After performing your manual database backup, you should then proceed to do a content export because the database backup does NOT save your page text content. The word “export” may seem a little scary to some folks but this is super simple to do and is a very valuable step. Believe me, I’ve at least twice had to rebuild a crashed WordPress website twice and if the text content had not been backed up, we’d have had to start from scratch to re-write the entire website! There may come a day that you might find yourself in the same boat and you can save yourself and your web designer tons of time, heartache and frustration if you have a current text content backup. Believe it or not, it’s less time consuming to start over with a new database if absolutely necessary than it is to rewrite and re-input all your site’s text content, especially if you haven’t saved the text somewhere on your computer’s hard drive.
Let’s Export Your Site’s Text Content
Go back to the Tools section on the left and click the Export sub-link. The screen will look similar to my example below. Remember the way this looks will depend on the version of WordPress you’re using and I can tell you that the newer versions of WordPress have more options than the older versions. You will see the Export screen which has a list of filters (Start Date, End Date, Authors … etc …). Unless you’re instructed otherwise by your web designer, you should leave these all at their default settings so that it exports all content.
Clicking the Download Export File button below the default options will bring up a popup window — it’s the SAVE FILE popup window that you all are familiar with. It may be called something else on a Mac, but in Windows it’s a SAVE FILE window. Select the SAVE FILE option. My suggestion is to leave the file name as-is because it’s got a date in it which will allow you (or me if I need it) to easily grab the most current backup to restore your site content if this ever needs to be done. Changing the file name could potentially make a re-build of your site more difficult. Simply save the file to the folder you’re saving your manual database backups to. Don’t worry about overwriting the database backups, these files automatically have different file names but both are dated.
Learning how to perform these two backup steps may seem like it takes forever, but I assure you once you do this a few times and get into the habit of doing it each and every time you’re going to work on your site, it will only take you a matter of about 5 minutes or so to complete both steps. Once you’ve completed both this step and the manual database backup, you are ready to begin working on your site!
Suggestion: If you’re going to be doing extensive work in your WordPress site, such as minor editing to more then a couple of pages, adding more than one page or post — it’s a good idea to make intermittent exports of your content. The last thing you want to do is make major changes and then have something go wrong causing you to have to start over with your updates from scratch.