Adding A Blog To A Wayback Machine Restore or an HTML Site

Restoring an old archive site is great. When you maintain the look, url structure and content of the old site it is extremely difficult for anyone to tell the site has changed ownership, maximising the value of your links.

That is, of course, until you slap a massive great link on the homepage that screams 'paid link', SAPE or worse still, 'hacked site'!

What if you could naturally add relevant content to a site that links back to you? Except instead of losing the old content and design you are simply adding to it? 

Those great natural links still flow from old resource pages into your niche relevant page that links back to your site, the homepage is untouched and unblemished by paid links.. And you can publish articles again, and again, with ease?

By adding a blog to your pure html site you can do this with ease. Here's how!

Identify where we want our blog to appear. 

Looking at this old site we've restored there is a 'news' link on the menu bar of every page. This is a great place to put a blog, as our blog homepage will be linked to from every page of the site. So let's check the url:
http://expireddomain.com/news.htm

In this case we can see that the file extension is '.htm' and the filename is 'news'. 

We want our blog to replace this 'news.htm' file with our own news. So we visit the domain page on pbn.hosting and make the changes we want:

First, in the Blog Options tab change the 'site type' from 'pure html' to 'pure html + blog' :

Next, on the Paths And Permalinks tab, we need to make two changes:

  1. Change the file extension to '.htm'
  2. Change the 'Index Path' from 'index' to 'news' - otherwise we will overwrite the homepage. (You're welcome to do so, but it won't look as good!)

Hit save and these changes will be pushed to your site. Add an article, or upload a set, and your archive site will automatically be populated with content that is easy to update and edit through our interface.

Add these wayback sites to your networks and you can automate publishing across a large number of sites restored from the archives, and ditch that spreadsheet once and for all.

Mimicking the old design

Great! You say. I can blog on my crusty old websites. But my website was designed in the 1850s, and you're putting a modern bootstrap design on my blog! First of all: This isn't an uncommon scenario. There are plenty of websites out there with old CMS that don't support a blog or easy content publishing, with a separate install of Wordpress or similar in a /blog/ subfolder.

But for the domains that matter to you - especially high trust, high expense domains bought at auction - it's worth building your site to last. So we have provided tools to allow you to match the original site design when publishing your blog posts.

4 steps to copy your old website's design

  1. First, find an appropriate page to copy on the restored archive site. The best ones tend to be simple article pages rather than long, complex index pages.
    Hit View Source and copy the page's source code to the clipboard
     
  2. Next, prepare your domain in your control panel by choosing a base theme: we recommend using 'Simple HTML for Custom Theming' as it useasier to work with
     
  3. Click the 'Files' tab on your domain and select 'Theme Folder', then browse to the folder marked 'Templates' 
    In here are a number of template files using the Jinja2 template engine. Don't be scared - they're an awful lot like ordinary HTML. 
     
  4. Replace the contents main template file with the HTML from your old site

Replacing the template with your old site's design

The file we wish to edit is the 'base.html' file - this is used as the basis for the other templates.

We are going to replace the contents of this file with code from our archive site, then add a couple of template tags back in.

First, select everything in the base.html file and delete it.

Paste in the source code from your archive site to replace it.


Edit the old HTML to include template tags
Next, we need to add the template tags back into the content.

We'll definitely want to replace the old page's content, but you may also wish to update the <title> tag and possible the main menu too.

The page title
Find the <title> tag  - in this case it reads:
<title>Best Coffeemaker Reviews</title>

We want to replace this with the template code for a page title. Simply delete the existing title, and paste this code into the file instead:

<title>{% block title %}{{ SITENAME }}{% endblock title %}</title>

This will allow our blog generator to provide a title for each page we publish, increasing the content relevancy.

The content block
Find the start of the main content area of your page in the base.html file. Select all the text from the main content area of your page and delete it. 

Make sure you remove any headings such as the article title, as well as anything that appears beneath the article such as a comments form. But avoid deleting sidebars or page footers that make up part of your site's design.

Then, all you need to do is replace the content you deleted with this simple tag:

 

{% block content %}
{% endblock %}

 

This is where your article content - or the lists of articles found on tag, category, or index pages - will be pasted into your archive site.

Once you've done that, you're good to go!

Most people would stop here, but there is one more major tag you may wish to add:

The Navigation
In most cases we'd skip this,  but if you want to add links to your menu across all pages of your blog you can add the following code to the existing navigation on the page:

{% for title, link in MENUITEMS %}
            
  • {{ title }}
  • {% endfor %} {% if DISPLAY_PAGES_ON_MENU %} {% for p in pages %} {{ p.title }} {% endfor %} {% else %} {% if DISPLAY_CATEGORIES_ON_MENU %} {% for cat, null in categories %} {{ cat }} {% endfor %} {% endif %} {% endif %}

    Quite simply, the above code will create an <li> element for every link in your menu. You can change the <li></li> to a <div>,<span>, or other html element to suit the markup of your site.

    Final Considerations

    Once you've made the changes above you're ready to go - every page created by your blog will be in the style of the old site. But if you want a really polished product, you may want to:

    • Check the <head> of your wayback site's HTML and make sure you remove any <link rel='canonical'> or <meta name="robots"> tags that might confuse Google.
    • Remove any meta description tags as these will be added by the blog software
    • Consider editing the article.html file so the page headings, article contents etc match the style of your older site rather than a modern HTML5 website