WordPress backlinks, self-pings, and more

My WordPress install has mostly been on auto-pilot lately. But a few things have cropped up recently that have got me looking at it again.

First is a minor issue that I’ve been meaning to look at for a while. My site used to do “self pingbacks” but those stopped working a while back. A self pingback is essentially a backlink within the blog, so if you write a new post (A) and link to an old post (B), then that old post (B) shows the pingback from post (A).

I’ve been thinking about these recently, since both Evernote and Obsidian support backlinks within your notes. Evernote added the functionality earlier this year. In Obsidian, I’m not sure when it was added, but it’s available in a core plugin. I find it useful, both in note-taking and on the blog. So I put a little effort into trying to get it working again today.

It’s not easy to track down information on this subject. If you search for “WordPress self pingbacks,” you’ll mostly get info on how to stop them rather than how to fix them. I guess a lot of people don’t like them. And if you search for “WordPress backlinks,” that mostly gets you SEO stuff about how to get other people to link to your blog and drive traffic to it. In blog terms, “backlinks” usually refer to links to your blog from other blogs, not from your own blog. So that’s mostly useless. My best guess at this point is that either my host (IONOS) is blocking them, or my current theme doesn’t support them. It seems like most people aren’t too enthusiastic about them.

So looking for alternatives, I thought about turning on the related posts functionality in Jetpack. That might not always surface back-linked posts, but it would be a good start. Well, long story short, I can turn that on in Jetpack, but then it doesn’t stick. Not sure if that’s something simple, or some bigger issue. (There are other plugins that can do related posts, but I haven’t tried playing around with any of them yet.)

That all led me down the path of thinking about what I’m doing with Jetpack, vs. what I’m doing with my install on IONOS, and whether or not it was time to switch to a managed site. Every time in the past that I’d looked at managed sites, they were more expensive than just doing my own thing on IONOS. And, in some cases, offered less flexibility.

In theory, I could switch over to my host’s official WordPress hosting, rather than my current generic hosting, and maybe that would get me something. I’m not sure though. Or, I could give up and switch to WordPress.com, which would certainly simplify things, but I’d be giving up some stuff too. Sigh. I guess I’ll stick with what I’ve got for a while longer. It’s mostly working the way I want it to.

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