World Backup Day – What to Backup and How to Create the Backups
It’s International Backup Day, I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as International Backup Day but I saw it somewhere online and it turns out it really is true – March 31st, International Backup Day or National Backup Day, something like that, to go backup your data.
I thought maybe this was another attempt by Hallmark to sell greeting cards, but apparently there are no Backup Your Data greeting cards, at least I couldn’t find one. I really wanted one.
I thought there’s two issues about backup. Everybody knows you need to backup, everybody talks about it, but really not enough people do it. I thought we could talk about two things really quickly and hopefully this will motivate you to backup a little data today if you don’t have a good backup strategy.
The two things I want to talk about were what to backup and maybe we’ll identify some things you hadn’t thought about there as far as what to back. And then sort of how to back it up, so much in detail, but just in general what approaches to consider when you’re talking about backups.
Let’s talk about what to backup. Obviously the very first thing that everybody thinks of is backing up the hard drive on your computer disk. I think that’s really smart, you need to do that. For me as a Mac user it’s really easy, I just plug in a physical disk in my machine to get a physical backup in my house using Time Machine. That’s a great product, it works really well.
If you want to be fancy about it you can use two disks and take one disk offsite. But, literally all you do with an Apple is stick the disk in there and tell Time Machine to go eat it. Actually, it even asks you when it sees a new disk, “Do you want this to be a Time Machine disk?” So it’s really neat and easy to use.
Windows, not much easy. There is Windows Backup in Windows 7 and I’ve used that and it works well enough. There are lots of good Windows backup products. I used to use Retrospect back in the day on Windows when EMC owned Retrospect. My understanding is that Retrospect is alive again, someone’s little 20 man company has bought Retrospect again.
That’s a great program Windows and for the Mac and I’d recommend that you check that out if you’re interested in backing up on Windows. For the Mac I really think Time Machine is enough unless you’ve got a complicating situation that really requires something else.
Don’t just backup your data and your apps with an incremental backup type strategy. You should also mirror your boot disk, because if your boot disk fails you’re going to need to restart your computer. So look into some disaster recovery strategies for your computer.
With the Mac it’s really easy to make a duplicate of the boot drive and then you can boot off of USB. Most Windows computers can do that as well. Then at least you’ll be back up and running instantly if your boot drive fails and you can start the business of restoring your computer off of this USB boot drive.
I highly recommend that you backup both of your data and applications using some backup software like Time Machine or Retrospect. Then I also recommend that you make a mirror image periodically of your boot disk. That’s what I do.
The next thing you need to backup if you’re an internet marketer is your server. There are two things that you should probably do. If you’re running WordPress you should probably have a plugin that backs up your WordPress database. There are several of them, if you go over to WordPress.org in the plugins directory there are WP-Backup, which is a good one that I’ve used for years. There are a couple of new plugins that look really interesting to me that backup to Dropbox, I think that’s really cool. You should check those out. I’ll try to find that here later and put a link in the show notes for a couple of those plugins. That’s really good stuff.
You want to not just backup your theme files and so forth that are on your directory structure with your server, but you also want to backup that MySQL database because that’s where all your posts, WordPress settings, and other critical items are. Don’t make the mistake of only backing up your theme files, be sure and backup your database as well.
The other thing that I recommend that you do, particularly if you’re running cPanel, is make a backup from cPanel. You can do that and there are instructions all over the web about how to do that. If you’re with a company like Host Gator you can just submit a support ticket and ask them how to create a backup file. You can then download that to your PC via FTP and that would allow you to have a backup of your server, so if your server farm dies or if you move hosts if you have a good cPanel backup it’s really easy to restore from a backup of the whole cPanel environment.
Everybody knows those and you should be doing those periodically, hopefully automatically. I highly recommend both of those. A couple of other things that I recommend you backup are your phone, because a lot of times you can have a lot of critical information on your phone.
Of course if you’re using an Apple product, an iPhone, then you’ve got iCloud backup working for you. This works great. I recently had to replace my wife’s iPhone and I just took it into the Apple store, they gave me a new one, I set up iCloud and by the time I got home from the mall the phone had completely restored and everything was back to normal, it worked flawlessly.
I also recommend that you find some equivalent to that on Android. There are several programs and you can go in the Android app store and search for backup or you can go on Google and look for Android backup. For Apple, I think the iCloud backup is pretty darn good for most purposes.
The other thing in addition to your phone that I think you should consider backing up is your wallet and other critical documents that you have laying around your house, like your Social Security Card and your birth certificate. Go ahead and scan those, get them on your hard drive and make that part of your backup.
So those are some things I would backup; my WordPress and server, my data on my hard drive and make a mirror of the disk, backup my phone and backup my wallet.
Now, how to do this is the question. We already talked about backup software to use that locally, I recommend that because it’s very robust and reliable. The problem with physical backups locally however is that if your house catches fire or you get hit by a tornado or struck by lightning, you can lose those backups. So I recommend that you also look at a service like BackBlaze, that’s what I use. It is absolutely fantastic, it’s very affordable.
In one of the previous podcast episodes I talked about how they literally saved my marriage by saving some photos that belonged to my wife that I thought I had lost because my local backup strategy had a hole in it that I hadn’t realized and we lost about three days worth of camera downloads, which for my wife could be thousands of pictures. So I recommend that you use some kind of online backup like BackBlaze.
If you’re interested in supporting the podcast you can find them at MasonWorld.com/backblaze and that’s my affiliate link. Otherwise go over to the guys at BackBlaze.com and check them out. They’re also on Twitter and if you have any questions they can answer your questions on Twitter, they’re very responsive.
I mentioned you should keep a boot disk around, you should be able to boot your computer even if it doesn’t have a hard drive in it, that’s very important. For scanners I really using one of these all-in-one scanner and printers. I’ve got various HP all-in-one printers, but you can find a scanner almost anywhere. In fact, most copy machines in most places now also have a scan function where they can email so you can really just go over to FedEx Kinkos and scan the stuff that needs to be scanned if you don’t have a scanner and it’s no big deal.
As far as phone backups are concerned, just get an iPhone – that’s my recommendation. I’m a total Apple fanboy, but I believe in the power of the iPhone and I think you should too.
Search Engine Optimization
That gets us into search engine optimization. Before we get into our interview on WordPress SEO, I want to talk a little bit about search engine optimization in general. There are really only a couple of things that you absolutely have to know about SEO.
SEO is one of those 80/20 rule kinds of things. What I mean by that is you can get 80% of the benefit of SEO by doing 20% of the work. You’ll find tons of blogs and people writing about details of SEO, that trick and this trick, but really SEO boils down to two things. One is on-page SEO, which we’ll talk about here in a little bit. The second is off-page SEO.
On-page SEO really is the part of SEO where you spend time optimizing your content on a particular page to make sure that Google can figure out what that page is about. It’s things like making sure your keywords are in the title tag for the page, that’s the part of the HTML that shows up in the top of the web browser whenever someone visits the page. It’s about making sure that your keyword shows up in the header tags on the page. It’s about making sure that your keyword is in the content near the top of the page, and so forth.
That on-page SEO will allow Google to make sure that they understand what your page is about, because they want to make sure that they rank something that’s relevant to the search query.
Off-page SEO really is all about two things. The links that you have back to your page, the anchor text pointing back to your page and those links, that kind of backlinking, and most recently the social signals that Google can detect that point to your content.
Never forget Google in almost every case is ranking pages, not sites. So we’re not talking about links back to your site and social traffic back to your site, although that does matter because link juice flows through your site. That’s a discussion for another episode.
When we’re talking about page SEO we’re talking about search engines ranking pages, we need to know what the page is about and we need to know whether the page is important. What the page is about is handled with on-page SEO, whether or not the page is important is really an issue for an off-page SEO.
Again, off-page SEO is really about who is linking to you and how many times, who is pointing to your page saying that it’s important, and what social media discussion is going on about your page, are people +1’ing it in Google Plus, is it being reposted to Facebook and Twitter and other social media locations. Because people share good stuff. No one goes out and finds the cruddiest least helpful post they can find and tells their friends. They find a post that is amazing, that blows them away, and then they tell their friends.
So that’s the secret of SEO, which is write good content because if you write good content and do a little bit of this other legwork to make sure Google can tell what the page is about the rest of this SEO takes care of itself.
That’s the fundamentals of SEO. Now that you kind of understand that, we can get into the interview with Shane. What Shane is going to talk to us about is his SEO tips that he’s learned after being on the job as an SEO for many years. Without too much additional discussion, let’s get right into the interview.
Mark Interview Shane – WordPress SEO and 23 SEO Tips
Mark: I couldn’t be happier to be on Skype again. There’s been an enormous amount of discussion around the internet about SEO, particularly lately with all these issues with backlinks and stuff going on. People want to know how to get organic traffic from Google and Google seems to be getting more and more cantankerous.
You guys know they banned my Adsense account and my Adwords account, so I’m in Google no man’s land at the moment. I thought what I’d do is go find myself an SEO expert, a guy who has been in internet marketing for a long time. I was able to hook up with my friend Shane Eubanks.
Shane, how are you doing tonight?
Shane: I’m doing great, Mark. Thanks for having me on.
Mark: A lot of people probably don’t realize this, the people that follow you on Twitter or see me talking to you on Twitter, but you’ve been in internet marketing now for 15 years. Is that right?
Shane: Yes, since 1997. Some people may recognize that date as when Google started, so I guess I’m as old as Google when it comes to internet marketing.
Mark: Is that when Google started or is that the year that Al Gore invented the internet?
Shane: I can’t remember, that was a long time ago.
Mark: That’s a long time. So you’re kind of a late night internet marketing, sort of like me. Is that right?
Shane: That’s exactly right.
Mark: Or maybe I’m sort of like you, because you’ve been doing this since 1997.
Shane: There’s a bunch of us out there.
Mark: That’s awesome. In addition to that 15 years of experience in that way, you’re also doing this internet marketing stuff as a day job for a pretty big outfit.
Shane: Yes. My day job started in 2006. From 1997 to 2006 I just kind of did it on the side, consulting for people, doing web design and web development, doing SEO starting probably in 2000. So I’d been around the block, I’d seen what works and what doesn’t work.
I’ve done absolutely everything there is to do as far as getting a website done from scratch all the way to fully marketing it through small businesses all the way up to large enterprises. Like you said, the day job that I have is for a large Berkshire Hathaway company and I’m the Interactive Marketing Innovation Manager for the commercial division of that company.
People are like, “What is an Innovation Manager for an interactive marketing team?” Basically I come up with all the ways that generate traffic to the website and turns that into sales. A big part of it is SEO, so I’ve got to keep a beat on everything that works, what doesn’t work. I’ve got to take a look at all the hats, the white hats, the black hats, the blue hats, grey hats, off-white hats.
So I’ve seen what works, whether it’s getting in there and dipping my toes in the black hat stuff and testing it on the side or whatnot. That’s my day job as far as the Berkshire Hathaway company is keeping them legit white hat ranked above the competition and continuing to make Warren Buffet happy.
Mark: I like that. Does he call you personally to check on your SEO campaigns?
Shane: He’s like, “Hey, how’s the SEO going?”
Mark: So you’re the land and convert guy for the company, is what it sounds like to me.
Shane: Pretty much. We’ve got a whole team and a lot of people are responsible for it, but I’ve got the responsibility to make sure that we’re doing everything right and staying ahead of the competition.
From a large enterprise standpoint, I do that. But, the other thing is that I also do internet marketing on the side at night, just like you with late night internet marketing. I’ve been doing that since 1997.
I should point out that in 2006 there was a lot of things that happened. I took a job with Berkshire Hathaway, I got married, I moved to a different state, I bought a house, and shortly after we had our first child in 2008. We talk a lot about finding the motivation to stay up at night and do this and that and the other. I’ll tell you what, having a child is more motivation than you can expect.
A lot of people set goals, maybe it’s a monetary thing, maybe it’s a physical thing, maybe it’s a car or a house or something, but nothing really clicks until you have that emotionally drive behind something.
This is kind of giving a back story just so everybody knows, I’m sure there’s other people that may be able to relate to this – so hopefully this isn’t getting too deep into something that nobody is interested in.
Mark: That’s what this show is about, it’s great.
Shane: I think this is a key point as far as what drives somebody to go through all of these things that need done in internet marketing. For me it was my first child. My wife was a teacher at the time and wanted nothing more than to be a stay at home mom. I remember when she had to go back to school teaching and we had to start taking our son to the babysitter.
I remember seeing his face this one particular time, I don’t remember the date – I should have wrote it down because I always remember his face. I can remember seeing his little face pucker up and tears coming down his eyes when I dropped him off. I got back in the car, I drove away and I remember looking in that rearview mirror and just pounding the steering wheel.
I’m man enough to admit that I cried. That became the emotional driver that I was going to do what it took to at least get my wife to stay home with our son so that she could raise our son and be a stay at home, what she always wanted to do.
My drive and my goals before then were that it would be nice to have some extra money, go on a vacation that’s paid for, pay the car payments or whatever with this extra money we’re making on the side. But that moment, that driving away and having that emotional connection completely changed internet marketing for me.
I wanted to point that out to give a background as to what is it that clicks in somebody that makes them absolutely passionate about what they do. I really believe it’s that emotional connection that you can put on a goal.
Mark: It’s great to be running towards something. That’s the right kind of motivation. I totally resonate with what you’re saying. I’ve been married twice and the first time it was the child care route and this time my wife, who is also a teacher, is staying home with our kids and there is a big difference. I know exactly what you’re talking about and I agree with you that it’s probably the purest form of motivation when you’re trying to take care of your family.
I think that puts you in a perfect position here. We talked about all the things we might talk about tonight and the list was long, but the thing I’ve been getting a lot of questions about and I know a lot of people want to know about is a thing that you know a lot about, which is WordPress search engine optimiz
I was hoping that maybe we could spend a little bit of time, at least as much time as you’ve got available, talking about WordPress SEO tips that you use and know about from your day job, that you’ve learned about in your 15 years of experience that could help my listeners, almost all of whom are running WordPress, with their business efforts online with their websites where they’re trying to convert visitors into sales.
Shane: Absolutely. We use WordPress on an enterprise level and I also use it on the side. I have probably 50 websites that I’ve done through WordPress. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work, the plugins that work, the structure, the frameworks, everything, so I’ve been around the block.
The things that I’m going to go through, some people may call them boring and whatnot but they are the white hat legitimate things that should be done. This is not steps that are going to game the system or get a website penalized or slapped by Google because they did something wrong. These are the things that people should be doing, I do them personally on all of my websites.
I’ve built sites using these techniques and I’ve sold sites. These techniques have helped my wife become a stay at home mom, she was able to quit her job in 2009. I mentioned we had our child in 2008, I worked relentlessly at night on WordPress websites building them up purely through SEO. There was no other PPC, nothing that was driving traffic to them other than SEO and they outranked the competition. I actually sold some of the websites and that sustained my wife being able to come home.
Hopefully people can believe in that enough to understand that these things that I’m going to talk about are legitimate things that they should be doing. If you don’t mind, we’ll just go ahead and jump into them.
Mark: Let’s go. I know this is what people want to hear.
Shane: The very first thing I would suggest everybody do is make sure you’re registered with Google Webmaster Tools. That’s the very first thing that anybody should do with their website. As soon as they get that domain up in their hosting, register with Google Webmaster Tools and authenticate the website. That will give you so much information and insight from Google when everything starts rolling along with building the website. So that’s number one.
Mark: Okay. And that you do just by logging into your Google account and, as I recall, they give you a secret key that you put either in a file in the root directory of your website or there’s some other tricks you can do. You just have to prove that you own the website essentially.
Shane: Exactly. It’s incredibly easy, it takes less than five minutes. Everybody should do it.
Mark: Okay, that’s an easy one.
Shane: The next one is register with Google Analytics. It’s free, it’s awesome. We’ve used a lot of other analytics tools, on an enterprise level and I’ve used personally. Google Analytics and the way it ties into Webmaster Tools right now is fantastic.
When you link the two up they’ll talk back and forth so that you can see the search queries, and more data in Google Analytics now. They’ll actually show where you’re ranking in search engines in Google Analytics as opposed to having to go into Webmaster Tools like you used to. So make sure you get Analytics set up and get those two linked and talking together.
Mark: I love Google Analytics, but I wish they’d quite messing around with the graphs.
Shane: Yes, they like to play around with it. They think they know what people want more than the people do.
Mark: It’s amazing that it’s free. I don’t think that people realize what these packages cost. If you were to go buy an equivalent, if you even could – there are only a couple, like Adobe’s package for example – that thing costs a fortune.
Shane: Oh yes. Definitely just go with Google Analytics and be done with it.
Mark: Okay, so that’s number two. That’s an excellent one.
Shane: The two things that I would recommend doing in WordPress associated with those are getting a couple of plugins. I would get a plugin called Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast, that’s the one that I recommend. It does a lot of extra things, such as tracking outbound links as events in Google Analytics. It can also track downloads or whatever you have on your website. It helps you track the Adsense clicks if you’re running Adsense.
Mark: That plugin is awesome. Particularly, there are a couple of other tricks that I do with that plugin. I use it to make sure all my affiliate links have the same prefix. The Yoast plugin will recognize that and bin them together so you can get really analytics on your outbound links so you can understand when people are visiting your site and then leaving through an affiliate link what’s going on, how they left, and so forth. That’s really valuable.
Shane: Absolutely, great point. The fourth tip that I have is making sure that you put a plugin in for Google XML Sitemaps. I believe the plugin is called Google XML Sitemaps. I know I’m going to butcher the guy’s name, it’s Arne Brachhold.
I install that on all of my websites. It generates the XML sitemap for you and it updates it dynamically whenever you create a post. It pings Google, Bing, and Yahoo and lets them know the XML has been updated. It automates everything for you. Definitely get that and attach it to your Webmaster Tools.
Mark: That’s a good one, I’ve used that one for years. The alternative to that, Yoast has the Yoast SEO Plugin in addition to his Google Analytics plugin. His SEO Plugin also does a sitemap. I haven’t compared the two yet, but it looks like they’re very similar in overlap, so that would be another alternative.
Either way, having a sitemap is definitely the right things to do, Google is looking for that for sure.
Shane: Absolutely. Moving on to number five, we’ve got use a premium theme with built-in SEO. I said themes, but I should say frameworks – use a premium framework. Two of the most popular are Thesis and Genesis. I think you’ve mentioned these on your blog and podcast before.
Both of those are great, it’s just a matter of preference which one you use. I think you mentioned there’s like a religious war between people whether to use Thesis or Genesis. They’re both great. I personally use Genesis, I think you use Thesis.
Mark: That’s right.
Shane: The reason I suggest a premium theme, I’ve built my own frameworks, I’ve used free frameworks, these premium frameworks are done by professional developers who spend the time to code it and make sure it’s right.
They update it whenever WordPress updated. They have customer service, so when something is broken you can help get it fixed. The SEO is already built-in, so a lot of it works out of the box, you just have to add titles, descriptions, keywords, whatever it is.
It’s definitely worth the minimal cost that Thesis and Genesis is for what you get.
Mark: I agree. I were honest about it, I think Genesis is probably a little bit easier for people to get their mind wrapped around. The hooks piece of Thesis is a little hard to understand. I love them both, but I use Thesis and you use Genesis. I know a lot of very serious websites are being run on both frameworks, so I think you’re okay with either one.
Shane: Both of them have a lot of beautiful themes that you can buy to install and you can have a design set up right away, just slap your logo up and you’re up and running. There’s very little excuse to not get a premium theme anymore.
Mark: I’m not sure if this is true, but my impression is if that’s what you want, if you want a turnkey design, Genesis is actually better for that. I think because of the companies that have associated themselves with the Genesis framework I think there are more Genesis based ready to go themes than there are for Thesis. At least that’s my impression.
Shane: There’s a lot of third party websites that sell themes for this. Just poke your head out there and see what’s available and find one that fits the niche you’re in and go with it.
Mark: The one other thing I’d say about Genesis and Thesis is I know those guys are paying a lot of attention to security and I’m always worried that with a hand coded theme, which is what I used to use before I used Thesis, that WordPress would change out from underneath me and there would be a security problem, some exploit that since I’m not updating my theme and I’m not a professional developer I can’t know about or fix. With Thesis you just update Thesis and you’ve got all the latest security patches as well, so that’s a really good thing.
Shane: Exactly. I love it.
We’re going to cut the interview off there. I promise to bring the rest of the interview back next week and we’ll get that all wrapped up for you. Then we’ll start probably the week after that talking a little about the Build My Rank de-indexing, what the implications are, and what that means.
Until next time, I hope you have an absolutely fantastic week. Get some work done on your internet business. We talk about how this internet business stuff is kind of a hard thing, it’s a marathon sort of thing and it’s not a sprint. You’ve really got to keep after it.
I want to encourage you to do that and I want to encourage you to get some stuff done on your internet business before you hear my voice again next week. I’m going to get some stuff done, I’m going to get another podcast out by next Thursday. Be looking for that – and head on over to iTunes and give me a review, I’d appreciate that very much.