Hello Happy Site Owners! Tips this week include what goes into a hacked site rebuild and how to avoid it, what you have to do before you set up a membership site so it will be successful, why you don’t want to turn your website build over to an IT person, new performance tester videos, big changes coming to Woocommerce, a reality check that will help you get perspective on what it means when 100,000 sites get hit with something, big changes coming to Pinterest that affect the bottom line, why you need to give it all away on your site, a chat with Snip.ly over inserting ads into the link shortener service, what rel=canonical is and how to use it, a robots.txt example from Yoast that I take great exception to and why, proof in the NY Times that I wasn’t just making up that story about hackers spitting money out of ATMs and how to protect yourself, and enough great HOAs to keep you watching for days. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
I’m glad I working from home this week. It’s icy here in Nashville, and as long as the power holds out, I’m all good. In fact, I recorded the podcast a little earlier than normal to ensure that it went out on time, just in case.
It’s been a slow news week for site stuff, thankfully. A lot has been happening in social media platforms, though, and we’ll get to that in a bit.
Peak season for me and other folks who do site related things is just starting to wind down and jobs are coming in at a less frenzied pace.
Hacked Site Rebuild
This week, new clients include a rebuild of a site that was hacked during a DDoS attack. There was no security previously. It was also on a crap theme and a crap host and had no backup strategy.
The good news is, it had no SEO to speak of either, and it’s a small site. So, it’s just easier for the owner to rebuild at this point and we’ll clean up the Google indexing afterward.
I’ve got her set up on a sandbox to build the new site with a nice Genesis child theme and the VIP level of WordPress/Genesis/SEO Video Library. http://www.training.blogaid.net She’s diving right in and doing well with it.
Her new site will be fresh and clean and secure and SEO’d all up. And, we’ll be taking special measures when it launches on the new hosting so that the bad bots don’t follow.
Get your site secured and get your own backup. I know my client would rather be selling her products and creating new content than rebuilding a site this week. It’s costing her twice to have not protected her site. Not to mention all the money spent already on the first site. Don’t let this be you.
Membership Site Build
I’m also in the throes of helping a previous training client build his new membership site. This was on the planning board since the beginning of his training. We started with his main site. He got the foundation laid for building his audience and grooming his content marketing toward the goal of becoming the go-to person for his audience. And that is the same audience that will be buying into his membership program. It’s going to be a real money maker.
And that’s the best way to do a membership site. Build an audience first. Most folks have their head all up in the content they’re going to create for a course and don’t spend a minute thinking about member acquisition or retention. And those sites just fall flat.
By taking the training and getting the foundation laid first, my client has spent the last several months honing his content marketing chops, including a popular podcast. He has worked the plan and it’s paying off.
Get your head out of your course and on to where your money is, which is your membership. If you start thinking about what’s in it for them instead of what’s in it for you, you’ll do better.
As far as choosing plugins and setting all of that up, hire someone with experience. Trust me. You’ll get all of that money back and make more than you originally thought because you have a setup that doesn’t leave money on the table. And you will not have wasted your time with things you would have only touched once.
New Church Site
And another new client came as a referral from a previous training client. It’s a local church and their site was put together by someone in the congregation. My best guess is that it was an IT person because it’s currently on the ASP.NET platform.
Folks, IT is a different field than websites. Just because folks know computers or tech doesn’t mean that they know anything at all about sites. And they certainly don’t know anything about content, conversion, and SEO.
It’s like hiring your HVAC repair folks to fix your car. Yeah, they both work on machines, but they are different specialties.
We’ll be setting them up on a sandbox for full training in WordPress and building out a site that folks in the area will find first on Google when searching for a new church home. And a place where their members can get info about their programs and calendar of events and such too. All of that is missing from the current site.
The point of having a site is to get it found, read, and acted upon. It’s a waste of time and money if you don’t know how to do that, and then out of that ignorance, you hire someone else who doesn’t know how to do that.
Vet the folks you work with. Don’t just look at their pretty portfolio. Look at the results those sites are getting for their owners.
New Site Performance Videos
And, finally, I’ve been in video tutorial making heaven this last week. The entire Site Performance Tester videos in Level 4 of the Webmaster Training course are complete.
These are many of the same testers I use during Site Audits.
I’m taking the priority of videos to make in Levels 3 and 4 straight from the votes by current Level 5 members.
And, our next monthly webinar is coming up on the 19th. Those are worth the price of admission alone because I get deeper into what’s going on with new security issues, SEO, and other elements that all webmasters should know to build great sites that are secure and perform well.
That’s all the news from around here.
Let’s jump into this week’s tips from around the ‘net.
If you’re using the free version of UpdraftPlus for backups and have a site that allows subscribers, like a member site, you’ll want to update your plugin immediately. Sucuri reports a vulnerability in it that could allow someone to upload malicious files. It’s a popular plugin. So if you use it, get it updated.
Back in November, Woo indicated that a big change was on the way. Last I saw, it’s supposed to be released this month. It will affect both the plugin and the themes. I don’t have more concrete details at this time about the specifics other than the November link above.
But, if you’re using Woo, keep your ear to the ground and be prepared to set aside some time to deal with whatever it is that’s coming.
You’ve seen the reports – 100,000 WordPress sites get hit with bad plugin.
That means that 745,900,000 did not get hit.
Half of the 7.46 million of these sites are on WordPress.com where they have restrictions on plugins and themes and take care of a lot of the security for you.
It’s the other half, or 37.3 million of self-hosted site owners that all of us security minded folks are trying to reach and raise awareness about how to stay safe online.
I hope you’ll jump over and read my post about WordPress Security Reporting. It’s good to get perspective on what the headlines mean and why they are being sensationalized.
Pinterest just announced a major change. They will be removing all affiliate and tracking links. That’s going to hit some folks in the wallet hard. Most of my Pinterest clients use Pinterest to drive traffic back to their sites, and that’s where the ads are. So, it’s not a loss of PPC revenue for them in that way. But I’ll be keeping an eye on this news because it affects so many folks who rely on affiliate marketing.
I want to thank +Ana Hoffman for being the first to post about this and helping us stay on top of breaking news. She’s good like that.
With all of the changes Pinterest has made in the last year, it’s clear that putting all of your revenue eggs into one social media basket is dangerous. We’ve seen things go downhill for marketers on Facebook and other platforms too. The thing to do is adopt early and make the most of the ride for as long as it lasts. And then keep your eyes open for emerging platforms. But all along the way, keep your site your hub. Driving traffic back to a property you own helps you be social platform independent.
“Give it away, give it all away. If people like what you do then they will want to work with you in one way or another.”
That’s the motto of Bill Boorman, and Todd Wheatland has an excellent interview with him and how he went from complete failure to turning the idea of giving it all away into a thriving agency and maximizing the un-conference style event.
I have to tell you, the more zero-pitch webinars I do, the more my business explodes. Maybe this interview will inspire you with ways you can do it too.
Social Media Tips
The link shortening service, Snip.ly has been taking heat from their decision to place ads before folks get to the actual content they clicked on. In the middle of the outrage from end users, someone decided to do a podcast interview with the Snip.ly folks about it. Well worth listening to the podcast.
What I saw in the comments afterward is that most folks will either be opting out of the ads, or finding a new shortener.
I’ve seen something similar lately with Shareaholic. In fact, I’ve seen so many nasty things from them, like serious security issues that were so bad it got the plugin removed from the repository 3 times, and other sneaky things, that I won’t touch them with a 10 foot pole. If you have such things on your site, get them gone. And beware of any service that controls your links. Just keep an eye on them.
Y’all often here me mention using the canonical URL of your site. Most times, that’s in reference to using the www or non www part of your URLs. But, if you want to take a deeper dive into the rel=canonical feature, +Joost de Valk has a nice post on it, written six years to the day after that attribute was introduced.
He explains what it is, gives examples, and tells when to use it and when not to. And he tells what social platforms make use of it too.
Now, a word of warning. He also shows how to change it on your site. Be very careful about doing that. I rarely have need or reason to change mine, so don’t get click happy with it just because you can.
Joost has another post from last week with his opinions on the robots.txt file and I can’t say that I agree with much of it for this one reason. He’s only concerned about SEO, in particular, with Google bots.
Of the 15,000 bot hits a month on average that I see during site audits, only a fraction of them belong to Google, like 1/5th of them.
I exclude what I do in robots.txt to help me identify the source of more bad bots, and to see just how many of them are hitting restricted areas. I also see how many of them are hitting the robots.txt file and finding the XML sitemap because I include it there. Just submitting it to Google Webmaster Tools only helps Google bots.
I’d invite you to read the suggestions he makes for yourself as well as the comments.
You can read about it in a recent NY Times post.
And then you can go to my Successful Site Owner Series and watch the 2 videos for what else I said was coming in cybersecurity and how to protect your site and every other thing you have tied to the Internet.
HOAs to Watch
If you’re snowed in with some time on your hands, we can get your HOA Watching calendar full up this week.
This round up from +Mick Sharpe is always top notch.
As +Mia Voss says, get your learn on by watching her and lots of other super helpful HOAs mentioned in this past week’s Friday Favorites
Email Marketing and so much more
And then see You’ve Got Mail – Email Marketing for Small Business That’s the link for the timestamped version.
And then he hosted an HOA on Content, Clicks, & Conversion where online marketing pros tell their secrets. They breakdown the Online Marketing Superstars sales page live. And that’s a book that just got released and is going big guns and features bunches of folks I talk about on Tips Tuesday. So well worth you checking out.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday. Thanks for subscribing on iTunes, and for giving this show a rating and review. I really appreciate it. And do drop by and say hey over on my Google+ page too. That’s where I hang out. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.