Honeycomb Design Studio http://honeycombdesignstudio.com Tue, 11 Mar 2014 08:07:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 10 Important Things To Have On Your Blog http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/12/10-important-things-blog/ http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/12/10-important-things-blog/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 19:52:46 +0000 http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/?p=4352 1. Search Have you ever clicked through to a blog post from Pinterest only to discover a 404 error page? I had that happen this morning. My first thought was, look for the search box and type the post title into the search. There was no search box. So, I left. Does your site have […]

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1. Search

Have you ever clicked through to a blog post from Pinterest only to discover a 404 error page? I had that happen this morning. My first thought was, look for the search box and type the post title into the search. There was no search box. So, I left. Does your site have a search box? Is it different from your subscribe box? (I always get those two confused when they look similar).

2. Contact

It is really important for your blog or website to have basic contact information. Ideally, people should be able to find your email, fill out a contact form, or find your social media links easily. Contact information is important for your readers, your advertisers, or any opportunities that may present themselves through your blog.

3. Your Name & Picture

It is nice to put a face to the storyteller behind the stories. Even if it is only your first name and a simple headshot. It does not have to be a professional portrait, but just a nice image of you, so we can have an idea of who you are.

4. Navigation/Menus

When people come to your site, how do they get around? Are they able to find all the content? We usually recommend having several menus (even if they are duplicated). The menu above the header is reserved for blog information (Home, About, Contact, etc). The menu below the header is for the main pages and categories. The menu in the sidebar can be a combination of the most important things. The footer menu (above the copyright/theme notice) can be a combination of the most important things. It is very important that people can find their way around on your site. There is nothing more frustrating than going to a site and not being able to find what you are looking for. There are other ways to direct traffic around your site too, but having these (mentioned above) will help.

5. Easy On The Eyes Design

Does your design hurt people’s eyes? There have been a few sites that actually hurt my eyes and I had to leave (not too many, but a few). Can I read your text? Are your images too big or too small? Do your colors clash? Is your alignment all messed up? How can you make your site easier on your reader’s eyes so they will want to stay longer?

6. Go Easy On The Ads

There have also been some sites where there have been so many ads that I just want to run and hide. I am not talking about advertisers that pay you and nicely sit on your sidebar or in other carefully placed spots. I am talking about those Google ads. The annoying thing about Google ads is that every site I go to shows me the same ads. If I have researched something for a client, I will see the ads over and over on every site I go to. Personally, I would rather see hand picked ads.

7. Subscriber List & Newsletter

Make sure you have a basic subscriber list/newsletter set up (besides your RSS feed). These people can receive your basic blog posts AND/OR special freebies or incentives (at your discretion). We prefer Mail Poet (formerly WYSIJA) as a simple solution to creating a newsletter directly from your WordPress (self-hosted only).

8. Copyright

Do you have a copyright notice on your site? Have you let people know that this is your original content and then need to ask permission before taking it? You might consider having a simple copyright in the footer, a wee bit longer in the sidebar, and a page dedicated to your copyright (maybe also including Terms and Conditions there).

9. Privacy Policy

Do you have a Privacy Policy? If you are using Google Products (Adsense, Keywords, Analytics, etc) or Amazon Affiliates then you will want to make sure that you have an appropriate Privacy Policy. There may also be other products or services that you are using that require a Privacy Policy, be sure to read their terms and conditions when signing up.

10. Permission To Pin

With the growth of Pinterest it can be helpful to have a simple button on your sidebar indicating that it is okay to pin from your website/blog. You will also want to make sure that your blog URL is on each image and that you have watermarked them so that they cannot be used on someone else’s site.

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10 Ways To Find Your Blogging Groove Again http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/12/10-ways-find-blogging-groove/ http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/12/10-ways-find-blogging-groove/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2013 22:42:25 +0000 http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/?p=4347 How do you find your blogging groove again after a long break, burnout, or illness? Start with simple posts that come easily to you. Write list posts. Link to other posts that inspire you. Tell stories. Tell stories with pictures. Plan a consistent time each day to create. Create in bulk and schedule your posts. Don’t […]

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How do you find your blogging groove again after a long break, burnout, or illness?

  1. Start with simple posts that come easily to you.
  2. Write list posts.
  3. Link to other posts that inspire you.
  4. Tell stories. Tell stories with pictures.
  5. Plan a consistent time each day to create.
  6. Create in bulk and schedule your posts.
  7. Don’t worry about being perfect the first time. You can come back and add categories, tags, links, and enhance SEO later.
  8. Spend time being creative and share about it on your blog.
  9. Use your blog to help you accomplish your current goals.
  10. Most importantly… have fun.

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Better WP Security http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/04/better-wp-security/ http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/04/better-wp-security/#comments Mon, 22 Apr 2013 20:47:06 +0000 http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/?p=3734 Better WP Security is a plugin developed by Bit51.com. It provides a easy approach to quickly securing your WP website. We include installation of this plugin in our maintenance plan. What it does In general it is one of your first line of defense in stopping intruders. You may not be aware but your website is constantly being hit […]

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Better Security WP Logo

Better WP Security is a plugin developed by Bit51.com. It provides a easy approach to quickly securing your WP website. We include installation of this plugin in our maintenance plan.

What it does

In general it is one of your first line of defense in stopping intruders. You may not be aware but your website is constantly being hit by good and bad traffic. The bad traffic is malicious software trying to figure out what blogging platform you are using  and finding a way to get in. This traffic is not necessarily just targeting you.

What Better WP Security aims to do is provide an interface to quickly protect your website and provide you with information on what is possibly attacking you.

 How it works

There are known vulnerabilities in WP and the malicious software likes to use it. Upon installation, Better WP Security provides a few steps to block these known spots from being found. It also provides a nice dashboard in which it lets you know what things may need tending to. Be aware, that some of the settings can affect your website in a not so positive way, so please read the fine print.

Capture

 

Better WP Security is a good plugin to use to protect your blog. There is much the learn about it, but the default settings should protect you. If you require assistance, you can contact us.

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Locking Down WordPress – Preventing Brute Force Attacks http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/04/locking-down-wordpress/ http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/2013/04/locking-down-wordpress/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 01:45:38 +0000 http://honeycombdesignstudio.com/?p=3703 Locking Down WordPress – Preventing Brute Force Attacks People hacking WordPress is not something new, but the severity and scale of this attack is what is new. There is a widespread, concentrated effort, to attack WordPress sites happening right now and it is about more than your pretty little blog. We have helped many clients protect and/or recover their hacked […]

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Locking Down WordPress – Preventing Brute Force Attacks

People hacking WordPress is not something new, but the severity and scale of this attack is what is new. There is a widespread, concentrated effort, to attack WordPress sites happening right now and it is about more than your pretty little blog.

We have helped many clients protect and/or recover their hacked WordPress sites over the past couple years and we wanted to share some of our best tips with you.

What We Recommend

Basic Ways To Prevent An Attack

  1. Log in and remove any unfamiliar admin users.
  2. Change your WordPress username (no more admin).
  3. Change your WordPress password (use a password generator or read how to select a strong password).
  4. Set a new nickname (username and nickname should NOT be the same).
  5. Turn off user registration unless you are running a member site.
  6. Change your FTP password.
  7. Change your control panel password.
  8. Change your passwords on any emails associated with your blog/website and your domain.
  9. Keep your WP, themes, and plugins updated.
  10. Delete themes and plugins that you are not currently using.

If you have already been attacked (but don’t know it yet) the hacker may have inserted a backdoor to come back and use later. In this case, simply changing all your passwords will not prevent this. Read on.

Backing Up Your Blog, Beefing Up Security, and Improving Performance

PLEASE NOTE: Some blogs are recommending Limit Logins Attempt as a way to protect your blog/website from the latest attack, but you do need to do much more. The way this attack is being done, installing this plugin alone will not protect you.

  1. Make sure your site is being backed up (BackupBuddy, PressBackUp, BlogVault, VaultPress, BackWPup and CodeGuard).
  2. Run your site through CloudFlare.
  3. Install security plugins (Bulletproof SecurityBetter WP SecurityWP Security Scan).
  4. Install spam plugins (Akistmet, MollomNoSpamNX, Spam Free WordPress).
  5. Install malware protection plugins (SucuriAntiVirus, WordFence).
  6. Install a login limit plugin (Limit Logins AttemptBetter WP Security).
  7. Install cache software (W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache) *** You will need a cache plugin to help balance the load for the important plugins you are installing.
  8. Install WP Updates Notifier to notify you when you need to update your plugins and theme.
  9. Install WP Optimize to optimize your database and help your blog/website to run more smoothly.
  10. Install P3 Plugin Performance Profiler to see what plugins might be bogging down your blog/website.
  11. Google’s Safe Browsing Diagnostic - http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=YOURDOMAIN.COM/

Even More Things You Can Do

  1. Disable logins from certain IP’s or blacklist every IP except your own (can cause problems if you are on a dynamic IP).
  2. Update the WordPress secret keys.
  3. Reinstall WordPress.
  4. Scan each computer that accesses your website admin area for spyware, malware, viruses, keyloggers, rootkits, and botnet software.

Asking For Help

  1. We have a Maintenance Plan ($25 a month) that includes REGULAR maintenance of your blog, security, back ups, and support if you have any issues at all. 
  2. If you have been hacked, we can help you try and recover your site. Contact Us

Resources And Further Reading

We have read several articles on this latest attack:

  1. Brute Force Attacks And Their Consequences
  2. Mass WordPress Brute Force Attacks
  3. Hackers Point Large Botnet at WordPress Sites
  4. Global WordPress Brute Force Flood
  5. WordPress Attack
  6. Protecting WordPress Login Page From Attacks
  7. Huge Attack On WordPress Sites Could Spawn Never Before Seen Super Botnet
  8. WordPress Global Attack
  9. Global WordPress Brute Force Attacks
  10. Major Brute Force Attack
  11. Brute force attacks on WordPress continue as CloudFlare fends off 60m requests in 1 hour
  12. Patching the Internet In Realtime: Fixing The Current WordPress Brute Force Attack
  13. Brute Force Attacks Build WordPress Botnet
  14. 8 Steps To Secure Your WordPress Blog
  15. Hackers Attack 90,000 WordPress Blogs
  16. Defeat The WordPress BotNet

And many other articles on similar topics:

  1. How To Handle A Hacked WordPress Install
  2. What To Do If Your WordPress Website Has Been Hacked
  3. Clean Link Injections Hacked Websites
  4. How To Find A Backdoor In A Hacked WordPress Site And Fix It
  5. Help Prevent WordPress Site Breaking Hack
  6. Top WordPress Security And Spam Plugins
  7. Hardening WordPress
  8. How To Completely Clean Your Hacked WordPress Installation
  9. Removing Malware From A WordPress Blog

If you made it all the way to the end, thank you for reading. It was a long post, but an important topic to cover. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Subscribe to our blog for more informative posts like this.

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