More Website Essentials
Episode #11 of the course Build a website and online brand quickly and cheaply by Rob Cubbon
Here are a few more things that you’ll need to do to ensure a smoothly running website.
WordPress, as I’ve already said, is the most widely used software powering websites on the planet. With its increasing popularity comes increasing risk from hackers. There are several things you can do to protect yourself from attack.
The most important thing you can do is to choose hard-to-guess usernames and passwords for entry into the WordPress back end and change them regularly. You must also always update all WordPress themes, plug-ins, and the WordPress core as soon as they become available. WordPress tends to have four major updates a year, and sometimes other minor ones. Plug-ins and themes have regular updates too. If anything needs to be updated, you will see this in the back end.
Updating is a fairly straightforward procedure. You just have to click “Update” and follow the prompts. I don’t want to put you off updating, but sometimes it breaks your site.
In addition to this, there are other various tasks you can to do to protect your WordPress install.
Plus, I also use the iThemes Security plug-in.
If anything bad happens to your site, you can revert to an earlier version, so you must create regular back-ups of your site. Your host is likely to be doing this for you, but it is such an important practice that you must do it yourself as well.
There are two elements that need to be regularly backed up: the files that sit on the server and your database.
You can also use plug-ins to back up your database at regular intervals.
Make sure you have a contact page. Go to Pages > Add New in the WordPress back end; I use the Contact Form 7 plug-in for creating the contact form.
This is super easy to set up, and it sends an email to you every time someone completes the form.
If you allow comments on your blog posts—which is great for interaction on your website—you will get spam.
There are a couple of plug-ins you can use to identify and stop the comment spam from getting through. Your new installation of WordPress will come with the plug-in Akismet installed, and you need to activate it by entering an Akismet.com API key.
I also use another free plug-in called Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (GASP), which forces users to tick a checkbox before sending a comment—something humans can do but spambots can’t.
Phew! Quite a lot to take in there. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember, you don’t have to write content, do SEO, secure the site, pick a logo, and add this and add that all at once!
Start by creating content and take it from there.
In the next lesson, we’ll be talking about how to make money from your new website.
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