Category Archives: WordPress Websites

Hackers: How Do They Get In?

Hackers How Do They Get In?
Hackers How Do They Get In?

Hackers, how do they get in to  your website and hosting account? In today’s wild web, it just seems like sometimes you can’t keep hackers out!

Here’s what happened recently to me. I set up a new hosting account at a quality hosting service (not GoDaddy). The same day I loaded the site files, the site was hacked. Files were loaded and links to malware installed in newly created pages that mirrored my own site pages but with a .shtml instead of .html.

The host told me that all was secure and although the site was in a shared hosting environment that their network was not where the hack came in.

The only thing that I can possibly think of that caused the problem for this non-WordPress site is I emailed the passwords to the client. What the client did with the logins, I do not know. I am not sure if he even tried to login, but doubt it.

The host said that possibly a hacker got into the site via a field in the contact form, but there is a Captcha and tests for validity of information and on top of that no database connection for the form. I am mystified!

What I do know is that sometimes you just do not know how hackers get in, could they tunnel in from the host? Could they intercept logins by email? Could they be trawling the web for new hosting set ups and attack them? Your guess is as good as mine.

One thing I do know is that there is a new hack for WordPress websites that targets new hosting accounts where WordPress installation has not been completed. There are bots that are scanning the web for these new sites and coming in via WordPress setup files and taking control of hosting. Could this type of attack possibly be what I experienced? It is possible.

What I do know if that prompt action to clean up, wipe the server, and change all passwords for hosting and FTP and also no longer emailing logins is our newest protocol.

 

Want More Sales – What’s Your Polish Look Like?

Be on target to assure you make the right impression with your website.
Be on target to assure you make the right impression with your website.

Your website is all about more sales! That’s the reason you’ve hung out your shingle, but are you hurting leads and sales by having a website that’s not polished enough?

Polish is not about having fashion models in your content photos, although attractive people in your pics will not hurt, it is about the details.

These details communicate visually your professionalism and instill confidence in prospects when they visit. It’s the look and feel and you’ve got 10 seconds to make a favorable impression!

Here are my top polish points to check out on your own site.

Content blocks on the home page
These just must be the same word count and line up horizontally. When you have three different sized boxes it just looks bad.

Blog post excerpts in your footer
Control the word count! There are plugins you can use to assure your excerpt stays the same word count. Make sure to use them so you do not have giant blocks of blog content making the bottom of your website page look like jagged teeth.

Photos with no smiles
Staff photos where everyone looks grim or the business owner is frowning should be updated. Look approachable, you don’t have to be a model, but a pleasant look on your face is important.

Photos where the clothing is too casual
Owner and staff photos are important. If you work in a professional arena like a dentist or doctor – wear a white coat, lawyers – wear a suit, business owners – the higher dollar figure your sale, the more dressed up you should be. Polo shirts and super casual wear is great for your photo if your customers and competitors will be wearing those types of clothes. Careful – what you wear impacts your site’s polish and communicates professionalism.

Blog posts that are off topic that don’t match what you sell
If you blog yourself for your own website, make sure that you create and stick to a content strategy that works to build keyword density and authority  for your website.  Keep the your website’s polish going by being on topic.  Blogging is not your online journal, but rather a way to build authority with search engines and provide new fodder for search engine robots.

If you need help polishing your site, we provide consulting services to help your site improve in appearance and polish. Find out more today.

Weighing Your Options for Website Redesign Work

Solutions for your business that make sense.
Solutions for your business that make sense.

Many legacy website owners are now looking at upgrading their websites to leverage new technologies but what type of site should you consider as you weigh your options?

WordPress Websites Pros and Cons

I have a love/hate relationship with WordPress. I love the power and adaptability. I love the free plugins, but I hate the security problems and I hate the lack of really fine control both for SEO use and for image placements.

If a client decides that they want to do their own content updates, WordPress is perfect for them, but at a cost.

If a client does not buy a security monitoring service like WordFence or SiteLock, they may leave their expensive new website open to becoming hacked and banned on Google (until remediated from a hack).

Being secure costs money and WordPress is not a set it and forget it application. Be prepared if you decide to do your own updates that you need security software and need to do your own weekly site updates to keep WordPress secure.

HTML Websites Pros and Cons

For clients that are never going to do their own updates and do not need special plugin features from WordPress, I love a regular HTML version website. I love the control of page and image naming, the ability to have total control over site architecture, and the security of knowing that hackers do not typically use HTML websites as a platform to spew spam or malware.

HTML websites do not need regular security review, analysis and monitoring as WordPress sites do. But as technology changes they typically should be replaced about every five years.

If you need help with a SEO focused information-rich website for your service business and are not using ecommerce, pick up the phone and chat with me about your needs at 540-693-0385. I’d be glad to let you candidly know if our services would be a good match for your needs.

Google Starts Testing on Mobile First Search Index – Explained

Googlespeak can be confusing for those not in the industry, so this post will help business owners understand what Google means when it states the following:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first.”  Doantam Phan, Google product manager

Google Partner Badge
McCord Web Services is a Google Partner.

This is the bottom-line. Google is testing and will most likely rollout a huge change to its indexing algorithm that is used to rack and stack websites in the organic or unpaid results of search pages.

The algorithm will now review and base the ranking index across all devices based on what the Googlebot spider reads in the content of a mobile version website. This is incredibly big news and the ramifications are huge.

Here’s why:

  1. If you have a responsive website, you do not need to worry. You are totally covered for this update.

2. If you have a mobile adaptive website, you need to start making changes. A mobile adaptive site means that the content for your mobile site is different and sometimes lacks the content that you have in your desktop and tablet version site. You may have dropped content, streamlined content on pages, or not developed content for some pages. In other words the mobile site is different by design and desire from your desktop site.

3. If you do not have a mobile site it is time to get busy and move to a responsive website design. Although Google says that it will still spider your site with its mobile searchbot, I would expect in the future to see tags in the index stating your site is not mobile friendly and possible demotions.

Google means business on mobile as attested by the following quote.

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” Doantam Phan, Google product manager

 If you need help with a responsive website, now’s the time to check in with the McCord Web Services team. Our focus is to implement affordable, SEO-focused responsive websites that bring you customers.

WordFence Free WordPress Plugin Reviewed

Nancy McCord
“Just Nancy” – My Point of View for Today.

I have been using a new WordPress plugin for my blog’s security and a number of my clients. I wanted to give you a quick review of the free version plugin from my personal experience.

I like the WordFence plugin. In fact I like it better than the Securi Security plugin that I have been using.

Here’s what I like about WordFence:

  1. Integrated firewall.
  2. Very thorough live scanning.
  3. Tons of configuration options.
  4. Allows me to offload a number of other security plugins as it is more robust than others.
  5. Cost if you choose to go premium is not outrageous and affordable from my point of view.
  6. Reporting in simple and actionable. Plus you can control easily the number of messages received.
  7. Has meaningful helpful alerts and click to correct actions.

So far my test has gone well and I am highly considering moving my blogs, sites, and clients into the premium version.

I would recommend that you try this plugin out for your WordPress security needs. It is easy to set up, easy to understand, and does much more than most security plugins even in the free version.

I am not paid for this review, I just wanted to share something of value with you today.

WordPress Web Design

Solutions for your business that make sense.
Solutions for your business that make sense.

I started out my business in 2001 as a web designer and then over the years moved into AdWords and social media; doing less website design over the years.

But, now I have come full circle and am back doing web design for key clients who want a heavy focus on design for organic search placement.

Here is a link to one of the sites I am working on right now for Imagine Insurance Advisors. I am finding out just what clients like about WordPress. You can preview it while it is in work.

1. The ability to update their own content at any time, even though they may not do this frequently, is a very big plus. The business owner of my most recent project says that her team is excited that when they have an open house or event, that they can put it on their home page themselves without a paid webmaster’s intervention

2. The ability to change the look and feel in the theme settings as they use the site is another feature that many like. Tired of your site set to fill the screen? With one click you can set the site layout to 1200 pixels wide and add a background image. Don’t like it? You can undo with one click! Once your theme is set up, small changes like this do not impact content or other design features.

3. Not every website is a good match for WordPress, but the ability to add functionality via plugins allows a site to stay relevant as the times change. One thing I really like is the integration of Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP). I consider this a huge growth area and one that over time Google will be using in the mobile search space for placement. Google loves AMP and so should you as the pages are super streamlined but load almost instantaneously. This is the future for mobile. And WordPress plugins make it easy to start with AMP. Although some of the plugins still generate errors, they are a good start.

If you are looking for great content, smart solutions and an update to your legacy website, it’s time to take a careful look at WordPress and consider our design services.