Saving Your Online Content – Tips for Freelancers
Pretty much every content site which freelance writers can work for has an option when submitting an article for you to type in their textbox and, if necessary, save and continue later. Because you usually reach this point by clicking on something along the lines of “Create Content”, many newbie freelancers (and a lot of veterans too) may get the idea that you should quite literally create your content, from first sentence to last, while signed into the site. This, however, is NOT a good idea! Do NOT ever create your content in the textbox of a site while signed into your account. The list of what could go wrong is almost infinite, but here are a few of the big ones:
- Your internet connection could suddenly go out and you might lose your work without it being saved.
- You may think your work is saved, but later sign into your account and find out the site has had a glitch and the only copy of your content has suddenly disappeared
- Your account may get hacked and the loser who did this may dump the only existing copies of your content.
- You may one day leave a particular site (for one reason or another) and will want to take with you any content you still have rights to. This will be a lot easier if you have copies elsewhere
- You could be in the middle of writing something, save it on the site you are working on, and then later find out the site has had a glitch and published your work in its half-finished, horrifying, this-person-doesn’t-know-how-to-write state.
There are two things freelancers need to do in order to avoid these problems: Create your content in WordPad, Microsoft Word, or any other word processor, and save your content somewhere other than your online accounts.
Always do your research and write your content in a word processor. Once you have completed an article, then and only then cut and paste it into the textbox of the site you wish to publish on. Be sure, however, to save the file you have created in your word processor.
Do NOT save on your PC!
Personally, I would not recommend making a habit out of saving your files on your computer. For one thing, this will clutter up your PC’s hard drive unnecessarily. But even more so, this falls in with what I have already written about technical hiccups. Your computer is not going last forever. You may get a virus or your PC may simply wear out. You do not want to risk losing all your content because of a computer breakdown, particularly if you have a large body of work. It is best to save your content on a flash drive. Save either under Word Document or Rich Text Format (rtf). These types of files do not take up much room (even if you have a high word count). Even a 2 GB flash drive will keep you going for quite awhile. For example, I have a flash drive which I use only for saving my online content; I have 383 separate files on it and have not used even 1 GB.
Save your files under the title that it will be published with online. This will help you to search alphabetically for it later on if needed.
Writing your content in a word processor before publishing it online will also force you to proofread a little closer. You should read through your work once you feel you have it in a completed state, and then read it again once you have cut and pasted it onto your content site. Be sure to make use of any options a site has (like HubPages does) of previewing your article before publishing. This is important just to make sure everything is lining up properly.
After Your Content is Published
Keep copies of your online content even after it is published. This is particularly important if you are working on a site such as HubPages, are using the Display Only setting on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, or are publishing on any other site which allows you to retain the rights to your content. Someday you might want to publish your work elsewhere and it will be easier if you have your own copy.
If you ever update your Hubs or edit your content on other similar sites be sure to transfer these changes over to the copies of your work on your flash drive. This is very important! Keep a record of any changes you yourself make to your online content; otherwise you may forget that you edited something and then start worrying that your account might have been tampered with.
I would also recommend you keep a copy of your content even if it was written for a site such as Textbroker and you no longer have the right to republish. Once you have submitted your work it may be pending for awhile before it is accepted and you are paid. There is the risk of a an internet problem erasing your work at this stage; but even more so, you need to keep a copy for your own protection on the outside chance the client may try to make an issue about whether or not they received the content or what condition it was in.
Keep copies of the content you sell for a flat rate fee even after this stage. You may want to look at it later on for your own reminiscence or as a research shortcut if you ever write on a similar subject again.