Clean bBlog URL’s

Ok, I’ve been messing around a bit with the code to the site, and I’ve finally found out how to do the clean URL thing in bBlog. (Honestly, the answer was staring me right in the face, nefariously hidding itself from me in plain sight.) Here’s what I did…

First, I found the file README-URLS.txt in the bBlog main directory (…/bblog/README-URLS.txt, where “…” is the path to bBlog, for example “/var/www/html/website/stuff/bblog/README-URLS.txt”). The file basically states that the following conditions need to be met:

  • Your server supports clean URLs. (This is an AllowOverride setting in Apache.) If settings need to be made here, make them, then come back to the rest of this tutorial thing.
  • The file htaccess-cleanurls (found in …/bblog/htaccess-cleanurls) should be renamed to “.htaccess”.
  • The file config.php should be edited, with the last three commented lines — all of which pertain to clean urls — should be uncommented. In other words, this:

    // Clean or messy urls ? ( READ README-URLS.txt ! )
    //define('CLEANURLS',TRUE);
    //define('URL_POST','http://www.example.com/blog/item/%postid%/');
    //define('URL_SECTION','http://www.example.com/blog/section/%sectionname%/')

    (Note that in this example, the example website is “www.example.com/blog/. Change this to whatever your blog lies within your website.)

Important:You may also need to edit the CSS / image links in the templates to make them absolute (ie. ((website))/item/99, as opposed to ((website))/?postid=99.)

Once this is done, you’re ready to rock. After this, you might want to head over to Wallies.info/blog and check out this bBlog plugin which will automatically make a sitemap for you which can then be submitted to Google for spidering, thereby getting more of your pages into the SERPs, which is usually a good thing.

The Google Sitemap bBlog Plugin (click to download) is pretty simple to install.

  1. Download the plugin to your local system.
  2. upload each file to the appropriate directory:
    ((website))\gsm.php
    ((website))\bblog\bBlog_plugins\admin.googlesitemaps.php
    ((website))\bblog\compiled_templates\admin^%%-18^%%-1859512731^gsm.html.php
    ((website))\bblog\compiled_templates\admin^%%-12^%%-1206661952^googlesitemaps.html.php
    ((website))\bblog\inc\admin_templates\rssgsm092.html
    ((website))\bblog\inc\admin_templates\plugins\
    googlesitemaps.html
  3. Go to the Plugins section of your bBlog administrator pages and ‘Scan for new plugins’
  4. Open the Google Sitemaps Plugin. (This plugin will appear in the menu.)
  5. Generate your Google Sitemaps URL. To make a Sitemap URL, set all form options to ‘gsm’ and click the ‘Generate!’ button. Your file should be at ((website))/gsm.php. (Check this through your browser.)

    (The generated XML file is of the type <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>)

  6. Finally, submit your Google Sitemap to https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/

That should be about it. More information can be found by visiting the following locations:

  • For more information about this plugin : http://wallies.info/blog/item/131/
  • For an introduction to Google Sitemapping : http://wallies.info/blog/item/132/
  • For help or questions : http://www.wallies.info/forum/viewtopic.php?p=17
  • Official Google Sitemaps Help page :
    https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/docs/en/faq.html

I hope this was of help. The only concern that I have (and this was one raised by this bBlog forums poster) is that if your website has been around for a while and some of the content has already been spidered (for example, 51 pages on Gnorb.NET have been spidered, out of something like 200) then Google might mistake your site (or mine — eek!) for a spam site, with multiple instances of the same articles. (That would get you booted from the search engines.)

*crossing fingers* Maybe a SEO can give me some advice?

Updated 07-16-05: Here’s what happened with the bBlog Google Sitemap plugin: Apparently, in the Google Sitemap plugin for bBlog, there’s a problem with the code. The dates displayed come out as follows:

Sat, 16 Jul 2005 01:27:41 -0400414110

However, according to Google, the date format has to be something like this:

2005-09-24T08:47:21-05:00

In short, this means:
2005-09-24 — 24 September 2005
T08:47:21 — Posted at 8:47am (08:47h) and 21 seconds
-05:00 — Eastern Standard Time (-5 hours from GMT)

I put my sitemap up to Google and got an error because of the screwed up time stamping. Argh! I’ll start looking through the application to see if I can fix it. If I can, I’ll post the results here (and send the fix to Mr. Snapy Blue Things).

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