If you are a one-person “blog as a business,” then it’s likely the writing part of the blog is the easy half of the equation for you. For many, the technical side of running a blog can be far more challenging. I’ve got a tech background and often find this to be the case. My three favorite blogging tips and tricks learned over the last several years from the technical perspective are listed below.
Don’t trust your content to anyone. Over the last couple of years, I have written frequently about the importance of owning and controlling your media creation home base. For most of us, this means your blog. Find a reliable hosting company like Rackspace (not an affiliate link) and install your own WordPress platform from WordPress.org.
It may seem like a great deal of extra work when compared with signing up for a WordPress.com account, but the advantages far outweigh the time trade off. The rules/terms of service on WordPress.com, Google+ or any other content platform can be changed overnight resulting in the rug being pulled out from under your home base. For more information on self-hosting, take a look at the 21 days to a (better) blog series from last year.
Tack control of and own your backup process
Recently, I was upgrading this blog to the most current WordPress release, which is normally, an uneventful process, well, until it isn’t. After completing the upgrade, I had no site. Entering the JimRaffel.com address resulted in a blank white page without even an error message. After uttering a few expletives, I remembered that I was using the BackupBuddy plugin.
I did a little digging online for the BackupBuddy documentation. Once I found it, I read it carefully a couple of times and then followed the rather simple step-by-step instructions. In less than an hour, I was back up and running. There are many ways to back up a WordPress site and the real key here is to select a method you own and control. My backups end up in three places: on this server, off on a cloud drive and on my local hard drive.
Just think of your backup solution as insurance. You want to buy it from a reliable company that stands behind the product. I won my BackupBuddy (affilate link) subscription at WordCamp Phoenix, but won’t hesitate to renew when the time comes.
Be a webmaster
Google tools for webmasters is a free service all serious blog owners should be using. You will be able to track which search terms are most effectively bringing traffic to your site. You can also track site problems like pages not found and problems with how quickly your site loads. Basically, it’s a peek under the hood of the super secret Google algorithm.
Google also has a great support page for webmasters. I’ve been spending some time on this page recently and am finding Google to be a great source on optimizing your site for search engines. Imagine that. Make sure to take a look at the “Search Engine Optimization” guide you can find on the support page. It’s a PDF so you can print it out and read it anywhere.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned that my blogging business just begins with the writing. It’s the under-the-hood technical tips and tricks of running and managing a site that has turned this into a revenue generating venture.