Monthly Archives: March 2015

What You Should Do After Publishing a New Blog Post

questionmark13Launching and maintaining a successful blog isn’t an easy task. Among other things, you must learn the workings of your content management system (e.g. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.), develop a clear understanding of your target audience, and research and publish new posts on a regular basis. However, you can encourage greater visitor engagement and higher search rankings by following some simple steps after publishing a new post to your blog.

Read It

Even if you think your new blog post is perfect, it’s always a good idea to go back and read it one last time. Perhaps you’ll find an error that you missed the first time, or maybe you’ll think of a better way to word a sentence or phrase.

Update Your Navigation Links

After publishing a new blog post, check your website to make sure it contains a link to the new page. Most CMS automatically update navigation links when a new page is created. However, if your blog is built on a static website, or if you prefer to manually set your navigation links, you’ll have to go back and add a link each time you create a new post or page. Failure to do so may result in neither visitors nor search engines from being able to see it.

Social Media

Assuming you are active on social media (which you should be), you’ll want to promote your new blog post here. Fire up your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts and post a link to your new post URL. Doing so will benefit your blog in two different ways: first, it drives traffic to the new post. Second, it creates backlinks that search engines will crawl and follow, which subsequently helps your blog rank for its target keywords. If logging into your social media accounts each time you create a new blog post sounds like too much of a hassle, you can always use an automated service like HootSuite.

Interlink

Another helpful tip in promoting new blog posts is to go back and interlink the URL from old posts and pages. In other words, search your website for keywords associated with the new post’s topic and create backlinks pointing to the new post URL. This process, known as interlinking, promotes a positive user experience while encouraging search engines to crawl your site.

Have any other blogging tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

How To Secure a WordPress Site

encryption-03Powering over 77 million websites, WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). The free-to-use platform supports a massive library of “plugins” and “themes,” allowing webmasters to change elements of their site without messing with complicated code. But like all content management systems, WordPress is vulnerable to hacking and malicious attacks. To protect your site from these attacks, it’s recommended that you implement the following security measures.

Create a Complex Password

Your first line of defense against malicious attacks is a strong password. Using easy-to-remember passwords like “Myspace123” is just asking for trouble. Instead, choose a random password consisting of upper-case letters, lower-case letters, non-sequential numbers, and special characters. Of course, it should go without saying that you should never email or store this password in plain text format.

Avoid Using The ‘Admin’ Username

Hackers often attempt to infiltrate WordPress sites by using the admin username. Therefore, it’s recommended that you create a unique username for your website. During the initial installation/setup, WordPress will ask you to specify a username. In the event that your site is already set up with the admin username, you can change it by adding a new user in the dashboard (Users > Add New), giving it admin privileges, and deleting the old Admin user.

Block Admin Directory Access

A third tip to safeguard your WordPress site from attacks is to block access to the WP-Admin directory. Basically, this prevents anyone other than you (or anyone using your IP address) from logging into your site as the administrator. Simply add the following lines of code to your site’s .htaccess file:

“AuthUserFile /dev/null

AuthGroupFile /dev/null

AuthName “Access Control”

AuthType Basic

order deny,allow

deny from all

allow from xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (enter your IP address here)

Update Your Files

Arguably, the single most important WordPress security tip is to keep your files updated. WordPress introduced automatic background updates several months ago, but this only affects major updates. Outdated WordPress installations, themes and plugins pose a serious security risk to your site, so make sure they are updated to the latest version.

Limit Login Attempts

Brute force attacks occur when hackers use automated programs or software to blast thousands of different usernames and combinations in an attempt to find the right one. This type of attack is easily prevented, however, by using the Limit Login Attempts plugin.

Have any other WordPress security tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

How To Interview Someone For Your Blog

interview-861513-mStruggling to come up with new topic ideas for your blog? Regardless of the niche, I think every blogger has found themselves in this scenario at some point. But when you fail to publish new content on a regular basis, both visitors and search engines begin to turn a blind eye to your blog. A simple and effective source of new, original content is interviews. If you’re willing to put forth the effort, you can conduct interviews with people who are relevant to your niche and publish them on your blog.

Identify Relevant People

The first step in conducting an interview is to identify people who are relevant to your blog’s niche and/or the interest of your readers. LinkedIn is a helpful tool for this purpose, as it’s the only true social media network for business professionals. Spending 15-20 minutes browsing through the site should provide you with a list of several potential interview candidates.

Craft a Proposal

The second step is to create a proposal for the interview candidate. You don’t have to spend an hour writing some long essay-style paper, but instead create an email introducing yourself, explaining what your blog is about, and asking the person if they’d like to participate in an interview. Be sure to let them know that you’ll include a backlink to their website on your blog. This little incentive is often enough to entice professionals to answer a few questions. When you are finished with the proposal, email it to your list of candidates, personalizing each one according to the recipient’s name.

You can’t expect every candidate to accept your proposal. But if you send enough proposals, some people will respond and accept the interview.

Create Your Questions

It’s recommended that you go ahead and create your interview questions ahead of time. Some bloggers may attempt to wing it by asking questions on the spot, but this is one instance where it’s better to plan ahead. Think about questions that interest your blog’s readers. Questions should be short, to the point, and relevant to the interviewee.

There are several different ways to conduct an interview for a blog, the easiest of which is through email. Many people assume that interviews are done strictly over the phone, but this isn’t the case. Sending the interviewee a list of questions via email is easier and more convenient, making it a popular choice for bloggers and professionals alike. Once you’ve received the interviewee’s response, you can publish it to your blog.

Have you ever interviewed someone for your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

Hosted vs Self-Hosted WordPress: Which Should I Choose?

wplogoPowering over 75 million blogs and websites, WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the planet. It features interchangeable templates (known as themes), as well as plugins, an active community of developers, and a boat load of features. If this is your first time launching a WordPress blog, however, you’ll need to choose between the hosted and self-hosted version.

The hosted version of WordPress can be found at WordPress.com, whereas the self-hosted version is available for download at WordPress.org. The main difference between the two is the way in which they are hosted. Self-hosted versions of WordPress require the user to download the core files, upload them to their web host, and perform the manual installation. Hosted versions of WordPress eliminate the need for manual installations, as the files are set up and hosted on WordPress’ servers.

If you’re going to use the self-hosted version of WordPress, you’ll need to register a domain name and sign up for a web hosting service. Domain registration typically costs about $12/year for a dot com, while web hosting services run about $10/month for low-end shared accounts. The hosted version of WordPress offers free hosting for up to 3GB of data, at which point you’ll have to pay for additional storage. You can also choose to set up your hosted WordPress site as a free sub-domain (e.g. yoursite.wordpress.com) instead of buying a domain name.

The thought of receiving free web hosting services at no cost may sound enticing, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that hosted WordPress is the right choice. For starters, websites and blogs hosted on WordPress.com are riddled with advertisements — advertisements that you don’t get paid for displaying on your site. You can remove ads on your site by coughing up $29.97/year, but it seems a bit ridiculous to pay to remove ads.

Of course, the real deal-breaker with hosted WordPress is its lack of plugin support. One of the great things about WordPress is its massive library of plugins, ranging from basic sitemap creators to all-in-one SEO plugins. Unfortunately, webmasters and bloggers using the hosted version won’t have the option to use plugins, nor can they use custom themes.

To recap, hosted WordPress is a great way for new bloggers to get their feet wet without investing a ton of money. If you’re serious about blogging, however, you’ll want to stick with the self-hosted version. It requires a bit more time, money and work to set up, but the end result is well worth it.

Do you prefer hosted or self-hosted WordPress? Let us know in the comments section below!