Tag Archive | "blogging tips"

5 Tips That Will Keep Your WordPress Site Secure

It’s a new year, with a whole heck of a lot of changes happening on our little spec of dust that we call Earth. This makes it the perfect time to do a security check on your WordPress site.

Think of it as an annual check-up but for your website. A time to make certain all is running smoothly and nailed down securely enough to keep those pesky hackers out of your business. Taking the time to go through the checks and balances now could save you not only added expenses but a huge headache in the future.

Let’s face it, any downtime that your site suffers equates to potential income lost by you!

Start with the following 5 tips that will keep your site secure and safe:

1. Strong Admin Credentials

If you happened to use an installer when you set up your WordPress site such as Softaculous, you might have noticed that their one click installation defaults to admin as the username and pass as the password. I certainly hope that you changed that. If not, that’s the first thing you can check off your list for fool-proof ways of getting hacked.

You are probably saying to yourself, “Why would anyone want to hack my site?” Understand, that there are thousands upon thousands of bots being run around the clock attempting to guess your wp-admin page. Yes, yours too. Keep in mind, that once they gain access it now becomes their site to do with however they wish. Think of the possibilities.  All your hard work, themes, content, plugins… gone!

This can easily be solved by using a simple password generator such as the following:

2.  Update often

We have all seen those pesky messages that greet us at the top of our dashboard. True, I’ve often been tempted to ignore them a little longer than is prudent.  However, I’m here to tell you that keeping your core code up to date is not only an necessary evil, but could save you hours of frustration in the future.

WordPress does indeed have an auto update option, which in my opinion should likely be mandatory.  True enough, it can be a bit frustrating and often time consuming when the update breaks some of the code that you have tweaked and/or customized. In fact, if you leave the auto updater off and manually update yourself you will see this message.

That text alone is enough to give most of us the cold nervous sweats.

The flip side though, could and most likely will be a lot worse. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when your site will be hacked if you are using an old version of WordPress.

3.  Don’t cut corners with themes/plugins

With over 48,000 plugins available and lord knows how many other themes and widgets, it’s easy to just point and click to quickly install something – anything.  Since WordPress is open source it is easy for amateur coders to develop a plugin that they can charge for. Unfortunately, many of these have been developed without proper vetting for quality assurance.

What does this mean for you? You guessed it, further ways that your site could become vulnerable.

Before installing a new plugin, theme, or widget do your research. Fortunately we live in a society that loves to spew both praise and criticism without much of a second thought. Reviews will often let you know a lot about the developer and their practices.

4.  Use secure connections

Each and everyday, we share our personal information with different websites either to make a purchase or simply log-in.  In order to protect the data transfer, a secure connection needs to be made. That’s where SSL and HTTPS come in.

HTTPS or Secure HTTP is an encryption method that secures the connection between users’ browser and your server.

Why do you need to move from HTTP to HTTPS?

Are you running an ecommerce site that collects payment information? Most payment providers such as Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.net will require you to have a SSL certificate.

Also, Google recently announced that they would be using HTTPS and SSL as a ranking signal in their search results. Hello SEO nightmare if you haven’t moved over.

There are several tutorials online that will help you with the transition.

5.  Backup regularly

Go head, do a quick search for WordPress backup in the plugins section of your dashboard. Almost 1000!  And that is just inside the WordPress portal. This doesn’t even begin to account for all the other offsite options available.

Many of them have schedulers built in, so you can set it to backup automatically say at midnight local time every night. That way god forbid something does happen, you will have a current copy of your site to rollback to.

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will be miles ahead of the competition that isn’t in terms of staying safe from hackers.

Has your site ever been hacked? If so, how did you address it?  We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Posted in Blogging, ecommerce, Home Business, WordpressComments (0)

Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 6]

This is a continuation of the previous posts “How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 1], Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 2], Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 3],  Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 4] & Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 5] in which we went over the basics of:

  1. Choosing and purchasing a domain name
  2. Securing reliable web hosting (and what hosting actually is)
  3. Setting up WordPress on your site
  4. Selecting a WordPress theme
  5. Selecting and installing plugins for your site
  6. Choosing a topic
  7. Creating a post & including pictures

If you haven’t read through the previous posts, please do that now, since this week we are going to dive into how to post content to your blog (step-by-step technical instructions).

This week we are going to now fine tune those newly acquired skills and lay out 6 Tips For Writing Articles Faster & More effectively.  

When you are blogging for the initial purpose of making money, the skill of writing is obviously going to be one of the most instrumental assets you can obtain.

Regularly published quality (emphasis on quality) content is king when it comes to building your site up.  This means that you will need to churn out new content on some sort of schedule for an ongoing period of time.

Of course, you could also hire or outsource a writer to create your articles for you, but for the most part the best cost-effective option is to get into the swing of things by doing it yourself.  

Benefits of going it on your own:

  • No additional money out of your pocket to hire someone
  • Increase your writing skills
  • Learn more about the topic you are writing about
  • Hone your research skills

Being able to write well and quickly is probably the single most important skill to help pave your path to online success.  Here are the top 6 steps to take that will help you to increase your speed:

1. Allot a portion of your day that will be devoted to your writing.

Choose a segment of your day where in which you usually feel the most energized and focused and will have the fewest interruptions.  Set aside this time period for your writing.  Switch them up until you find the best time that will be the most effective for you.

2.  Brainstorm

Write (type) down some ideas or thoughts that are related to the topic at hand in a blank document.  Don’t worry about how useful you think they might or might not be.  

This will help you to quickly get a rough sense of direction for your article.  And hopefully lowering the possibility of your mind wandering off onto a tangent that isn’t related to your article.

3.  Research

Look online for 3-5 articles that support or pertain to your topic.  This is where the ability to scan an article quickly will come in handy.  Do not read the articles in depth, but rather skim them for portions that might be useful for your topic.

After you have found a handful of articles, open another document and copy and paste (yes I did say copy and paste) relevant bits that you think will be useful to your article.  

Spend no more than 10-15 minutes on this portion.

4.  Remove distractions

Now that your research is done, it’s time to get down to business.  This means clearing both your mind and physical self of any possible distractions that would keep you from completing the task at hand.  This includes:

  • Closing all web browsers (except the two documents you just created)
  • Turning off your cell phone
  • Closing your web-mail app or window
  • Notifying family / roommates that you are not to be disturbed

5.  Begin writing – Don’t worry about editing

In order to get the most of your time, set a timer or some sort of alarm to go off after 45-50 minutes.  Spend the 45-50 minutes focused only on your article you are writing and nothing else.  (No emails, reading the news, browsing facebook, etc)  After the allotted time, take a 15 minute break and reset the timer to resume your focus for another 45-50 minutes.

Using the research document, read through each of the snippets that you copied and pasted.  Write in your own words your interpretation of each of the snippets. Resist the urge to edit as you go.  At this stage we are concerned only with writing and letting your creativity flow, not editing for grammar, spelling, etc.

Keep writing until you feel you have written enough to fully express what you wanted to get across about the topic.  Although, keep in mind the longer the article the less likely someone will actually read the entire piece.  Best to keep them on the shorter side.  1000-1500 words is ideal.  

6.  Edit

Once you have finished with the initial writing, it’s time to spend some time editing your draft.  

Start by deleting your brainstorming and research notes.  Change up the order of your paragraphs and add in bits and pieces here and there to get a good natural flow when reading it through.

Use a spellchecker and/or the help of a friend to assist with spelling and grammar mistakes.

Walah!  You have now completed your first article written in a quicker more effective manner.

Finding this article helpful or encouraging? Let us know in the comments below.  

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Content Creation, WordpressComments (0)

Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 5]

This is a continuation of the previous posts “How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 1], Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 2], Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 3] & Mini-Course: How to start a blog that will actually make you money [Part 4]  in which we went over the basics of:

  1. Choosing and purchasing a domain name
  2. Securing reliable web hosting (and what hosting actually is)
  3. Setting up WordPress on your site
  4. Selecting a WordPress theme
  5. Selecting and installing plugins for your site
  6. Choosing a topic

If you haven’t read through the previous posts, please do that now, since this week we are going to dive into how to post content to your blog (step-by-step technical instructions).

How to create a post in WordPress

Now that we have all the nuts and bolts in place, we can get right into the actual content creation portion of your site.

Creating a post in WordPress is really simple.

  • Login to the WordPress dashboard by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
  • Click on ‘Add New’ from the ‘Posts’ menu
  • You will see four main and important sections that you should fill in before publishing to your site.
    • The post title (think of this as your headline)
    • Post content (the guts of your article)
    • Tags (these are like keywords)
    • Categories (much like a table of contents or way to organize your site)
  • Give your post a eye catching title – not to long but not too short, using keywords that will tie in your content
  • Add your article (or other content) into the content section
  • Add related tags to this post (remember these are much like keywords)
  • Add the post to the category that best fits (Create a category if non yet exists – remember to keep organization and ease of use in mind).
  • Publish the post by clicking the ‘Publish’ button (this will publish your post to your site)

Few tips to keep in mind

  • Personally, I prefer to write or create my articles in another word publishing program such as Google Docs or Word.  There are a couple of reasons for this extra step:
    • Since Google Docs automatically saves your content to the cloud, you will always have a backup copy in case something happens to your server or site.
    • Both Google Docs and Word give me more editing options that can then be easily copied into the WordPress content section.
  • You will notice that there are two tabs at the top of the content box – Visual & Text. For the most part you will be using the visual tab.  The text tab is only used for inserting html code, such as YouTube video links or graphics that are being hosted on another site.

Visual_and_Text_Tab

  • If you find that you have run out of time, or just wish to come back to the post at a later time, simply click ‘Save Draft’.  WordPress will save your work automatically over time, but it is always a good rule of thumb to manually click save before exiting the admin area.
  • Always preview the post before publishing to make sure it looks exactly the way you want it to look.  This is especially important if you have added graphics and/or pictures to your post.  
  • Spell check!  We are human after all and all make mistakes.  Also do a full proofread and fix any grammatical errors.
  • Use the ‘All in all SEO’ WordPress plugin to optimize the post for search engines.

Why add images to your posts

Remember, we are living in a world where an image is easily worth a 1000 words and then some.  It seems that the planet we live on is now very much drawn to all things visual.  

An image can be used in a number of ways:

  • To break up text on the page.  Allowing the viewer to scan your article at first glance by looking at the images before taking the time to read the text.
  • An image can also help to illustrate your point as well as provide SEO value to your article.
  • An image (coupled with the right set of keywords and meta tags) potentially rank for even more keywords.
  • It can also be auto-thumbnailed in search results therefore showing up when shared on Facebook and other social media sites.

How to add images to your posts

WordPress makes this process seriously drop dead easy.  Of course, you can always do it the old school way – if you are savy with code and such.  However, for the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to go over how to add them the easy way.  

Step 1) Click the Add Media button at the top of the content box.

Add_Media_

 

Step 2) Click the Upload Files tab.  

Upload_files_

Step 3) Either click the Select Files  button to browse your computer for the image (s) that you wish to upload OR simple drag your desired image (s) to the empty box that says “Drop files anywhere to upload”

Select_Files_

You will then see the progress meter, letting you know the uploading progress.  When the image has finished uploading it will appear as a thumbnail in the media library.

From there you can choose to Edit Image which will allow you to perform basic cropping, image rotation/mirroring and sizing.

Step 4) Give your image a Title, Caption, and Alt Text which will help add some potential SEO value.

Attachment_details

 

Step 5) Pick an alignment – center, left or right – or simply leave it as None which will default to left alignment to your post.  

Whala you are done!  

Image Sources

A few things to keep in mind when posting images to your blog/site.  

  • If they are copyrighted or assumed copyrighted it is best to either not use them or first get permission.
  • Always cite the source of the image.

Good inexpensive stock images sites (sites that grant you full rights to use the photos):

  • Photodune (about $1 per small image)
  • MorgueFile
  • Shutterstock (a little more expensive but still a good value)

And of course you could always create your own images by taking pictures with a digital camera or smartphone.  

Stay tuned for the next installment of this mini-course.  It will cover tips for writing your blog posts faster and more effectively.  

Are you finding this tutorial helpful?  If so, please let us now in the comments below and feel free to share with your friends!

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Content CreationComments (0)

Blogging Super Tips

There’s a lot more that needs to be done after you’ve installed that blog and set up plugins (although those are necessary steps). WordPress will only take you so far. Let’s take a look at the blogging process from soup to nuts, start to promotion.

wordpress logoPicking a Theme

Thesis –  The “ol’ Standard” in customizable themes. Thesis is referred to as a “framework” leaving a ton of room for customization. It’s uses a systems of “hooks” to allow you to change the theme as you see fit. Personally, I love this theme because its high quality coding and support. However it’s not the most user friendly when it comes to heavy customization. For that, you’ll have to get your hands dirty in some code.

Headway –  This theme is very impressive. It utilizes an ajax system of drag and drop to allow you to create any kind of layout you want. You can create unlimited layouts and customize any page of your site. It’s a great system. There’s a slight learning curve to the interface, but it’s fantastic when you get past that.

Flexability –  I have not used this theme in a couple years. When I did it was very user friendly. Whenever I talk about themes on a webinar someone ALWAYS mentions this theme. So it seems as though this one has many happy customers.

Must Have Plugins

I wrote a blog post called “best WordPress plugins for 2012” It’d be kind of weird to repeat that list or make new one for this post. So go read that post for the best plugins.

Creating Content

1.) Here is an insanely comprehensive post full of links to tutorials on the subject of creating great blog content. Sidenote Problogger is a fantastic resource for all things “blogging.”

http://www.problogger.net/how-to-write-great-blog-content/

2.) Neil Patel is an inspiringly brilliant Internet marketer. His content is always thoughtful, detailed, and most importantly actionable. I look up to his writing style when it comes to creating killer content. Here’s a post he wrote about writing content that goes viral

http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/06/04/forget-seo-heres-how-to-write-a-post-that-goes-viral/

Review quicksprout’s content. Seriously. Spend some time there and look over several posts. You’ll be blown away by the quality and detail of the info he provides.

Copywriting

Oh no, this is sooo not the same as writing great content. Copywriting is part science and part art. Probably more of the latter. Learn this well and you’ll be able to sell or presell any product you want.

1.) CopyBlogger – The name says it all, right? Actually this site is jam packed with great info on most things related to IM. Their copywriting info is always top of the line. Here’s a great post on writing copy that speaks to your potential customers desire.

http://www.copyblogger.com/ego-copywriting/

2. The copywriter’s crucible has been a go to resource for me for a while now. Here’s a great post full of pithy tips that will make your copy better instantly.

http://copywriterscrucible.com/15-punchy-copywriting-tips/

Content Marketing

So you’ve got a highly attractive and functional blog with great content and copy. What now? Marketing. Now it’s time for marketing to build readership.

1.) Back to copyblogger – Check out this page. It’s designed and written to get you to opt into their email list. During this process they give you some absolutely brilliant advice and links to articles on the topic. There are two lessons here. One is in the words you’re reading. One is in the presentation of the words you’re reading.

http://www.copyblogger.com/content-marketing/

2.) OnlinePRNews – This post speaks specifically to press releases. However it’s a must read. You’ll get solid strategy and how to info here, not to mention a great PR service 🙂

http://onlineprnews.com/blog/2012/04/how-to-use-online-press-releases-to-build-a-responsive-email-list/

Social Media Marketing

If you don’t know that you should be doing social media by now there’s no hope for you. Sorry. But for those of you who did know this here are a couple great resources.

1.) Hubspot – This company constantly publishes high quality content. Here is a curation post they did in 2011 about social media. Yes I know, it’s 2012. I still think you’ll find these tips useful.

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/29348/30-Brilliant-Social-Media-Marketing-Tips-From-2011.aspx

2.) Social Media Examiner – This site specializes in social and they do that very well. Here is a more recent article full of social media tips you can use today.

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/9-social-media-marketing-tips-from-the-pros/

What do you think of these blogging tips? Any other topics you’d like to see great info about?

Let me know in the comments below

Posted in BloggingComments (1)


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