12/9/13

Web Writing Tip: Never Write Directly in Your Blog Platform Because You May Lose Your Blog Post - and What to Do if This Happens

Sure, it’s faster and pretty darn easy to write your blog post directly into your platform, whether it’s WordPress or Blogger. It’s faster to get the post done and published and out on the web — and it’s so much easier to insert hyperlinks this way.

I get it. I wrote directly into the little box on the screen for Blogger or WordPress for several years.

Until I was happily writing away, inserted a link or two, and hit the publish button only to have the platform crash. Crash, as in lost.



Everything was gone. The content, the links, the image.

Irritating, obviously. So I heaved a heavy sigh, and rewrote the darn thing. (Google History helped here.) It wasn’t as much fun this time, I didn’t write with as much zip, but the re-creation was not that difficult.

I made sure I saved the stuff a couple of times, to be on the safe side. No worries. I hit publish.

Everything disappeared from the screen. I saw the dreaded “404” error message.

So, I made a phone call to the designer ….

And learned this lesson that I would like to share with you.

Never, and I mean NEVER, write directly into the blogging platform.

Write your blog post in Word, Google Docs, or Scrivener; collect your hyperlinks; get your image ready to go, and then open WordPress or Blogger.

Here are some things I do to make this smoother since, yes, it’s not as fast and speedy to create your post in one place and then transfer it into the platform as it is to do everything in one spot.

1. I write everything into a content draft so I can “select all” and easily drop everything into the blogging platform. I use Scrivener for this, although many of my clients use Word to write their stuff. This is an easier thing to accomplish with WordPress than Blogger for Scrivener pastes — in Blogger, I have to take the time to insert paragraph breaks, etc., and I have to make sure that I’m inserting into “html” and not the “compose” block or things are even more hopper-jawed. It’s a pain, but not enough to make me stop using Scrivener.

2. Links are important in blog posts. I insert hyperlinks into my content as I go because I’ve found that it’s easier to remember what phrase you want to use with the link when the hyperlink is closer to the chosen text than if all your links are listed in a group at the end of your document (or bookmarked or tagged in Pocket, etc.). My practice is to insert the hyperlink immediately below the paragraph I’ve written, and if there are two links, then I insert them in the order they’ll appear in the content.

3. It also helps me to write the title and place it into the top of the content. Not as the title of the Word document or the Scrivener file, but as the first sentence of the post’s content.

4. As soon as I cut (or copy) from Scrivener and paste my entire block of content into the platform, I save it. No categories, no tags, I just save the inserted content immediately.

5. AFTER I save the post in the platform, I take the title I’ve written from the top of the content block and insert it into the title bar. Why? WordPress has given me problems a time or two with crashing when things are placed into the title bar. This way, if there’s a crash, hopefully that content is safely saved. I save again now.

6. Then I edit the post title’s file name (for example, see that little spot in WordPress right below where the title appears) because the platform will save something without a good description like “834” - and unless you change it, that’s what will appear in the hyperlink for your blog post.
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