Category Archives: Blogging Tips

How to Protect Your WordPress Blog from Hackers

wordpress securityNowadays, hacking has become an increasingly major concern for many WordPress blog owners all over the world. Hundreds of blogs fall victim on a daily basis to attacks by hackers who have become more sophisticated in their ways. These hackers are motivated by a wide range of reasons, ranging from pure malice to the desire to hijack your Google ranking for their benefit.

So, how would you know that your blog has been hacked? At times, it might be very obvious that your blog has been violated. However, in most cases, it is not easy to tell whether you are a victim of hacking. The following are a few indications that your blog might have been hacked:

  • Your blog suddenly loads more slowly
  • Your page rank drops unexplainably
  • Strange links suddenly appear on your blog
  • Your level of traffic drops for no apparent reason
  • A Google search for your blog yields strange descriptions and titles

Hackers use different strategies to attack a blog. In most cases, they will start by attempting to hack your admin password, FTP password or database password. Once they manage to crack any of your passwords, they will then seek to take advantage of any susceptibility in the WordPress installation or plug-ins. The hackers will either alter your files, place malicious code in your database or add new scripts to operate their malware. In addition, they might also open a fake WordPress admin account which will not be visible in the admin page.

So, how can you make your blog less vulnerable to attack? Here are some tips which will help you protect your blog from hackers:

  • Vary your WordPress admin password, FTP password and database password. It would be advisable to use complex passwords which are not less than 10 characters long. To be safe, make sure your passwords comprise of a combination of special characters, upper and lower case, as well as numbers
  • Once you have opened a WordPress account, delete the default admin account immediately. You can then go ahead to open a new admin account with a unique name. However, don’t make the mistake of giving the account your name or the name of your blog since this can easily be guessed by hackers
  • Remember to constantly update your WordPress installation as well as plug-ins. Anytime you find a notification on your dashboard about a WordPress update that has just been released, make sure you update right away
  • Don’t allow unauthorized people to access your wp-admin folder. It would also be advisable to change your admin password occasionally. This will enable you to stay a step ahead of any hackers targeting your blog

Basics for Successful Blogging

Blogging basicsNowadays, there are millions of blogs out there covering almost every topic imaginable. This means that there is an intense competition among bloggers to get the attention of readers. Whether you are blogging for business purposes or just for the fun of it, the following are some tips which will ensure the success of your efforts.

1. Consider the interests of your readers

Never make the mistake of writing for advertisers, even if you intend to generate money through your blog. Instead, your posts need to be written with the readers in mind. Make sure the content of your blog is something which readers will find relevant and useful. As the traffic to your blog increases, you are then more likely to get the attention of advertisers. On the contrary, if you only write for advertisers, your traffic will begin to decline gradually.

2. Post quality content

Your blog embodies your brand. Therefore, to leave a good impression with your readers or customers, you must ensure that the content posted on your blog is excellent. It needs to be well-written, informative, and free from spelling and grammatical mistakes. In case you need help with creating content, make sure you acquire the services of a writer who has vast experience in your niche. Avoid the temptation of hiring inexperienced help in an attempt to lower your production costs.

3. Respond to comments

Interacting with readers is one of the best ways of enhancing their loyalty, thus building a community around your blog. This is why it is important to respond to comments, whether negative or positive, left at the end of every post. To maintain your reputation, you need to ensure that your comments are courteous as well as helpful. Avoid using any kind of profane language which might cast you in bad light.

4. Blog regularly

Publishing posts on a regular basis is very important for the success of any blog. However, there is need for moderation to avoid overwhelming your readers with excess information. The frequency of posting should be determined by your blog’s subject. For instance, if your topic is celebrity gossip, it would be advisable to post once or twice per day. If your niche is home improvement, however, posting once or twice per week is sufficient.

5. Make your content reader-friendly

When creating content for your blog, you must always take your audience into consideration. Avoid using technical terminologies when addressing a general audience. Proofread your content to ensure that there are no grammatical and spelling errors. Use headers, photos and white space to break up long blocks of text. This will make it easier for your audience to read the content.

6. Be unique

Don’t make the mistake of imitating the look and feel of other blogs out there. Since your blog embodies your brand, you need to ensure that it has a unique identity. Use a design which brings out your unique personality and preferences. Write posts about topics which are of interest to you, as well as your target audience. If you choose to use a quote or photo from someone else, make sure you ask for their permission first.

How to Get Content Ideas for Business Blogs

Business blogStarting a business blog is one of the best ways of reaching customers and thus enhancing sales. A blog which offers its readers valuable information consistently will continue attracting more and more visitors. However, many business owners struggle when it comes to creating new content on a regular basis.

The following are some great sources where you can get new content ideas for your blog.

1. Product information

A blog offers a great chance for writing insightful posts about your products or services. However, don’t make the mistake of just posting direct sales pitches. Instead, provide information which could be useful to your readers. For instance, if you sell computer accessories, you could write about the benefits of each accessory, as well as do-it-yourself tutorials. If you are dealing in fitness equipment, you could write posts explaining the dos and don’ts for the different pieces of equipment. Your customers will grateful for such information and are likely to remain loyal to your business. However, don’t make the mistake of offering too much information since competitors can use it against you.

2. Client success stories

This can be one of the best sources of content for a business blog. Approach some of your satisfied customers and ask them to share their experience with your brand. These accounts can then be posted on the testimonials or reviews page of your blog. Customer testimonials will build the credibility of your brand and business, as well as enhance your sales.

3. Announcements/News

A blog can help you keep customers updated on any new developments in your business, as well as the industry in general. You can write about leadership changes in your organization, new service or product launches, awards won by your staff or anticipated changes in the industry.

4. Special offers

Promotional events or special offers can be a great way of direct marketing, albeit under a guise. If you are holding a special event or running a contest, you can publish posts on your blog explaining how people can participate. However, avoid having special offers too frequently since this will eliminate the excitement factor.

5. Answer comments and questions from customers

In the course of operating your business, you are likely to receive a wide range of comments and questions from your customers. Such feedback can provide great ideas for insightful posts which answer the most frequently asked questions about your product or service, or tackle prevalent misconceptions about your business. With time, people will start recognizing you as an authority in the industry.

Advantages of Building Personal Blogs Using WordPress

WordpressWordPress is a popular blogging platform which can be used to build and promote business sites, as well as personal blogs. Here are some of the reasons why you need to consider using WordPress when creating your personal blog.

1. Layout customization

Most blogging platforms offer free templates which can be used for building a blog. However, you need to tweak the design to make your blog to stand out among many others out there. WordPress offers tools which you can use to customize the layout of your site according to your preferences. You can easily add calendars to your blog, change the position of adverts, alter font styles and explore different color schemes without having to hire a professional designer to do it for you.

2. Connecting with readers

A blog offers you the opportunity of interacting with your visitors on a more personal level. WordPress offers a wide range of plug-ins which can help you interact with visitors through social media networks such as Twitter and Google+. In addition, there are plug-ins which you can use to run blog contests or create lists of top commenters. As a result, you will be able to build strong relationships with your readers.

3. Content control

Most blogging platforms have terms and conditions which regulate the posting of content on a site. For instance, there are platforms which don’t allow the posting of commercial content. This means that even selling advertising space on your blog is forbidden. However, WordPress doesn’t have such restrictions. Users have total control over whatever content they post.

4. Site promotion

WordPress offers a wide range of tools which can help you promote your site. For instance, there are plug-ins which you can use to optimize your content, thus making it easier for web users to locate your site online. Most of these plug-ins are free, thus offering a very convenient way of promoting your site.

5. Regular updates

Most blog owners are very concerned about issues of security. If your blogging software is not updated frequently, your site becomes exposed to attack. WordPress is on a continual basis releasing software updates which enhance functionality, security and stability. This significantly lowers the chances of people with malicious intent accessing your site, and thus ensures that your information is kept safe.

6. Publishing options

When starting a blog, you need to look for blogging software which offers scheduling options. With WordPress, you can create content in advance and schedule it for publishing according to your preference. This will ensure that your blog remains up to date, even during periods when you are busy with other commitments or away on vacation.

Guidelines for Keeping Your Blog Safe

blog safetyRunning a blog can be a very effective way of staying in touch with people, either for the purpose of promoting your business or just sharing common interests. However, having a blog comes with its own unique security challenges which you need to deal with so as to ensure the security of your blog, as well as your visitors. Here are some guidelines which will help you keep your blog safe.

1. Regular software updates

Anytime you use software which is obsolete, your blog is in danger of infection by worms and viruses. Therefore, you need to ensure that you update your blogging software as often as possible. Preferably, you should set it so that it updates itself automatically. However, even before a new version of the software is released, you can lower the risk of infection by adding security patches to your current software.

2. Password management

When building your blog, you need to ensure that your password is not too easy to guess. Basic passwords such as ‘wxyz’ or ‘123abc’ should be avoided since they leave your blog vulnerable to hackers and other malicious attackers. A strong password is one that is made up of upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols.

3. Plugin installation

Plugins make it much easier for bloggers to manage their blogs. For instance, there are plugins for managing comments, optimizing blog posts, blocking spam and managing ad placement. However, there is need for caution when dealing with plugins. Before downloading any, you need to find out its origin. If the source is questionable, do not download the plugin since it might just leave you vulnerable to worms, viruses or malicious attacks.

4. Template safety

Most blogging platforms offer a wide variety of colorful templates which can be used to customize the appearance of your blog. However, you need to beware of template files which might contain malicious code. When downloading a template, take time to check the code for anything suspicious. For instance, you need to ensure that the code does not contain links to adult sites. To be safe, always get your code from trusted sources.

5. Perform regular backups

Despite your efforts to keep your blog safe, attacks are still inevitable. Therefore, it is very important to backup your files as often as possible. Whenever you publish a new blog post or adjust your template code, take time to backup your files on an external device. In case anything happens and you lose the content on your blog, your backups will help you recover quickly.