Three Tips to Faster Blog Writing

On your mark. Get set…. BLOG!

You know that your site will have more traffic and search better if you have fresh, exciting content that changes frequently, but honestly, who has the time to devote to this task while still trying to run a business?  Ah, guilt! This reminds me of exercise.  I despise exercise.  It just seems like a huge waste of time and energy that could be spent on something much more productive.  If I’m going to have sore muscles, there had better be a great lawn or some furniture moved or something tangible to show for it. Exercise just takes too much time and the results can be so intangible, so I put it off.  I know.  I know I need to do it.  Lots of people know that exercise is a must if you want to be healthy. Just like you know that your business needs a blog with frequent and consistent posts.  But it does take time. And you may feel like it takes too much productive time away from running your business. Interesting blogs written regularly and rapidly may be as elusive to you as an exercise program is to me.

How much time?

Honestly, do you know how long it takes you to come up with a topic, write, proof, find and add catchy photos, sprinkle in some links, and click that “publish” button?  I do.  I have a great app called Harvest that runs a stopwatch while I blog.  With a little spinning circle, it reminds me that time is a-wasting while my mind is a-wandering.  If you could cut your blog-writing time in half, would you blog more?  Probably.  So here are three tips to get you on your way to successful “Speed Blogging.”

Tip 1: Know what you are going to say

Don’t sit down to write a blog and start by dreaming up a topic.  Creativity creeps into crevices in our real life.  It is not summoned on demand.  Your best blog ideas will come to you in the shower or while you are bored driving in traffic. Stop right then and write it down.  Use the “notes” section on your phone, Evernote, or tablet so you won’t lose it.  While you may not need the idea now, write it down anyway.  Real life makes for real interesting blogs.  If your reader can relate to your real-life scenario, they can more easily follow your train of thought.  So look for the little things in life, and then relate those to the bigger topic of your blog.  Know what you are going to say long before you sit down to actually write. Basic Blog Tips provides more great tips here.

Tip 2: Fill up the background space

While I don’t fully understand why this works, there has to be what I call background “fuzz” that surrounds me when I speed-write.  A very progressive teacher explained it to me like this.  Imagine that your brain is like a big, blank chalkboard, and you are trying to focus on filling up one little spot.  If there is too much blank space, your ability to concentrate on that one little spot is compromised. You are being more drawn to what you could put in all the blank space than the task at hand.  By filling the blank space with background fuzz, you regain focus.  Silly as it sounds, make your surroundings busy. Make the noise buzy. But make sure that nothing really stands out to distract you.  For me, the coffee shop is the perfect place to write.  The hum of muffled conversation, the constant motion of people, even the smells keep me focused on the writing.  And when you know what you are saying, and when you are focused on the task at hand, then there is just one last tip to keep you Speed Blogging…

Tip 3: Don’t spin your wheels

If you find yourself getting nowhere, feeling frustrated, and the words just won’t come, then stop.  Come back to writing later.  Do you work well under pressure, then wait till the last minute to write? Maybe pressure stifles you, so plan your writing well in advance. I’m more of a  “write in the moment” person. Just in the nick of time, the sky opens and suddenly the words just jump off my fingers. In a matter of minutes, the idea is down, perfected, and ready to print. So don’t spin your wheels when the words aren’t flowing, but be ready to drop everything and focus when the faucet gushes.  Don’t edit as you write.  Just get everything down as fast as you can, and then go back later to vary your sentence structure, check for spelling, reword what sounds awkward.

A few bonus tips…

Photos are so important to draw attention and spice up your post, but don’t spend too much time searching for just the right image.  Beware of copyright issues!  Just because you found it on an image search doesn’t mean that you have the rights to use it in your post.  I have found that a huge time saver is to just take my own photo.  Yes, there are great sources for images, and subscription services. Use those when you can, but in the interest of speed blogging, grab your phone, snap a great picture, crop it really tight because that makes it look all professional.  You will be surprised at how fast and easy this is, and how wonderful your results will be.

And it goes without saying, that if you can’t type fast, then you can’t write fast.  Do an online typing test, and if you can’t type just about as fast as you can talk, then you need to practice.  You may recall that moment when you were studying a second language when all of a sudden, you could speak in that language without having to translate each word.  Typing should be the same.  Perfect your typing so that you never have to think of the letters, but that the words just flow from your brain to your fingers. Perfect touch-typing style can be a huge writing timesaver.

Please share your tips, too!

Let’s all share our speed blogging secrets.  What tips do you use to make the most productive use of your valuable blog writing time? Please respond!

 

Top 5 WordPress beginner tips

security

So you are new to WordPress? WordPress is a very flexible and powerful system, and it can be very overwhelming for beginners. Where to start? Well, there are many great WordPress video and tutorial websites, for example: wp101.com and wpbeginner.com. We’ve also compiled this list of top WordPress beginner resources. The WordPress community is very open and people love to help. Make sure you join a local Meetup and attend your local WordCamp. There are also many wonderful Facebook, and Google+ community pages.

After many years of working with and supporting WordPress we’ve come up with the following 5 top tips:
Tip #1 – Don’t use Admin as a user: Is “admin” your username?  Then you are a prime target!  Change this immediately.  Oh, but wait… you can’t change a WordPress username.  Don’t fear.  First log in as you normally would.  Under “profile,” change your email address to an alternate email.  (This is because you can’t use the same email address for more than one username). Now create a new user choosing a unique username that is not admin, test, administrator, Admin, or root, as these are the top usernames being targeted. For this new username, you may now include your normal email address. After creating the new user, then delete your old username.  Poof!  That was easy!

Tip #2 – Backup frequently: There are many wonderful backup systems available for WordPress. See our list here. A favorite of many of our users is BackupBuddy.

Tip #3 – Keep WordPress updated: WordPress frequently releases new updates. Make sure you keep your WordPress version up-to-date.

Tip #4  – Keep plugins updated: As WordPress is updated, so are plugins to keep up with the new versions. Plugins are also updated to prevent security issues. It is very easy to update plugins. In your plugin area, just click on the update link next to the plugin that you want to update.

Tip #5 – Install a security plugin: There are many great security plugins and we recommend you install at least one. All ClickHOST customers have free access to the premium Sucuri WordPress plugin. We also recommend iThemes Security Pro plugin.

 

Why do I need a Backup of my Website?

backup-image

Your new website is live!  You are going in making blog posts, updating and moving site content, and OOPS!   You have accidentally erased a file or changed something you can’t figure out how to change back.  No worries, you have a copy of your site files, right?

Website backups are an essential part of owning and maintaining a website. It is the site owner’s responsibility to keep a recent backup of your site files in case the unforeseen happens and restoration is required.  Having a copy of your site files on your own computer can be very useful in case something happens like a malware attack or you accidentally erase or overwrite a file – having a copy on hand can minimize the stress and time of recovery.

How to take a Backup?

There are lots of options for taking backups of your site files and numerous FREE WordPress Plugins.  Some free plugins are:  One-click installers such as Softaculous, BackWPup, and WordPress backup to Dropbox.  There are also paid plugins such as BackupBuddy and VaultPress.

To back up your site files yourself, the easiest and most direct way is to access your site files via FTP to your account and download all of the available files in your web directory.  When downloading, make sure to view hidden files (such as .htaccess and .htpasswd files) so that you can download those as well.  This provides you with immediate access to the files you may have lost, and they are now available for upload whenever you need them again.

We recommend backing up your site files at least once a month.

For backing up your database, WebHostingWorld recommends the use of pHpMyAdmin, a free and open source tool used for administration of MySQL.

To back up your data in pHpMyAdmin, login to your cPanel.  Once you are in, select pHpMyadmin and select the database.  You will see the option to “Export”.  Select all the tables and both the structure and the data for those tables.  There will be an option to ‘Save As’ or ‘Send’ which should be checked to prompt the download.  It will then download the database as a .sql file to your local computer.

We recommend backing up your database files at least weekly.

How often you take backups will depend on how often both the site and database are being updated.   But, Rule#1 for backups is to ALWAYS take a complete backup before you make any major changes to content or before updating WordPress, plugins or your theme!   And, it’s not a bad idea to have more than 1 backup as well.

We are here to help!

If you encounter problems with any part of taking backups, don’t hesitate to contact us!    And, yes, your Hosting Provider does take backups. WebHostingWorld keeps backups at various time intervals for all of our sites.  If you have attempted restoration from your backups and for some reason you are unable to restore your site, WebHostingWorld will be happy to assist with back-up restoration from the most recent backups we have available.

 

 

Why Update WordPress?

time-to-update

We all have maintenance items that we put off.  Like getting a physical, changing the oil in your car, or updating your website’s theme.  You know these are important things to do.  But, they are not fun, take time out of our schedule, or seem like daunting tasks to do yourself.

But, ask yourself…

“When was the last time I did a backup for my website?”

When was the last time I updated my WordPress, my Theme, or my plugins?

Can you remember?  If not, you might need some help!

Why is it important to update WordPress?

Like any software, Developers release updated versions to provide cool new features or to fix known bugs.    WordPress, its themes and plugins are no different.   Updated versions can protect the security of your website and can keep your plugins and themes functioning properly providing a stable and secure version of the software.

If you get behind on updates, you run the potential of “breaking” things when you do finally update causing the need to restore from a backup (which we already established, you can’t remember when was the last time you did one) or causing the need for a designer to come to your rescue to repair.   Extra time and expense you were probably not planning.  Not fun…

I know what you are thinking…you get it, you understand, but you still don’t want to mess with it.   OK, let us help!

WordPress is a great CMS!  They are going to continue to work hard to provide its user with a reliable platform, improved features and prevent potential bugs.  But, you have to do your part as a website owner to keep WordPress, your themes and plugins up to date.

GlotPress is Now Available as a WordPress Plugin!!!!

Version 1.0 of GlotPress, named “Bunsen Honeydew”, is available for download in WordPress.org’s Plugin Directory.
This is the first public release of GlotPress as a WordPress plugin, ​an alternative to the standalone version.

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Some highlights:

  • It’s a plugin!
  • WP-CLI support
  • Integrated with WordPress’s user system
  • Easy installation through the WordPress.org plugin directory
  • Multisite support
  • For the first version the goal was to change as little as possible to get it working well. But still we had to remove some things in favour of WordPress’ API system. You can review the list of breaking changes in our wiki. If you have existing plugins for the standalone version take a look at this guide on how to convert them to WordPress plugins.