Part One of the "Get Your Blog Ready for Next Year" series.
I know it's not exciting or glamorous, but backing up your blog is essential to your blog's health. Think of it as good blogging hygiene! Now that we're coming up on a new year, it's a great time to back up your blog files and plan to make it a regular habit.
Why You Should Back Up Your Blog
One simple reason: if you have a backup of your blog, it's much easier to get back to blogging business in case of a calamity. Blogs can get hacked, templates can get mangled... stuff happens. And a backup takes a lot of the pain out of the recovery process when it does.
You may never experience one of those blog-disrupting events. I hope you don't, they're no fun. But, it's better to have something you don't need than need something you don't have. And, it's so easy to back up, you really have no excuse not to!
Where to Store Your Backup Files
Let's talk about where you're going to put those backup files before we talk about how to get them. If you have your storage plan in place before you download the files, you're more likely to stick to it.
Naturally, you should keep a copy of your backup files handy on your computer. But, you should also keep another copy somewhere safe. A spare will save your blog if your backup files are corrupted or accidentally deleted (or if your computer meets an untimely end).
Here are three places you can stash your backup files "in the cloud", so you can be sure that your files will live on — even if you upend an entire latte onto your laptop.
- Dropbox: Dropbox is my favorite cloud service. I find the interface intuitive and I love the desktop & mobile apps. Dropbox starts you out with 2GB of free space.
- Google Drive: Formerly known as Google Docs. If you've got a Google account, you already have a Drive account with 5GB of free storage space.
- Amazon Cloud Drive: If you're an Amazon addict like me, you already have an Amazon Cloud Drive account with 5GB of free storage space. If you need extra space, a paid Cloud Drive account costs less than Dropbox or Google Drive's expanded storage options.
How To Back Up Your Blog (By Platform)
Now that you know where you're going to put your backup files, you're ready to get started with your back up! Here's how to do it on the major blogging platforms.
There are three easy steps to completely back up your Blogger blog.
- First, download your template by going to "Template" and clicking the "Backup/Restore" button in the upper right. Save the resulting file.
- Next, go to "Settings" > "Other", and select "Export Blog" under the "Blog Tools" menu. Save the export file. It includes all of your blog posts and comments.
- Finally, back up the Picasa album containing your blog's photos. Links to them are included in the .xml export file you downloaded in step 2, but this guarantees that you'll have your photos no matter what.
The official instructions for backing up self-hosted Wordpress are in the Wordpress codex. But, as with all things Wordpress, there's a plugin for that! Lisa from Elembee has a quick tutorial on using a plugin for your backup in her post Blogkeeping: Backing Up Your Blog.
If you have a Wordpress.com blog, you can use the Export feature to save a copy of your content. You don't need to save a copy of your template if you use Wordpress.com.
Typepad backups are not quite as streamlined as other blogging services. You can back up your posts using the built-in Export feature. If you have a Typepad Basic template, you don't need to back up the template; Typepad Advanced users should copy and paste their templates into .txt files — there's no direct download option.
Now, here's where it gets weird: there's no easy way to back up your photos. Typepad actually suggests visiting each page of your blog and copying the photos as a means of backing up (pardon me while I LOL to death). If you blog on Typepad and have a folder of photos from your blog on your computer, save a copy of that to a cloud service so you've got them safe, but keep in mind it could be time-consuming to restore them to your blog.
Unfortunately, Tumblr blogs are the hardest to back up. There is an official Tumblr backup tool, but it's a desktop application that only works on Mac. Also, it doesn't save submitted posts or any of your posts' notes. There is a web-based, third-party tool called Tumblelog Backup Tool, but it's not officially supported by Tumblr.
You're All Backed Up!
Not so hard, right? Now that you've done it, schedule your next backup session. I back up everything every three months, and back up my template separately anytime I make a template change. A similar schedule will suit most other bloggers fine, too.
Move on to part two of the "Get Your Blog Ready for Next Year" series: Improve Your Navigation.Acorn photo CC-BY Edd Prince