~ Jennifer Chait
It’s been a strange blogging week. As Deb referred to in an earlier post this week, a client was having some major server issues. I also happen to work for said client, so I’ve had a lot of downtime lately. I could tell you all about what I did during my downtime; but how I surfed stellar architect blogs to my heart’s content is hardly interesting to anyone but me. Instead we can look at one issue that happens to folks when servers go all wacky.
Anyone who has blogged long enough will eventually have the following situation occur: “I wrote my entire post, hit the publish button, and my post vanished. My screen says there’s an error. Help!”
Sadly, there’s not much troubleshooting you can do in this situation. Posts vanish all the time. Ironically it tends to happen after you’ve taken an hour to write a really good post. I’ve had posts vanish from WordPress, Blogger, and Movable Type. It’s always frustrating.
If you want to try troubleshooting you can always hit refresh. I’ve done this and it’s worked for WordPress blogs. It’s never worked for my Blogger or Movable Type blogs though. It’s not a sure thing.
In the case of vanishing posts, we’re going for prevention, not solving the issue after the fact. If you want to make sure you don’t lose your hard work, here are some preventative measures:
Hit save: You’d be surprised how often I’ve forgotten to hit save over the years. Currently WordPress and Blogger both save automatically. However, I’ve still lost post, or entire portions of posts – after hitting save. Once in a while I type too fast for save to kick in, and I’ve lost stuff then too. Simply because your blog platform saves your post, does not ensure its safety. Hitting save is good, but it’s not true prevention.
Forget working online: No surprise, the internet is volatile. The web, or at least the web in your neck of the woods, shuts down when it’s most inconvenient. Thus, don’t work online.
Write your posts in a word or text document first. Later, cut and paste your post in at your blog platform. I don’t love this option because computer text doesn’t always translate into nice blog text. Also, I can’t add photos and all my blogs are photo heavy. Working this way slows me down at most of my blogs. It is, however, less slow than losing whole posts.
Use an offline web log client: In keeping with the, “The internet is volatile,” issue, an offline web log client like BlogDesk or Windows Live Writer can be a useful blogging tool. Both are free. Both allow you to work offline, and manage multiple blogs at once. Also, these blog clients are feature rich. This means you can edit photos, add tables, and change items like font color much easier. I like Windows Live better. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure Deb was the one who turned me onto Windows Live (we trust her, right?). Still, many reputable bloggers swear by BlogDesk. You’ll have to check them out, and decide for yourself.
With some simple planning ahead, you won’t need to worry as much about lost work, or worse, lost time. Do you use an offline editor? Which one?