Blog Security: Becoming a Porn Site for a Day

blog securityOne of the weirdest and most embarrassing threats to your blog’s security is the infamous porn links hack. What happens is that one day your blog becomes flecked with keywords linked to porn sites, and no matter what you blog about it’s a pretty uncomfortable looking sight. In between paragraphs about the newest in baby clothing trends are links to huge men’s… Yeah, you get the idea. At best, it’s humorous. At worst it’s disgusting, humiliating, and a huge waste of your time to remedy. Your site may need to be shut down while you make the fixes and it could take a long time before you find all the offending links.

How can you avoid becoming a target? There are a few central tenants of blog security that will work against this kind of porn insertion (excuse the pun) as well as many other hacks and security threats. This is not a complete list, and you may want to read the security advice from your blog host very closely to get a more thorough set of instructions. But here are the first few steps you should take to avoid expensive downtime and uncomfortable conversations with your blog hosts and your readers.

Stay Updated and Backed Up

If your blog platform is offering updates, take them. Usually a few of the updates are to patch security risks that have been identified recently. Any identified blog security hole will be exploited before it’s fixed, but once you update and the fix is in place, you’re that much more safe from a break-in. Don’t ignore updates, ever.

Back-ups can be just as valuable as updates, if not more valuable. If your blog contains hundreds of pages of text, how will you go through and find all the nasty links? You won’t. Instead, you’ll revert to a back-up from before the hostile takeover and things can go back to normal again quickly. Back-up as often as possible to keep things from getting too far behind.

Hosts and Past Hosts

Moved from an old blog to something newer and flashier? Many bloggers start with a free hosted site from Blogger, WordPress, or Tumblr, only to decide they want a better, more unique url in the future. When you upgrade and update, you’ll probably want to keep up the old blog. But don’t leave it hanging. Make sure you’re doing any updates or back-ups for the old, dead blog as well. And consider getting rid of it eventually, as a dead blog on your new server may pose a security threat that you don’t want to risk.

That said, having a great host is critical to dealing with security problems quickly and efficiently. Some hosts won’t help at all when you’ve been hacked. Others will talk to you about the problems and work out fixes as quickly as possible. The host you choose matters.

Passwords and Protection

You know what people know but don’t do? Protect their passwords. So many hack jobs are done by individuals who simply guess or grab a password that is easy to acquire. You know that your password should be kept privately, hopefully never written down or stored insecurely. You also know that your password should be complex, preferably an alpha-numeric phrase that looks like nonsense to a program. If you use a password like your middle name, you’re asking to get hacked. Come up with something unique for each account, too, because getting hacked in multiple accounts at once will only add insult to injury.  So always pay attention to your blog security.

Hosting Your Own Blog – Pros and Cons

hostingPlenty of bloggers decide to host their own in an effort to have more control over the look, feel, and function of their blog. It’s a graduation point of sorts, when you realize that you’ve got the choice, the know-how, and the interest in being the master of your own blog universe. Hosting your own blog can be a challenge, in both good ways and bad. You’ll learn a lot and have some success that makes you feel triumphant. You’ll also have days when you feel like you’re wasting your time and things couldn’t be more frustrating. Before you decide whether you’ll be hosting your own blog, here are few pros and cons identified by bloggers who’ve hosted their own and been successful – or not.

Cons of Hosting Your Own

Let’s start with what makes this hard. First of all, you’ll need to be comfortable with coding, memory management, and bug tracking and fixing. This is a range of skill sets that you may or may not want to have. One reason hosted blogs are so popular is that most bloggers don’t want to do any coding. They’re online to write, share, and hopefully make some money.

But if you’re already aware of the technical requirements of hosting your own blog, and you feel confident that you can handle it all, more power to you. Now consider the costs. Almost nobody chooses to host their own because they think it’ll be cheaper. For a while it seemed like a good move, financially, but the more examples you read about, the less realistic this seems. First of all, are you counting the many, many hours you’ll be dedicating to setting up and managing your server and site? The up front costs of setting things up aren’t terrible, and any monthly or annual costs will be minimal. But you’re doing the work now, so over time it turns out that paying someone else to worry about hosting is actually a better deal.

Lastly, you can be the cause of your own blog’s downfall. Let’s say you finally get that tweet from some celebrity ambassador who sends hundreds of thousands of readers to your blog. And it crashes. Downtime is a real problem and it seems to be the biggest problem for individuals maintaining their own blog. Maybe you’ll get your site back up quickly, or maybe it’ll take a day. By then you’ve lost the traffic you could have enjoyed, had you been on a hosted site where it automatically bumped you to a bigger capacity plan when your current maximum was reached. And once again you’ve spent a lot of hours working on a problem that has been solved by the big blog hosting sites.

Pros of Being Your Own Blog Host

Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? If it doesn’t sound scary by now, you’re probably well prepared to host your own. Which means you’ll also be getting a few benefits from your skills and experience.

The biggest benefit, right off the bat, is the control you’ll have over every aspect of your blog. Frustrations with the limits of hosted sites are the top reason that people choose to host their own. The look, functionality, and flexibility of your blog will suddenly be under your control. Even people who decide to go back to having someone else host their blog are big fans of the control they had during their brief foray into hosting their own.

The bottom line is that your skills and speed are going to play a huge role in how successful you are at hosting your own blog. Read as much as you can on this topic before you decide you’ve got what it takes. You could save yourself a lot of headaches or discover you’re the ideal candidate to host your own blog.

How NOT to Use WordPress Multisite

WordPress MultiSiteAn unfortunate trend in the blogging world is to mis-use WordPress’ Multisite option. This used to only be available separately, as part of WordPress MU. Now when you get WordPress you also get the “feature” of Multisite, which you can choose to use or not at your discretion. Discretion is apparently not a very well understood concept among bloggers. The word feature is also often misunderstood; just because the feature is available doesn’t mean it’ll do you favors if you use it. Here are a few ways that people misuse Multisite without realizing what they’re doing.

Personal Blogs

If you have a blog that you run on your own, ignore Multisite. No matter how many guest posts or blog sections or pages you have, you don’t need to use Multisite. The temptation may be strong to branch out and use this feature because you want to distinguish between various categories that you specialize in. Don’t do it. Especially if you’re looking at a list of different categories that can’t be lumped together for any reason other than they fall under the category of ‘blog by you’.

Portfolio Websites

This can be done beautifully with Multisite, it really can, but it will make no sense at all for your site. You want to showcase your skills in photography on one site and your writing talent on another? You’re losing crossover and basically distinguishing between two yous. You can put it all together using a single site and your audience will appreciate you more for it.

Small Business Websites

Even if your business wants to have a separate blog that is more informational than sales oriented, you should host it under the same site as the rest of your website. There are a number of reasons to do this, primarily because it’ll bring more traffic to your single site if your blog is local. But you also want to keep your business site simple. Remember, you want to impress someone with information and promises of great services or products and that’s it. You only need one site to do that and WordPress Multisite is going to chop it all up in an unflattering way.

Managing Many Websites with Various Topics

This is the only time when you might benefit from WordPress Multisite. But here’s the thing you should consider: what is it that ties these sites together? If it’s all about you and your blogs or sites, don’t separate them (as discussed above). If you have very different sites, perhaps your site for your accounting consultancy and your blog about your first year of motherhood, do you really want these lumped together? You can easily run them with a single WordPress used in separate installations. Update all of them when you do your updates to keep your sites secure.

Perhaps it Helps to Know What WordPress MultiSite is Used For?

Think about university websites. The school needs a homepage with various pages for admissions, faculty superstars, campus map, etc. But usually each department has their own homepage as well. These sites are all associated with each other and should be linked by a common site, but they can also be managed individually as their own entities.

Consider WordPress’ own homepage with the list of many blogs hosted by WordPress. This is a place where you’ll find blogs about a huge variety of topics, but they’re all under the WordPress umbrella so they’re hosted and listed together. This is how WordPress MultiSite is meant to be used. You may have a use for this feature, but be sure that it’s appropriate or the benefits won’t be beneficial.

Tips for Blogging Success

tips for bloggingIs there a subject that you are passionate about? If so, why not talk about it through your own blog? These days blogging is all the rage with men, women, teens and even kids getting in on all of the fun. Individuals from across the world enjoy blogging, and the number of topics that you can choose to talk about are endless. From photography to insurance to travel to food and even marketing or parenting, blogging allows you to explore the things that you are passionate about. Take a web search for yourself and you will easily discover thousands upon thousands of blogs on most any subject imaginable.

How to Stand Out From the Crowd

To be successful at blogging you’ll need to stand out from the competition. As we said before, there isn’t a shortage of blogs to choose from, so you need to prove your site is a top contender to get the traffic and the readers. How can you create this amazing, stand out site that people want to explore?

Tips For Blogging Success

The first tip for blogging success is pick a topic for your blog and stick to it. Not only do you need a topic, you also need a catchy name that makes sense, so choose this accordingly as well. The name that you select should reflect the nature of the blog while also being creative and something that web browsers can easily remember. The topic of your blog should focus on one category though you are always free to elaborate on the topic so you’re always giving your reader new, fresh and interesting content.

Each blog post should be well thought-out and organized. Blogging should be relaxing and motivating rather than feel like a chore. Having fun with your posts is important, but never forget to maintain professionalism when you write. Entertain and inform those who are reading and be yourself, and always provide some type of informative value to your posts.

At the end of your blog post, make sure that you leave it open-ended to encourage responses from the reader. Don’t forget to enable the comments section! You can end the blog with a question about the readers’ experiences or opinions. State your opinion and then encourage readers to become engaged in the conversation.

More Blogging Success Tips

Have you thought about offering a subscription to your blog? If not you should. You can ask readers to subscribe to your blog so they’ll never miss a thing while you gain a large following. Make a brightly colored, easily visible subscribe button on the homepage of your blog so those who visit the page can easily subscribe.

A few more tips for blogging:
• Include links to related posts within each blog post you create
• Use links to outside sites that are popular and informative
• Keep content in short paragraphs and use subheadings
• Keep subheadings interesting and targeted
• Create a Recent Posts sidebar on the side of the home page. This sidebar will allow readers to easily access other posts that you have made.
• Update regularly

This last tip is an important tip. You can choose to post a new blog post daily, weekly or even every couple of weeks. But any longer and you’ll lose people. It is like the old saying goes: “Out of sight, out of mind.” You do not want readers to forget that you are out there. Making regular updates will ensure that you gain a large group of followers who thoroughly enjoy reading all of your posts. Give them what they want and they’ll certainly return that favor.

App Dev Secrets Helps Non-Programmers and Programmers Alike

app dev secretsA review of App Dev Secrets

Developing apps for the iPhone, Android, or Windows platform can be a great way to make an income. There are thousands of people – individuals – who have become app developers and now sell their apps on the Apple App Store or Google Play, continuing to make money long after they completed the hard work of designing and making the app.

But do you have to be a developer to get in on the app market? App Dev Secrets doesn’t think so. In fact, the whole idea behind this product comes from the experience of reading all the books, doing the research, learning to be an app developer, and then finding it didn’t add up to the desired earnings.

The best thing about App Dev Secrets is that it describes the open secrets of the app development world, and then gives you solutions to the problems most developers face.

For example, App Dev Secrets explores the fact that it’s simply not enough to develop a great app. You have to do a ton of marketing. Marketing rules an online world where there are more products available than you can count. So how can you market an app successfully? App Dev Secrets gives a list of things you must do as well as tips and tricks or getting your app marketing accomplished with the minimum amount of work possible.

The downside of App Dev Secrets is that it’s only for the iPhone. This means committing to Apple and their tools, which typically means a bit of investment up front, more investment than with Android. But the App Store is typically much more profitable than Google Play, at least for developers and app owners, so perhaps the trade-off is worth it.

It’s up to you to decide.  They have a 3-day full trial so you see for yourself.  Below is my affiliate link to it.

App Dev Secrets 3-Day Full Trial

Guest Posting for Blog Traffic

blog-trafficGetting blog traffic via a guest post is one of the most effective ways that you can improve blog traffic to your site. There are some people who are very knowledgeable about their particular industry and it is a good idea to share that with as many people as possible. When that is done, it is a lot easier to get the traffic to your particular site. Make sure that you are doing this in the best way possible so that you can improve the quality of the traffic and have people really enjoy your site.

The guest posting that you do can have a really great impact on your blog, but only if you put a lot of time into the specific points you are making. Sometimes people even put their best work as guest posts so they can drive a lot of traffic to their own blog.

Guest Post Outreach

There is a lot that one can do for guest posts and it is important you take the right approach or you will never really get any interest in your work. First of all, make sure you are very open and direct with people about what you want them to help you with. Then speak with them as a person individually rather than trying to send a template letter to everyone at the same time. People really respect getting something individually for them.

After you have sent the email to the individual, it is a good idea for you to look at the different options that you can use to write the best piece possible. A lot of people do not have any idea that writing a guest post needs to be the highest quality work, but it is the way that you are advertising your writing, your content, and your ability to research whatever topic you are in.

Without putting the best content out for everyone to read, it is going to be very difficult for you to get all of the support that you need from people. Most of the time it is very hard to convince them that you are worth reading anyway, but with a guest post you have the vouching of the owner and it seems as though you have some legitimacy as well. Best of all, the guest post outreach can lead to exceptional SEO benefits for your site as well.

Why Guest Post for Branding?

It is a great idea to use guest posting for branding as well as for the benefit of getting traffic directly. You will find that the branding benefit can far outweigh some of the others as well. You may be able to say “As Seen On” in some instances, which is an incredibly effective method for showing your legitimacy.

There are a lot of ways that you can improve your ability to get a brand out there. It is important that you are able to do things that show you are exceptional in your niche and using the brand of others through a guest post is one of the most effective ways that you are going to be able to use. Just consider speaking to them as a real friend rather than trying only to use them and you will benefit greatly.