Have you ever thought about what you would do if the main computer or another device you run your blog with went kaput? It’s the setup for a really bad day. It’s much harder to work on your blog when one of the main tools you need fails.
It doesn’t matter whether you rely the most on a computer, tablet, or your smartphone. When the main device you use to run your blog starts going bad, you have a serious problem on your hands.
This is the kind of problem it’s best to prepare for in advance. If you have a plan in place for those times that things go wrong, you’ll lose less working time if you’re prepared for problems. It’s not like you’ll always have warning.
In this case, I’m talking about problems that make your computer completely unusable time. Not problems that you can fix fairly quickly. You should know how to handle those as well.
This is about the problems where you don’t know right away if it’s worth fixing or if you’re better off getting a new machine. The kind of problem where you may be down for days or weeks waiting for a repair.
The kind of problem I’m dealing with as I write this.
How I Work On My Blog Without My Computer
I’m using my backup computer right now. My laptop’s fan has gone bad, leaving the whole computer at risk of overheating and burning out the system. My repair guy said two weeks to get the new fan. So I’m on the spare computer.
I have to admit – I HATE my spare computer. It’s slow, the keyboard is just different enough to be annoying, and the setup overall is just different enough to make working a little more difficult. It’s also shared with the rest of the family, so I have to give it up sometimes. Worst of all, it’s in a common area of the house rather than my nice, quiet home office. All in all, it’s hard to work on.
But it also makes working possible.
I have most of the tools I use installed on this computer as well as my laptop. Some had to be updated when I made the move over, as it has been long enough since their installation to matter.
I use the Chrome browser because it syncs my account with whichever computer I’m using. That’s a huge help.
I also work on Google Drive as much as possible. This way I can use any computer to type up blog drafts and not worry about losing them. Yes, I could just type up drafts in WordPress, but this way I never have to worry about accidentally hitting “Publish” rather than “Save Draft” when a post isn’t done.
Not that I’ve ever done such a thing.
Well… you know how these things go. We all make mistakes.
I’ve also moved my office chair over because it’s about 1000x more comfortable than the one at the spare computer. I think I know something I need to get for the family for Christmas.
Plan Ahead For Problems
If you want to be ready to deal with technical problems as a blogger, the most important thing you can do is plan ahead. This way you know what you’re going to do when things go wrong.
You don’t have to have a spare computer to keep working, for example, if you have apps set up on your phone or tablet that will allow you to keep working. They may not be as easy to use, but they’re better than nothing. WordPress, for example, has an app available that you can use with your blog. It’s a little different from the usual version, but better than not being able to blog at all.
Keeping as many of your files as possible in the cloud makes it much easier to keep things going when your computer has problems. You don’t have to worry about your files if they’re always backed up somewhere.
If you have multiple computers in your household, make sure that more than one has a setup you can use. Use Chrome or another browser that syncs your account no matter where you sign in. Know which online services can temporarily replace any software that you can’t move to another machine. Many image editing tools are online, so you can still make great blog images easily, regardless of which machine you’re on.
And keep it in the cloud when possible. Keeping most of my files online rather than on my computer has proven to be a huge help many times.
Yes, there are security risks.
But your regular device has security risks too. If your computer gets a virus, your data is at risk. Don’t fool yourself about the risks that you hope to avoid.
Automate When Possible
One of the great things about blogging is that there are a number of things you can automate. Not only does this make your daily routine easier, but it also helps when things go wrong.
I use Hootsuite and Tailwind quite extensively, for example. This way, when I can’t get online, I still have posts going out on my social media. I can handle the social side of things later when my equipment is behaving.
The key is to remember that you can’t automate everything. You can schedule tweets, pins, and so forth, but you can’t be social automatically. Eventually, you’ll have to go in and take a look.
You can also have blog posts scheduled out in advance. How far out depends on how far ahead you can manage to work.
If you can manage to keep a week ahead on your blog posts, for example, that’s a week to deal with problems when they crop up. It’s not a bad idea.
No, I’m not usually a week ahead unless I’m going on vacation. It takes a lot of work to get ahead. But when you can manage it, it’s a huge help.
WordPress makes it super easy to schedule blog posts to go out later. In fact, scheduling is one of the first things I do when working on a post. Usually, it’s for the next morning, but sometimes it’s days away.
Sometimes All You Can Do Is Take Time Off
No matter how carefully you plan ahead for problems, sometimes there’s only one thing you can do – take some time off.
If you’re down for a day or two, it’s usually not that big a deal unless you have something planned for those days and you absolutely must get online.
Take advantage. Take some time for yourself or go do something with your family.
Do everything you can to avoid taking excessive time off. Sure, your blog will keep getting traffic if you do nothing for a time, but do you really want to leave it alone all that long?
I doubt it.
When my laptop needed its screen replaced, it was gone for most of a month. I was furious about it taking so long, but it was a warranty repair, and I didn’t have a choice of which shop. My next computer won’t come from that same place most likely. If by some chance I do go there, they’ve already lost all chances of selling an extended warranty, even though I used said warranty for that screen replacement. Service simply took too long. I couldn’t take that much time off my blog in good conscience.
If you’re having a repair done under warranty, you may be offered a loaner computer, which can help. Just make sure you’ve wiped all your personal data and signed out of everything before you return it.
But even if you don’t have a way to work the way you normally do, you have options. You may even be able to work on a computer at the library for a few hours if that’s the only way to get things done.
You can also brainstorm, even if you don’t have a computer available.
When my kids were in soccer, that’s what I would do during their practices. I didn’t have a smartphone at the time, so I would sit there with a notebook and brainstorm ideas.
No internet, no computer, but I could still get things set up for later.
These days, if I don’t want to get online when I’m out brainstorming, I can still pull my phone out and type up notes for later. It works more or less the same as writing it out.
Decide Whether To Repair Or Replace
Just because your computer has a problem doesn’t automatically mean you need to replace it. Often enough, a repair will be enough.
The repair my laptop needs is one I’d be able to handle easily on my own with a desktop computer. Switching out a fan on a desktop computer is easy. I’ve done it before. Loosen a few screws, unplug the fan, put in the new one and attach it, and you’re done.
I looked at what my laptop would need and noped away from that. Laptop parts are much smaller and fussier than I like to deal with. It’s getting a professional repair.
The basic consideration when it comes to repair or replace is cost. How close to the replacement cost of the computer will the repair come?
Too close, and you may as well replace the thing. You’ll probably get an upgrade at the same time.
Replacing has its own problems, of course. You have to move all your data and reinstall all your old software. Sometimes this is difficult because you already used your registration code on the old machine, and the software won’t let you use it over again.
This is why I like knowing how to do basic computer repairs on my own. I can keep my repair costs down while extending the life of my equipment.
Many desktop computer repairs are surprisingly easy, especially if you find a good tutorial for it online. They’re much easier on desktop computers than on laptops, of course. I’m not bold enough to do much work on a laptop computer yet.
Don’t even get me started on smartphone and tablet repair. I’m not remotely ready for that.
But a good repair shop can handle things quickly, professionally and at a good price. If you find the right one, you won’t have to worry about attempting a repair you aren’t comfortable with or replacing equipment for minor failures.
What If You Have A Work At Home Job?
Of course, if you have a work at home job with a required schedule and your computer goes down, it’s time to talk with your employer. Depending on the kind of schedule you have, you may need to notify them of even a brief problem with your internet connectivity.
If you’re going to be out of service for more than a shift or so, do your best to find a way to get back to work.
If your employer provided the equipment and their stuff failed, they will probably be pretty helpful in getting you back to work. But if it’s your own equipment, they will likely expect that you can handle the problem with a minimum of fuss.
Talk to your employer, especially once you know how serious the problem is. Most will be understanding, provided you don’t simply disappear on them for the duration.
Be sure you have access to a contact number or email that doesn’t rely upon your work computer. Phone numbers are best because they don’t rely on you having an internet connection. It’s kind of hard to send an email or start a chat about your internet being out when your internet is, in fact, out. Depending on your location, after all, you may not even have access to your phone’s data plan.
Don’t Overstress About Lost Work Time
I know it’s terribly stressful when you had a schedule all set and a plan in place, and now it’s all in ruins. I’ve been there.
But some problems are out of your control. What matters most is how you handle problems as they come up. If you have a plan in place, it will be much less of a crisis.
Letting stress take over doesn’t help anything. It’s more likely to slow you down.
Instead, focus on what you can do, even if it’s not work related. Lost time can be made up later if necessary.
You’ll be fine.