When you log into your WordPress and you see that there’s an update available, then my advice is to install them quick or risk getting infected with viruses or exposed to hackers.
It’s always been my advice and I was 100% confident that I walked the walk as well as talk the talk.
Until last Thursday that is!
I was just about to log onto my site when I realised there was nothing there! Just a nasty white screen and no way of logging in to fix it.
Moments later I received an email from my host informing me that my hosting account has been hacked and that it’s been blocked.
I called them to find out why, and most importantly how. Because I make sure my site is up to date and secure probably every day. If not every other at the very least. I knew I was doing all the right things.
Turns out I had a VERY VERY old site sitting on their servers that I didn’t even know about! (perills of outsourcing and not keeping a tight enough lead)
Fast forward almost a week later and my site is finally up and live again. But it’s been a hard slog to get here.
So the purpose of this blog is to go over why it’s s important to ensure your site is updated and protected.
I work on many clients sites and find that they’re completely out of date and just massively putting themselves at risk of losing everything they’ve worked hard at.
The main reason for people not updating in my opinion is because the site owner doesn’t know what the updates are for, or they’re scared of ‘touching it’ and or are unaware of the severity of the problem.
I think WordPress has made it quite simple for people to set up their own website for free, but no one really takes all the ‘techy’ element of it in.
So what are WordPress updates and why do you need to keep them up to date?
WordPress makes it easy for website owners to update their plugins, themes and the actual wordpress platform itself to the latest versions. Sometimes if you have a really good host, they will update the system for you (and sometimes the theme developers such as genesis will automatically update the theme for you).
However, if not, it literally takes just a couple of clicks and you’re up to date and done.
Sometimes, things can go wrong when you’re updating, but that’s easier to put right and removing hackers from the depths of your website.
What can go wrong if you don’t keep it up to date?
Biggest one is what I’ve already talked about, the security of your site and your server. Occasionally security holes will be uncovered in wordpress code, and when this happens the WordPress team will issue an update to fix those holes and bugs. This is also the case with your plugins and themes. If there’s a hole, the hackers will definitely find a way in.
Another reason to keep it up to date is to ensure you have the latest features WordPress has to offer. WordPress often adds new features such as faster admin screens, changes to the menu structure and post editor, all making your site management easier and providing you with more flexibility.
Prevention is better than cure
If you can take away one bit of advice from me today, is that ensuring your WordPress is completely up to date on a regular basis is far quicker that trying to remove the hackers from your site. Trust me, it’s really not a situation you want to be in.
So.. go ahead, log into your website, update it, update your theme, update your plugins and delete any old ones you no longer use.
Not sure what you’re doing? Then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org where I’ll be more than happy to discuss my web maintenance package with you
As you know, the majority of business owners now use social media to grow and promote their businesses online. It is essential that you know how to effectively use social media to prevent you from wasting your time updating your Facebook page, and sending out tweets when no one really has any interest in reading them, and if you’re not yet using social media to it’s full advantage you really are missing out.
Here are the Top 5 social media tips to get you started.
NUMBERS ARE NOT EVERYTHING
Having thousands of fans or followers does not necessarily translate into sales. Even if you are not promoting a business and you have thousands of friends, it does not mean that you are going to have more social interactions, especially if you do not have anything in common.
Spending endless amounts of time looking for followers, when they have no interest in you or your products is just a waste of time.
STICK WITH THE FREE AND SIMPLE SERVICES
You can achieve just as much in terms of promotion with a service that is free than with one you have to pay for.
If you are new to the world of social media you should start with a simple site such as twitter and Facebook which both have millions of users worldwide.
Have a think about who your ideal clients are, and where they hang out. What will they be using?
LIMIT YOUR EFFORTS
You don’t need to have a profile on every single social networking site. Stick to a handful of the best sites and link them all together. For example, you can have your twitter page link to your blog and Facebook page.
BE MORE SOCIABLE
Instead of directly selling your products or services, engage your followers in conversation.
Social media takes a different approach than other web based techniques such as email marketing. You have to sell yourself as well as your business.
I often get asked “Do I need to have a personal and business Twitter account?”
My answer is no! Any marketing you do, should always be 80% social and 10% business. So by having a combination, you’re building a personal relationship with people, which is ultimately what will bring in business.
Refrain from writing fake positive reviews to gain popularity, savvy social media users will see through this and it could harm your reputation.