Part of the appeal of blogging is how easy it is to start. All you need is access to a computer, an Internet connection, and a hosting solution. If you’re a hobbyist blogger you can usually get set up in a day and blog to your heart’s content.
Professional blogging, however, is a business. And just like any business (especially one so reliant on technology), professional blogging requires ongoing maintenance of hardware and software systems to ensure that work can go on uninterrupted.
Technically all the hardware you need to blog is a computer. But as a professional blogger, you may want to look into optimising and securing your hardware systems. You rely on your hardware to allow you to update your blogs on a regular basis. If your hard drive fails one day, do you have a backup to use?
While blogging doesn’t exactly require a high-spec machine, it does require a functioning machine that you can rely on for your work. This is why it is important to upgrade outdated components. This doesn’t need to be an expensive undertaking as you don’t need the latest and greatest hardware to run a blog, but a 5 year old CPU can probably use a refresh.
How secure is your data?
Professional bloggers often rely on more pieces of software than they can count. In fact, you often don’t even realize exactly how many different programs you use in your day to day work until you make a full list, which can include everything from desktop publishing programs to social bookmarking and scraping software.
Not only that, but bloggers often store post drafts, images, and other content on their PCs. Ensuring that you have a backup of your files and critical applications is crucial and can be a lifesaver not just for a professional blogger, but for pretty much everyone. The only difference between someone losing all of their family photos and a professional blogger losing all of their work in progress and applications is the amount of income they are likely to lose as they spend time trying (sometimes unsuccessfully) to get it all back.
Data backup options range from rudimentary to sophisticated, some of them being:
- Get an external hard drive and manually back up important files once a week
- Schedule automatic backups to a NAS (Network-attached storage) box (and if you’re really dedicated you can even get a fireproof NAS)
- Store files in the cloud using a service like Dropbox (this means if your hardware fails, you will still be able to access your files from another device. However, weigh up the pros and cons of storing important private information in the cloud)
What would happen if your web host lost all of your data one morning? Would you have a backup? Many web hosts provide automated data backups of all files on the server, which is great. Make sure that you download a backup on a regular basis and if automated backups aren’t provided by the web host, implement your own backup solution.
Remember to back up your database as well as the actual files.
Can you always “phone home”?
One of the great things about making a living online through ventures like blogging is the freedom to travel and work from pretty much anywhere in the world. As a professional blogger, taking advantage of this freedom often means working from a laptop. Regardless of whether you’re a digital nomad or prefer to stay in one place, business must go on even when travelling. Bloggers who have largely automated and outsourced their work may not have to worry about working on holiday, but emergencies happen, so quite often bloggers travel with laptops at least.
If you’re the kind whose software and data is mostly stored on a desktop PC at home, it can be a good idea to be able to remote into your main machine at home from your laptop if required. Programs such as TeamViewer or LogMeIn (both of which have free options) can provide this option for emergency situations.
These are just some things that professional – or aspiring professional – bloggers should consider. For casual bloggers things like backup or remote access solutions may not be anything to worry about, but as a professional blogger it’s better to sort out your IT processes now rather than wish you had when it’s too late.