As a business owner, it’s important to keep your information and your customer’s information safe. After all, just one small incident could end up costing you valuable time and money. And with reports of large companies being hacked regularly, security is, or should be, on every business owners’ mind.

Unfortunately, there are many ways a virus or malware could find its way onto your website. It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not familiar with web security. We’ve put together a list of our best tips for website security. For the purpose of this article, we are assuming you are using WordPress, the most popular and fastest growing content management system, as your web hosting platform.

Complete All Updates and Patches

Content Management Systems like WordPress are powerful, yet easy to use. WordPress runs 32% of the entire Internet, including sites such as TED, USA Today, CNN, TIME.com, TechCrunch, New York Post and more. This makes sites running WordPress, and other content management systems, very popular targets for hackers.

With so many developers creating so many different themes and plugins, it’s likely that a few of them will have security weaknesses. Hackers search out those weaknesses and exploit them to gain access to your website. Thankfully, updates and patches usually contain fixes for known security issues. Updating regularly ensures that your website is protected as well as it can be.

Install Website Security Tools

There are numerous options when it comes to security tools for WordPress, and many of them are completely free. When choosing one, look for an option that regularly scans your entire site for malware, viruses, and trojans and notifies you if there are any issues.

Install a Web Application Firewall

A web application firewall is a server plugin or filter that applies a set of rules to HTTP traffic. These rules help prevent common attacks such as cross-site scripting and SQL injection. In plain terms, a firewall stops viruses from entering your site, eliminating the need for damage control further down the road.

Limit File Uploads

Allowing users to upload files directly to your website can be fun, but it’s a huge security risk. Any file upload, regardless of size, can contain script or code that may infect your website. In order to reduce risk, you should limit the types of files that can be uploaded and regularly scan shared files for malware.

Use PCI Compliance

If you accept digital payment, you must adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), or PCI for short. This set of security standards helps ensure that you and your customers are protected from cyber attacks by providing basic security provisions for your website. If you don’t comply, you may even be prosecuted on the federal level.

Use Strong Passwords

This one should be a given, yet we regularly work with customers that still use simple passwords like “ABC123” or “password.” Hackers are quite adept at figuring those out. A good policy is to always include a variety of numbers, letters and special characters, and then change your password often. At least once every 90 days is recommended.

Keep Everything Backed Up

Last, but certainly not least, backup everything you do. Having a recent backup of your website can save you a world of trouble in the event that something happens. If the worst-case scenario does occur, and your website becomes unusable, you can use a backup to get it up and running quickly again.

 

Want more tips and how-to articles to help take your business marketing to the next level? Please subscribe to get future editions of our newsletter, “The Edge.” Stuff you need to know, delivered once a month. No SPAM, no bull, unsubscribe at any time. Sign up at http://eepurl.com/gdjrIj.

Let’s face it, researching keywords as part of your effort to improve search ranking isn’t exactly at the top of your list of fun things to do. Just figuring out how to start can be a daunting task. Here are a few free tools that can help you in your search for great keywords:

  1. Google TrendsGoogle Trends visualizes how search trends change over time. It also has a built-in tool to help you see related searches for a chosen keyword. Simply enter a keyword and you will see the relative popularity of that search term over the past 12 months.
  2. Google CorrelateAnother useful tool from Google. It finds search patterns that correspond with real-world trends, and can help you find terms that may not have been obvious to you.
  3. AdWord and SEO Keyword Permutation Generator. This tool takes multiple lists of keywords and organizes them into every possible arrangement. Add your keywords to the three lists and it will arrange them into combinations you may not have thought of.
  4. Wordtracker ScoutA Chrome extension that pulls out the most relevant keywords on a page. This can help you identify prominent keywords on pages that are performing well. Use the extension while browsing any site and it will give you a word cloud of the keywords used on that page.
  5. Keywords Everywhere. This is another free add-on for Google Chrome that gives you stats for search volume, CPC and competition data. This turns your casual browsing into keyword research. Every time you search, it shows data related to your search term.

Yes, keyword research takes time and effort. However, it is time well spent that will help your website perform better in search engine results. These free tools will help you choose the best keywords for your website. Look for more tips in our next edition.

 

Want more tips and how-to articles to help take your business marketing to the next level? Please subscribe to get future editions of our newsletter, “The Edge.” Stuff you need to know, delivered once a month. No SPAM, no bull, unsubscribe at any time. Sign up at http://eepurl.com/gdjrIj.

The beginning of the year is a great time to perform a 10-minute audit of your website. And you can do it yourself! Here’s a checklist:

  1. Does it load quickly? Your website should load completely in under a few seconds.
  2. Can the spam. One of the most annoying things about managing a website is dealing with the constant bombardment of annoying comments and links to random websites. This is also a huge turn off for your visitors.
  3. Click your links. Yes, all of them. Make sure they work and that they point visitors where they are supposed to go.
  4. Proofread. Check grammar and spelling in all your content. Nothing screams “I don’t know what I’m doing” more than misspelled words and sentences that don’t make sense.
  5. Check images and videos. Make sure all the pages load properly and images/videos show in the right place.
  6. Give yourself a high-five. Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already outworked 90% of your competition.

Take a little time to do these few things and you will be on your way to rocking your website in 2019.

 

Want more tips and how-to articles to help take your business marketing to the next level? Please subscribe to get future editions of our newsletter, “The Edge.” Stuff you need to know, delivered once a month. No SPAM, no bull, unsubscribe at any time. Sign up at http://eepurl.com/gdjrIj.