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How to Keep Your WordPress Website Secure – Part 2

WordPress Website Secure - Part 2(1)In part 1 of this series on securing your WordPress website, we covered why it’s important to secure WordPress. We also reviewed two basic security concepts so you have some foundational knowledge to take the next steps with confidence.

In this post, let’s get to some actionable steps to start securing your WordPress site!

Setup a Backup Solution

Setting up a backup solution is the most important thing you can do for the safety and security of your WordPress website. Some security experts say that it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN you’re hacked. With backups of your website, you can recover from even the most damaging of hacker attacks.

Computer Parts

Most web hosting providers have ways to perform and download full backups of your WordPress website. There are also many free and paid WordPress backup plugins like UpdraftPlus and BackupBuddy. Third-party backup services like CodeGuard are easy to setup and will do daily automated backups of your site.

Whichever backup option you choose, make sure you can schedule automatic backups. You want to capture recent backups without even having to think about it. Store the backups off-site, meaning away from your WordPress server and hosting provider. Your Google Drive or Dropbox might be a good option.

Run Antivirus on Your Computer

How is keeping your personal computer free of malware, viruses, and spyware important for your WordPress security? One reason is that some malware programs install keyloggers which capture your keystrokes. A keylogger will capture your WordPress username and password and once the bad guys have that, they could log in as you and take over your website.

Virus Warning

Other things you should do:

  • Update and patch your operating system and applications often
  • Avoid risky and untrusted websites like gambling, pornography, and pirating sites
  • Use a VPN when accessing unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots, like at a hotel or coffee shop

Only Use Secure Connections to Your WordPress Website

Speaking of unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots, it’s important to use only secure connections to your WordPress website. Any information going out to the internet from a non-secure connection goes in cleartext.  This means any hacker can see the traffic you are sending, much like a postcard compared to an envelope.

So always connect to your WordPress site using only https:// connections. And if you use an FTP program to transfer files, always use SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol).

To establish a secure https:// connection to your WordPress website, you’ll need to install an SSL/TLS certificate on your server. Your hosting provider should be able to help you with that (or contact us here at Miss Tweak It). These days, SSL/TLS certificates are cheap and even free through organizations like Let’s Encrypt.

Always Use Strong Passwords

Over the last few years, there have been many password breaches. Once the stolen passwords were revealed, noticeable password-usage patterns appeared.

User Login

Turns out that many people end up using the same simple passwords that are easy to guess. Passwords like 123456, qwerty, and monkey should never be used. As a rule, never use a plain dictionary word for a password and never use names or keyboard patterns. It’s also not effective to replace letters with symbols, for example, ‘a’ with ‘@’, ‘i’ with ‘!’ or ‘e’ with ‘3’ like in p@ssword or monk3y.

What still works is a complex, long, unique password. Use these tips:

  • Make it at least 12 characters long (the longer the better)
  • Use a random combination of uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Mix in some numbers and symbols

Examples of a complex, 12-character unique password would be e]z!VChKx”7B or jX5K;?m#PP#v. But don’t use these, they’re only examples!

Since you’ll never remember complex passwords like this, use a password manager like LastPass or KeePass. These apps also have password generators to create perfect passwords automatically.

Conclusion

In the upcoming part 3, we’ll continue with more easy but powerful WordPress security tips. And if any of this sounds too complicated, we understand! As a business owner, you sometimes don’t have the time or interest to do the IT and security tasks that you should. Miss Tweak It has over 30 years of combined experience in the IT field. We specialize in Web Design, Project Management, and Digital Marketing. Contact us today and we’ll handle your WordPress security for you.


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How to Keep Your WordPress Website Secure – Part 1

WordPress Website SecureNow powering over 30% of the world’s websites, WordPress is the most popular website system out there. And it’s no wonder. WordPress is easy to install, setup, and use. It has thousands of useful plugins that extend its power and functionality. And it has many beautiful themes that allow you to tweak the look of your website while still following classic design principles.

So why bother securing your WordPress site? Because once anything in the digital world becomes this popular, it becomes a big target for attackers. The bad guys know that most WordPress sites are easy to hack because they are not updated.  Many sites don’t have a few basic (and easy) security measures in place to stop them.

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Getting hacked can also affect your bottom line. A hacked website can cause downtime which can hurt your profits, reputation, and search engine rankings.

In this 4-part series, we’ll cover basic yet powerful ways to secure your WordPress website. You can do this even if you are not tech-savvy and know nothing about security. These methods are free and easy to do. Additionally, they will give you a huge benefit for the little time and effort needed to put them in place.

Basic Security Concepts

Before improving the security of your WordPress website, it’s best to learn some basic security concepts first. Although there are many, let’s start with two. These two concepts will help you understand the reasons for our recommended WordPress security steps.

Security Image

Security is Ongoing

First, security is an ongoing process, not “set it and forget it.” The bad guys are always looking for new attack techniques and vulnerabilities. They discover new security holes every day, it seems. Luckily, we have good security researchers on our side, too. These white-hat hackers are also searching for vulnerabilities. When they find them and share their discoveries, software can be patched and improved.

The point is, although this series will show you how to secure your WordPress site, you are never “done” with security. You have to update and patch the WordPress core, plugins, and themes (more on that later). And you have to watch your website security status through things like email alerts and logs.

If you have a brick-and-mortar office space or store, you know it’s important to lock the doors and set the alarm every night. It’s the same with your website. You have a responsibility to keep it safe and secure, not only for your business but for your customers. Consider security just another part of doing business.

Defense In Depth

Another basic security concept is defense in depth. There is never one security solution that will solve all problems. It’s better to have many layers of security that add up and complement each other to become a complete solution.

Let’s go back to the office space example. If you combine locked doors, a burglar alarm, and security cameras, you end up with a pretty good physical security system. It’s the same when securing your WordPress website. By combining secure configurations, plugins, and practices, you end up with a more secure WordPress site. The sum is greater than its parts.

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Conclusion

But enough security theory. Let’s get down to some real-world actionable steps to help you secure your site. In Part 2, we’ll cover the most important first step in securing and preserving your WordPress website.

And if any of this sounds too complicated, we understand! As a business owner, you sometimes don’t have the time or interest to do the IT and security tasks that you should. Miss Tweak It has over 30 years of combined experience in the IT field. We specialize in Web Design, Project Management, and Digital Marketing. Contact us today and we’ll handle your WordPress security for you.


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Why Do You Need Canva For Your Business

Using Canva

There is no argument over the fact that graphics play a crucial role in making a small business appear professional and catchy. The sad news though, is that it is not always convenient to make use of graphics either on your website or for the rest of the purposes if you don’t have a dedicated team for it. What’s worse is that a startup or a small business may not have sufficient budget to hire a dedicated team for such a purpose in the first place. If this sounds like a deadlock that you have gone through, it is time to put that smile back on your face since Canva has the solution to all of your relevant problems.

Canva enables you to conveniently build a catchy design either for your website or perhaps for a document that you would like to look professional and relevant to your business. With a huge library of images, all you have to do is use the drag and drop feature in order to create a design that your potential audience won’t be able to ignore. Your layouts will be stunning to an extent that you’ll have people asking for the contact information of your design team.

Canva enables you to use impeccable graphics with all of your presentations as well. For a startup or a small business, presentations are inevitable, be it for the purpose of raising funds, convincing the potential audience of the product, persuading potential investors, or bringing the stakeholders to a single platform. Having such a catchy presentation at your disposal will help a great deal in boosting your confidence. Also you can use Canva for social media graphics as well which will improve the communication with the audience and engage them in a better fashion.

Rest assured, Canva certainly has everything that you would require for a flawless design. With a large number of fonts, a library of images with a stock of filters, and a range of shapes and icons, it would be a piece of cake for you to make your design absolutely different and unique. There is an infinite number of combinations in terms of images, filters, shapes, icons, and fonts that you are destined to end up with a website that boasts of a design that will be a trademark for your business alone.

Canva does also come with a built-in photo editor. Be it the need to fix the blur images or different effects that you’d like to apply, adding texture, text, frame to your pictures or cropping and further editing, Canva is at your disposal for all such purposes. Have you ever wanted to add the statistics to your website and display it attractively in the form of the graph? Guess what, Canva helps you design a wide range of graphs including Venn diagram, bar graph, pie chart, mind maps, line graphs, and organization charts as well.

The best part is that unlike other tools, Canva offers most if not all of such features at no additional cost. You can opt for the free trial and have a hands-on experience of the features before you choose to pay for them. The trial lasts for a whole month which implies that you’d be able to have a fair understanding of the software and how it can be useful for your business in the long run before you actually decide to purchase it. In simple words, with Canva, you’d be getting a software that merges supreme quality, a myriad of features, and cost-effectiveness which is almost non-existent in the rival software available in the market.

In the light of the information mentioned above, it won’t be wrong to conclude that Canva is a highly recommended tool for a small business with a bunch of graphics requirements. Opting for Canva would certainly not be a decision that you’d have to regret making. So what are you waiting for? Register for a free trial and make use of the features yourself. Rest assured, you’d be convinced of how user-friendly and valuable the software is once you get your hands on it. What else could you possibly ask for?


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Let Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Inspire You

Dr Martin Luther King Jr - Miss Tweak ItPhoto Credit: martinlutherking.org

Inc featured inspiration quotes in the 31 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes to Inspire Greatness in You article published on January 18, 2016. Listed below are five of my favorite quotes from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

“We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”


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How to Select the Perfect Domain Name

How to Select the Perfect Domain Name

SEO (search engine optimization) is becoming contentious due to radically opposing views on what is the right approach for a website site owner and developer to be at the top of the search results. Google algorithm is continuously evolving, and it is hard for anyone to find what would be the right approach for a given time to compete effectively. This debate often triggered even before the website is created. Therefore, finding a perfect domain name is crucial and overwhelming at the same time for the site owners as well as developers.

Choosing the right domain name is intertwined with naming a business. It has a massive impact on your presence all over the web. Either it is click-through rates, search to social media results, referring links to type in traffic, the brand ability to the offline advertisement, domain name opens the doorway to many options on the internet, or you cannot ignore its impact on your brand. Most compelling reason behind a registered domain name is your credibility and ownership in Cyberspace. Having registered domain name is like having a title deed of a newly purchased house in your hands. Get a right domain name to manage your first impression and to resonate your brand after all more than 84000 new domain names are getting registered on a daily basis

Here is the list of some tools and tips which I have compiled for you as a guiding principle that will inevitably make, not break your online market presence.

Brandable over Generic

Creative and brandable is better than generic. When it comes to select a domain name, always keep in mind that your domain is your first impression. The domain is what your visitors will use as an address to find your website and to share your company. Brandable means having a unique domain name which will help you to stay ahead of the competition whereas generic domain name stuffed with keywords is something which is difficult to remember. Make your domain name brandable by creating your new catchy words. Use a thesaurus to find interesting words suitable for your brand. Utilize tools such as domain name generators to create a unique and brandable domain names.

For example, healthinsurance.net is horribly generic, on the other way around, Insurance.com is amazing because it has a scientific connotation which is making it unique, memorable and brandable.

Keep It Concise

General rule of thumb for a domain name is the shorter, the better. According to research conducted by Gaebler.com, top five websites have six characters in their domain name. As you throw the list of top 1 million domain names, it would be surprising for you to know that there is a direct correlation between the length of the domain name and popularity of the website. A couple of studies conducted in last few years highlighted that an ideal length of a domain name is just eight characters. It seems hard to achieve, but it’s not impossible. Contribute to increasing your site popularity by keeping it concise.

Avoid Hyphens and Numbers

The domain name should be easy to spell and pronounce, but, hyphens and figures make both of these things difficult. Therefore, avoid using hyphens and number in your domain name. Don’t give the wrong impression to potential visitors by hyphen because hyphen is the possible sign of spam domains. Hyphenated domain prone to typo errors and your visitor will end up at your competitor’s site if they forget to type a hyphen. Make your domain name easy to remember and easy to type.

Just imagine Facebook may not have spread so quickly if there was a hyphen in Facebook.

In short, it is important to make your domain name smooth, punchy and stick to the letters only!

Consider Using Keywords    

Finding a good domain name with your target keywords is very challenging. Be carefully at this stage because keywords can help you to improve your site ranking and these words are enough to tell the search engine about services which you are offering. Be creative, combine your keywords with other words and make your domain stand out of the crowd on search result pages.

 Think Long-Term     

Domain name is the one and only element that can define your brand and business for years. If you have a plan to change your domain name in future, then be ready to bear huge pain with it. When choosing a domain name, think long term. My humble suggestion for maintaining a long-term relationship with your domain name is to get married to it. One thing which you can do with your domain is to leave room for expansion. A chance of extension will not limit your options too much to a certain niche.

Stick with “.Com”     

75% domains have “.com” extension. There are many successful websites with “.net” and “.org, ” but it is a safer bet that your site will look better with “.com” extension. It can be tempting to come up with smart blogs and new extensions, but a “.com” domain is something considered as the most established and credible domain extension.

Bottom-line

Your domain name is bread and butter of your website. So it is important to make sure to put some careful thoughts to make your choice perfect. A short, memorable domain with perfect thematic relevance and recognition is essential to make your brand successful in the long run. Before moving forward with a particular domain name make sure that any trademark is not already registered to the name. Follow the above mentioned six guiding principles as an ultimate guide to make your domain more than perfect!