podcasts. I use this plugin and you can see what it looks like on these 2 posts.

You’ll notice a couple of features. One is that you can color code the player to match the colors of your web site. Two, it gives the user the choice of playing it online or downloading it and listen on their PC.

You can also have your podcasts hosted on another provider. The choice among podcasters for this is Libsyn. They have several packages available. The big benefit, is that they charge you for storage space and not the bandwidth when your podcasts are downloaded.

When you have everything loaded up, it’s time to tell the world. Similar to pinging search engines about a new blog post, you would do the same thing with your podcasts. Obviously the most popular podcast site is iTunes. In order to get your podcast on their directory you will need an iTunes account. For this you will need a credit card, even if you never plan on buying anything from their store. Once you have your account, you load up iTunes, go to the Store, select Podcasts from the upper left box, then submit a Podcast from the lower left box. From there you follow the prompts of where you feed is and what your podcast is about etc. When you submit a podcast the first time, it will take 24-48 hours to get a response back with your podcast account number. You can take that number and put it into the form on Podpress, or you can save the link for future reference. There are a few ways of adding a button to your site that allows people to subscribe to your podcast. The first way is to use that link that was sent to you and attach it to a button. There are, however, some watch-outs to be aware of when using this method. If you have a podcast that comes out more frequently than once a week, you will want to use the methods below to link to your iTunes button. Sometimes it can take days before iTunes will update your podcasts on their store. So I recommend you use one of the following methods to attach to the iTunes button on your site. (assuming your are using Feedburner). You can use either the itpc://feeds.feedburner/[your feed name] or pcast://feeds.feedburner/[your feed name].

There are several podcast specific directories you should use to list your podcasts.

  • Odeo.com – directory and podcast service
  • Yahoo – has a podcast search and tag-based index
  • Podcasting News’ Podcast Directory is the largest user-built directory of podcasts.
  • Podcast Alley, one of the most popular podcasting sites, has a large podcast directory.
  • Digital Podcast
  • iPodder.org is a large podcast directory.

  • PodcastPickle Â
  • PodcastDirectory.com
  • A Podcast Directory is available at Podcast.net.
  • iPodderX

There are several other methods to marketing your podcast. You can watch Chris Penn’s excellent presentation at Podcamp Toronto here.

Podcasting 100

 This is the first in a series of posts to explain how to start podcasting 101. This is the pre-post about the things you need to do before you start podcasting. I recently attended Podcamp Toronto. This was a fantastic event where 300 people got together to share their knowledge and experience about podcasting.

The key phrase is web presence. You could have the greatest podcast on earth, but if you don’t have a presence, then no one will be able to find it, or you for that matter. Julien Smith was one of the speakers at Podcamp Toronto. He gave a fantastic presentation on Giving Your Podcast A Google Presence. You can download the video (80 MB) here. Julien make some tremendous points about Google and podcasting. Basically, Google couldn’t care less if you have a podcast. Google knows text…not audio. In order to help Google out, you need to start with a blog, or a web site. You should put the podcast notes on your site and/or get a transcript done. This will help Google when it searches you site.

Your Own Domain:

First, decide on a domain name. I could spend a post or two about how to choose a name, but Bill Sweetman gave a great presentation (40MB) about this at Podcamp. Once you have a name picked out and you have registered the domain; find yourself a good web hosting service. I reccommend this over any of the free services from Blogger, or WordPress. I have seen too many people who have lost their blogs because of some technical issue. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a Blogger blog, or WordPress blog. Both offer their software for free to put on any web hosting service you use. This blog uses WordPress software and my hosting service is 1 & 1. Neither of the steps are expensive. To register a domain costs about $10 a year and a basic web or blog hosting service can be as low as $5 a month.

RSS Feed:

Next you need to create a feed. RSS is a standard format (XML) text file that allows many other readers see your posts. Now most blogging software will create an RSS feed. However, Feedburner.com will allow you to publicize your feed and add several extra features at the click of a button. For podcasters, the most important feature to turn on is the SmartCast feature in the Optimize tab. This will automatically add the tags required to put your podcast on iTunes and add media tags when you post an mp3 file to your site.

Ping’s The Thing:

Once you have created somthing new for your site. You need to tell the world that it is there. The easiest way to do this is tell all the search engines, blog directories and podcast directories that you have created something new. Pingoat is a great service to do this. Once you have filled out your sites information you should add the site to your links group in your browser. Then all you have to do is click on the button in your browser and Pingoat will start telling all the services that you have new content.

Of course to help Google to search your site, you should have a site map. There is a WordPress addin that will create the site map and ping Google to come and search your site. You can download here.

Tags:

Tags are keywords that will help others to find your posts or podcasts. Technorati is the largest and most popular site for tag searching. You will need to “claim” you blog on their site. Once that is done, you can add some tags in the profile page to help others find your blog and podcasts. You should also tag your posts. You can see my Technorati tags below next to the green icon. Most blogging platforms support Technorati tags. For WordPress there is a plugin called Ultimate Tag Warrior. This adds an entry bar right under the posting page to add your tags. It also allows you to list related posts from your blog. This helps people to find your other posts on the same topic. Lorelle gives a great tutorial on using Tag Warrior in this post.

Community Sites:

Now the next thing is to get yourself published on some community sites. Such as mySpace, Flickr, Linkedin, Facebook, Friendster and StumbledUpon. Chris Penn from The Financial Aid Podcast gave 2 presentation on these tips and tricks. Podcast Marketing: Five tools and strategies to grow your audience TODAY (60MB) and notes. Plus, Podcast 401 – 5 steps to a bigger audience and slides.

Now you’re ready to start recording! In the next few posts I will discuss the various hardware and software required to start your first podcast. Plus, how to post it on iTunes and other services so the World can subscibe to you. As always, if you have any questions, just send me an email or leave a comment.

Podcamp Toronto 2007

podcamplogo.jpgI just came back from Podcamp Toronto 2007. All I can say is WOW!. This was an excellent event. I would like to give a huge thanks to all of the organizers. This was no small feat to pull this off.

    Leesa Barnes of Podonomics – Organizer, Media Liaison.Â

Podcamp was a collection of sessions for the novice to advanced podcaster. Podcasters and Podcaster wannabees from both the US and Canada came out to learn more about marketing, branding, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), improving audio quality and building your community and traffic. Several of the sessions are available to view at the Podcamp Wiki.  Mitch Joel’s presentation on branding was excellent. Julien Smith’s discussion about Google couldn’t care less if you have a podcast was both entertaining and enlightening. Christopher Penn gave 2 sessions on the tools needed to expand your audience. There were many other sessions that you can review on line.

The one area that seemed to be missing was Podcasting for newbies. From a showing of hands in a few sessions it appeared to be 20-25% of the attendees had not produced a podcast. Contrast this against some of the attendees who had been podcasting for 5-10 years. (I wonder what podcasts were called before the iPod?). I offered my services to put together a presentation for the next camp to talk about all the steps I have learned over the past months about podcasting. I also offer my knowledge to anyone who has questions about Podcasting. I will be doing a series of posts over the next few weeks precisely about this topic. So if you have a question, leave me a comment.

Holiday Gift Guide

‘Tis the season, and this year there are many choices for the geeks out there. Rather than list all the stuff, below are a number of links that you can check out for yourself.

For the gadget nut, one of my favorite sites is:

They have a wish list for him and a list for her. (come on ladies, find that inner geek that’s inside of you!!)

For the iPod fanatics, you have to see the annual gift guide from iLounge This .pdf download not has a ton of product information, it also gives great review and talks about the technology available along with tips for your iPods.

For the hard core techie, there is Chris Pirillo’s 50 Geek Gift Ideas.

Tags: , , chris pirillo, ,

Qumana Blog Editor

For the past couple of months I have been using a blog editor from Qumana. Blog editors allow you to work offline creating posts in a WYSIWYG environment. Qumana is very easy to use and has some nice added features that I will discuss below.

The software will work with most blog software. Whether it is hosted by the blog provider, or if you have your own provider using blogging software, Qumana will recognize most applications during the installation. I had a minor issue on my laptop, where Qumana would not recognize the “end point” or the version of blogging software I was using. Their tech support asked what version of Java I was using. Turns out I had an old version of the Java runtime. Once I upgraded, everything went smoothly.

With the latest beta update, they have made it even easier to add images to posts. Once you hit the add image button, you get the following window. You select how you want the image aligned, then upload it from you PC and it drops right into your post.

The posting editor above is easy to use. It has all the standard formatting options. The software picked up on my WordPress categories; there on the right. If you notice the 2 green buttons, they offer some added functionality.

The Insert Tags button allows you to list multiple Technorati tags within your post. Technorati is a blog specific tag search engine. In most software, you have to get into writing HTML code to have the tags appear in your post and have them linked back to Technorati properly. In Qumana, you simply open the dialogue box above and start typing.

The other button is Insert Ad. This allows you to \’monetize\’ your blog. That means you can make money from your posts. Similar to Google adsense, Q-Ads as they\’re called; allow you to put advertisements in your blog based on content. When someone clicks on the ad, you get paid.

Last but not least, Qumana allows you to future date your posts. You may ask yourself, “why would anyone want to do that?” Think about vacations. If you don\’t keep up with new and interesting posts, you will see a decline in your readership. So before you go on vacation, you can sit down and \’powerpost\’ 7 entries and schedule them to appear 1 a day for the next 7 days. No one will even know you were away. Below is the highlighted area for picking the date of each post.

As mentioned above, this review is on their beta product. They have had regular updates, and their tech support have been very responsive. If you are a regular blogger, I would highly recommend taking a look at this software.