There are many reasons why many freelancers choose WordPress for building their portfolio of websites: It’s easy, reliable and flexible (thanks, of course, to plugins). Okay, maybe you will occasionally be told that Tumblr or Blogger is the better choice especially for those looking for a more casual blogging experience. But for the professionals, WordPress always comes out on top — and for good reason, considering the number of features, tools and free plugins you can access to customize and monetize your content. [Read more…]
You might be wondering why on earth we’re writing about WordPress on FWJ, but if you run your own blog and you use the platform, then you have to be aware of the WordPress global attack that has been the talk of that scene in recent days. We’re not all techie, and you may even rely on other people to deal with the technical aspects of your site. If you do some tech tinkering yourself, though, it’s best to be aware of events such as this ongoing WordPress global attack. I don’t want to go too much into the details, but HostGator revealed some information about the issue earlier this month.
What is this WordPress global attack all about?
Here’s a brief and simple description of the issue.
The short and simple explanation of what is happening is that one or more illegal botnets (a network of hundreds, thousands, or millions of compromised computers that are being exploited to perform attacks, send spam, etc) are being used to brute-force attack WordPress sites. The goal of a brute force attack is to try as many username and password combinations as possible in order to find valid login credentials. It’s as if someone was trying to guess the combination on a combination lock, but rather than being limited to a single guess every few seconds, they could make hundreds or thousands of guesses a second while never getting tired. (Source)
Why should you be worried?
Obviously, you should only be concerned if you use WordPress. If this is the case, and you get hacked, then a number of things can happen. Your site can be shut down. Your site can be used to send spam, commit fraud, and all sorts of other illegal (or distasteful at best) activities. Illegal activities aside, having no access to your content can totally throw you off balance, especially if you use your blog or web site as a portfolio.
What should you do?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, my grandmother used to say, so the simplest thing you can do is change your password and use a very strong one. Use a password generator if you have to. Additionally, if you use “admin” as username, remove that immediately and change it. According to security experts, this is the most common username that is guessed, granting the hackers access to countless WordPress sites.
If you want to go the extra mile, take a look at services that can detect and repel such attacks.
What if it’s too late?
If you’ve been victimized by the issue, then you might think it’s too late. It’s not the end of the world, though. There are also services which can help you recover your site in case it gets hacked. HackedRecovery is one such service, and it also gives you support to bolster your site’s security.
Has anyone been at the receiving end of these attacks?
[Image via Hardware Zone]
I’m not sure about the rest of the web surfing population but when I happen on a website the first thing I look for is a brief description that tells me what the site is all about to determine whether I want to visit for a bit, click around and read the offerings or if I want to click BACK and continue on to the next stop.
These very key descriptions happen in one of two places
1. Browser Search Results
When searching for a simple term, let’s use “parenting” as an example, the first thing you notice are the “descriptive lines” that appear in hyperlink blue.
You will notice the terms Babies, Toddlers, Big Kids, Parenting Tips from WebMD, etc.
If you are a parent looking for advice on teenagers, you’re not likely to visit any of these sites because their descriptions clearly let you know, they don’t have what you are looking for.
2. Actual Website Visit
Now, just for kicks I clicked through to page 12 of the same search because that’s usually where good websites with bad descriptions end up – not necessarily on page 12 exactly, but well beyond page 2 or 3.
What I found was hyperlink blue text that simply says “Parenting” “Parenting Counts” and, well, you get the picture. At a glance, those descriptions tell me nothing about what I will find on those pages, so I’m not likely to click through to visit them and I’m guessing, you wouldn’t either.
Let’s just say – In the off chance I were to click through to one of those, I would hope to find something on their front page that would tell me more of what their website is about.
To continue with this test-drive I did just that. I clicked through to the link that simply said “Parenting.” What I found was a really great website that provides very helpful resources for families dealing with mental illness and addictions. Their slogan is “Healing Hearts and Minds of Children and Their Families.”
If someone would simply take the time to place THAT slogan in the “title” portion of their site, surfers would have some idea of what this particular “Parenting” site was about. Healing Hearts and Minds tells me it’s got to do with dysfunction of some sort.
Since this our primary focus here is “blogging” I am going to tell you, as a blogger, how to fix this issue on your WordPress blog.
You will notice on my personal blog, the extreme top of the page says “Work at Home Resources, Tips, Jobs, Scams Discussion & Services” I want to leave absolutely NO doubt what my blog is about. Notice at the top of this very page, Freelance Writing Jobs | A Freelance Writing Community and Freelance Writing Jobs Resource – still, no doubt what this blog is about. Right?
How did we get that to read that way?
Go to your WordPress Dashboard >>> Settings >>> Site Title – type in your title, slogan, tagline or description then Save Changes.
It’s really that simple to create that one tiny fix that could mean the difference between a reader clicking through to you or not.
These descriptions are not to be confused with individual page or post titles. When it comes to those, I follow one simple rule – always imagine your RSS subscribers. If they are combing through all the new posts over their morning coffee – does your title offer them enough to make them want to click on through to read or will they simply pass you by? But, that’s another topic for another day.
Are you stumped on a description? Not sure if your title is descriptive enough? Leave a comment and I’ll check it out and let you know what I think – be sure to state what platform you use if it’s different from WordPress.
As always, I am committed to my readers. If you leave a comment on any of my posts, I will visit your blog and “share it” in some way whether on StumbleUpon, Twitter or Facebook depending on if I can find a nice fit. This is my way of saying thank you!