I have no idea what Ed was doing when he was posting to our travel blog back in 2006 – 07, but it seemed that each one of his blog posts had strange characters popping up.
From a reader's perspective, it made for frustrating reading.
From my perspective as the blog owner, it was frustrating because not only would it put my readers off, it also looked like hell.
At one point I tried to eliminate the strange characters by doing a search and replace from phpMyAdmin. I'm no geek, so wondering what I would ruin in the process of doing a global search and replace on the database was too scary a prospect, so I gave up on that plan.
Every so often I'd sit down and try to pluck out the weird characters one-by-one, but that too was frustrating and I could see it eventually leading to madness. Indeed, the idea of fixing the problem that way was sheer madness.
Then I found Mark Cunningham's Search and Replace plugin for WordPress.
Simply install, activate, check off in which areas (title, content, authors, etc.) you want the search and replace executed, then enter what is to be replaced and what it should be replaced with.
As you can see in the screenshot below, there were 1696 ocurrences of Â. There were thousands more when it came to the Ò's and §'s, ¿'s, Å's and ¥'s, each instance of which took only seconds to replace.
And while I was at it, I moved most of the top-of-post pictures from the left-hand side – where they were incurring on the Tweetmeme button – to the right side of the post.
What a great plugin, especially if you ever had to change a million affiliate links on your blog.
Best of all, you can download Search and Replace for free.
What do you think? Do you run Search and Replace? How have you used it to remove those typical frustrations? Do you use something comparable? Or, are you just thrilled to have learned about it? Share with us!