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Safeguarding Your WordPress Clients Presentation

Since launching Waterlink Web I have frequently helped clients who came to me with lovely websites, beautifully designed, but missing key safeguards to protect their site from hackers. These clients paid for websites but were never given the essential training in how to post, add categories and tags and, most importantly, how to help their website’s Search Engine Optimization.

This post includes the content from a July 2014 WordPress Users MeetUp where I spoke on “Safeguarding Your WordPress Clients” and the elements that should be included in every WordPress site but often are not.

Security Begins with a Name

Mary Ann Aschenbrenner delivering a WordPress presentation
I would smile, but this is serious.

What I am referring to here is the User Name. When a WordPress designer adds a client to administer the website, the User Name should be unique, hard to guess and something the client will remember and like using. It cannot be changed!

Never make it “admin.” Admin is the most common user name in WordPress and the first thing hackers will guess when trying to break into a website.

Security Continues with a Password

Have you heard the term “password rot?” What this means is that your password is the strongest on the day it is created. Once we create a password we think it is clever, we can remember it and we start using it on multiple sites.

Well, your WordPress site may be pristine without malwear but another site you log into may not be. So, the “bots” on that other site get your password and then they can log into other sites you frequent, including your WordPress site.

Ideally a Different Password for Each Site You Visit

So how do we track all of these different passwords? There are plenty of tools that can help from low tech to high tech:

  • Sticky Notes, while decidedly low-tech, no “bot” has ever looked into a desk drawer and found the list of passwords.
  • Password Managers, such as 1Password for Mac or LastPass, can ease the burden of remembering passwords.
  • Two-step authentication, offered by Google as well as GetClef, this password system can require a telephone for additional authentication and protection.

If you cannot manage all of your passwords, then pick the passwords that are most important and manage those.

Updating also Safeguards Your Clients

It is frightening how many WordPress sites are designed and turned over to clients without the necessary training in how to update the plugins or theme, leaving these sites potentially open to hackers.
As President of Waterlink Web I always make sure each client is taught how to do the basic security maintenance on their website.

Include a Backup Plugin

Every WordPress site should be secured with a backup plugin. There are various options including Vault Press, a premium plugin that is included in JetPack. At this MeetUp most users preferred the following:

Include a Search Engine Optimization Plugin

Good Search Engine Optimization helps your client be successful. If your client is successful, then you are successful.
Good SEO is never really done. It includes content that is kept current, that users want to access and link to. One of the things that makes WordPress such a great tool is that once the site is set up it is easy for your client to add new and engaging content and, with a little help, improve their SEO. Waterlink Web includes Search Engine Optimization with each site we design and develop.
The SEO plugin I prefer for my clients is WordPress SEO by Yoast. I prefer it because it is easy to follow the steps for improving your SEO on each page of your site and provides an overall ranking for your pages.

Blog Posts – Never Leave Uncategorized

Because we have all posted, at least once, without selecting or adding a Category, do your clients the favor of eliminating “Uncategorized” on their posts.
This is how:

  1. In the admin panel, under Posts, scroll to Categories and select. Put in a Category, something that will always describe your posts, such as your website name.
  2. After that is saved, go to Settings and scroll to Writing. Under Default Post Category select your new default and save it.

Now your posts will never be “Uncategorized.”
I also recommend brainstorming with your client before turning the website over and inserting a series of Categories that he or she can draw from when Posting.

Blog Posts – Categories and Tags

Just as each post should have a Category, Tags are also helpful both in SEO and in helping your users find content on your website.
Think of Categories as chapter titles in a book and Tags as a listing in an index. For example, if your website is about hats, then Categories might include Cowboy, Fedora, etc. Tags might by felt and straw because many hats are made of felt or straw.

To Learn More …

Just log into the Waterlink Web – About page to learn more about me and how my marketing background will help your website and business succeed. My goal is your success.

By Mary Ann Aschenbrenner

Mary Ann is a website designer and developer working with small businesses and nonprofit organizations. She works and lives in St. Johns, a neighborhood in North Portland.

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