How to Back Up Your Blog - #Blogathon2

Aeryn Lynne
How to Back Up Your Blog

Welcome fellow Blogathoner's! 😀  Last I had looked we were just one person shy of 100 participants, which is just... WOW!!  If you happen to gab with Kathleen at all this weekend, show her some LUV.  Its inspiring how she's been able to organize these blogging-thons each and every time, especially as they're getting to be MUCH BIGGER events!  I believe this is third bash that we're gonna have fun with!  If you've signed up to participate, then that means you're here for one or all THREE of our mini challenges found on Geek with Style and you're ready to win some PRIZES.  Woohoo!

And if you have no idea what I'm talking about and want to learn more, click the image to find the Biannual Blogathon Bash's website. 😀

 

Biannual Blogathon Bash

 

Let's get started...

If you're reading this, and haven't backed up your blog or website yet today, you've got a lot of explaining to do Lucy!  Sh!t happens, ya know?  And the worst thing that could happen to all of your beautiful work is if you've lost it.  There are many ways to lose your fabulous blogging work of art unfortunately.  There could be an act of god that happened to strike all the servers around the globe so there wasn't a smidgen of your work left online.   Possible?  Yes.   Probable?  No.

Some of the more likely scenarios though would include:

  • Being hacked - the moment you create a password is the moment someone is wanting to break in;
  • Being disabled/dropped by your host - you've must have heard of at least one story where a user had unwittingly broken a site's TOS and suddenly all their stuff is gone and irretrievable; or
  • Computer error - the geniuses behind your blogging platform decided to upgrade, and oops! they upgraded your work into the great beyond, and can't seem to bring it back.  Possible? Yes.  Probable? ... well, yes it is.

If you build it, someone's gonna break it at some point, it truly just depends on the severity (if they fix it soon enough and cover their tracks well enough, you might not even notice your site having gone down.)

So... have I scared you yet? 😉

I host sites for a living, and I'm always antsy on whether I'm going to be the one to inadvertently break a client's site.  Like... Eek.  Let me tell you, I've found more grey hairs in the past year and a half than I'm entirely comfortable with.  The possibilities of destroying someone else's hard work with just one click is SO EASY to do.  But, I'm not flying blind.  I have all sites backed up daily just so that I can ensure that IF any of these sites go down, I can get them back up immediately.

So with this Mini Challenge, I'm going to show you the best way (in my humble opinion) to back up your site so that it's one less thing for you to worry about.

If your site is self-hosted using WordPress...

Simply go to your Plugins page from your Dashboard and click "Add New", then search with these keywords "WordPress Backup to Dropbox" and click install once you've found the right plugin in the search list.  With that plugin is installed, you'll need to sign up for DropBox.com if you haven't already; then click on the new left-menu item titled, "WPB2D".  There will be easy step-by-step instructions to link your Dropbox account to your website.

Once your accounts are linked, go down to the Settings area > choose Daily from the Frequency drop-down selection > and then pick which hour you wish your site to be backed up from Day and Time (totally up to you when to back up, but best rule of thumb is to do so when your blog is the most quiet in activity.)

wpb2d settings

This program won't back up your site until it hits your chosen hour.  If you want it to make the first back up right away, choose the next closest hour for it to do so.  You'll be able to edit the time if you want to change it back to a quieter moment for future back ups.

Is it necessary to make the first back up right away though?  I honestly don't think it is.  Unless you've had recent issues with your site, simply waiting for your chosen hour to come and go should do well enough.  And you won't have to touch a thing, your blog will automatically take care of backing up your site to DropBox without you even there.

That was painless, right? 🙂

If your site is on Blogger...

There are many ways to back up your blogger site.  To export it all, so that you can simply re-upload your site should it have crashed (or if Blogger/Google decided to kick you out 'cause they thought you were spammy,) go into Settings > Other > and then click on "Export Blog".

You will soon see an XML file, something like "blog-01-19-2013.xml" downloading to your computer hard drive once you've clicked that link.  And honestly, that's all you need to do to back up your blog (and it might take a while, if you've blogged a lot.) And later down the road, if you're finding yourself needin to use your most current XML file to republish posts that went missing, all you'd have to do is click the "Import Blog" link that is found right beside the "Export Blog".

The one BIG downside to this, is that its all based on manual action - you would think Google/Blogger would give you guys an easy way to keep an updated copy of your work on your computer hard drive, but that's no where in the works right now.

You can set yourself reminders using calendars, but if you have three things to focus on all at once, chances are you're going to let the backing up of your blog slide, and I would recommend backing up your site at least once a week.  There's a good chance that you will never need to use that file, but its better to be safe and all that.

Not to worry though, I've got you covered! 🙂  Here's a way to make it AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE for you to back up your blogger blog:

We're going to create a button that will sit on your Bookmarks toolbar, and with a one-click action, you'll be able to back up your blog without having to go through your account settings.

First, we need a link.  Something like:  //www.blogger.com/feeds/XXXX/archive

The XXXX is your blogs ID, and it'll look something more like: "6642317534984211121"  So the link above would look like: "//www.blogger.com/feeds/6642317534984211121/archive"

When you're logged into your blog, you'll find this ID# right in the URL when you're looking at your Dashboard. For example, "//www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6642317534984211121"

Create a Back Up Button In Chrome

  • Open a new window and go to any website, like //google.com for instance.
  • Click on the star icon in the URL address bar, it will open a bookmarking window.
  • Click on the Edit button on the bottom left of the window.
  • Paste the archive URL from above into the URL box, give it a name that works for you, and ensure that "Bookmarks Bar" is selected (and not a folder within, 'cause you'll want this button to sit right on the bar where you can see it.

Chrome Back Up Button

Create a Back Up Button In IE

  • If you're logged into Blogger at this point, log out (sorry!)  This won't work otherwise.
  • Open a new window/tab, and paste your archive link into the URL address bar.  Press enter.
  • Because you're logged out, you'll get a "The Webpage Cannot be Found", which for once, is exactly what we want.
  • Click on the star icon in the upper right corner, it will open a bookmarking window, then click the "Add to Favourites" button.
  • A new window will pop up.  Give your bookmark a name that works for you, and ensure that "Favourites Bar" is selected for the folder.  Then click the Add button.
  • Log back into Blogger, and test your button out! 🙂

Internet Explorer Blogger Back Up Button

Create a Back Up Button In FireFox

  • If you're logged into Blogger at this point, log out (sorry!)  This won't work otherwise.
  • Open a new window/tab, and paste your archive link into the URL address bar.  Press enter.
  • Because you're logged out, you'll get a "Not Found. Error 404," which for once, is exactly what we want.
  • Click on the star icon in the upper right corner (you may have to click it twice or more for the Edit window to pop up,) it will open a bookmarking window.
  • Give your bookmark a name that works for you, and ensure that "Bookmarks Toolbar" is selected for the folder.  Then click the Done button.
  • Log back into Blogger, and test your button out! 🙂

FireFox Blogger Back Up Button

If you happen to try using this back up button while still logged out, it'll just give you an error page, so be sure each time you want to use it, that you're logged into your account.

Set up a weekly/bi-weekly calendar reminder on whichever  task program you use, and each time that reminder pops up, just click the button you've created in your browser bar.  Chances are that you'll already be logged into Blogger anyway, and the file will quickly download to your Downloads folder.

You can take it even one further step and have your computer's Download folder sit within your DropBox account, so every time you download a file, it will be automatically backed up to your cloud!

But Wait There's More!

So what happens if you back up every Friday, and your blog crashes the following Thursday?  You're a prolific blogger with 20 new posts all shiny and commented galore since the last time you've backed up... what then?

Let me introduce you to IFTTT and Zapier!  Both have pros and both have cons and at least one of them will be your newest best friend.  (I would suggest trying them both out and figuring out which works best for your wants.)

While you're backing up "hard copies" of your site every Friday, you'll want to keep some reference of those blog posts that had missed out on the last download.  I don't suggest using this method to automatically back up your posts without also saving the XML file on a bi/weekly basis, because these posts would have to be re-uploaded manually, (and if you have to manually republish more than 20 posts, well... that's a lot of work!)

What am I talking about?

You can use IFTTT (If This Then That) specifically to send copies of your blogger posts, the moment you publish them, to your personal cloud space.   Really, anywhere you want them to go, this online app will do it for you.  Maybe you'd like to create an Evernote notebook of all your blog posts (which can also act as quick reference if you ever need to quickly show off your work to friends, family, or potential clients.)  Or save these files in your DropBox or GoogleDrive for safe keeping.

The REALLY COOL bit about IFTTT, is that people, like myself who've used their site on many occasions are able to create these "recipes" that newbies can one-click to quickly copy the tasks to their own account.  So once you've created an account, just click the image below to get your site quickly and easily set up for back up.  This site is user friendly, and is all about clean graphics and ease of use, so don't be afraid to play around to find the exact "recipe" that you'd like to work with.

IFTTT Recipes for Blogger Management

You may ask, why not just save the XML file to your DropBox or GoogleDrive, and the answer is that you can, but it can only be done so manually.  Trust me, I've tried every trick I could think of for your XML back up file to be automatically saved using IFTTT or even Zapier, but it just doesn't work.  Blogger requires authentication of you and your access privileges to download the XML, and its not something that either of these sites are prepared to give.

If your site is on WordPress.com...

From what I understand, backing up your WordPress.com blog is much like backing up a Blogger blog, so please read through the instructions above and see if they would work similarly for you.  I would definitely recommend creating the BackUp Button for your browser's tool bar, and use IFTTT for extra security.

BONUS MATERIAL

I mentioned Zapier above, though it actually doesn't (yet) have a tool to work specifically with Blogger (though it does have an RSS feed option.)  It has something just as cool that isn't available on IFTTT, which is why I've included it.

Have you ever wanted to go back through your tweets for reference?  If you're a review blogger, you may want to keep track of tweets that mention the company you've partnered with.  Regardless of your reason, I can almost guarentee that there will come a time where you'll want to go back through your tweets to find a specific action. And as much as I love my twitter, it really does suck when it comes to searching out your own tweets.  Well, just like your blog, you can back up most of your social media content with IFTTT and Zapier as well!

Here's what to do to get the most of backing up Twitter to your Evernote account (*PLEASE* if you don't have Evernote you, grab your account now, this app can change your organizational habits into something workable!)

First, sign up for Zapier, and then second, click the image below to grab this specific "recipe".  Like IFTTT you can definitely go in and play around with the settings, but if you don't have time, I've put together a Twitter to Evernote Archive recipe that I'm using for my own tweets, and you are more than welcome to use it too!

Zapier Share

One thing to keep in mind about Zapier is that while there is a free service, its limited (after the 14-day trial). So keep an eye on how much you use it, and try to earn some bonus points so that you won't have to purchase a membership! 😉

Ready for Your Challenge?

Your challenge should be simple for you really.  Go back up your site. 🙂  If you're on Blogger, I would entirely encourage you to create the browser button as well.

Leave a comment below with your blog link and blog platform.  I'm very curious to see how many WordPress vs Blogger vs Other that are participating in this season's blogathon!  And if you've got questions?  Well, I'm here for the weekend to help out, so just ask!

 

Disclaimer:  Please note that I get extra space/tasks by referring ya'll to DropBox and/or Zapier, so just want to thank you if you do end up joining by visiting those sites from this post.

Like it? Share it!

Aeryn Lynne

The Geek at Geek Life
Living in Superman's Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, fights for fashion-equality, squees over comic art, and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction.
Aeryn Lynne

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