Authory: Online Service to Backup and Share Your Writing

Imagine your excitement when you try out a new online platform that allows you to publish your writing easily.

Without needing to know how to code.

You publish posts and articles regularly, gaining a following for your writing.

A year goes by. Maybe five years.

And you’ve become expert at using the platform, publishing your writing, and interacting with your readers.

Only to wake up one morning to an email message announcing the platform is shutting down.

And there may or may not be a way to export your content.

Ouch.

That happened to me.

Twice.

First when Posterous closed down in 2013, then when Storify closed in 2018.

With Posterous, I was able to import my content into the blog on this site.

Not easily. I spent weeks updating blog posts and images.

But with Storify, the process to export stories was more complicated.

With over 150 published stories, I had a decision to make about how to preserve my Storify content.

Which consumed a lot of my time.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if I had been able to save my writing in one place?

What is Authory?

Authory home page

An online service, Authory backs up all your online articles in an attractive portfolio page with an easy-to-use interface.

When you sign up for an Authory account, you provide the links to the websites where your work has been published.

Authory does the work to search the sites for your articles and import them into your portfolio page.

Once the import is completed, the full archive of your articles, along with associated imagery, will be available on Authory.

Whenever new articles are published on the sources you provide, Authory will automatically find the content, add it to your account, and send you email notification of the new content.

Articles can be searched by text, for specific dates (last 30 days, last month, all time, custom date range, etc.), and searched across publications.

You can change the layout of your portfolio page to display as a:

  1. Two-column grid with title, date, image
  2. One column with title, date, image, and short excerpt
  3. One column with title, excerpt, date and image
  4. One column text view

What You Need to Know About Visibility on Authory

Each account owner decides what content on their Authory page is visible to other people.

As account owner, you’ll always see the full text of each article. But you control what other people can see.

Visibility settings include:

  1. Preview: Default setting for articles. The article is visible as a preview with a title. When someone selects the article title, they will be directed to the original article source.
  2. Public: Setting an article to public allows people to read the article in full on Authory. Helpful when the original source is no longer available, the source closed down, etc. (Which I would have loved to do with my Storify stories, if I knew Authory existed in 2018.)
  3. Private: The Authory article is hidden completey, no preview is available.

You can change the setting for an entire source publication. That setting applies to all future articles from the source.

Or, you can change the visibility for an individual article.

My Experience with Authory

I set up my Authory account with the 14-day trial plan and submitted the names and URLs for the source websites.

With over 1,700 posts on this site alone, I wasn’t sure how long it would take.

While waiting for the import, I updated my page with my description, name, and social media links.

But Authory was quick!

I received a confirmation email message that my articles had been imported and my Authory page was ready to view.

Over 1,800 articles had been imported into my page.

I checked each source setting to confirm auto-update was enabled and confirmed the Visibility settings.

Authory source settings for Lireo Designs and Metro Detroit WordPress Meetup Group showing number of articles, auto-update status, and visibility status.

What I Like About Authory

What I found most helpful were the onboarding and email messages I received after signing up for Authory.

The five-step onboarding walked me through the basics of the Authory interface.

first step in the Authory onboarding providing Article full text view explanation.

The email messages provided more details about specific features, like Visibility and performance on social media, with concise information about using Authory.

I also like the navigation sidebar, which slides in and out, allowing me to quickly view my sources, collections, settings, analytics, as well as view my page as a visitor.

One issue I need to take extra steps with: I often update already-published posts with new content. And provide a new published date.

Authory doesn’t automatically backup those updated posts.

I’ll need to delete the original Authory post and then manually add the new post.

Adding a source manually is quick. I manually added an old article I wrote for Torque Magazine in 2013.

Interface of manual source add with button asking to confirm and add source.

Authory immediately found it, asked me to confirm & add the source. The new article was added in seconds.

What Could Be Improved

The only item that I noticed was the lack of underline for text links in the content.

Not sure why Authory chose not to underline links in text content, but longtime readers know from my previous posts that I don’t recommend using color as the only indicator in an interface.

It’s a usability and accessibility issue.

Combine color with pattern or shape to make it stand out.

People know underlined text on the web is a link. I’ve sent a message to Authory asking them to update their link styles to include an underline.

Summary

Authory is a valuable tool for any writer, blogger, or journalist who wants a backup of their writing. Or anyone who wants to create a portfolio of their writing.

A free 14-day trial is available for you to try it out. As of June 2021, cost is $8/month (U.S. dollars) when paid annually. Or you can use my invitation link to sign up.

I’ve used Authory for less than two weeks and I’m impressed.

It’s reassuring to know my writing is backed up from the various sites where I’ve published content. And I know I’ll have a backup of my writing if/when any of the sites close down in the future.

Note: since I’ve published this post, I’ve received a free year of Authory.

Photo of author

About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.
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