Webconsuls - Web Design, SEO, and SMO Specialists

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Backing Up Isn't Hard to Do!

fit-PC Slim with car keysImage via Wikipedia
Do you ever fall asleep at night with the TV on? I think we all do this on occasion, some more often than not. The falling asleep part is not so bad; it is the waking up in the early morning hours to a strange infomercial. Have you noticed how these infomercials seem to make sense at 4:00AM? The other day I woke up to a real commercial for computer back-up software. I breathed a sigh of relief because we already use this software.

Can we talk about backing-up our computers?  This does not need to be a long discussion. I will say: "Schedule a regular back-up of your computer." And all you have to say is, "Ok, will do."  You might think this is a no-brainer. Maybe you have already learned the hard way: your PC becomes infected with a virus, sudden electrical surge wipes out your hard drive, you lose your laptop, you drop your laptop. Actually the list is endless.

We come to know and expect that our websites are backed-up daily by our host, but what about all of those word documents, photos, logos, pdfs and gifs that are stored on our own computers. Just the other day we received this email from a client:

"Give me a call. Got a speed bump. Accidentally deleted my web page folder. Fortunately I have done full and daily backups. Did a (full backup) restore from 3/7/10, then tried daily restore up to yesterday. Unfortunately the back up software did not include the html folder (it is in the job description). So now I am left with a 3/7/10 folder with the old website links. I will be calling back up tech support this morning to see if we can salvage. If not, and there is no way to convert pdf files to word perfect, we need to do a global link change again. Fortunately I can work off the website to make needed changes and additions."
Malik Moosa, our web developer and designer, worked with the client and sent this follow-up message:
"I’m glad the files I had worked out for you. I would recommend copying those manually to a backup drive or on CD/DVD just to avoid and accidental deletions in the future."

Be prepared. Backing-up isn't hard to do. Dennis uses Carbonite. This is not an advertisement for Carbonite; it is a factual statement. He found it particularly useful when he had to get a new PC and he wanted to make sure that he had all of his files backed-up. Then he was able to do a restore. This is an on-line process, automatic, secure and reasonably priced. On my PC I use an external Seagate hard-drive. It is set to back-up my PC every day at 2:00AM.

Remember, not backing-up is like saying you didn't know to purchase flood insurance even though you live in a flood plain. How about you?  What is your back-up plan?  Did you have to learn the hard way?

Speaking of learning the hard way, I am going to leave you today with a YouTube video from Sex and the City, Season 4, Episode 56 - "My Motherboard, My Self"




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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blog Comments are a Virtual Traffic Circle

Traffic circle or roundabout is ahead.Image via Wikipedia
I remember the first time I encountered a "traffic circle". It was 1988; I was 39 years old and living in New Hampshire. A business associate told me to meet him at a car dealership near the "rotary" in Portsmouth (or thereabout). But there was one problem with his directions. By "rotary" I thought he was referring to a ROTARY(as in the organization) office building. When I finally found him at the car dealership I told him I didn't see the ROTARY to which he responded: "What are you talking about? You drove through the rotary!" Again I queried and finally he adequately described the nightmare that I had just been subjected to: A traffic circle!

So there you have it. Traffic circle, rotary or roundabouts - "a circular arrangement constructed at the intersection of two or more roads in order to facilitate the passage of vehicles from one road to another."

Recently someone (a client) asked me why I read blogs and why do I comment on the blogs I read. The obvious answer to the first part of this question is that I read other blogs to learn about the SEO and SMO industry, hoping to share the knowledge I glean with our clients and co-workers. I comment on the blogs that I regularly read if I have something to add to the conversation or if I have a question about the subject matter. The by-product of this process is that I develop social media relationships and links with relevance and reputation.

Here's how I visualize blog commenting as a virtual traffic circle:
  1. A blog post is written
  2. I am notified of the post via an email or RSS feed (it is ok to start into the circle)
  3. I read the post
  4. I write a comment and identify myself with a link to our domain address or blog address - "the intersection is constructed"
  5. Other readers or the blog writer read my comment and perhaps click on the link to our domain address or blog address
  6. New traffic comes to our site - a visitor who may read our blog or search for a service we offer
  7. New visitor leaves a comment (with a link to their site) or sends us an email

Virtual Traffic Circle: "a circular arrangement constructed at the intersection of two or more blogs/websites in order to facilitate the passage of web traffic from one business to another."


Lately I have read a number of really interesting posts about blogs and blog commenting. Here are a few I would like to share with you. I hope you will take the time to read these posts. You will learn so much.

Drive Traffic to Your Site with a 6-Step Blog Comments Blueprint 

Blogs As Loss Leaders

Value Your Blog Real Estate

Are Blog Comments Dead?

One last thought:
If you are not accustomed to traffic circles (real ones), they can be intimidating. You need to learn about them, understand them, know when to merge, know how to exit to your destination. The same applies to blog commenting and virtual traffic circles, don't you think? I would love to hear from you on this...merge into the traffic circle and comment!

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lose It Update and Southwest Airlines App

I have just returned from a trip to visit my son and his family in Denver. It was a trip that ran havoc on my weight loss and exercise routine. I have restarted my program with the iPhone app lose it.

My son regularly bikes in mountain terrain, is several inches taller than me and weighs 25 pounds less. His diet seems to revolve around high calorie food, food that he easily burns off. My choice was to eat different meals and try to exercise. One can have only so many tofu burgers while everyone else is eating the real thing. The altitude is also not conducive to exercise, at least not for someone my age. So I stopped using the app but have started a new program now that I am back.

We flew on Southwest Airlines. I like Southwest and like it even more that bags fly free. If you fly Southwest it is important to get a good number for check-in as Southwest boards with the numbers rather than assigned seats. You can log in to their website and get a boarding number 24 hours before scheduled departure. The only problem was that 24 hours before departure we were at the Denver Broncos training camp. Well I just got out my iPhone, looked up my confirmation number stored in the Calendar, then used the Southwest Airlines app to check-in. Mission accomplished sitting outside on a hill watching a pro football team practice.