WordPress Backups

Last week, I received an urgent email from a client about her WordPress website. (She manages everything on her website and had contacted me once to do some “heavy lifting”; customizing the WordPress theme and making a WordPress plugin work to her specifications.) Anyway, a portion of the email is below:

“… a friend hosts my website, had hardware issues, looks like everything is lost., I am sick to my stomach.”

My eyebrows raised of course, when I read “a friend”, and I, too got that uncomfortable roll in my stomach.

So let’s talk about hosting and backups…

IF you choose to have a friend host your website, a friend who is not in the hosting business, then you need to backup your WordPress files and database on a regular schedule, no matter what your friend tells you about their back up policies. Hosting with a friend is not a situation that I would recommend. You don’t want to start hating on that friend if your website or blog goes missing, and it wouldn’t go missing on purpose, so then do you hate on someone for an accident? It gets too messy. Save a friend and spend some money on hosting your website.

IF your friend works for a professional hosting company, and you host your website or blog with that hosting company, the situation is much better. Your job, then, is to check out the company’s reputation and their backup policies.

When you host your website with a professional hosting firm, you do not have to backup your own WordPress files and database. A professional hosting firm should be doing daily backups of your website.

Daily backups are frequently “incremental”. Incremental backups copy only the files that have been altered and added since the last backup. So, when the incrementals are restored, the entire website can be re-built. Generally, a “full” backup is run one day per week. A full backup back ups the entire website and blog and the database.

Daily incrementals and once-per-week full backups done by a reputable hosting firm have served me well whenever I have had to rebuild a WordPress website from scratch.

If you still would rather have your own set of backups…You can use a WordPress plugin that backs up the files and the database. CAUTION: Be careful with these. If you can find a WordPress Backup plugin that purges previous backups, then try it out, keeping an eye on the disk space being consumed by the backups. One full backup doubles the space you are using in your hosting account. Two backups triple the space. Three backups quadruple the space, and so on and so on.

Sample WordPress backup sizes

Is a full backup every 24 hours necessary? Each backup is 85MB.

You might find yourself being charged extra for hosting because the backups are expanding out of your allotted space.

Do you want to pay for additional space just to be holding backups? If you are willing to pay more, then pay a reputable hosting company that will automatically and professionally complete your WordPress backups, or, pay your WordPress webmaster to create and download special backups, or, check out a WordPress backup service like VaultPress. Don’t take up any more of your time worrying about your WordPress backups.

Oh, and if you host your website with Adventures Online, rest assured that daily backups and weekly full backups are being done by professionals, not to mention the local copy of your website that is kept on the in-office production system.

WordPress-Based Website for new Homebuyers

Adventures Online congratulates Your Gift Certificate for the recent launch of their WordPress website.  The website  is for the new homebuyers who have received Your Gift Certificate’s housewarming gift package.

Home page of WordPress website for Your Gift Certificate
First, Your Gift Certificate (YGC) worked with Clapp Design to define the website design. Once signed off, the design and specs were handed off to me (Karen Callahan of Adventures Online). [Update: July 22, 2017 – website has been removed as owners are focusing on other business segments.]

The website build requirements were:

  • The website should look the same across viewing devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, cell phone) (Responsive design).
  • New homebuyers should be able to add their story with minimal data required.
  • Homebuyer’s stories should be held for review, and not immediately published.
  • Homebuyer’s stories should be published to the public immediately upon approval by the YGC staff.
  • Staff should be able to add and remove at will the advertisements running down the right hand side.
  • There should be two sets of advertisements, one set used on one type of page and another on another type of page.
  • Staff should be able to update content of the web pages at any time.

The solutions included…

  • WordPress was used as the base. That addressed the ability to update content on pages, manage pages and posts, and made responsive design easier to accomplish.
  • Custom PHP, a WordPress plugin, and CSS were used to complete the responsive design aspect of the website.
  • Custom PHP programs were used to:
    • Create a custom form for the data entry of the homebuyer’s story
    • Display the Thank You page the homebuyer is shown
    • Send a message to the office that a new story was created
    • Store the user and the story in the WordPress database
  • WordPress roles were used to hold the homebuyers’ stories unpublished until approved by YGC staff.
  • Custom sidebars written in PHP were added to the WordPress installation in order for YGC to manage the two sets of advertisements.

Shortly after the launch of the website, Adventures Online provided a WordPress training session where YGC staff learned standard WordPress maintenance like updating content on the pages and posts, as well as how to maintain the custom aspects of the website like the advertisements on the sides of the pages.

Website maintenance is now100% in the hands of YGC. We wish YGC much luck with their newly designed WordPress website.

WordPress-Based Website for Local DAV Launches

Congratulations to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in Marlborough, MA on the recent launch of their new website, DAVmarlborough.org.

Website for the Disabled=

Adventures Online was contacted early in 2013 to design and develop a website for this local organization that had never had a website. The organization’s requirements included:

  • Ability for DAV officers to easily update the content on the pages
  • Ability to grow the website by adding more pages as needed
  • Ability to communicate with members in private. For example, to have private pages where members can sign up/volunteer to represent the DAV at the numerous functions in which it participates.
  • Ability to upload images of events and fundraisers
  • A Calendar of Events page with an easy-to-use updating program

WordPress was chosen as the framework for the website because of its ease-of-use for updating content, uploading images, adding pages, and creating private pages for communicating with group members. A popular Ajax calendar plugin was used for the Events page and the events list that displays in the right column on each page.  A combination of a WordPress plugin and CSS was used to provide a responsive design. Just a little PHP customization was required.

After an hour and a half of WordPress training and practice, the designated DAV officer was updating the Calendar of Events like a pro!

Adventures Online was honored to develop the website pro bono as a small token of appreciation for the service and sacrifices of all veterans and their loved ones. We are grateful, and, we wish the DAV Marlborough the best of luck with their new WordPress website!

SEO for WordPress Power Bloggers gets Love from Amazon

My kindle book, SEO for WordPress Power Bloggers got some love from Amazon last week in the form of email advertising!

Yep, I opened my email to find this message from Amazon.

email from Amazon about SEO for WordPress Power Bloggers

Of course, when I saw the subject was the title of my kindle book, SEO for WordPress Power Bloggers, I thought that Amazon was going to give me bad news.

When I opened the email, I saw that Amazon was advertising SEO books related to WordPress. Glad to see my kindle book for WordPress SEO was at the top of the list!

Thanks, Amazon.

Speaking Engagement with MMHA

Massachusetts Manufactured Housing Association logoI am honored to have been invited to speak later this month at the annual Mid-Year Meeting for the Massachusetts Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA). MMHA is a statewide not-for-profit organization that represents manufactured housing community owners, manufacturers, insurers, realtors, financiers and suppliers throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

I will be presenting What’s Hot & What’s Not for Your Online Presence in 2013. Here’s a sampling of questions that will be addressed:

  • What must a website have in 2013?
  • What is nice to have on a website in 2013?
  • How do you make your website give the image of a thriving business?
  • How does social media affect your website?
  • With limited time, on which social media websites should you participate?
  • Why do I have to worry about Google? Bing? AOL? Yahoo? YouTube?
  • Newbies: Do you create a website or a blog? a hybrid?