Happy New year everyone!!

2013 has been a great year for our business and we’re really excited to start the new year with tons of ideas (and a plan to make them a reality!), and that includes more free webinars like the one I hosted in december which was a huge success!!

This post today is about getting your website safe and secure. If you have an online business, your website is a key element of your success and you need to treat it as such.

So here we go:

TIP #1: Keep your website updated

It could sound obvious to some of you, but you’ll be amazed as the number of sites we see that are not updated to the latest WordPress install, and that is a huge security issue. Make sure you also regularly update your plugins and your theme. You might have to go visit the website of your theme to find out if they have a newer version, it might not show up in your WordPress dashboard.

TIP #2: Test updates on a test site first

One of the reasons why people do not update their site is because they’re afraid of what could happen. And they are right!! Even though updates are necessary, they are not a simple click-and-you’re-done task. You always have to make sure that WordPress, your plugins and your theme play well together. And the only way to find out while keeping your website safe is to try it on a test site first. A test site is a site that is an exact copy of your live site, like a clone. It’s great not only to test updates but also to try new plugins or new themes without risking breaking your live site.

TIP #3: Run regular security checks on your site

It’s a great idea that you run regular checks on your site to make sure all is ok. One site you can look at is sucuri.net, it will scan your site and plugin folders for potential problems. Another site to look at is gtmetrix.com, you can test the loading speed of your site, a slow site can be the sign of a problem with a plugin or your theme.

TIP #4: Have a backup/restore system that you control

If you have a website for your business, you need a backup plan. Don’t wait until something bad happens, because trust me it will at some point. Some hostings offer backup services but I don’t like the idea of not being in control, you don’t know their response time, how often they backup and when they’ll be able to restore. When we know the quality of hosting support these days, you know that this is something that you need keep control off. You can either do it yourself with a tool such as backupbuddy and a dropbox or an amazon S3 account to store your backups, or you can signup for a maintenance program that takes care of all of it for you.

TIP #5: Secure your WordPress installation:

  • If you still have and administrator account called admin, change it immediately (and don’t use your name of email address or a word that is in the dictionary).
  • Make sure you use a strong password (no word from the dictionary).
  • Protect your uploads folder (click on the link to see my post about it).
  • If you need to give access to your site to a developer, do not give away your admin account!! Create a new one for them and delete it when they are done.

TIP #6: Do regular cleanups of your site:

Deactivate and delete plugins you don’t use anymore. Same thing for the themes you’ve installed. Delete themes you don’t use anymore (it is safe to keep 1 around so that you can switch the theme while you run an update of your theme for example).

Follow these 6 tips and make your website safe and secure so you can focus on your business.

Now I’d like to hear from you, leave a comment below and tell us what other tips you have to make a website safer!!