I work with computers a lot, for both my personal work as well as for editing and cover design and web design clients. I transitioned from my IBM Selectric to my first dedicated word processor—a Brother with a 1” tall by about 6” wide screen—in the early ‘90s, and from that word processor to my first computer in the mid-‘90s. I developed my first website in 1996. You can’t do that without learning pretty much all you need to know about the importance of backing up your files.
At first we practiced SESO—Save Early, Save Often—so that when the word processor or computer “crashed” we wouldn’t have to recreate quite as much work. The smarter ones among us (not I) saved our work not only on the hard drive of the computer, but on a 7 1/4” floppy disc that really was floppy. (During part of my time in the Marine Corps, I worked on punch cards, which were sort of the precursor to the floppy discs.) Later somebody came out with a 3 1/2” floppy disc that wasn’t actually floppy but that was a lot more durable and therefore more reliable. Still, it only helped with backup if you remembered to save your work on it.
Today, of course, we have “memory sticks” or “flash drives” as well as external hard drives. Those are wonderful, but the original problem remains: you have to remember to back up your files to the external storage device, and you have to leave your computer alone long enough for it to back up the files.
Enter Dropbox. I haven’t tested all the different cloud storage facilities, but I have tested this one thoroughly and I strongly recommend this service.
Today, I keep ALL of my files—both my personal files and my clients’ files—in my Dropbox folder on the desktop screen of my laptop. To edit a file or work on a book cover design, for example, I open my Dropbox folder, open the client’s folder, open the file and work on it. When I click Save, it’s not only saved on my computer, but it’s automatically saved in my Dropbox account in the cloud.
Granted, keeping all my files in my Dropbox folder on my desktop instead of simply keeping them on the desktop itself took a little getting used to, but now my files are automatically and immediately backed up every time I work on them. I can’t begin to tell you the relief that brings me. Best of all, a Dropbox account is absolutely free. I upgraded to a larger amount of storage because, again, I’m storing all of my files as well as all of my clients’ files, but it’s well worth it.
Perhaps best of all, I also back up all of my own websites—HarveyStanbrough.com, StoneThreadPublishing.com, StoneThread Publishing Reviews at HEStanbrough.org, CantinaTales.com and a few others—as well as all of my web design clients’ websites. I’ve already had to rebuild more than one website using the backed-up copy.
Back up your website with Updraft Plus.
If you have your own WordPress website (I can’t speak for Blogger or any of the others) and would like to back it up to your Dropbox account or anyplace else, I strongly recommend the Updraft Plus plug-in. If you have only the one website to worry about, the free account should be plenty.
Actually, I have tested several different plug-ins that allegedly work well to back up your files and database—some free and some paid—but none of them can hold a candle to Updraft Plus. Of all the backup plug-ins available through WordPress, I recommend only this one.
If you don’t have and don’t want a Dropbox account for whatever reason, you can have Updraft Plus send your backup files directly to you via email, or you can set it to back up your files to any of several other storage devices. It’s all up to you.
That’s it for this time. To hear more about these two products and a great deal more, consider attending my upcoming seminar on Emarketing & Social Media. For details, see http://HarveyStanbrough.com/events.
‘Til next time, happy writing!