Just as some computer users (not you of course) don’t do regular backups, it’s easy to take for granted everything we require to do our job as bloggers and so not plan for problems.
If blogging is your business, you’ll want to think about what to do when the lights go out.
Some basic things you’ll want to consider are:
- Computer equipment
- Internet connection
- Communication with others
- Maximizing productivity
- Use the cloud and keep it local
- Power restored
1. Computer Equipment
Are you prepared for what happens when your computer shuts down unexpectedly due to power loss?
Though modern software and hardware is generally very good at recovering after a power cut (there’s even an option on most operating systems to restart automatically after power failure) it’s still wise to prepare.
If you’re using a desktop computer, you’ll lose power instantly unless you’ve invested in a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). These vary in cost depending on how long you want them to supply power to equipment, and to how many items, but a small investment could at least give you time to save work and shut down the computer safely before all power is lost.
If you’re using a laptop computer, even directly powered from the mains, then you should be able to work from the battery pack, though you may notice a reduction in performance depending on your power settings.
Consider how much equipment you need to protect, what your budget is, and plan accordingly. If your area is prone to power loss, even momentary, then investing in this way will save you from hardware failure and software/data problems in the long run.
Don’t forget external hard drives and other devices that don’t like to have power cut when in operation.
2. Internet Connection
If you’re on any type of broadband connection and use a router or cable modem to access the Net, it’s likely you’ll lose use of that as well, even if you can still work from your laptop.
Most broadband users don’t have a dial-up account any more (you may not even have an internal modem on your laptop) but if you do it may be worth having an “emergency” number you can use to access important services (albeit much more slowly) if your main Net connection dies.
Alternatively, make sure you know how to access Internet and email services from your mobile phone. You should still have basic network coverage (HSDPA / 3G or even EDGE).
Consider installing and setting up a blogging application, or at least bookmarking the web address of your blog’s control panel, ahead of time so that you’re not trying to recall them from memory when you need them.
If the power loss is localized, consider visiting a friend, a library or an Internet café so that you can continue to work either from your own machine or elsewhere.
3. Communication With Others
If you work on a collaborative blog, or have other people you need to let know that you won’t be blogging (at full speed), ensure you have contact numbers / email addresses / Twitter access so that you can get the word out.
It may be obvious to you why you’re not posting, but not everyone will know what’s happened even if you tweet about it.
Don’t forget good old-fashioned means of communication — your telephone probably still works.
4. Maximizing Productivity
It can be frustrating not to be connected to the Internet 24/7, or to have access to your computer, but don’t forget that blogging is much more than that.
If you have limited or mobile access to the Net, do some basic housekeeping like cleaning and replying to comments or sending an email to another blogger.
If you have computer access but no Net access, brainstorm post ideas, write article drafts, create graphics and photos for articles, or brush up on your editorial calendar.
If you have no web or PC access, use a notepad and pen to brainstorm ideas, go for a walk and take some photos, or use the time to simply relax a little.
You may even find that the loss of power offers you some inspiration for a future blog post!
5. Use the Cloud and Keep it Local
Having data stored locally is great when you have use of your primary computer but no Net access.
Having data stored in the Cloud is great when you can gain access to the Net but don’t have use of your home computer.
If you work collaboratively, data stored online is great if you need someone to take work from you.
Find a balance between what you store online and what you store locally so that you can continue to work on something, or have someone else do it.
6. Power Restored
Once the power is restored you may well find that you need to do a few housekeeping tasks before you can get fully back to speed.
Your Internet connection may take a little while to fully function after a power cut. The router may need to run some diagnostic tests, or you may have to reset it.
You may find that your PC also has to run diagnostic tests, possibly repairing files damaged because they were being accessed as the power went out.
A lot of software (Word, for example) will try to restore the most recent automated backups but you may still experience some data loss.
Other software and data may have been corrupted — email folders, for example. Some software automatically repairs damage, whereas other problems may require manual assistance. Make sure you know how to diagnose and repair common software faults.
In severe cases, you may have to restore parts of the system or files from backup. You do keep regular backups, right?
There’s no doubt that losing electricity is a pain when you’re trying to blog, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster.
Plan ahead, and maximize your time during the event, and your blogging shouldn’t suffer.