Kikolani it one of the most professional and instructive websites I’ve found related to online marketing and improving my blog. It’s sent me on a path of growth, and with posts such as this one on gaps in your blog to fix this year, other readers will be able to reliably improve themselves as well.
Your blog is precious to you, especially considering the time and energy you’ve put into it. You want to see it grow, and you want to see your personal brand grow along with it. But first you need to know how to protect yourself online. Marketing your blog can be a tricky business, and in addition to the usual cybercrime, you have to contend with scammers and unethical business practices.
You really can’t risk losing your blog to a cybercriminal because there is a strong chance you won’t get it back. Thousands are attacked every day, and as you expand, you will start to feel some of the pressure coming in on you. Yet you can absolutely defend yourself, and as a blogger, you already have the learning experience to obtain those skills.
Here are the main things you need to know about dealing with cyberthreats as you market your blog:
Put the Basic Safeguards on Your Computer
There is a lot of sensitive and valuable data connected to your computer. This makes it a prime target for hackers, and without the proper defenses and tools, you won’t be able to last long. You probably do most of the following, but check this list in case you missed something:
- Are you using an online security suite for your computer? Do you constantly have your firewall turned on and scan for malware at least every week?
- Do you have a strong password for your computer and limit access to important programs? Try to avoid having other people use work devices, as they might not know what they’re doing and delete or leak vital data.
- Are you updating your computer regularly? Most patches and updates are security related, and hackers will take advantage if you are behind, knowing exactly where to look and what to attack.
- Do you have everything backed up either on a cloud service or an external hard drive? Sometimes you will need to pull the plug and restore your files later without hesitation, and having a regular backup will allow you to do just that.
Don’t Forget About Your Smartphone
Your smartphone is for all intents and purposes a very small computer. That means it requires attention and care just as much as your main device, if not more. You probably at least check your marketing emails on it, so your career is vulnerable.
Make sure that you have proper safety tools and programs on your smartphone. They might come on your phone from the start, or you might need to buy an app to do that. Additionally, make sure the privacy settings on your phone compliment your needs. Take measures, such as a lock screen, to keep your smartphone safe should it get stolen. These kinds of simple measures will protect you from personal identity theft as well as the loss of your client and marketing data.
Beware of Unsafe Networks
Someone who is serious about marketing their blog won’t leave everything at home. Whenever they travel or go out on the town, they’ll have a laptop or smartphone ready to reply promptly to messages and comments. They might even use it to jump on opportunities first. It is a great way to spend an idle five minutes, and you get to always be in tune with what’s going on with your website.
Yet to constantly stay connected, you are either going to use a very expensive data plan or connect your computer to a public network, on which lurk hackers who will intercept any data that comes over the connection. This will quickly lead to the theft of your accounts and any communication you have over the network.
You need to either avoid the use of these networks or use a Virtual Private Network, which is a service that you can use to connect to an offsite server via an encrypted connection. Hackers on public networks won’t be able to see what you’re up to, and you can also remain anonymous from online tracking as you do your work online. You can even use them to unblock services and websites restricted by geo-location if you happen to be working from overseas.
Use the Right Plugins
When working with your website or blog, you can’t forget the content and design of the blog itself. This usually involves plugins and scripts, but they can be a double-edged sword if you aren’t certain about them. The reason for this is that they can be malware in themselves or contain backdoors for the hackers who sponsored or created them. You need to be suspicious, and you should take note of the following:
- When you consider and after you install a plugin, take note about how often it is updated. Hackers find vulnerabilities in any major plugin over time, and if those aren’t being dealt with, then you need to find a new solution for your blog.
- Try to use as few as possible. Many scripts and plugins are open to XSS attacks which can affect you and your readers, counteracting the good work you are putting into marketing your blog.
- Make sure whatever you do use is popular and well-reviewed. If enough people have liked it before you, you can be pretty sure that it’s not a trap. Watch out for reviews that seem bought or otherwise faked however, and try to do some research before putting your website in the hands of an unknown entity.
Protect Your Email Accounts
No matter what you are trying to do to market your website online, all roads lead through your email address. Most online accounts require an email address to sign up and manage. A skilled hacker with an hour can scour through your email and steal at least a few accounts before moving on to someone else. If you lose it, you lose many of your contacts and potentially your online reputation, depending on how the cybercriminal wants to use it.
Separate your professional and marketing activities from your personal email address. You don’t want to have to deal with a personal crisis and a blog crisis at the same time, and separation is at the heart of good organization. Similarly, don’t send out needless emails or broadcast you’re address unless it is one that you want to use for inquiries. You don’t need to bring unwanted attention onto a valuable resource for cybercriminals.
Know What Scams Are Out There
Scammers exist for every niche of the internet, and those who specialize in scamming people hoping to expand their blog are common. Look out for the following when you are browsing the internet:
- Not only will buying links lead you to problems once Google notices what you’re doing, it’s not an inherently safe practice due to the unnatural advantage the seller has over the buyer. They don’t really need to maintain the links, and the money you spent can be hidden quickly along with the identity of the seller. Avoid the practice altogether.
- If someone asks for too many personal details or sensitive information to get a link or guest post on their website, avoid the temptation and move on. Even if everything else is perfect, remember that any transaction has to be useful to both parties to be maintained. Discerning motives is a great skill to have.
- Expanding your website can’t be done fast with a singularly reliable method. There are no get rich quick schemes that really work. Don’t buy into hype and false advertising. It will only lead you down the path to victimhood.
- If you’re paying for training or information, make sure that others have been satisfied before. Consider the cost of what you’re getting and weigh whether it seems fair for the product or whether something is amiss.
Know and Communicate with Your Community
Once you get a better grasp of people online, you’ll be able to improve your marketing techniques and get more solid links and mentions. Yet you can’t ignore the community you’re building on your own blog. They’re the ones telling you what they want, and they’re the ones invested to one level or another in your content. Weed out problems early, and they won’t grow.
If your community is telling you about an issue, don’t ignore it. Over time, you’ll be able to sort out truly interested parties from opportunists and scammers, which means a safer website and a savvier website owner. In the long run as you market to your readers via social media and other posts, you’ll gain higher conversion rates and a generally safer group of people to work with.
Cybersecurity is a complex topic that changes its details every single day, but a few things remain constant. Human nature isn’t going to alter itself anytime soon, and you can prepare yourself for that. The basics of protecting your computer and your online accounts will remain relevant. Once you secure yourself, you can spend more time and energy focusing on marketing your blog while remaining vigilant.
Do you have any thoughts on the above or other strategies to protect yourself while you market your blog? Are there any tools that you just have to talk about or harrowing experiences you want to share? If so, please leave a comment below so we and your fellow readers can continue this vital conversation.