Free Advice That’s Worth Listening To

Advice

Advice (Photo credit: mistersnappy)

There is an old saying that says free advice is exactly what you paid for it…nothing.

It is a reasonable statement but not unlike most sayings there exceptions to the rule so I am going to suggest that those of you blog and or are responsible for blogs pay attention to what I am about to share with you.

Check Your Feed and Check Your Links

There are relatively few universal guarantees in blogging and social media but one that everyone faces is the certainty of technical difficulties.Yes, there will be moments where you face technical difficulties and will need to figure out how to fix them.

The really big problems will probably be obvious. If your site is hacked and vandalized you will know about it. If you tweak your design/layout and break somethingyou will know about it.

But some things are less obvious and you cannot rely upon your readers to notify you.

This is why I recommend you subscribe to your feed and newsletter. You want to know what your readers see so that you can stay on top of any problems or issues.

A subscription ensures that if your feed goes down you will know about it and be able to take action.

The links I referred to in the subhead aren’t those in your posts. If you do a proper job you will have tested those links prior to insertion so you will know they work.

Instead I am referring to the links you provide in your “About Me” and “Other Places You Can Find Me” pages.

What Happens To Those Links

If you don’t own a site you don’t have control of your content and that means that things happen. Sometimes the site disappears and your links go with it. Or sometimes they choose to pull them down but they probably won’t tell you about either situation.

That is why if you link to content you produced elsewhere you want to adopt a routine of checking those links. It is not a daily, weekly or even monthly activity, but quarterly isn’t a horrible idea.

Broken links are embarrassing. It is like trying to read an article in a print publication only to discover a big hole where the piece is supposed to be. Don’t let that happen to you.

Back Up Your Blog

The final piece of your free advice is to back up your blog. If you value your time and effort you need to protect it.

Those of you who aren’t self hosted need to remember that your provider can pull your blog down at any time without warning. If they think you have violated the Terms of Service they can point and click you into cyber oblivion.

It is not an issue that is limited solely to the non self hosted bloggers either. Those of us who are self hosted are at risk too.

We may not have the same concerns about TOS violations but that doesn’t mean things can’t happen. Technical issues can be created by things we do or by outside influences and the smart person makes a point to be prepared for these moments.

Back up your blog so that if things happen you don’t lose everything and you’ll be much happier.

What did I miss? What else should be listed here in our post on free advice?

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6 Comments

  1. Kumar January 10, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Josh, there is a saying which is famous in our industry, Backup or pack up.
    Your final advice is the precious one.

    Thanks
    Kumar

  2. Mary Stephenson January 9, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Hi Josh

    Great (free) advice and it is worth something. I think even those that do a lot of that still need a nudge to remember to protect our hard work.

    It didn’t matter as the site was going to be terminate when the renewal was up and the content wasn’t important. There was 4 plugins that needed to be updated and I did all 4 at once and it updated alright but when I went back to the site it ended up being a “fatal error” the site was gone. I am sure we could have talked to the hosting company and brought it back up, but that was pretty scary. After that I immediately went in and backed up all my sites.

    Mary

    • Josh January 10, 2013 at 11:51 am

      Hi Mary,

      I think many of us have had similar experiences. You point and click with the expectation that all will be well and then bam! Something is wrong and you can’t figure out what happened.

      Since I like to tinker I have learned the hard way to back up or face the consequences.

  3. Hajra January 9, 2013 at 2:40 am

    My blog had a little hiccup recently and I had no one to blame but myself. I think even if one is irregular, just keep checking back to see if things are okay and no one else has taken over.

    • Josh January 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Hi Hajra,

      The most important part is making sure you check on things because you can’t rely upon on anyone else to do so.

      Hiccups are one thing, but every now and then bigger issues crop up and you don’t want to get caught by that.

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