Anyone who’s worked with technology understands the value of backups. They’re fundamental. The failure to keep adequate backups can literally result in horrible, life-changing events. (Imagine what happens when the book you’re writing disappears two weeks before deadline, or you loose thousands of family photos, or a software application you’ve been building for a client is lost just when you absolutely need to get paid by them.)
And yet bloggers — some of the most prolific content producers on the Web — almost universally do not keep backups of their work. Instead, they rely on their (usually low-budget) web hosting company, and their (sometimes unreliable) blogging software to preserve the text they’ve written over the years.
It’s a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Most blogging tools offer export functionality to allows bloggers to easily manage backups, the problem is that they procrastinate (or forget entirely), and backups never happen.
Fortunately, there are tools out there that automate this process by allowing you to carry on with business as usual, safe in the knowledge that your writing is being backed up on a regular basis.
The service I mentioned earlier, BlogBackupOnline, is one such service. It pulls content from your RSS feeds (assuming you publish full posts, that is), and saves the text in their database. You can perform scheduled backups or a single full backup, and you can set it to store comments and media files as well.
It’s a bit rough (it’s in beta), the design is funky (typical for web apps these days, unfortunately), and the name is forgettable (“Where did I save that stuff again…?”), but overall it seems like a fairly well-done blog backup service. I’m using it for one of my sites right now, and I’ll update this post if I find any major downsides.
While browsing around the Techrigy site, I happened to notice this:
“Techrigy can help organizations manage the information communicated transmitted with these social media. Techrigyâ€™s enterprise backup engine crawls through corporate data centers and external sources to identify and collect all information about an organization that is being communicated through social media. Techrigy then brings this information into a central retainer where it can be securely stored, analyzed, and mined.”
That may or may not have anything to do with their blog backup service, but the fact that social media data mining is their primary business makes the blog backup thing sound a little sinister. Hopefully they’ll clarify this in the comments.
BlogBackupOnline (currently free during beta; no word on pricing afterward) isn’t the only player in this game, of course. Before signing up, be sure to take a look at some of the other contenders:
Each of these services (and every one of the many other tools out there) has its strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to shop around before making a final choice.
However you do it, though, it’s essential that you implement some kind of service or procedure (maybe just a reminder on the 13th of each month?) to ensure that the writing you spend so much time on will be safe in the event of a major problem.