5 Smart Ways to Secure Your WordPress Website from Cyber Threats

As the most popular content management system of all time, WordPress has ushered in a new age of web development.

Rather than relying on sheer coding skills, anyone today can build a fully functional website with pre-made themes, plugins, and a dash of patience. WordPress also made sure these “building blocks” are readily available in one place, allowing for a more streamlined and efficient web development workflow.

Unfortunately, this unparalleled ease of use has its own downsides.

As WordPress users become accustomed to having tools that help them overcome challenges, some of them may overlook the importance of actually learning the conventions of building and managing a website.

This includes keeping a website secure from the plethora of cyber threats.

The good news is, WordPress security isn’t exactly rocket science. You just need to know the best practices that can protect your website from security breaches.

Here are 5 proven cybersecurity tips that will protect your WordPress website:

1. Keep Your CMS Updated

Truth be told, WordPress isn’t exactly known as the most secure CMS out there.

According to statistics, over 70 percent of all WordPress installations have security vulnerabilities. This may cause would-be website owners to reconsider their decision to choose WordPress as their CMS.

On the flip side, the WordPress team tirelessly works in the background to roll out security patches as soon as possible. WordPress users only need to take the initiative and install these updates once they’re ready.

To view all the available updates for your WordPress CMS, navigate to the “Updates” section under the “Dashboard” menu.

On top of core CMS updates, you can also view available updates for your plugins and themes regardless if they’re active or not. Since patches are downloaded and installed on the server side, updating your entire WordPress ecosystem should only take a couple of minutes to complete.

2. Use SSL Encryption

SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is a standard encryption technology that can protect transmitted data from hackers.

You can tell if a website uses SSL encryption if its address starts with “https” along with a “secure” indicator rather than just “http.”

Whenever a user tries to access a secure website, the web server shares a public key as part of the website’s SSL certificate. Once the web server’s identity is verified, a unique session key will be generated by the client to encrypt the connection.

To use SSL encryption on your website, the first step is to purchase an SSL certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority or CA.

Most web hosting companies also offer SSL certificates for sale. If you choose to purchase from your hosting provider, contact them and ask if they will handle the rest of the installation process or not.

You can also purchase an SSL certificate from third-party website security companies like Symantec.

As an added bonus, SSL certificates from certain CAs may come with a security seal, which can be displayed on your website. These seals help build buyer confidence and improve the conversion rates on SaaS websites, dropshipping e-commerce stores, or any site that requires users to enter their potentially sensitive data.

3. Use a Web Application Firewall

A Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attack is among the most common forms of cyber threats on the web. It utilizes a network of infected computers—also known as botnets—to flood a web server and deny access to real users.

You might think that your website is too small to be targeted by such an elaborate tactic. However, you may be surprised to learn that DDoS attacks can be launched against you by competitors for as little as $10 per hour from the deep web.

To mitigate attacks, experienced WordPress developers make sure their sites are protected by a Web Application Firewall or WAF.

In simple terms, a WAF functions as a sieve that filters every HTTP request that goes in and out of your website. This can keep your WordPress website safe from hackers, malware, and hijacked traffic.

Although WordPress is teeming with plugins that include a firewall, you should also consider third-party security services that bundle it with other features, such as IP blocking, malware scanning, spam prevention.

4. Vet Your Theme and Plugin Source

Selecting a theme for a WordPress website heavily influences the rest of the development process — not just from a design standpoint, but also in terms of security.

Remember, the WordPress theme and plugin landscapes are dotted with security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. This is one of the drawbacks of having extensive compatibility with third-party website components.

Before you install a new theme and create landing pages for your WordPress site, exercise caution and look for existing reviews. This will allow you to verify the credibility of your source and prevent introducing security vulnerabilities to your WordPress installation.

To save yourself the trouble of background checks, you can always rely on official WordPress directories for your theme and plugin needs. These website resources go through an intricate review process to ensure their security, stability, and compatibility.

5. Regularly Create Backups

When it comes to cybersecurity, you can never be too safe.

You need every layer of protection you can get if you want your WordPress website to continue growing. And as a last line of defense, a backup will make sure you can always restore your website in case a cyber attack manages to get through.

Some of the most popular backup solutions for WordPress are UpdraftPlus, BackWPup, and Jetpack. All three options enable you to set regular backup schedules, which takes away the pressure of having to create a new backup every time you apply changes to your website.

Conclusion

WordPress development is an ongoing learning experience even for veterans. This is especially true considering the ever-evolving challenges of website security.

The strategies above will not only protect your WordPress site from all sorts of cyber attacks, it’ll also give you that much-needed peace of mind as you explore the full capabilities of the CMS.

If you have questions or other tips you want to share, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Cheers!

How to build SEO Strategy on a Limited Budget

In this high-tech era, every business should by now be implementing SEO strategies with the aim of improving the performance of their website of search engines. Nonetheless, there are so many websites that have not tried out SEO techniques despite their long periods of existence online.

For small businesses especially, the main reason they do not pursue SEO for their websites is that they do not have a budget for it. A few SEO techniques may require you to spend a couple of dollars periodically, but this is not always the case. SEO is, in fact, more cost-effective than other marketing strategies like pay-per-click. Here are some simple SEO things you can use to build your SEO strategy when on a limited budget:

Use free SEO tools

Some SEO tools offer services on a premium basis, and this can deter you from pursuing SEO. Nonetheless, there are a variety of free SEO tools on the market that can get you comparable results for every best practice of SEO.

Terrific examples include SEO tools by Google, for instance, Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, among others. Further, some tools have a premium version but also a free version, from which you can capitalize on as much as possible.

Write fresh and quality content

In matters of SEO, quality content is king. Writing fresh and high-quality content does not need a budget. All you must determine to do is offer adequate value to users. New material is a smart way to get the attention of search engines because, every moment you publish fresh information, Google bots visit your website for crawling.

Maintain a frequency that is consistent to keep your target audience in check, as well as search engines. Before you share information, ensure you are well-researched on the topic issue, not only to be sure you remain current but also to better capture information that your target audience would want to consume.

Remember that new content may get the attention of the search engines, but it is the uniqueness, relevance, and usefulness of your copy that will get you to rank properly.

Legit link building

For a while now, some webmasters have invested in shady link-building by buying links from illegal websites, sending out the notion that link-building must cost you money. Over time, Google changed its algorithm but now, penalizes such acts.

On the contrary, link-building is an SEO technique that you can achieve free of charge. Invest your time in sustaining good relationships with peers in your industry as on the way to earn links on goodwill. Further, determine to engage in guest posting as well as making your website link worthy, if you are to attract quality links.

As for guest blogging, target popular blogs with a different audience reach from yours and present yourself as a knowledgeable leader in your industry, then provide adequately researched and well-written content, and in exchange, get a quality backlink.

Optimize your site for long-tail keywords and phrases

Even on a strict budget, your goal is to rank high for search terms. Since you do not have a budget to compete with renown brands for popular keywords, you want to invest in long-tail keywords because they have low competition.

The best things about this tip is that stands to draw you more traffic without having to spend more money. Long-tail keywords are better at capturing the user intent than short-tail keywords, and this way, you stand a better chance at responding to the needs of your target audience.

Remember, if your keywords are suitably responsive to people’s searches, you will realize higher click-through rates for your posts, as well as a more substantial number of conversion thanks to qualitative traffic.

Use minimal efforts to improve page speed

Among other vital factors, Google takes into account a website’s page speed for ranking, which only means that the faster your web pages load, the better your performance on SERP. You can check bulk SERP tracker at serpbook.com to find out more on the essentials of SERP for any website.

Minimal efforts to improve your website include compressing your images before uploading them, as well as your files, enabling compression on your site, minifying CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, as well as cutting down on unnecessary redirects for your landing pages.

Submitting your site to Google

Google takes time before it can sort out through the millions of websites online, but eventually, crawls all websites, as long as they are not blocked. However, you can speed up the process by submitting your site to Google, by just signing in to Google Search Console for free.

Other than making it easier for Google bots to crawl your site, you gain more control over which pages of your websites appear of search results. Further, you can use the Search Console to audit your website and check for errors like slow page speed, broken links, among others, then you can fix them for better results.

Improve the audience engagement

Your target audience should be your priority when operating digitally. Audience engagement is valuable for you in that you receive a higher traffic flow, but it also communicates to your audience that you care about them.

Engage them on social media through communities and forums, discussions and activities, and keywords and hashtags. You can launch your activities like giveaways, or participate in others like Twitter Chat. Respond to feedback as promptly as possible, remembering that a happy audience is a happy Google.

With all these free and actionable insights, budget constraints cannot be an excuse for any website owner to overlook the essence of SEO for their website. Since most webmasters, including your competitors, are doing it, the sooner you build and execute on your SEO strategy, the better for you.

 

10 Great Reasons Why Website Structure Matters in SEO!

A website structure holds a great significance from the SEO perspective. A powerful site structure increases the chances of higher ranking in the search engines for websites. There is no website that does not have a structure with it which might be streamlined or rigorous or disorganized. In this article, we are going to speak regarding the reasons that state how much website structures mean in the website designing.

The structure is the most overlooked feature or a thing while designing the website. Very fewer people know that this falls under the many crucial aspects of a site’s SEO performance. Also, few webmasters understand what it means to have a website structure which helps in the enhancement of the SEO.

1. A better structure ensures the better user experience

A great site structure is all about the colors, the kerning, the fonts, the images, the graphics, and the white space.

We all know that if a site lacks the appealing factor, it loses the potential audience and the attention of search engine too. The algorithm of Google makes use of the information from the searchers so that it can give a rank to your site.

2. Better the structure, better the sitelinks of the site

SERPs have a listing format for the site links which show the main page of your site along with several internal links. However, to have that, your website design must look good.

If you want best solutions for website designing, then you must start looking around right away because the early you get a designer, the early work gets started.

3. Website crawling becomes easier with a good site structure

Googlebot, a web crawler crawls the structure of a website. They function to achieve the goal of indexing the content to get it back in search results. This can only be possible when you have a better website design, making it much easier for the crawler to crawl your website and index the content.

4. Site URL structure must follow the navigation hierarchy

While developing the site structure, the second primary element is your URL structure. Once you have the URL structure, give a logical approach to your site hierarchy, developing it won’t be difficult. The organizing of the URL structure depends as per the hierarchy of your website which apparently means that your URLs will only have real words (no symbols) along with appropriate keyword coverage.

5. Get the HTML or CSS in site navigation

While creating the navigation, always keep the coding as simple as possible. For this, use HTML and CSS as they are the safest approach. If you are getting the coding done in Flash, JavaScript, and Ajax, it will limit the ability of the crawler to cover your website navigation and hierarchy.

6. Take help of navigation structure

In order to get the functioning of your site better, ensure the website design is not shallow. Since the navigation structure will follow your site hierarchy, therefore, ensure that the relevant pages on your site aren’t buried too deep as its good for both from a usability and crawler perspectives.

7. Use List Based Header on Main Navigation Pages

A header lists out the main pages of the website. That means that there should be a proper navigational header with the appropriate sub-categories into it. This will ensure a good site structure which will in return feature a better user-experience to your audience.

8. Develop an excellent internal linking structure

When you have an excellent function of internal linking, your logically approached site hierarchy will have more value to it. There are many tools available on the internet with which you can get the count of these. They are also important just because-

  • They allow quick navigation.
  • Information hierarchy gets established on the site, because of them
  • They help in spreading link juice around websites, giving more ranking power.

9. For the external search

Once you have maintained a good website design for your site, the external search becomes easier. People will find you in their searches and when they do, they will easily understand the most important categories and the relationship with their subsequent subcategories. This means that building clusters around important topics is given more priority than just scattering the information all over.

10. For internal site-search

If your website designing is done correctly then you are more likely to have a good website structure that mirrors the catalog data structure. With a well-organized catalog, you will enjoy a great on-site search. It’s the same with the internal search engine – like the Google utilizes the structure of your website in order to determine the important stuff on your website and the keywords are provided to your website to rank for.

If the internal site-search is done correctly, the on-site search will use categorization in order to improve the relevant search results. Furthermore, it can also use categorization so that the users can be redirected to specific category pages when the search gets auto-complete.

Final Words

While getting the website designing, you must remember that the website structure is highly crucial. It is in fact a result of careful thinking, accurate organization, and intentional design. Therefore, you must create a strong site structure before creating the site. But if you are doing a redesigning of the website, then you must remember that the navigational elements must be reorganized rightly so that the structural SEO can be improved.

Now, always remember that with a great site structure, you will have great SEO.

Author Bio:

Stephen Chong works as a writer for Fonbell Solution, an IT firm offering web-based services and Software Solutions such as Web Design In Singapore, Invoice Billing Software, Online Appointment System in Singapore. He would love to share the experience, knowledge, and thoughts with others on the web.