Today’s guest post is by Val Erde, an extraordinary artist who lives in Wales and shares her work at Art By Val Erde. Val is an experienced blogger and recently went through my posts at A Daily Life and left a number of comments, clarifying or showing better ways of doing things (thanks Val!).
Val has an archive of tips she’s provided to newbie bloggers at Blogging Help For Newbies. The below post was a response she gave a reader who had recently lost a post she’d spent considerable time drafting. Val graciously rewrote it to share here:
Saving Your Draft in WordPress
When you’re typing a post for your WordPress.com blog the last thing you want is for something to suddenly undo all your good work, such as your internet connection going down, a sudden power cut or even pressing the wrong key on your keyboard by mistake! Thankfully there are a few things you can do to prevent that happening.
First, WordPress has an auto-save function that starts working after you have saved your draft manually for the first time. To get it to start working, type just a word or even one character (Often, I just type an ‘x’) – which you can delete afterwards if you want – and then click the ‘save draft’ button. Wait for the draft to save (the screen should refresh itself completely: if it doesn’t then it hasn’t saved) then continue typing your post as usual. Click ‘save draft’ regularly and often and don’t rely on the auto-save as that, too, can occasionally malfunction and not work!
Another thing you can do – though this won’t save your work should you get a power cut – is to use the ‘copy and paste’ function of your browser/computer. In the same way that you would copy a word or words (put your cursor at the start of a word or sentence, click and drag it to the end of the word or sentence, release mouse button and then click ‘copy’) to paste into the same or another document file in a program such as Word or Notepad, you can do this on the content of your blog post and then should you lose your internet connection the copy will be stored on your computer’s own clipboard ready to paste into the post editor again. However, to make sure that the post editor formats your content properly, you should only copy from and paste to the HTML editor. To do that, look above and to the right of where you’re typing your post in the post editor. You’ll see two tabs there, marked ‘Visual’ and ‘HTML’. The ‘HTML’ tab is the one you want to click to see the code.
So, from time to time, after typing some of your post (don’t ever wait til you’ve typed it all), click the ‘HTML’ tab and copy all of what you have there – from beginning to end (or – another tip – it’s often more helpful copying from the end to the beginning in case you miss a bit of code) to your computer’s clipboard. Keep doing that along the way (I’d suggest after every paragraph if they’re short, or at least after every ten or twenty lines if they aren’t). Providing all works click the HTML tab and copy into it the whole of what you’d copied. (Click and drag over all the text that’s there and then when you paste it will replace it all with what you have copied).
The reason for using the HTML editor is so that if you’ve put images in, or have bolded or italicized text, you won’t have to redo any of it, it’ll all still be there. If you normally use the Visual editor, just click that tab to continue using it.
Another thing you can do is to compose the content of your post in an offline editor, such as Windows Live Writer. WordPress.com support has info about it here:
Or do your whole post in Word or Notepad and copy and paste it in to your post editor in your blog when you’ve finished. However, you need to know a couple of things about using those. One is that you can’t copy the content of Word documents directly into the WordPress post editor (either from scratch or as an edit) and have it look the the same as it did in Word. A friend of mine – Timethief – explains this better than I can, so have a look at her post ‘WORD and WordPress’:
The other thing is that if you’re using Notepad, before pasting from that into your post editor in WordPress, you should click ‘Format’ that’s at the top of the Notepad window and make sure WordWrap is unchecked. Then click on ‘Edit’ (still in Notepad) and click on ‘Select All’. That will select all the text that’s there. Then copy and paste that into your WordPress editor.
By the way, there is one other reason why it is better to work on your posts in ‘Draft’ rather than clicking the ‘Publish’ button: whenever you click the ‘Publish’ button, it republishes your post, and anyone who uses a feed reader will see each version – including the parts you don’t want anyone to see, in their feed.
Don’t know what a feed is, or a feed reader? This video explains it simply. Have your speakers on as there are verbal explanations too: