I know that much of this post will fall on deaf ears, but it will make your life with WordPress easier, if you choose to follow this one very simple recommendation. Use an HTML editor with WordPress. Why would you want to do that ? Let me explain.
It seems to me that most people use WordPress almost like Microsoft Word. Click on post, and type in your content just like you do in any word processor. What is wrong with that, you may ask ?
Well, you can work that way, but is that really the best way to work with WordPress ? In reality it is not.
WordPress is substantially different from Microsoft Word. A word processor creates a document that is local, (stored on your computer). WordPress uses HTML, the language of Internet browsers.
Also, and most importantly, WordPress creates dynamic pages online unlike Microsoft Word. You can never see an entire WordPress page, except in a browser window. The components are assembled, “on the fly” as you browse. Once in a while, if you work with WordPress long enough, you may find that you are working on a post and it may suddenly disappear.
Where did it go, into the ozone ? Or maybe it just displays crazy things on the screen, or stuff gets scrambled on the screen, together with the HTML for the picture or video you wanted to add.
Perhaps you just installed a new plugin, and it makes one of your pages disappear. If you have been working for a while, and you forgot to save draft or update the page, you may close WordPress by accident, and suddenly you find yourself back at the desktop on your computer, minus the post you wrote.
Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is a wonderful program, but let’s face it, no piece of software is perfect ? These events are somewhat rare, but they do occur. Even if you work carefully, they still may happen to you.
In any case, I’m sure you get the idea, there are relatively complex things going on behind the scenes with WordPress, and “stuff” happens. Where is your backup when one or more of your pages heads south ?
I recommend that a full backup of your entire WordPress installation be done on a regular basis. For the amount of time it takes, why not back up after every post ? I know how easy it is to forget to do that, even on a regular basis.
Even if you have a blog with hundreds of pages, I would still back up often. What do you do, however, if one piece gets lost ? Do you restore the entire site ? I would not recommend that.
This potential problem of data loss can easily be solved if you use an editor. Notepad or Wordpad come with Windows, but they are both a little spartan. You could also use Google docs online.
That would be an excellent choice if you need to collaborate, but it is still a little too generic. What I recommend is a good HTML editor. That way you have most of what you need to create the HTML within the editor.
You can test your basic HTML to see if it looks OK. If you save it with the same name as the post in HTML, so you have a back-up in case things go crazy on you.
Personally, I like EditPlus. I have never had a single problem with it. How many software programs can make that claim ? A precious few. The HTML is color coded. EditPlus is an HTML, PHP, and Java editor. You can take it for a 30 day spin, then spring for the $ 35.00 or so, after 30 days. It was well worth it for me. It falls under the category of cheap investment for a superior tool. The very best part of using EditPlus is that it creates good clean HTML.
There a number of free HTML editors, (see article below). The problem I have with some of them is:
1) They try to do everything online and are sometimes are hard to configure.
2) Because they do everything online, they need your administrator log-in to function. This means you have a free program to which you are entrusting your blog security. Think about that for a moment. Do you really want to open up a new security issue for your blog, just to use an HTML editor online ?
Is is that hard to cut and paste ? If there is one thing Windows does really well, it is cut and paste.
I guess I am little fanatical, the way I use EditPlus, because I save the basic HTML, bring it into WordPress, add whatever else, pictures, anchor links, etc. I let WordPress do it’s magic, and then once it has been published, I save the final HTML code in EditPlus as a backup, and overwrite the original basic HTML file. I have a back up of the final version of every post I write.
In any case, regardless of which method you use, you will not have the sickening feeling of losing one of your posts if you use an HTML editor. If you save your work in an HTML editor, you will always have access to the words that you have so carefully crafted.