Can you restart an old blog?

Blogging can be a journey (like this one), a passion, a hobby, or a business. And everything in-between. But sometimes life happens and your blog can wind up the last thing on a long “to do” list. That’s what happened to me and one of my old blogs.

Marana Unwrapped was a blog about the town I lived in, just northwest of Tucson, Arizona. I started out pretty interested in it, some people subscribed to it, and I even got added to the town’s email group for the press. But then I moved out of the town of Marana, and somehow thought I should let the blog move into oblivion.

I let the domain name expire and that was that. But something kept nagging at me over the past couple of years. I knew that blog had potential, and it makes no sense to turn down the opportunity. After all, trying to restart an old blog may be worth it. I checked to see if the domain name was still available (it was), and I re-bought it.

It seemed reasonable to sit on my decision and think things through first. I decided a new WordPress theme was essential, and I got to work on that. I changed some categories, updated and added a few pages, and tried my hand at some CSS/PHP code tweaking. It’s still not perfect (I need to Photoshop some of the heading’s pictures), but it’s ready to reintroduce to the world.

With the restart of an old blog comes decisions about how to drive traffic to it. Word of mouth and Twitter may be the best way to jumpstart it. Local blogs have the advantage of being extremely targeted. Later I may go on to create a Facebook page and maybe even submit articles to submission sites. Getting traffic is always a fun adventure.

If you get a chance, take a look at the old content on Marana Unwrapped. Even better, if you’re a Tucson reader, feel free to send me story ideas and news. Let me know what you think (here or there). I’m all ears.

Have you ever made the decision to restart an old blog? What plan of action did you take?

Back to work (at home)

Parasail

Sometimes it makes sense to follow your instincts. In my case, working outside of the home while my daughter went to preschool just wasn’t feeling right. Besides, I was only working part-time (not near my house). And my brilliant 4-year-old figured out how to get sent home every other day or so (if she acts up, they send her home…great incentive to misbehave, don’t you think?)

So it’s back to working from home, which is where my heart is anyway.

I’ve got a few plans and ideas to make this work this time.

Blogging is a great way to make a little income, and for some it can be more than just a little. I’m going to get back to blogging basics, which includes article marketing, affiliate programs, and flat out advertising. I have to regain my PageRank so I can be more competitive. I will also take advantage of the various blogging classes offered online, some for free, and some not. I can figure it out all by myself, but it makes sense to also learn from others’ mistakes and successes.

My writing/editing business will be transformed into a marketing consultant business. And of course that means more cold calls, cold emails, and networking.

Speaking of networking, I’ll continue to enhance my brand using Twitter, and I’ll consider using Facebook and LinkedIn as well.

I’m also considering doing some in-home childcare, but that will take careful thought and planning. Babies are pretty easy, but they still require full-time attention. There’s an after-school crowd in my neighborhood, though, so maybe some latch-key babysitting and tutoring will work better.

Lots of work ahead of me, but being home for my daughter is worth it. Homeschooling is my ultimate goal, and with determination I know we can do it. Wish us luck, check back here often, follow us on Twitter, and tell your friends/colleagues to visit too.

What is your heart’s desire? Are you working toward that goal?

Introductions – Meeting your readers

Garden Plaque

Blogging is something I enjoy, especially when I get to hear feedback from my readers.

But as a blogger, when you’re not sure what to write about, it makes sense to find out who your readers are.

First, let me remind you about who I am: mother, freelance business writer, business owner, blogger, wannabe computer geek, and social networker. I’ve been juggling and struggling with being the single mother of a now four-year-old girl while trying to have a successful freelance writing business. I’ve stopped my dream while working at part-time and full-time jobs, I’ve been a stay-at-home/work-at-home mother, and who knows what’ll happen next.

Now it’s your turn! In the comments, tell me a bit about who you are. Besides telling me who you are, let me know why you read my blog, how you found me, and how often you visit.

I’d like to get to know my readers so you know the other readers you’re talking with, and so I can get a better idea of what you might like to read when you visit Crayon Writer.

And if you’re a blogger or Twitterer too, feel free to leave a link to your blog and/or Twitter username. You might make a few friends while you’re here too!

So introduce yourself and talk amongst yourselves. And welcome (back)!


Monday Minute

Clocks

Thanks to Twitter, I’ve been reading a ton of wonderful articles these days. Now I want to share some with you in this Monday Minute. And if you haven’t joined Twitter yet, you really should. And you can start by following Crayon Writer.

Without further ado:

  1. While you wait for tomorrow’s announcement, learn a bit about how to make a banging blog with 10 Ways to Launch a  New Blog with a ‘Bang’
  2. You can price your services using 2 of the 3: fast, cheap, or good.
  3. Interested in magazine writing? Here’s a short video with some great advice on writing for magazines.
  4. We all get stuck from time to time. This article talks about the most powerful way to get unstuck.
  5. Finally, one of my favorites. As a web writer, it’s key to know how to write effective web content.

I hope you enjoyed this Monday Minute! Let us know what you found useful.

Want to become a blogger or improve your current blog?

Movie Clapboard

Blogging hasn’t died, as many predicted it would have by now. People are still starting new blogs, and some of us maintain our old ones. Blogging still makes money for people and companies, and it’s still a fun way to self-publish.

I just received an email from a reader of mine who said she’s been sitting on the blogging fence for some time now. I asked her, “What are you waiting for?” I also recently setup a blog/website for a relative of mine who needed to have an online presence for an upcoming play.

So no, blogging is alive and well.

But what are you going to do about it?

If I had a little extra money, I’d sign up for a course on becoming a blogger. Why, when there’s tons of information online about how to start and run a blog already? Time is the simple answer. It takes time to research it all, and you’re bound to make some avoidable mistakes.

An online course can help you get your blog started physically, and then help you run and grow it successfully. The research will have already been done for you, so all you have to do is pay attention and follow through.

Stay tuned. Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.  pacific I’ll be announcing a program that will help you start your own blog from scratch.


Do You Backup Your Blog?


Lifebuoy

A few days ago I decided to upgrade Crayon Writer to WordPress 2.8. No problem, right?

Well something went drastically wrong, and in an attempt to “fix” things, I lost my entire blog! Every post, every comment, every page. Two years’ worth of blogging were gone in a flash.

Amazingly, I didn’t panic. A blog is nothing in the larger scheme of things (Michael Jackson died the day before I lost the blog, and my little corner of the blogosphere pales in comparison to the death of such a wonderful human being). But it still hurt to lose it.

Luckily I had done a backup before the installation using my host’s (AN Hosting) backup wizard on the Cpanel. Not that I knew what I was doing. I still needed a ton of help from them to do a recovery.

Just in case that didn’t work, I found out that my mother keeps every post I write (she’s subscribed to my blog…are you?) so I could’ve re-written my whole blog if necessary.

As you can see, things are back up. I lost some plugins and a recent post (which I just re-posted), and I lost my entire theme (it was time for a new one anyway…what do you think of the new theme?) But it was a harrowing and eye-opening experience.

My plan now is to learn how to do a backup to my own computer or a disk, and then I’ll learn how to recover said backup. And I’ll try to keep my hands out of the Cpanel (or at least not click anything that has a pop-up that says, “Warning”). And I will not click anything that says, “Remove” or “Delete” unless I know for sure what’s really going to happen.

What’s the best method to backup a blog, though? In my case, the Cpanel saved the MySql database, but I had no clue how to use that for a recovery. I’ve heard of a WordPress Plugin for backing up, but I’ve also read suggestions that you should do your own backups with an FTP client. Then you can setup a domain that’s just for testing your recovery skills. I’ll admit, though, that I’m a little confused about the whole thing.

Do you backup your blog? How often, and what method do you use? Do you know how to do a recovery, or will your web host help you out?


What’s my password again?

locker room

Internet security is getting so complex that we have to remember a zillion different passwords…or risk using just one and having it stolen.

It’s not a huge deal if the websites you frequent allow you to click on the “forgot password” link, and then they just email you a new one. But it can get quite annoying, especially if your main computer goes down (and you, therefore, have limited access to your email (and just hope you didn’t forget your email’s password too)).

Recently I had to call my hosting company to get a lost password, but I didn’t remember the email address I’d used to sign up! It was a mess, but I finally got it.

So what’s a frequent computer-user to do?

I just read an article that suggested having a base password that you use most places, and then using some form of the place you’re visiting in the password. For instance, if your base password is your street name, and you’re making a password for your Ebay site, you might use “MainEbay”.

Another site suggests using a computer program (which probably requires another password…aack!) I’ve tried making a list of all my sites, as I go to them, and writing down my usernames and passwords for each. But if I were really paranoid, I would only write clues about the passwords, just in case a password thief breaks into my home.

What do you do to keep track of your 101 passwords (and the associated usernames)? Or do you just throw caution to the wind and use the same one whenever you can?

Moving on up!

I finally decided on AN Hosting! I found a coupon code, so I get the first 3 months free.

My new address will be www.crayonwriter.com, but I haven’t set anything up just yet.

The next plan of action will be to figure out what kind of content will keep my loyal readers and attract new readers. Feel free to let me know.

For now, I’ll offer some advice about finding a good host for your blog or website. In a word, research.

  • Check out reviews
  • Read other people’s blogs to see what they’re using
  • Consider your bank account
  • Call the company a few times to see what customer service is like
  • Look for coupon codes to get discounts

I’m off to figure out my new host! Very exciting

Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride

I’m still searching for that perfect host for this blog. I actually started an account with 1&1, and realized in a few hours that it wasn’t the host for me.  I called customer service, and was on hold for 10 minutes before talking to a person. And then the representative told me I would have to recreate my bloglosing all of my posts and comments. Plus, they don’t have one-click installment of WordPress.

I’m just glad I didn’t do any work on my new account before I realized the problems.

So now I’m checking out BlueHost and AnHosting. I’ve heard good things about both, and WordPress.org recommends them.

I’m very happy with Homestead as the hosting company for my business’ website. They have great templates and it’s easy to build and update my site. Unfortunately, they don’t have blog capabilities yet. But they’re great for starting a business website quickly and easily.

In the meantime, I am now an article writer for hire. Check out the new link on my website that leads to samples of my articles. I even submitted another article to Ezine. I’m still working on my main client’s copywriting, and a new project is in the works. Things are looking up!

All of this with my daughter at home most of the time. She spends a few days at the sitters’, but only for a few hours. I still get a lot of work done during naptime, in the wee hours of the night, and early in the morning. I’m also learning to make very productive use of the time she’s not home.

New directions

I’ve been doing a lot of research about different writing avenues. I am still a copywriter for hire, but I’m also exploring blogging for pay, and Web writing. Let me know if you’re in need of any of those services.

I’m also going to move to a new host, so I can begin accepting advertisers and sponsors. My loyal readers, please use the link from my website to find this blog when it moves. I’m going to start a few more blogs as well.

Funny, I’ve never been much of a writer. That is, I never spent a lot of time writing for the fun of it. But I found out that I’m good at it, and it’s actually enjoyable.

On another note, I’ve decided against sending my daughter to daycare after all. So she’s home with me again, and at the sitters’ as well. We’ll see how it goes.