Back That Thing Up: Keep A Private Article Bank

If you are writing for a number of clients, or even just one, you’re likely to want to keep track of your work. Why not create a private article bank, in the form of a password-protected weblog?

Depending on your uses, this article bank could be on your laptop/ desktop computer’s local web server, or a hidden subdomain somewhere. I prefer the latter, so that you can give access to a client if they need a back up copy. Either form is a backup copy for you.

Having a private article bank gives you a quick way to search older posts without skewing the pageviews of your client’s website. As well, if you post to your live article bank on the same day as to your client’s website, you have a record of your work.

For example, one site I write for asks for exclusive rights for one year. I can easily check my bank for articles in a given month and see if any are about to be “freed up”. Depending on your blogging platform, it might also be easy to keep track of which articles you’ve been paid for. (WordPress, for example, allows you to add custom variables to each post. You could a “paid status” field.)

In general, an article bank will come in hand either when you have a lot of clients, or when you have long-term projects with a few clients. It’s a supplement to the article log I mentioned previously. And you can easily see what your productivity has been in a given month.

8 thoughts on “Back That Thing Up: Keep A Private Article Bank

  1. Exactly. Don’t leave it until later. Do it as you post. Which is why I say that if you have a private article bank in the form of a blog, you can easily post the same item twice (presumably from PFF editor).

    I suppose it depends on what editor you are using, but basically, you want to minimize the effort required to make that backup. Else most people probably won’t do it.

    Also, the reason I prefer the dup posts in a private blog are two-fold:

    (1) I can “see” the article with all the CSS and HTML applied, which is extremely hard to see in flat files. Also, you can see where there are line breaks when ther shouldn’t be.

    (2) The content isn’t indexed by a search engine, thus giving the client the indexed copy. Your agreement with your client might prohibit you from posting before them, or in dup.

  2. The point to be made clear is that every blogger should keep a backup. And not the kind of backup ‘uhh, I will take care of that in the future when I have time for this …’

    Making a backup during the process of writing and after publishing an article is absolutely essential. The local copy may safe your butt if your database gets corrupted, the site gets hacked or if just deleted that great article by accident.

  3. Markus, I don’t think so, but I could be mistaken. The point is that you want to keep your article bank private. And stuff like SVN and repositories hardly mimic someone’s blogging platform. The point I’m making is to try to maintain a private clone (as close as possible) to the posts you write for clients, for both their benefit and yours.

  4. What is this software distribution thing called I always wanted to get familiar with? Command is svn something; Nick mentioned it also for PFF wouldn’t that be a perfect solution to combine with the database? If it works you could check in new articles at home and synchronize the repository with your live system.

    If somebody could write an in-depth article how to set up such a beast I could overcome my laziness and just do it 🙂

  5. Yeah, a local mySQL table and webserver, with a blog platform, is what I was getting at. But for anyone who does not have the wherewithal to set all that up (including PHP, etc.), a hidden subdomain running password-protected posts on a WordPress (or whatever) platform works just as well.

    The Excel sheet was only for a simple log, never for the actual article bank

  6. Well, you don’t have to use Google esp. not if you are on a sophisticated system like Linux 🙂

    A local MySQL database can also do wonders. Just set up a flat file table and fill the rows with a MySQl admin software of your choice or create an OpenOffice form. If you know what you are doing you can of course create some relations and indexes …

    I definitely would not use Excel. Too limited 🙂

  7. While I like Google for a lot of things, I’m loathe to use them or anyone else on my desktop/ laptop.

  8. To keep it simple a local desktop search software like Google Desktop can help without all the hassle of filling out forms.

    If you need special fields an easy OpenOffice database with all the content plus the additional data can help.

    BTW: Does anybody know a good and free Yellow Pages application for a LAMP system? (will post that parallel in the software forum)

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