The All New Jo and the Novelist

And so, you would be forgiven for thinking that I had dropped off the edge of the earth and decided to not bother with blogging any more and that I’d overdosed on Pizza Hut pizzas. But actually, it’s a much longer more boring more complicated story than all of that. And for the record, I don’t eat Pizza Hut pizza anymore. Not since they nearly poisoned me.

Almost a year ago, I installed a third party comment form on my blog called Intense Debate which, admittedly and having discussed this a few times with Nick Bryan on Twitter, sounds like something you should purchase from Ann Summers (but isn’t). It’s a comment system designed (in theory) to make comments more streamlined and look generally awesome, but in reality it serves no real purpose other causing complete disruption to the site.

In fact, after a while I discovered one or more of the following issues occurring at any one time:

  • Sometimes the form didn’t load.
  • Almost all of the time, the form didn’t load if you were using IE
  • Sometimes it didn’t publish comments
  • Sometimes it deleted previous published comments
  • Sometimes it deleted published comments on Blogger
  • Sometimes it deleted my replies to people, and then published them again after I’d written new replies
  • Sometimes it didn’t work
  • A lot of the time it didn’t work
  • It didn’t work so much that people emailed me to tell me it didn’t work
  • Did I mention how it didn’t work?

After getting completely fed up of trying to fix the varying issues, or whatever it was causing Intense Debate to have a meltdown every time I posted, I decided to migrate to It seemed like a good idea – Blogger was kind of clunky (my template looked like a child had drawn it on the back of a cereal box with melted crayons) WordPress seemed so clear and minimalist. Seeing as Intense Debate is owned by the people who make WordPress I figured that the move would resolve all my commenting issues.

Somewhere around August, I had started the big migration to and I was super-happy. My template looked good, my old posts migrated okay, I had spent an unhealthy amount of time tweaking various widgets and pictures and permalinks* all that remained was uploading the Intense Debate comments – and some clever chap had made plug-in which did just that! Huzzah!

Oh. Then I discovered that you can’t use plug-ins with (did I mention that Intense Debate is owned by the same company?)

Fury ensued; tears, tantrums and take out meals from Nandos Chickenland – but nothing helped. I began to hate the Internet.

Eventually – post Nandos Chicken feast – I reached the conclusion that it was time to buy the domain, move to (which does allow you to upload plug-ins) and own my own website like a proper grown-up person with computational knowledge**

I won’t bore you with how long it took me to make this very average looking site, but I will provide you with a handy list of things I learnt during the process. You can print this off and keep for future reference (men should ignore point 2). You’re welcome.


I’ll end things here, because I’m tired I don’t want to keep talking about building websites, which makes for an exceptionally dull post. So, in case you missed it, the very awesome Suniverse allowed me to post on her blog during transition – so check it out until we resume our regularly scheduled programming.

Finally, thanks to:

Steven Chapman – for uploading the WordPress software for me (after 7000 of my own attempts)

IT Guy – for coping with my furious rampages around the house, excessive threats of violence towards my PC, providing Nandos take out and dealing with the tedious XML editing to get all of my comments back

No thanks whatsoever to:

Intense Debate for being a big pile of incompatible shit (Boooo, hiss etc).

* I don’t know what permalink is***

** Evidently, I don’t have any

*** Just looked up permalink on Wikipedia. It’s not what I thought it was. 

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Comments: 6

  1. Nick Bryan September 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm Reply

    I probably can’t now do another IntenseTurbate joke down here, can I? But yeah, getting it up and working is the hardest part, I’m sure everything will be fine now.

    • Jo and the Novelist September 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm Reply

      I was about to say IntenseTurbate away, but that’s kind of wrong. So I won’t say it.

  2. alexis September 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm Reply

    I like!

    I have experimented with WordPress, but I found (for me) it’s minimalist-complicated which is something I just made up right now. It looks great but behind the current there’s a lotta shit going on. I excel with Basic aka Blogger.

  3. SImone September 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm Reply

    Thank you for answering the nagging question in my head… should i revamp my website. No. God. No.

    Glad you’re back. Keep writing.

  4. Steven Chapman November 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm Reply

    Yay for mentions!

  5. Malinda Tanberg November 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm Reply

    Just a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw great design and style . “People forget how fast you did a job – but they remember how well you did it.” by Howard Newton.

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