For me, the biggest part of writing is rewriting. A first draft is pretty easy to knock out, but the revising and refining are the real work. And more than once I’ve finished about the eighth revision when I realize #3 was the one I wanted. Then I have to remember what #3 said.
Programmers know the solution to this is versioning software. With programs like Subversion and Git, you can track changes to a file and revert back to previous versions whenever you need to. But even though there are some nice GUI frontends for these programs, they can be difficult for non-techies to set up. They’re also overkill for the average blogger. WordPress does have a versioning feature for posts, but most other blog software does not. And many people turn off WP’s revisions because of how much extra space it takes up in the database. Ideally, you want a system that will keep track of revisions but can be cleared out easily when you’re done.
I recently learned about a free and easy way to do versioning: Dropbox. Dropbox is a service that lets you sync files between computers. Here’s how it works: Install the application, then copy a file into your Dropbox folder. It will soon be available on their website, then pushed to every computer where you’ve installed Dropbox. Delete that file and it gets deleted from all the other computers. It’s very simple and easy to use, and it’s free for up to 2GB of space.
One added bonus of the service is the file versioning. When a new version of a file is saved, Dropbox stores a copy of the previous version. Here’s how it would work for your blog posts: Create a new text file in your Dropbox folder and start writing your blog post. Every time you save it, Dropbox will update the version on their server. If you log into the Dropbox website, you can hover over the filename and click the menu arrow on the right to get a list of options.
Click on Revisions and you’ll go to a list of versions for that file.
There, you can view each of the revisions and restore the file to a previous version. And all those versions will stay there until you remove the file from your Dropbox.
So there you have it, easy blog post revision tracking through Dropbox. You can also do the same with your blog images and template files as well. However you use it, I hope this trick helps you keep that perfect version right where you can find it.