Are you trying to decide if you need a website?
In business? A website is a must have asset. It’s where potential clients will find and get to know you. It’s the first place referrals will turn to learn more about you. It’s where you’ll sell your products and services, invite contact requests, brand yourself in your niche, and show off what you know. It might also be where you host your webinars, offer group coaching programs, publish a podcast, create a blog, and even set appointments with clients. And for writers, this is where you can show off your writing and create your portfolio and CV.
Whew! That’s a lot of jobs for a single website to do. If you choose a versatile content management system such as WordPress though, you can easily incorporate those tasks and so much more.
Fast and Easy Website Setup
In the time it takes to finish your morning coffee, you can have a website created and live on the Internet using WordPress. Most hosting companies offer “one-click installs” for WordPress, meaning it will take only about 5 minutes to create your website. From there, it’s a matter of choosing a theme and adding content.
Even if you’re not technically inclined, WordPress is simple to use. And with a huge, helpful community of users, you can quickly find the answer for everything from “how do I install WordPress” to “how can I create a membership site” with just a Google search.
Your Site, Your Style
With thousands of free and premium themes available, it’s easy to find a look that’s just right for your brand and business. Want something more customized? Many themes offer easy, drag-and-drop editing of layouts, colors and more, but if you want something designed just for you, there are thousands of capable developers to build you a custom design.
Plugins add Greater Flexibility
Originally designed as a blogging platform, WordPress earned its early popularity by making this rather technical chore easy for thousands of new bloggers. Today it’s no longer known as just a blogging tool. Instead, site owners use WordPress as the basis for:
- Shopping carts
- Membership sites
- Sales pages
- Personal journals
- Online directories
- Non-profit fundraising
- Video blogging
- News sites
- Recipe blogs
- Photography sites
- And dozens of others
The combination of themes and plugins—small software add-ons that install directly into your WordPress site—make the possibilities nearly endless, so no matter what you need a website to do, chances are good that WordPress can handle it.
Website Security 101: Keeping Your WordPress Site Safe from Hackers
Security concerns keeping you from enjoying the flexibility and power of WordPress? If you’ve bought into the hype that WordPress is inherently unsecure, then you’re missing out on all the great things WordPress has to offer, for no good reason.
The fact is, while WordPress sites do get hacked, they are no more dangerous than other php-based websites. The problem is that WordPress is open source, which means that anyone can read the code—even the bad guys who spend all their time looking for vulnerabilities they can exploit. Couple that with the enormous popularity of WordPress, and it’s easy to see why you hear about hacks on a regular basis.
But that doesn’t mean WordPress is unsafe. By implementing just a few security best practices, you can greatly reduce your risk of being hacked.
Keep Your Site Up to Date. This is by far the biggest risk when it comes to security. New vulnerabilities are discovered in WordPress and its plugins and themes on a regular basis, and if your site is out of date, it is at risk. Hackers actively search for outdated websites they can attack, so make it a point to keep your site up to date. That includes plugins, themes, and the WordPress software itself.
Use Strong Passwords. Second only to out-of-date installations when it comes to inviting hackers, weak passwords are regularly exploited with a technique called a “brute force” attack. Simply put, a hacker sets a computer program to repeatedly attempt to log into your site using thousands of the most commonly used passwords and what are known as “dictionary” words.
This type of vulnerability can be easily avoided simply by choosing good passwords. Ideally, your passwords should:
- Be longer than 12 characters
- Contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols
- Never be used for more than one site
- Never be stored in plain text on your computer
- Never be sent by email
Also, consider using a password manager such as LastPass to generate and securely store good, strong passwords. You’ll never have to worry about remembering your passwords, and you’ll greatly reduce your risk of being hacked.
Be Smart About Your Hosting. Unlimited domains! Unlimited space! Unlimited bandwidth! And all for around $8 per month. You’ve probably seen the claims, and may even have a hosting account with one of these companies.
Here’s the problem. This type of shared hosting is inexpensive only because they overload their servers with thousands of websites. Just as close proximity in crowded classrooms allows human viruses to quickly spread, close proximity of websites on a shared server means one infected site is a risk to all the others.
Rather than looking for the least expensive (and riskiest) hosting option, choose a host that allows you to isolate each site on its own cPanel. Doing so will greatly improve the security of your website.
I use GoDaddy and have always had great customer support and a good experience.
In the end, the safety and security of your site and its data is entirely up to you. Keep your software up to date, use good passwords, and choose a secure hosting environment, and you’ll be well ahead of the curve on this.