Thursday, February 11, 2010

Take Notice: Blog Tips to Protect Your Hard Work

First things first: Yes, this post’s title pays homage to J Dilla. Moving on…

Blogspot bloggers beware, Google and the RIAA are coming for your ass! A few prominent music blogs have been shut down in the past week or so, a devastating blow to the blogosphere that’s already being called #musicblogocide2010 (silly hashtaggers). As I was telling Khal on Google Buzz (which I’ve disabled – not because I’m protesting against Google, rather it’s because Buzz annoys the bejeezus outta me), now might be a good time to start backing up your work. Personally, I’ve spent months-worth of time on Blogger (no joke): many a sleepless night. I know damn well if my blog ever got shut down, I’d go into a severe case of withdrawal. All that work…gone. It’d be too much to bear.

Luckily there are some steps you can take in assuring that your hard work stays in your possession forever:

1. Save all your posts – at least the ones that you are most proud of or were the most labor-intensive – as files on your computer: Word, Pages, Notepad, whatever you use! When I compose my posts (like this one), I start out with Word. Only when I’m finished do I copy and paste it into Blogger. It doesn’t hurt to save that Word draft does it? Of course not.

2. Back up your posts the Blogspot way. Just as you would upload/import and download/export Blogger templates, you can do the same with Blogger posts and comments. All you’ve got to do is enter your dashboard and click the Settings tab. You should be in the Basic sub-tab now. Under Blog Tools, simply click Export Blog and you’ll begin downloading a file with all of your site’s content. Now create a new back up blog and import the newly-downloaded .xml file. You can have them transferred as published posts or drafts – that’s up to you. One thing I noticed about this method of backing up your content is that it won’t save all of your comments. I believe the maximum number of comments it’ll retrieve for you is 200. That was my experience. Still, it’s a small price to pay for the assurance that all your posts are safe and secure.

3. Subscribe to your own RSS feed. There are many advantages to doing this, here are a few:
a) You can verify the time it takes between publishing your post and seeing it show up on feed readers.
b) You can see what your subscribers see. Not only that, if you’re using Google Reader – which is what I use – you can get to know a little bit about your subscribers. Do they click “Like” on your posts? It’s always helpful to know what your readership finds most important from your site and work.
c) Most importantly, you’ve got quick access to your entire archive of work (as far back as the feed goes from beginning to present). Your feed reader will probably allow you to search your own content faster and more efficiently than doing it on your own site. And if any of your posts get deleted and can’t be accessed through your blog, they should be safe and secure on Reader. I’ve gotten my fair share of DMCA takedown notices in the past (not anymore, thankfully). But whenever I did get ‘em, the first thing I’d do was search the deleted post’s title in Reader and – voila! – retrieve all the work and repost it, sans copyright material/download link(s). A while back, Blogger changed their policy and began to revert copyright-breaking posts to draft status (instead of deleting them). That was very helpful. But you can never be too sure about these guys… Subscribing to your own feed will save your ass. I promise.

If anybody’s got some more tips, please feel free to share! In the meantime, a moment of silence is due…

Pop Tarts
Living Ears
Its a Rap
I Rock Cleveland
To Die By Your Side