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My WordPress site just got hacked? What do I do? This was the frantic call that I got earlier this week. Fortunately it is not something that I have had to deal with for sometime now. While this is a scary time for the WordPress site owner, it is not the end of the world. The key to getting control of your WordPress site and starting to fix the areas that the hacker attacked. The quicker this is done the better. Limiting the amount of time that someone is destroying your site is of grave importance.
While I would like to say that the answer is an easy one, it is not. While it took me only 5 minutes to block out the attacker, it took me another 3 hours to correct all the problems that the hacker created in the short time that he was in the WordPress site. I guess on of the things I need to preference is that this site gets an enormous amount of traffic and more than likely the hacker is competition or someone the competition hired. In most cases with people that own a WordPress site, they will NEVER get hacked. The biggest reason is that hackers could care less unless you are getting huge amounts of traffic. If that is your case, then your site might actually be of interest to a hacker. They could be after your traffic to redirect it to their site or they could be after your email to spam millions about Viagra or some other crap that no one really cares about. Ultimately, they want you and your site to be their vessel.
If they want your site, regardless what a professional like myself does to protect you, the hacker can eventually break in. If you don’t believe me, ask GoDaddy, Yahoo, ever the Department of Defense. These companies have witnessed the power of the hacker first hand. Imagine all the people that they have that work for them and ALL the security features that they have and you can understand the power of the hacker as well.
Now, with all that being said, their are things that you can do to make your site less vulnerable. Here is the short list.
While this will not keep the hackers out, it will make it more difficult for them to get in. This is one of the reasons that we update our clients sites on a daily basis. We want to make sure that they are protected. With that we go a step further and add 4 security plugins as well as some coding into the site. Once that is done, we then go in and change permissions in key areas. Once again, while this won’t completely stop them, it will deter them and in most cases piss them off enough that they go elsewhere. If this is not something that you can do on your own, we welcome you to call 865-951-0522 or email us to discuss your options.
Lets face it, your website, be it for personal or professional use reflects who you and your business are. Most people realize this and in an effort to make it more accurately reflect who they are they use the easily customized HTML coding intended for sidebars. Whether you are integrating a Facebook widget, weather widget coding, or any of the numerous other features that can be added to your sidebar, the process is very easy and definitely helps to personalize your website. In this tutorial you will learn how to integrate this coding into your website’s sidebar.
For those of you who are visual learners there is a graphic at the bottom of this post that should be helpful. To view a larger image of this graphic simply click it!
Here is the path to add HTML coding to your sidebar:
Dashboard>Appearance>Widgets>Text>Sidebar (Drag to desired sidebar and add HTML coding)
That is it! Visit your site to see the new widget you just added.
All you do to embed a video is to use the URL of the video, being sure to place it on its own line. Below is an example of how this works: the pink writing represents ordinary text in a blog page or post while the yellow represents the URL of the video (you would leave the quotes off when posting an actual video).
This would be the normal text for your post or page leading up to the video you wanted to embed.
You would then continue with the text of your blog or page beginning on its own line.
In this tutorial you will learn the quick and easy steps necessary to add videos to your WordPress website using the embed codes that are available on most internet web hosting video sites. NOTE: If there is no embed code available on the website were the video is hosted you may want to Embed Videos Using the URL.
For a visual tutorial please see the screenshot below. CLICK THE IMAGE FOR A LARGER VERSION!
One of the best things aside from the versatility of a WordPress website is the ability for visitors to do virtually everything without ever leaving your site. This eliminates the need for the back arrow on your browser. This also allows you to have numerous tabs or windows open at once for ease of movement between those tabs or windows. *Let me clarify: tabs are multiple sites opened in a single browser window while windows are opened in their own browser window*
To make pictures or text that you are linking within the body of a post open in a new window rather than directing a visitor away from your site there is a simple but important step that you must remember when creating the link. To link pictures you must select the image by clicking on it. You are then able to insert the link by using the For text, you highlight the text you wish to link and then click on the to attach a link. NOW FOR THE STEP THAT MAKES YOUR LINK OPEN IN A NEW WINDOW! When you click on the link icon a window will open in the middle of your page. This window is where you put your link’s URL. This is also where you can make your link open in a new window. Directly under where you put the link’s URL is the ‘Target’ field. This field has a dropdown arrow that allows you to make your link open in the same window or in a new window. Select ‘Open Link In A New Window’, hit insert, and you are done. Now your link will open in a new window.
Many people are intimidated by the prospect of actually writing a blog post, writing does not come easily to everyone. The best advice I can give about actually writing is to write about what you know and what your site visitors will be looking for. Also, the more you write posts (a.k.a. blog), the easier the process will become.
Technology can also present a barrier to writing a post. On the actual subject of using the technology I can be more of a help. Below you will find a step by step guide on how to use the technology to write a post. Be sure to check out the image at the bottom of this post, if you click on it, a larger version of it will appear.
Some of the best ideas for tutorials come from questions I get. A prime example is the following question:
What to do about comments I get (how do I know its not a competitor leaving a comment)?
This is an interesting question with several distinct parts. First I want to let you know how to access your comments. Remember all the magic happens from your Dashboard so be sure you are logged into your Dashboard. Once you are on your Dashboard locate the Comments header about halfway down the column on the left hand side (See the image to the right). Click on this header to open up your Edit Comments page.
The image below is an example of how your Edit Comments page will look (CLICK THE IMAGE TO SEE A LARGER SIZE). You will notice that there is a lot of information on this page. In the image below you can see information about the comment’s Author(RED ARROW). This information includes their name, URL, email, and IP address. To the right of that information you can read the author’s Comment (BLUE ARROW). When hovering over the comment you will see six options (GREEN ARROW) appear under the comment. These options allow you to
Please excuse the “Wall of Words” but here are a couple of tips on separating the good comments from the spammy comments. Generic comments (i.e. “nice post”, “some good information”, or any blatant advertisement) that do not address anything in your post, especially when they have a link (called a backlink) to their URL can generally be regarded as spam comments.There are actually people who make their living by leaving thousands of these backlinking spam comments everyday; once they successfully leave one, they will then bombard you with MANY MORE. As you are given several options for each comment you can decide what you want to do with the comments you receive. You can always follow the link to see where it leads especially if you are more concerned about competitor comments rather than spam comments. Keep in mind that just because a competitor leaves a comment does not mean that they have malicious intent. I would be more concerned if a visitor left the same comment repeatedly or if their page does not have any type of system in place for you to comment on their posts. A perfect example of a spam comment that is merely trying to get a bit of a Google juice boost from your site can be seen in the graphic above. First, that particular author has left the same comment at least 3 times. Second if you visit the URL you can clearly see that this is a simple 4 page site with some basic contact information and no place for public commenting. As an FYI, I actually called and spoke with someone at the number listed and was informed that there was nobody by the name of William (name left in the comment) employed there. What I make of this is that the site owner, a web developer, or an SEO “expert” is using the services of a comment spamming operation to create backlinks. These types of tactics are considered “black hat” and will get the sites who use them penalized by the search engines regardless of whether the actual person whose business is being promoted by these tactics knows what is happening. Comment spam is a huge annoyance that is probably here to stay. You can combat it by marking these as spam. As an aside, the definition of exactly what comment spam is is very fluid. What I mean by this is that many site owners have their own idea of what spam is. Some site owners do not allow for any URL linking at all (click HERE to read why this is a bad idea) while others allow the spammers to have free reign over their comment section. Whether any links left in the comment section ever see the light of day is left up to you, the site owner. My general rule of thumb is that if a link in my comment section adds direct value to the topic of my post then I will generally allow it.
In this tutorial you will learn how to add pages and subpages to your website (NOTE: THIS METHOD SHOULD WORK FOR ALL WORDPRESS PLATFORMS WITH THE ONLY RESTRICTIONS BEING THOSE IMPOSED BY A PARTICULAR THEME; THEME DESIGN MUST ALLOW FOR MULTI-LEVEL PAGES.)
A page appears as a ‘tab’ in the navigation menu bar while a subpage appears as a ‘sub-tab.’ The main pages are the parents to the subpages. Please see the graphic below (if you click the graphic, you will get a larger image):
To edit an existing page or add a new page you begin on your Dashboard. On the left hand side locate the ‘Pages’ header. If you hover over it a gray drop down arrow will appear; click on this arrow. This will open the two sub-categories, ‘Edit’ and ‘Add New.’ Edit will allow you to edit existing pages (remember pages are ‘tabs’ or ‘parent’). From this selection you can edit or delete info on that particular page.
If you select ‘Add New’ you will be able to add a new page or subpage. Please see the graphic below for an example of what will appear if you choose ‘Add New’ (if you click the graphic, you will get a larger image). You will notice that you name the new page (in green), just as you would a post, and that this name will appear in your navigation menu. Any content, whether text or media goes in the body (in orange), just as it would in a post. Be certain that you are writing under the correct tab; either Visual or HTML.
Congratulations! If you followed the steps above you have either edited an existing page or added a new page!
If you have added a new page, let’s look at how you construct the ‘subpages’ or ‘child.’ Before you publish your new page look to the far right under the publish button. You will see another box titled ‘Attributes’. This box allows you to make your new page the ‘subpage’ or ‘child’ of another main page or ‘parent.’ The default for all new pages is ‘no parent.’ Simply select the appropriate page to be the parent and you are done. You can edit existing pages to make them ‘subpages’ or ‘child’ using this same process. As in the first image above you can have multiple levels similar to what I have written out below.
Mortgage Forms PARENT (Tab)
Conventional CHILD (Subpage)
FHA CHILD (Subpage)
USDA CHILD (Subpage)
VA CHILD (Subpage)
BE SURE TO SAVE YOUR DRAFT OR PUBLISH THE NEW PAGE!
In this tutorial, you will learn how to insert pictures into your posts or on pages. Please leave any questions in the comments section and I will try to answer them promptly.
The first image is an illustration of the first step in adding an image to your post (article) or page. On your Dashboard where you write posts (or add/edit pages) you will want to locate the “Add media” icon as indicated by the red arrow in the image. It is located between your post’s title and your post’s content. You simply click on the first icon which looks like a square inside a square. Please note that this icon has been changed to resemble a camera superimposed on a music note
When you click on the icon, a box identical to the image above opens up. There are four options indicated by the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Each option is different and will be explained below. Click on any of the images to view them in a larger size.
Once you have uploaded your image to your post using one of the four methods above, a new window will open that will give you options for your image.
The use of categories is very important to help separate your posts by the criteria visitors to your website might be using. If you do not use categories, a tag cloud is another option that can help visitors navigate your multitude of posts. Some writers/bloggers use both categories and a tag cloud in the belief that the more help available for visitors the better.
TO BEGIN: YOU MUST BE LOGGED IN
From your Dashboard click on the dropdown arrow beside the Posts header. This will pull up several options including Categories. In the picture below, the Blue Arrow shows the Posts header and the Red Arrow shows the Categories option.
Once you have clicked on Categories (Red Arrow above) under the Posts header a category menu will open up.
This is where you add categories. I would recommend starting with the most general category you are likely to use; for example, if you do most of your work in Tennessee this would be a good first category because it could then be used as a parent category later on. You can and should put articles in multiple categories that will help focus a visitor’s search. *NOTE: IF THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU ARE ADDING CATEGORIES, YOU WILL NOT HAVE ANY PARENT CATEGORIES YET. ONCE YOU START ADDING CATEGORIES, YOU CAN CREATE A HIERARCHY IF YOU WANT*
The following two images show categories; the first image uses a hierarchy (parent) system to narrow a search, while the second image does not.
Please let me know if you have any q