Thomas Wictor

Dead in the water

Dead in the water

Everything I’ve read about WordPress says it’s wonderful for search engines. Techies are ecstatic. Right out of the box, WordPress is perfect.

But in this avalanche of accolades, I run across little “buts.” For example, WordPress doesn’t need no stinkin’ tags. Those are from the Stone Age. So, when I found out a few days ago that my Website is invisible to search engines, and the person who was supposed to help me iron out problems didn’t respond, I had to start learning all this horrendously complicated technical crap myself. Me, a guy who got F’s in analysis and chemistry and could never learn to read music.

WordPress also has widgets, such as a “Pages” widget, that allows you to display a sidebar of pages. But if you want to exclude certain pages, you need to know the page ID. It’s not available. That was another little “but.”

All those “buts” added up to an endless field of brambles, and that’s what WordPress is. So far I’ve had to get six more plugins, including a search-engine optimization (SEO) plugin that allows me to add tags to my posts. Still can’t add tags to pages, but I can to posts.

As of today, here’s what Bing says about my Website:

We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us.

Yes, that’s what I paid for. A site that won’t allow search engines to display a description of what it’s about. Dead in the water. Dead, dead, deadski. Bereft of life.

Here, do an experiment. Google my brother “Pat Wictor.” See how rational the results are? Now Google “Thomas Wictor” and feast your eyes on the wreckage. It’s perfect for me. Chaos and absurdity. Absolutely laughable.

A man toiled on a burning road,
Never resting.
Once he saw a fat, stupid ass
Grinning at him from a green place.
The man cried out in rage,
“Ah! do not deride me, fool!
I know you—
All day stuffing your belly,
Burying your heart
In grass and tender sprouts:
It will not suffice you.”
But the ass only grinned at him from the green place.

—Stephen Crane

Years ago I heard something on the radio. These are the reporter’s words, not mine. He was calling in from a music awards show and had just seen the Hanson brothers arrive. They walked within five feet of him. This was when their song “MMMbop” was burning up the airwaves.

The reporter said, “I figured it out. God made a deal with the Hansons. He said they could have fame, fortune, and millions of groupies, but in return they had to be horrendously ugly.”

God allowed me to achieve clarity and happiness, but in return I must fail at everything I do. So be it.

I was told that if I just signed up for Google Webmaster Tools, I could then fix the SEO problems myself. To do that you have to verify ownership of your site. They send you an HTML file to upload to your Website. How do you do that? Well, you have to know your FTP account number.


Another way of verifying ownership is to insert a meta tag into the Website’s home page between <head> and <body>. The trouble is, nobody tells you where any of that information is. I finally tried to verify ownership through my domain host, but the Google instructions were impossible to comprehend. For example:

In the left navigation bar, open the nsWebAddress (Domains) menu by clicking the + icon.

None of that appears on the page in question.

On the Domain Details page for the domain you’re using, select the Designated DNS radio button (to the right of Change domain to point to) and click the Apply Changes button.

There is no “Designated DNS radio button.” After two days of struggling, I called my domain host, and a technical support guy did it all for me. His name is Tony. Thank you, Tony! I verified ownership and went to Google Webmaster Tools. What does this mean?

URL Errors: 4 Not found

Four errors were not found? Is that good news or bad?

“Congratulations! We didn’t find twenty-seven mistakes!”

How would you know there were twenty-seven mistakes unless you found them? And if you didn’t find them, they’re still there, right? Hey, how about this?

We do not detect any structured data on your site.

All right! I mean, dammit! No, I mean nov schmoz ka-pop.

Google Webmaster Tools are useless for me because I’m a layman. I’m completely lost, completely at the mercy of people who are indifferent, and completely ridiculous. My life in a nutshell.

The guy from whom I purchased my SEO plugin says he’ll do a top-to-bottom review of the site for $1000. But he hasn’t answered the e-mail I sent two days ago after I bought “premium support.” Think he’ll conscientiously review my Website? Plus, he says it’ll take two weeks.

From what I gather, I have all the components for a good Website SEO-wise, but I’m not capable of finding people with the brains or integrity to put the components in working order. I threatened legal action and got a “We’re on it!” e-mail, but nothing’s changed. My friend Joe Cady is in information technology, and he says he can probably get an “egghead” to help me on Monday, Paris time.

So I’ll sit and seethe. In 2003 Georgia Thunes made me a Website and optimized it for search engines. It worked like a dream.

Thank you, Georgia. I guess you were the last competent, caring professional in this field.

Tell Scott he needs to pick a favorite song from the Ghosts and Ballyhoo album today, or I’ll drive up there and cry all over the both you. It’s something your kids will hold against you forever.

And boy, you rock the Goth look. Just sayin’.