We all know the potential for the web to reach everyone who is connected to it ( currently around 50% of the world has a connection ) and no less than Mark Zuckerberg realises after gathering over 1 billion monthly users on Facebook he wants to expand the net to try and acquire the next 5 billion using a program he has launched called internet.org. But with the advent of more and more people going online, it doesn’t mean that this is particularly a good thing, not everyone has good intentions and there are countries you are likely to never do business with but want to find a way of hacking your business website or profiting from your misfortune through scam emails or injected code. So the question arises…why let people from these countries on to your website in the first place? In this blog post, I am going to share with you two ways to block specific countries from accessing WordPress based websites.
Many companies like to add some Christmas sparkle to their brand during the festive period to show their warm wishes to their customers and it can be a great way to put an extra smile across the faces of your consumers. In this blog post, I will briefly discuss several ways for you to make your WordPress website Christmas themed. Continue “How to make your wordpress website Christmas themed”
Choosing the right hosting provider for your website is HUGELY important and probably the most important part of your website. Like a house, if you don’t put in the right foundations in at the start then your house is going to start getting problems and it just won’t be a good construction. Hosting is the same, choose a hosting provider that is below par and your website will see the effect. In this blog post I discuss why I had no choice but to leave my hosting provider.
Most CMS platforms for websites have a login page where it requires a login and password. If you own or run a website having secure logins has never been more important! In this post I suggest ways of increasing your password security. [divider style=”1″]
Why is a strong password so important?
You spend a long long time making your website. Its content, its media & making it work as efficiently as possible. Others have different ideas…hackers, although many are good, some provide a real threat to your hard work. A hacker can try a brute force attack to infiltrate your digital kingdom.
What a brute-force attack is
A brute-force attack is where a computer tries every possible key or password until it succeeds at infiltrating your website. Nothing like a bit of determination! A simple brute-force attack usually has a dictionary of all words or commonly used passwords and cycles through passwords until it gains access. It can take time to complete BUT just read the next paragraph to see how many passwords can be tested per second…
How long does it take to hack a password through brute force?
This piece of information is really going to shock you…
Individual desktop computers can test over a hundred million passwords per second using password cracking tools that run on a general purpose CPU and billions of passwords per second using GPU-based password cracking tools.
Scary thought really isn’t it, best change that password from password123 now don’t you think?
The hack clock is ticking
Eventually, after a while the hacker will gain access to your website this way if they are persistent. It can take a few minutes, a few days, a few months, a few years, or decades ( i think most would give up at this point! ).
Want to know exactly how long it takes to hack your password then simply enter it into this website, you might be quite amazed at how secure your password is https://howsecureismypassword.net/ if it doesnt take long it’s time to make a change! [divider style=”1″]
Tips to creating a good and incredibly strong password
Most brute force hacking uses commonly used “words” and natural choices we make like numbers after each other. A good technique is to use a phrase rather than a couple of words. For Example think of the song “If I could turn back the hands of time”
“If I could turn, turn back the hands of time, then darling you, you would be mine”
No, I am not declaring my love to you but I am loving this technique for building a password! What I want you to do is take the first letter of each word in that single sentence from the song and make a password!
“If Icould turn, turn back the hands of time, then darling you, you would be mine”
This password would take 8 million years to hack whilst still being easy to remember by remembering the tune…quite a while i think.
Add some numbers
If you add just three memorable numbers 124 on the end it would take 3 trillion years to hack
Add some funky symbols
add a ? and it would take only 27 quintillion years to hack…so not at all long!
Go the extra mile & Deny Access to your CMS dashboard
Warning before performing this action make sure you have a basic understanding of what you are doing
What if someone does manage to access your website through brute force, what then? Don’t worry if you do the following steps they can’t access the dashboard of your site even if they guess the password correctly! Bonus.
If you are the only person who needs to login to your Admin area and you know your own IP address, you can deny wp-admin access to everyone but yourself via an .htaccess file.
Create a file in a plain text editior called .htaccess and add:
# Block access to wp-admin.
allow from x.x.x.x
deny from all
replacing x.x.x.x with your IP address.
Your Internet Provider can help you to establish your IP address.
Or you can use an online service such as What Is My IP.
You have completed your first step to lock down
Creating a strong password is only your first step to ensuring your website is less at threat to those with malcontent towards you and your business. There is a lot more to be done and I will be blogging about these things in future blog posts so please, sign up to my rss feed for my blog and receive it in your email so you never miss new information.
My website seems slow do I need a CDN to help me?
The first thing I recommend you do before even considering buying a CDN is test your website using tools.pingdom.com/fpt/.
This website tests the speed of your website from various locations around the world and gives you a breakdown of what is the main issues effecting your website speed, you may find it isn’t your media files after all it may be something else…
Optimize your hosting provider first
When you put your url into the test box if you notice the first option that appears ( which happens to be your connection to your host ) is one of your slowest features ( anything about 1 second is pretty poor, anything about 3 seconds and you really do need a new provider ) then this will be a hosting server issue.
If your website is on what is called a “shared server” (which most websites are if they are not a large corporation with their own IT equipment) then getting a fast connection can be difficult. A shared server means just that, you share your server with other websites and sometimes there can be hundreds sharing the bandwidth to your server and why a connection can be slow. Some hosting providers do give the option of dedicated hosting but it does tend to cost a lot more…if you are a fairly young online business I would stick with shared hosting until finances permit you to make the transfer to dedicated hosting.
Research your hosting providers for your needs
Some hosting providers are better than others for different reasons and Bluehost.com is one particular host that is recommended for WordPress sites, but don’t take my word for it. I recommend that you consider doing some research about hosts, read customer feedback and possibly look into changing your hosting provider.
My host is great, so what is a CDN?
Why is having a CDN going to help your website? Speed is one reason a CDN can boost your websites performance but there are more reasons, if you are interested in what they are then please…read on!
So why should I buy a CDN for my website?
Users have a need for speed
Users are very impatient and getting more impatient.
They expect fast & efficient websites so they can reach the information they want at lightning fast speeds. A user just sees a browser window but behind that computer screen of that web request activated from a left mouse click of your right hand is traveling down the internet highway to process a large amount of data of varying types and putting it together like a jigsaw of varying file types to return it back to the screen of the user wherever they may be.
One datacentre in a big wide world
If you are lucky your website data will be stored on servers that are located in a high tech top of the range data centre like the one at MigSolv.com. Although this is great the problem with this is that if you are in a far off land such as California accessing a website stored in the UK it will take longer than one closer to where the web request is being made.
Geo-location on the CDN
This is where a CDN steps in. A CDN relieves this issue by delivering that data from the closest server, via geo-location ( Geolocation is simply the identification of where the electronic device request is being made from).
Improves your User Experience
Once you have set up your CDN then the website increases in speed & the user will be happier in at least one area of using your site. Since using my CDN I have seen my bounce rate decreases by 20% and the amount of time people staying on the site increasing.
A CDN will likely improve your conversions
As Goran Candrlic mentions in his post about website conversions and speed. For every 1 second of improvement they experienced up to a 2% increase in conversions.There is some great information on that post about speed and conversion so when you get time check it out!
Search Engines have a need for speed too!
If your site is fast the major search engines will fall in love with your content! You will find you start ranking higher for your pages and higher search engine ranks means more traffic and more traffic means more chance for conversions!
You can’t take me down so easily
The fear of hackers, spammers and others with malicious intent is a constant worry for website owners. Having a CDN gives you some extra redundancy should a hacker manage to take your website down because your files are stored in a type of cloud in varying data centres around the world so you content may still be accessible. One little piece of mind if it ever happens to you and you need to reinstall your content to your website.
A CDN can help you when you get popular
All website owners dream of gaining thousands of visits a day. Becoming web famous would be a dream and would be the best way to increase conversion rates. As you create more great content your traffic increases thus more requests for the data will be needed putting extra strain on your server. A CDN reduces the pressure on the server and will make your website faster even when you have unpredictable spikes in traffic.
Which CDN is best for a WordPress based site?
Why I am discussing WordPress? WordPress may be the most popular CMS widely used by website owners worldwide today. Its simplicity of use and lack of a need to understand in-depth coding ( although it is good to have at least some basic html knowledge at least ) to make a website work well for your business.
A very good cache plugin that ALL WordPress sites should have installed is W3 Total Cache.
W3 Total Cache and MaxCDN
W3 Total Cache has a feature to add MAXCDN. When a plugin as good as W3 Total Cache recommends a CDN you automatically know this is probably the best option for your site.
Tried and tested another CDN , Cloudflare
I did try Cloud flare first before I started using MaxCDN as my chosen CDN but I didn’t feel I was getting the level of service I was expecting.
It came with features to block well-known threats from certain IP addresses across the world that are recorded but the problem with Cloudflare is that sometimes it blocked some people who are genuine visitors which seriously frustrated them.
You may say this is a small price to pay for a CDN making sure to keep your website as secure as possible but I think as long as you back up your databases and content as regularly as possible using any backup program, then you have nothing to fear from hackers and spammers as a restore of the system should be pretty straightforward as long as you give your hosting account a very strong password.
MAXCDN was and is the best option for me
I use MAXCDN for my website content and I couldn’t be happier! I am writing this from the point of view of a very happy customer. I could write and promote several CDNs with the chance of getting affiliate percentages from all products like several blogs do but that isn’t why I write about certain products, I write about products I believe in and that I have had a great experience with. I believe in only promoting products that I truly believe in and that I think others can also reap the benefits of.
Exceptional customer service
I think what stood out for me with MaxCDN was their live chat feature. When I wasn’t sure whether I had set up the CDN correctly I spoke to one of their employees via the Live chat and I was very very impressed! I created another user with admin privileges so they could access the plugin and the employee then set up the CDN perfectly.
Of course giving access to my website to someone I didn’t know did give me a little apprehension but as I back up my site regularly I felt it would be okay to create a new account and delete it once it was completed.
I was blown away by this level of customer service , they could have pointed me into an online tutorial but they exceeded their requirements and helped all they could!
Clearly faster than before
Making my connection for users to my website faster was really important to me, probably the most important and MaxCDN really delivered. I am much happier with my website speed since using MaxCDN and I highly recommend the product.
So should I get a CDN for my website?
You may have guessed already but I think EVERYBODYS website should have a CDN. Fact.
If you are serious about generating traffic and providing a brilliant experience to your potential clients or readers then you have to own a CDN for optimum website speed experience.
[divider style=”1″] MaxCDN is the best option for you and I wouldn’t recommend using any other CDN. You have nothing to lose as you have a 1 month trial too, click the banner below to find out more : –
In widely used CMS WordPress you may notice a drop down list with Paragraph as the first option. When you click this box you will find various formats for your text from Heading 1 to Heading 6. You may be wondering why are there so many headings or you may even be thinking that you only need to use them for emphasising or increasing the size of font but that is not the true purpose of headings. In this post i explain how to use heading tags to full effect.[divider style=”1″]
Every url you create is given its unique ID and on the blogging CMS wordpress it is usually in the form of whatever the title of the blog post or page title is. An automatic permalink may not be the ideal url and I explain why below.
Urls are a part of your seo strategy
The words you use in your url act as a part of Googles ability to index your written blog post and one aspect to index your urls higher than the rest competing for that particular keyword. For instance in this blog post “www.jawilsondesign.com/permalinks” is the url of the post because if someone searches for that word it will be seen by the search engine and return the url to the searcher in a list of other urls that also use this particular keyword.
urls need to be humanised
If I had let the CMS create the permalink for me I would have ended up with “www.jawilsondesign.com/the-importance-of-permalinks”. This is both good and bad for your website. It is bad for users to manually type in the url to their browser address bar but it IS excellent for the long tail keywords ( long tail keywords are words that have less competition from other sites for search rank positioning) of SEO.
urls need to be easy to type for users
You need to ask yourself what is important. Is it making your url easy to type in incase they want to visit your page easily or is it to be found organically on the major search engines? I believe when it comes to blogging the best way to generate urls is to consider what people might type into google as a sentence. I.e. “how important are permalinks” or “the importance of good permalinks” etc. which would give you a long url but great search indexing.
Not every country understands what a “hyphen” is
As my globe trotting boss mentioned to me the problem with long urls like “www.jawilsondesign.com/the-importance-of-good-permalinks” is that not every country understands what a hyphen is. Not only is it very difficult to remember the whole url it would be even more difficult to understand if you are not from a country that regularly uses the hyphen.
When to use hyphenated urls and when not to
It is in my belief that hyphenated urls are best used when writing blog posts. The well known search engines will love this and help generate natural traffic to your website but when creating the url for your static pages such as services, about etc a short simple url such as www.jawilsondesign.com/about is much better than a url like “www.jawilsondesign.com/about-ja-wilson-design-the-multi-discipline-designer”
Sharing changes things
When sharing your latest blog post it is usually good practice to use url shortening tools such as goo.gl particularly if you share your work on Twitter. This being the case the whole decision of what the url should be doesn’t matter as much when sharing.
In conclusion I recommend that you use long hyphenated permalinks in blog posts to target long tail keywords but keep your main page permalinks short and easy for users to remember so that the pages can be found easily. Should you have any further suggestions please comment below.
You have just wrote your first blog post, proof read it, added a few pictures, added the usual seo features & officially clicked the post button. Right now, the door to the world is starting to open just that little bit more, your voice is being heard among the mass of confusing noise. You realize you enjoy this blogging thing and write another post…and another…and another..before you know it you have over 100 blog posts on your site, 100 pieces of individual information for google to feed its little robots on.
Now where did I put that book?
Imagine a library, full of millions of books, this is the metaphorical picture of a website. Now imagine you walk into that library and you are after a very specific book, one book amongst a million. How would you expect to be able to find it? A category perhaps? That would certainly narrow your search down wouldn’t it!?
This is the basic purpose of using categories in WordPress. It may seem pretty obvious but when you first start using your blog categorization of your posts doesn’t really seem to matter that much, its more important to get your information out to the world but after a while you will realize you really should have spent some time creating categories.
Why is it so important?
I have already mentioned that if you are specifically looking for an old article you remember writing categories make it automatically easier for you to find. For example if you are looking for a blog post about the greatest football team in the world then a category called “Liverpool Football Club” would be an excellent place to store that post under.
But really, wordpress categories aren’t for the creator, it is more beneficial to the reader. The best use of the internet isn’t for self its for the betterment of all. Yes of course it is really useful to store your knowledge that you gain somewhere and then be able to retrieve it at a later date when need be, but those who use the internet and blog for the right reasons want to share what they know in order to be able to help others.
A good user experience will have excellent categorization so it is easy to quickly find what they are looking for.
Another great way to ensure navigating around your blog is easy is to add a related posts plugin of which I can suggest quite a few. What this will do is give a few options at the end of each post that will then give a very similair post to what has just been read. A very useful tool don’t you think.
My top tip
Before starting your blog sit down and think what is it you want to write about? Maybe you won’t have all the categories right away..that is fine, just make sure to create them as a new topic is generated. If it is partly related to a topic then make sure your new category is assigned what is called a parent category . All in all, you are wanting your visitors to benefit from the experience you can provide them so make it as an easy a ride as possible.
Any questions please don’t hesitate to complete the comment box below and best of luck in your category creating!