WordPress Maintenance and Security: Why it’s so Important

At its core, WordPress is a very secure content management system (CMS). However, lack of security updates, maintenance and neglectful security updates can leave a WordPress site vulnerable to attacks. A hacked website can be very damaging for any business owner and it can lead to a loss of your online reputation. There are an estimated 75,000,000 sites online using WordPress and the majority of the most popular websites are vulnerable to an attack due to the lack of maintenance.

At WSI we value the importance of an updated system, plugins and files. We ensure the following:

  • Setup the right WordPress security plugin,
  • Schedule updates for WordPress plugins
  • Configure and deploy automatic backup and recovery tools
  • Secure reliable WordPress hosting that is complimented by web application firewalls for intrusion prevention
 

This is our Typical Setup for the System and Protection of a WordPress Website

 

WordPress Security Plugin

Using a trusted plugin we lock down WordPress and change its various default values that are typical for hackers to target. This prevents brute force intrusion attempts, file change detection, 404 detections, lockout bad users, hide login and much more. We receive monthly reporting of the overall security grade for proper monitoring of the system status and set requirements to review user passwords on a regular basis to deter bots from targeting a specific user. Best practices for strong password enforcement typically including 8-15 characters, 1 lower case, 1 uppercase, 1 special character and something unique for that user account.

WordPress Plugin Updates

Updating plugins is the most important maintenance factor for WordPress. 40% of online WordPress websites are vulnerable to hackers because of a lack of updates. We will always update plugins immediately when we’re notified of a potential vulnerability or exploit detected by the plugin author. Every quarter we update all of the other plugins on the website. Once the updates are complete we perform a thorough quality control check to ensure nothing has been compromised and verify that the version of the  WordPress CMS is updated to the latest security patch.

Website Backups

We work with a sophisticated backup and restore plugin that will automatically backup and save the website files and database once a month on a secure remote server. If ever there are any issues we can use this to restore anything caused by broken code, a broken plugin or if any content was accidentally deleted. Website backups are always performed before any plugins or WordPress version is updated to ensure a roll-back is easily accessible in case of conflicts.

Secure Web Hosting

Our trusted partners use high performing load-balancers using NGINX that securely and rapidly deliver fast content served with always updated PHP versioning. Our Server performance complimented by a secured (SSL) Content Delivery Network (CDN), provides powerful load speed and the secure delivery of content and images. Server monitoring is also set to detect if there’s an intrusion through unsecured ports and will lock them out if there’s a suspicious login attempt.

Use of a Web Application Firewall & Protection Against Input Fields

The Firewall authenticates and blocks out the bad robots attempting to break into your site in a single session or steal any data that it can scrape. It detects them and blocks them out of the site and server. We also use a secure form system that prohibits any cross-site scripting (XSS) and locks out any backdoor attempts considered to be vulnerabilities or potential exploits.

Without a thorough checklist it can be very difficult to remember all of these steps but at WSI we are continuously proactive in the maintenance of WordPress CMS, plugins, files to secure and protect our customers. Learn more about our WordPress maintenance and security or feel free to contact us to discuss your needs.

9 Tips to Help Boost Traffic to Your Business Blog – Part 2

boost-traffic-to-your-blog-post-part-2 As we discussed the first part of our blog post series on how to boost traffic to your business blog, frequently posting blog posts that get few views can be very discouraging. But there’s hope! Generating traffic to your business blog takes time, patience, and a few simple tactics. In Part 1, our digital marketing agency explained how to use SEO, social media, and email subscription to get more visitors to your business blog. Below, we’ve listed even more tips for boosting your traffic and creating a loyal following of blog readers!

Tip #5: Use Your Company Newsletters

Does your business send out weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters? Use it! Create a section in each newsletter promoting your latest blog post; include a short summary of the post and link to your company blog. Subscribers to your newsletter are already interested in your business, so prompting them to visit your blog is a sensible tactic.

Tip #6: Social Sharing Buttons are a MUST

You want your content to spread like wildfire, so make it effortless for your visitors to spread the word by including social share buttons on every post! Gone are the days when you had to copy/paste URLs – in an instant, readers should be able to share your content with their followers.

Tip #7: Update Your Email Signature

You send a great deal of emails every day as part of your daily routine, so why not us this to your advantage? By including a link to your blog in your email signature, you’re effortlessly spreading the word about your blog every time you send an email.

Tip #8: Promote Your Blog on Your Website

Make sure that when visitors are on your website, they are made aware that you have a company blog page. Advertise your Blog on your website homepage, and in the header, footer, and menu. Plus, visitors that are visiting your website and are interested in buying your product or service will view a company blog as a sign of credibility, making them more likely to make a purchase – it’s a win-win situation!

Tip #9: Be Resourceful When Participating Online

As you already know, engaging and interacting online is a great way to build brand awareness and build credibility for your business. A simple method to attract readers to your blog is to include a link to your blog, or any relevant blog posts, whenever you interact online. Of course, don’t be “spammy”; only make reference to your blog when it’s relevant and will add value to the conversation. Try these simple tips and before you know it, your blog traffic will grow and you’ll have a loyal following of readers. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to read part 1 of our blog post to read through our complete list of tips. Need some extra help generating traffic to your blog? Get in touch with our digital marketing agency today.
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9 Tips to Help Boost Traffic to Your Business Blog – Part 1

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You’ve taken the plunge and you’ve started a business blog – great! But now you find yourself spending precious time writing blog posts that no one sees or reads. Sound familiar? We understand if you’re a little discouraged. But you shouldn’t be; it’s normal. Generating traffic to your blog and building a loyal following of readers takes time.

In our 2 part series, our digital marketing agency shares 9 tips and guidelines for boosting traffic to your blog:

Tip #1: SEO is Critical for Your Blog

To get readers to your blog, first they need to find it! Optimize your blog posts for search to make sure that people that are searching topics in your industry are coming across your posts. Here’s how to make your blog posts search-engine friendly:

  • Include keywords. Most importantly, incorporate them into your titles and headings. When appropriate, bold or italicize them to help them stand out. Of course, don’t “keyword stuff” – that’ll get you on Google’s naughty list. Keywords should consist of about 3% of your posts’ overall word count.
  • Metadata and alt tags. Just because your readers can’t see it, doesn’t mean that Google doesn’t. Meta data and image alt tags are crucial for SEO, be sure to include them – complete with keywords – in all of your blog posts.
  • Write often. Google’s algorithm loves fresh content, so be sure to update your blog frequently. Don’t have the time to write blog posts regularly? Perhaps you should consider hiring a content writer.
  • Links. Include relevant and reliable outbound links to demonstrate the credibility of your post. Of course, always include inbound links to your website or previous posts when applicable.

Tip #2: Optimize Your Blog Post Titles

It’s human nature – we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, but we always do. Be sure to carefully construct your blog post titles, because they’re the gateway to your blog. Your potential readers come across dozens of different blog posts every day, so make sure yours stands out; your blog post titles needs to be crafted to draw in the reader and influence them to take the time to read your post.

Your title should:

  • Include keywords. SEO!
  • Include a number. Readers prefer to read a blog when they can estimate the length and gain actionable knowledge. For example, “5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Blog Post Title.”
  • Make your topic clear. Don’t be vague; your potential readers want to know exactly what they’re getting from your blog post.
  • Focus on the reader. The language in your title should be “You”-focused. For example “5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Title for Your Blog Post.”

Here are a couple more great title tips courtesy of HubSpot.

Tip #3: Get Social

The job isn’t done once you publish your blog post – it’s only just begun. Promote each blog post on all your company’s social media properties to direct your followers to your blog. Of course, be sure to spread out your posts, tweets and updates; if not, users that are following your business on all your social platforms will be bombarded with reminders– which comes across as desperate and too “pushy”. Plan out your posts and tweets by creating a calendar and schedule them accordingly.

Just because a blog post isn’t recent, doesn’t mean you’re done promoting it. If it’s still relevant, don’t shy away from sharing it again weeks, months, or even years later on your profiles. Tip: don’t just copy and paste the same “blurb” into every tweet or post about the same blog post; switch it up by including different quotes, tips, or key points to give potential readers a little “taste” every time.

Lastly, on every one of your company’s social properties “About” sections, on top of including a link to your website, be sure to include a link directly to your blog. This is a simple way to remind or inform followers, and potential followers, about your business blog.

Tip #4: Integrate Email Subscription to Your Blog

Make it easy for your readers to come back by integrating an email subscription form on your page. This way, those who enjoy reading your posts can sign up and automatically receive notifications when new ones are published. Over time, those who subscribe to your blog via email will be your most reliable visitors; they’ve already opted in to receive updates and are therefore more likely to visit your blog when given a “gentle reminder”.

There you have it – simple tips to help generate traffic to your business blog! But be patient; don’t expect these tricks to work like magic overnight. Boosting traffic to your blog organically takes time and determination.

Be sure to stay tuned for the second part of our series where we break down tips 5-9!

Need some extra help generating traffic to your blog? Get in touch with our digital marketing agency today.

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The Top 5 Benefits of Hiring a Content Writer

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While the design and functionality of your website is important, the one element that will truly set it apart and get it noticed is its content. As you’ll discover, content is truly your website’s key to Google’s heart. However, most small businesses simply don’t have the budget, time or marketing savvy to produce the content that their website needs. Businesses are often left delegating this task to employees who don’t have the experience or knowledge to write quality content that’s beneficial to their company’s website.

The solution? Hiring a content writer.

Below, our digital marketing agency lists the top 5 benefits of hiring a content writer for your website:

1. Faster and More Reliable Content

Are you still working on that blog post your boss assigned you over a month ago? Let’s face it – you haven’t been trained to write 5 blog posts a week, nor should you be expected to. But you know who is? A content writer. Content writers are used to working with time constraints and meeting deadlines; hiring a content writer ensures that your content will be ready when you need it. Professional and reliable businesses rely on time schedules; falling behind schedule means falling behind your competitors. If employees can’t be relied on to produce content, you need to consider hiring a content writer.

2. Fresh Content Generates More Traffic to Your Site

While the content on your site serves to inform and captivate clients, it also serves one other purpose – to get visitors to your site in the first place! Content writers know precisely how to craft search engine optimised content to get your brand noticed. They are able to incorporate relevant keywords into their content to help potential clients – and Google! – find your site. Why spend all that money on your website’s design if the content isn’t going to lure anyone to it?! Hiring a content writer generates traffic to your website.

3. High Quality Content Will Help You Make the Sale

Hiring a content writer will assure that the content on your website is engaging, well written and high quality. High quality content is important for 2 main reasons:

  1. SEO: Google gives higher rankings to websites with higher quality content, as it considers this content more adept at answering the questions it users are searching for.
  2. Increased sales: content writers know how to seamlessly incorporate call to actions into content to incite your website’s visitors to take the next step.

Moral of the story: don’t skimp on content quality! Just like poorly written content can damage your brand’s reputation, high quality content can strengthen it. Use your words wisely! Don’t rely on Bob from Human Resources to produce content that will make sales – hire a content writer!

4. Assures Regularly Updated Content

One of the primary reasons companies don’t blog or update their website regularly is that they simply (and understandably) don’t have the time. Generally, when it’s “crunch time”, blog posts and content updates get pushed aside. Hiring a content writer makes sure these (very important!) content updates aren’t simply afterthoughts. Significantly, Google takes note of how often the content on your website is being updated and rewards regularly updated websites with higher rankings; Google views regularly updated content as a sign of quality and credibility. In fact, neglecting to update the content on your website can negatively affect your site’s search engine ranking. By hiring a content writer, you’re assured that your content will be updated regularly.

5. You’re Free to Use Your Time More Productively

Now that you’re not spending hours stressing over content that you don’t feel comfortable writing, you have plenty of time to be more productive at doing something you’re very good at: your job! Although it may save you the expense of hiring a new employee or outsourcing, forcing current employees to do something that doesn’t come naturally to them, such as writing weekly blog posts, isn’t going to help anyone in the long run. Let your employees focus on the job they were hired to do, and hire a content writer to write your content – everyone wins! (especially your website!)

Whether you choose to outsource or hire in-house, hiring a content writer for your website is the way to go. Show your website the respect and care it deserves but populating it with the quality content that will get it noticed!

Want to find out more about content marketing? Contact our digital marketing agency today to find out what we can do for your business.

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