Do You Have a Home Base?

On December 23, 2016 by mohitsawhney

Sometimes the best place to learn something is the School of Hard Knocks.

I say that because we’ve all heard the good stuff about taking a back up or setting up your own platform instead of relying on others. And yet, we usually realize this only when we experience a laptop crashes or when a seemingly nice website eats up our blogposts!

Truth be told. I have had a laptop crash and lost all my data. It couldn’t be recovered no matter how much I offered to pay or how much time I invested. What hurt the most was losing the personal files – Tanav, my son’s baby pictures and our honeymoon diaries.

Since then, I have all my important documents and pictures backed up on Cloud. If my phone dies or laptop crashes now, it wouldn’t hurt as much. I will, at most, lose only a day or two of data which was yet to be backed up. Google Photos compresses the files when it stores it on Cloud which means the quality is not as good. But I can live with that. At least, the data is there when I need it.

In fact the only photos from that time which I could get back after I lost it to the computer crash were the ones which were shared on Picasa.

While I have learnt my lesson about keeping a back up, I still had to learn the hard why the importance of a home base i.e. using your own hosted platform for writing your blogs.

There are sites that offer a plethora of good features – 750words for instance – and they help you get your act together as a writer. Some of them are reliable as well but it’s nothing when compared with your own site!

Some of you may be thinking Linkedin, Facebook, Google Docs. These are reliable, you’d argue. Perhaps more than your own site. Besides, the world is here and so it’d be a lot easier to share your ideas here.

Well, you never know. Yahoo is a living (or should I say dead) example of how sites can die a slow death. There are others which have gone off suddenly or started behaving erratically. Another such example from Google world itself if Orkut. Remember? These seemed impossible to fall apart once. But they did.

Even if they don’t fall apart, you never know how they might decide to use your data. You are not in control once you give your hard work to someone else.

The worst that can happen to you is that you may lose it all. Like it happened with me. In my last Platform blog, I wrote about a site called Morning Pages. I hadn’t used it in a while, but after having written a blog about it, I decided to use it for a couple of days. In fact, I wrote my dreams (literally, dreams) there so I could reflect on them and get to understand my self and my fears better (step one in overcoming them).

But boom, after a couple of days, I wanted to see what I had written and it was all gone. There is no place to go to look at the archive of ones blogs! I searched all over and googled as well. Nothing helped.

I went back to the landing page which looked all prim and proper.. until I scrolled down a bit where it casually mentioned this:

Shutting down the forum: We’ve decided to shut down the forum, as it was rarely used, and seems to have attracted the attention of a lot of spambots lately.

We invite everyone to use our Github repo instead for reporting bugs, asking questions, submitting pull requests etc.

Holy crap! And what about my work? Please give it back to me. If you are shutting it down, then do it. Why are you still letting people fall in to writing only to end up realizing there is no way to get it back? Please.

This is just venting that I cannot do on Morning Pages. They don’t have a place for me to write to them. So, I am doing it here. On my home ground.

And if you think your audience is on Linked in or Facebook. Then you can always put a link to your blog on these platforms. if you’ve written something that’s worth it, people will read it. They will also come back to your site and register if they see value in what you write. You can create an email list of your customers to serve them better. Can you do that with someone else’s platform?

You can’t afford to build your house on a rented lot. - Michael Hyatt Click To Tweet

Question: Are you convinced that you should have a home base for your platform? If yes, what steps will you take to get started?


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