If you?re hoping to grow your business, then it?s time to give some serious consideration to the idea of starting your business blog. In a highly competitive marketplace, businesses need every advantage to stay ahead of their competitors, and a blog is one of your most useful tools. As well as offering a way for customers to engage with your company, a good blog is able to act as proof of your business knowledge and can work much more effectively than other forms of advertising. As a way to improve your SEO, or simply giving you something to share on your social media, a blog has many uses. If you?re thinking of starting a blog for your business, then here are the key steps that you need to take in order to get the most from it.
Use your website
You may have used a WordPress or Wix site to build your website, in which case you may already be familiar with how it works. If you have used other methods, including outsourced website management systems, then now?s the time to get to grips with the way that your chosen platform works. Once you?ve made the decision to use your blog, having a clear understanding of your website platform will give you greater confidence when it comes to additional content such as images or polls.
Stick to your branding
You need to decide on your blog?s style, and that?s going to come down to your business branding. It?s vital that your blog is an extension of your branding, and acts as a reinforcement of it. This consistency will be key to engaging your customers and will be able to guide you in the manner of your interactions with both existing and potential clients. Make use of your chosen tone of voice, whether it be casual, academic, or even humorous, and ensure that it remains in-line with your branding tone across every medium and platform. Make sure that you use the blog to prove your professional knowledge and your awareness of industry changes, and you may start to be considered a market leader in your field.
Make sure that you?re protected
It?s a sad truth that despite the many benefits that the digital age has wrought, it has also brought with it a wave of cybercrime. Any business that makes use of an online platform needs to be aware of their security needs, and it?s vital that you protect your business, your employees, customers, and suppliers when it comes to storing and managing your online data. Many businesses are finding that managing their IT needs is becoming too overwhelming, which is why more are making use of outsourced IT management, the experts at Torix.co.uk being a good example. Making use of these services offers you an extra layer of protection, while also giving you and your staff the space to concentrate on your more productive daily roles.
Your website isn?t merely a place where customers can come and browse new products, it?s your customer-facing store to the digital world, and failing to put as much effort into it as you would every other customer-facing element of your business is a waste of resources. Take advantage of new technologies and always keep up to date on your industry sector, and you might find that blogging becomes the best use of your time and your advertising budget.
Whether you are running a full website or just hoping to capitalize on a future opportunity, protecting your domain name is of paramount importance to anyone who is interested in an online career. You don?t hear too many success stories of people who lost their domain name to a hacker or scammer only to come back twice as strong. When you do hear a success story, they are the exception to the rule, and you can be sure they?d be better off not losing the name in the first place.
Just like any valuable property, your domain name is something worth protecting. This needs to be done on several fronts, and you need to take the steps to protect yourself immediately. The road to victimhood is paved with procrastinated intentions, and getting your domain name back is extremely difficult and/or costly once you?ve lost it. If you have a lot of valuable content associated with the name, it will only be more difficult to get it back.
Here are the main things you need to do to protect your domain name:
Keep Your Basic Computer and Internet Security Strong
Your computer and other online accounts likely have information that could lead to the theft or other loss of your domain name, so you need to make sure that you have great security habits in general. You should be doing the following:
Make sure that you have a security suite on any computer or device you use to deal with your domain name. No exceptions.
Protect your email using every method you can think of (and even more you can look up). Your email is the main gateway into your other online accounts and is probably the easiest route through which someone can take your domain name.
Have a backup copy of all of the data on your computer that you?d miss. That way you?ll be able to recover more easily if your computer falls victim to malware or ransomware.
Be wary of most online offers. Scammers are everywhere, and nothing on the internet is truly free or easy. Ask yourself how any offer benefits the giver and how it could negatively impact you.
Be careful what you download or what people send you online. You could be clicking right into a trap, and it is very easy for things to become too late.
Protect Your Website
If your domain name has a working website attached to it, you should make every possible to protect that website if you aren?t already. If you lose it, then you lose your domain name as well. You need to make sure you are doing the following:
Use the strongest verification methods you can associate with your website. Use complex passwords and security questions that no one but you know (you?d be surprised what people can find out online).
Make sure you are updating your platform and plugins if you are using any. Get rid of plugins that aren?t getting updated or could potentially lead to an XSS attack. Make a check of this sort every couple of months.
Do use plugins, tools and scripts that are beneficial to the security of your website. Once you find an acclaimed tool, make sure that you have something that can scan your website against vulnerabilities and protect you against brute force attacks. Protections against DDOS attacks and some other threats aren?t necessary to protect your domain name, but will prove helpful regardless.
Constantly be on the lookout for new threats, and listen when you hear about potential vulnerabilities on your website. It is better to be needlessly cautious than reckless.
Beware of Public Networks
People who like to manage their websites and business from more than just their homes and offices (a near necessity in today?s fast-paced world) will often have to pay a lot for their data plans or use public networks whenever they can. Yet public networks are extremely dangerous for any internet user, as on them it is possible for hackers to intercept your data without you having the slightest inkling of what is going on. This can easily lead to your email account or domain name getting stolen and sold within a matter of hours.
The best way for you to protect your domain name from this particular threat is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever you are using a public network. A VPN is a service that connects your computer to another server around the world via an encrypted connection. This connection will protect you on public networks and not even let hackers know what you?re up to online. It also will also you to access blocked content anywhere in the world and hide your IP address, keeping you anonymous online.
Lock Down Your Domain Name
Certain domain name providers will have an option to put on additional security onto your domain name, allowing you to lock it down to your account and prevent unwanted transfers. It is likely something you will want to look into so that you can prevent an accidental loss or someone coming into your account and easily taking it away. It might not always be an option, but a quick check right this moment will only take a few minutes and might save you a lot of money and time in the long run. It may even cost a few dollars, but it could still be worth it for the security concerned.
Check In Regularly
It is surprising to see the effectiveness of simply checking in on your website or domain name regularly. It allows you to notice different things that might be out of place and get other notifications. You might be able to check to see if a person has been trying to get into your account depending on your service provider and your timing. Try to set up as many security notifications as possible so you can know if something is up with just an email. It will also get you in the good habit of being more involved with your business.
Renew Early and for Long Periods of Time
If you have a domain name that?s in strong demand, you can bet there will be vultures circling your website via tools ready to tell them the second your domain name is available for purchase. It will only be a matter of minutes (or even seconds) before someone snatches it up, and then they?ll either use it for themselves or be happy to resell it back to you (for a four figure sum).
Don?t let your hold on the name expire. If you have an option to renew your hold for five years and intend to keep it for that long, take the option and save yourself some money in the long run. Don?t wait until the very last minute to extend your hold, and choose to automatically renew from an account if that is an option (and update the card information every few years as your cards expire).
Keep Your Contact Info Current
It is a little known fact that domain name providers can revoke registration if you don?t respond in a proper amount of time to an inquiry about incorrect information (see 184.108.40.206 of ICANN?s Registrar Accreditation Agreement). It isn?t a complex process and is resolved without too many problems most of the time, but your domain name could be in jeopardy if you don?t make the proper contact in time.
The main cause of this kind of domain name loss is the lack of contact information. More times than not you can safely know that your provider will be willing to work with you and reach out, but there?s nothing that can be done if you no longer have the email address and phone number that they have on record. Take a quick look to see if everything is current and make adjustments as necessary. Set a yearly reminder to check in on this. You?ll be thankful when it comes up.
Know Your Options
If your domain name does unfortunately get stolen or otherwise lost, you will need to act quickly and decisively. If the domain is particularly valuable, then you might want to consider legal action, in which case you should know the laws well and any policies your provider has put in place. If your computer is compromised, you should eliminate the threat, then reset passwords and accounts as necessary (be liberal about it). If you think your website is under attack, determine the source of the attack and retaliate as necessary. You need to plan ahead and have a go-to plan for any situation. Ideally, you won?t even have to think about it.
If you take the right steps, your domain name will be perfectly safe. It takes a little bit of time and some of your resources, but protecting your domain name properly should be seen as an investment which more than makes up for its costs. Do not be the weakest link online that will get targeted, and instead show the professional community that you care about every aspect of your online career and business.
Do you have any experience defending your domain name(s) from hackers and other vultures looking to make a quick dollar? Do you have any other tips that might be helpful to your fellow readers? If you do, please leave a comment below so you can keep the conversation going and share your knowledge with everyone.
If you have logged into your WordPress and found an alert to update, then this article is one you might want to read.
You see, WordPress gets updated a lot. Sometimes the updates are small security fixes. However, once a year or so, there is a major update.
Before we continue, I want you to think about something. When you see that WordPress released an update, what do you do?
Do you update right away?
Do you wait?
Do you ask your theme developer for compatibility?
Do you look at your plugins for updates related to compatibility?
Do you do something else?
The reason I ask is because with WordPress 3.5, there was a fairly major change in the core source code, that affected many WordPress theme and plugin developers. As the community guy for a company who develops WordPress photography themes, I can tell you first hand that the release of WordPress 3.5 drastically changed the daily activities of each employee for a few days.
Without going into too much nerdy details, WordPress changed some of the code that many themes and plugins relied on. So in turn, development had to be made (by many companies) to add a workaround. In addition to the development time for the workaround, we had to do a lot of internal testing on various environments, and then release an update to all of our users.
That short story is pretty much what sparked the question I stated above. So I went on Quora and Google Plus to ask communities the same question I just asked you. Here are some of the answers I received.
Richard Saasta on Google Plus said he does a full backup using BackupBuddy. He then updates WordPress and verifies that everything is working correctly. If something goes awry, he then has a clean backup that can be reverted to.
Tony Davis on Google Plus said that he keeps a separate domain with the exact theme and plugins of his other install. He will do an update in that test environment before making an update to the live site.
Mickey Mellen on Quora said that he updates his plugins daily, and because most of his websites run the same plugins that he will update one of the smaller sites first, and once verified he will roll out updates to the rest.
At this point you might be wondering how I deal with WordPress updates on my own website. I did a lot of research on good web hosts, and in the end decided on going with a WordPress specific host, WP Engine. ?One of the big advantages of hosting with WP Engine is that they handle the WordPress core updates. (They won't touch your theme or plugins) Another big advantage is the built-in staging option. So whenever a WordPress update is imminent WP Engine sends an email to users with a time frame when all users will be updated. They instruct users to take advantage of the staging feature and to update a test site. The beauty of the staging site is that it is identical to your live site. Doing this can verify if a site will fail with a WordPress update, before going through with the update on the live site. Make sense? So my workflow is as follows:
WordPress update released
WP Engines emails a deadline before the site will automatically be updated
I create a new staging environment
I manually update the staging environment to the latest WordPress
If something fails, I email WP Engine to say “please do not update me because XYZ”
Make better sense?
Now that I have gone through all of that, I want to ask you again. When you see that WordPress released an update, what do you do? Now that you've read the article, will you do something different?
Thanks for reading,
Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a NJ photographer and the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati.?
The best favor anyone can do for themselves is establishing a content management system using WordPress. It?s user friendly and doesn?t require HTML pages. What you see is what you get and it?s affordable.
WordPress is an open source application created by users who care about usability, resulting in a system that?s easy to learn and implement. Plugins are available for every function imaginable, providing for great versatility. Simplicity and functionality are at the core of WordPress, allowing users to offer the greatest variety of content without worrying about code bloat. The platform is low on complexity and gets high marks for being user friendly. It can be used to manage all aspects of web content effectively and is powered by MySQL and PHP.
There are hundreds of pre-made WordPress themes and templates available for virtually any type of business or blog.I highly?recommend?StudioPress for more of a professional theme. It?s easy to add pages and tweak them for color, fonts and other preferences. Writing and editing can be done directly on the page, and individual pages can be tailored to accommodate a variety of uses. The platform works for small websites, but as a content management system, WordPress excels on larger sites.
The platform is easy to use, but it?s the wide variety of plugins that really makes WordPress shine. Using the array of available plugins, users can create blogs or sophisticated magazine style websites, as well as image galleries, portfolios and e-commerce sites. The platform allows for visitor generated comments and interaction. Articles and photos can be set up to appear on rotation according to any timetable the user prefers. For photo-heavy websites, the ability to generate thumbnails is a real time saver.
For those with products to sell, WordPress integrates well with a number of payment services such as PayPal for a complete e-commerce solution. Pages can be set up to display products, take orders and pay for them using a secure website.
WordPress is great for distributing newsletters, maintaining mailing lists and creating login sites. It?s an excellent choice for those who regularly update information and content. It also supports forums and bulletin boards to encourage visitor participation. Users can control comments through moderation plugins.
With the appropriate plugin, website owners can track visitors, preferences and manage stats. No one can please everyone all the time, but tracking and statistical data will help owners learn more about who is visiting the website, where they go while they?re there and what they do. WordPress can easily be set up to display an array of website information, enabling owners to change and edit pages and content to appeal to the widest number of visitors.
WordPress can be used to manage all aspects of website content and it?s easy to configure. The platform supports multi-media and it?s fun to use. It doesn?t require advanced programming skills or knowledge of HTML, making it an easy to use content management system for both novices and experienced users.
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WordPress 3.0 is out of this world I cant express it enough. If you haven't updated to 3.0 yet do it its well worth it.I use wordpress CMS for all my websites. It's not just for blogs for full scaled websites & can handle huge traffic & will optimize your website with ease of plugins.