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Is your website at risk of being hacked?

Is your website at risk of being hacked?

I have a couple of websites that I own and have built myself. As a result, I’ve gotten reasonably confident using WordPress. One thing that I’ve set up is an email to let me know if someone is locked out of my site, so that I can contact them to see if I can help. However, what this has shown me instead is that someone is seriously trying to hack into my website!

How can I see if someone is trying to hack me?

From your WordPress dashboard, click on [Settings].

Now click on [Limit logon attempts]

This morning, I found that 1962 failed attempts have been made to login to my website, using 3 different usernames:

  • cluttercoachkaren
  • admin
  • test

What can I do to prevent my website being hacked?

  1. Recognise that any website can be hacked, however, you don’t have to make it easy.
  2. When you create a username for your website, don’t use admin, test or anything similar. As you can see, these are the first usernames someone has used to try and take over my site.
  3. Have more than one username for your website. Keep one for system administration (setting things up in the background) and one for blogging with. That way, if someone does hack your password for your blog, then that person doesn’t have control of your website.
  4. When you create your password, use as many characters as you can. Again, don’t make it easy to hack your website by using any of the common passwords. Each year SplashData compiles a list of the most frequently used passwords. Check out the list, and make sure that your password isn’t one of them!
  5. Change your password periodically. When I worked in the NHS, all users were forced to change their passwords monthly.
  6. Checkout [Limit logon settings]. Limit the number of times someone can try and logon without being locked out.  In addition, make sure that you have both [Log IP] and [Email to admin after] ticked. You can then forward this information onto the police should they be successful, and use the emails as evidence.
  7. Install plugins such as Wordfence to protect your site. I also have Sitelock installed.
  8. Backup your website frequently.
  9. Purchase an SSL certificate from your website hosting company.

We are all at risk of being hacked in some shape or form. Being aware of the risks is the first step in prevention.

Useful articles:

Take care for now

Karen x

Website basics: choosing a domain name

Website basics: choosing a domain name

I’m a Life Coach, so I want you to know I’ve been where you are. I know that you are creative, resourceful and whole, however, I also know that I’m very lucky in that techy stuff doesn’t scare me. If something goes wrong, then I don’t blame me, a think about the different things that could have caused it and use a process of trial and error until it’s fixed.

So, what I’m going to do with this series of blog posts is start off by walking you through the basics of setting up your own website from scratch.

I’m also going to break the cardinal coaching rule, and offer some advice. You don’t have to do this alone, but you also don’t have to learn the hard way. I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned so that you can take some shortcuts. Before you can build your website, you need to choose a name for it. That is what today’s post will cover.

What is a domain name?

Your domain name is simply the address that someone types in to find your website for example, the domain name for this website is From the domain name, you can add web pages and blog posts to make a website. In the background, there is a computer where all the website information is stored and another computer that holds the

It’s like your home. Your home has:

  • an address
  • a postal code to be able to locate it physically
  • is also registered with the land registry body of your country.

When you bought the address, you actually bought the land and everything sitting on it.

When you buy a domain name, it’s a bit like buying a caravan. You can live there, and it can have rooms like a house, however, it can live in any number of different places/computers. When you buy hosting, you’re essentially buying the pitch where your caravan can settle. If you’re not happy with the service, you can move.

Why choosing a domain name is important?

One of the first mistakes I made was in choosing my domain name. My business has developed from when I started out, just writing ebooks. Now I’m a life coach who writes, develops training courses etc. My first domain name wouldn’t even cover the basics.

How to choose your domain name?

Choosing a domain name is important because it is the address of your website. You want people to be able to find it easily. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before you choose yours:

What does your business do?

There are so many different types of coaching: Life, Business, Career, Lifestyle etc. Coaches can also provide a range of services and packages so be clear from the very start, what your goals are for your business. If you haven’t done so already, create a business plan, setting out

What is your business name?

Your choice of business name will influence:

  • whether you are building a brand around the business
  • whether you are building a brand around you

If your coaching business is your name, then first check to see if your name alone is available as a domain name. For example, is already taken and in use, however, coachkarenbrown wasn’t.

Beware: read your domain name before you buy it. Here are some example cited by wiki where the name had to be changed:

  • Who Represents  –
  • Therapists finders –
  • Experts exchange –

Where will your business be based?

If you’re providing 1:1 coaching in a small geographical area, then when you choose your domain name, then you can use that country’s domain extension (.com, .ie,, .nl, .au etc), however, if you plan on offering any online packages or courses at all, then choose a .com web address. This is still a generic, global extension.

Note: if you’re a coach based in ireland and want a .ie domain name, then you are limited in who can actually provide these. There are also 11 different categories in which you can register a .ie domain name. Check out this link for more information.

How can I find out if my domain name is available?

Many companies, such as, have a search option. Just type in the name that you’re going to use and click search. You will be told immediately if it is available.

What if my domain name isn’t available?

If someone has bought the domain name you want and are using it, then you’ll simply have to come up with an alternative. Think about what you do and the transformation that you want to bring to your clients, and then consider using keywords in your domain name.

However, sometimes, you’ll find that someone has bought the name that you want, but aren’t using it. There is a facility to back-order a domain name, and buy it off the person. However, they won’t do this out of the goodness of their heart, so it will cost. I waited about a year for the website domain name to come available, but was able to buy it at cost. Now I own it completely. However, is owned by the travel writer, so is unlikely to ever come up!

Can I buy more than one domain name?

Yes. You can buy as many as you want. For example, you may want to buy all the different domain name extensions for your site name. There is then a facility to point them all to the one website, so that and automatically forwards your traffic to

Alternatively, you may develop a package and want to protect it. In this instance, you can buy a separate domain name for this branch of your business, set up the website and then include a link to it on your main website. Or just own the domain name, and keep it so that no-one else can use it. I’ve bought the domain name to my books before and then forwarded them to the Amazon page. There are so many options that you can investigate. You have a choice.

Useful links:

These are the questions that will enable you to choose the right domain name for you.

I hoped this helped, but if you have any further questions, post a comment below.

Take care for now.

Karen x

Digital declutter: LinkedIn groups

Digital declutter: LinkedIn Groups

Digital declutter: LinkedIn Groups

As you know, I’m on a mission to declutter my home and move towards a more decluttered life. So today, I took a look at my LinkedIn account. I’m an expert on LinkedIn and have even written several books on the subject, but that doesn’t mean that my account isn’t cluttered.

My focus today was to examine my LinkedIn groups. You’re allowed to join up to 100 different groups on LinkedIn, and the members of each group become part of your LinkedIn network. For this reason, I tend to advise people to join the maximum number of groups, as this helps you get found in LinkedIn search results. However, I’ve changed direction in the last year but my LinkedIn groups don’t reflect this, for example, I’m still a member of several training groups.

To navigate to your Groups, you need to click on the Interests link and then choose Groups. You then have the option of  Group highlights, My Groups and Discover. In my groups, you can see a list of all the groups that you are a member of, with the most active groups shown first. For this reason, I started at the bottom of the list, looking at those groups that are most inactive, and applied my personal rule book for keeping groups:

  1. it must validate some part of my profile
  2. it must be part of an offline network that I’m a member of
  3. it must be relevant to any of my activities: decluttering, coaching, writing, social media marketing and entrepreneurship
  4. it must help me develop my business for example be a place where potential clients hang out

Of the groups that I’ve kept, only two don’t meet that criteria, and that’s because they are two groups that help veterans. Whilst I no longer do LinkedIn profile assessments or optimisation, I can still offer advice on how to improve profiles.

My short declutter means that I’m now a member of only 26 groups. I could declutter more, but that would potentially impact on where I appear on search results.

If you want to declutter your LinkedIn or Facebook groups, create a rule book for yourself that you can use to help you decide on which groups you stay a member of. Where groups have a similar niche, then look at how active the group is. I don’t mean the number of discussions, but how much interaction there is on those groups. Many groups have loads of discussions that are purely group members posting their latest blog post, but if there is no interaction, then that could indicate that the culture of the group is to post content only.

Does your LinkedIn profile lack personality?

Does your LinkedIn profile lack personality?

Does your LinkedIn profile lack personality?

When I was a child, my mother always used to say that I had brains, but no personality, and that my sister had tons of personality but no brains. The funny thing is, when someone sticks a label on you, especially someone in such a position of influence, that label sticks, and you start to believe it yourself.  It took me a long time to understand that we all have a personality. It may be made up of positive traits such as honesty, creativity and imagination or negative traits such as being lazy, rude or self-centred, but they are there none the less. My mother simply equated being shy to having no personality.

So what does this actually have to do with LinkedIn?

Well, let me ask you a different question. If I took away your LinkedIn photo, would anyone reading your profile know it was actually you? Many of the profiles on LinkedIn conform to a corporate standard that almost de-humanises the people behind them. Their LinkedIn headline is their job title, their profile consists of a series of jobs, where they went to school and a couple of skills, but that’s it. When they write a description of their job, it reads like something the HR department wrote. Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t just showcase your skills and experience, it should also showcase you, the person. It should showcase your personality.

Are you suppressing who you are to conform to someone else’s imagined standard?

A book that I’m reading at the moment is “Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less” by Greg McKeown, and one of the things that Greg states is that:

“If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will”

[Tweet “If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will – Greg McKeown”]

Only you can choose the life that you want to live, be the person you were meant to be and create an authentic brand that truly reflects who you are. LinkedIn is part of your professional personal brand, but when you look at creating that brand, there are three things that will separate you from all the other people in your industry:

  • your personality. The different traits that make you, you. If you’re not sure, take a personality test such as Keirsey‘s or Myers-Briggs.
  • your values. The things that are most important to you. Sometimes you notice them more when they’re lacking for example you may value time, and get annoyed with people who are always late. For me, my values are: family, compassion, creativity, innovation, independence and fun.
  • your beliefs. The things that you believe are true, for example, all people should be treated fairly, we all deserve a second change or that you can’t do something because of something that happened in the past, or something someone said.

So, if you want to stand out from the crowd on LinkedIn, then try something really radical: put some personality into your profile, and be yourself.

How to use LinkedIn to land your first job

How to use LinkedIn to land your first job

How to use LinkedIn to land your first job

It’s August and students from around the world have learned their results and are hoping that they are sufficient to get the university place that they wanted. To get the most from your studies, and to help you get a job when you graduate, you need to get some experience, and this is usually done via work experience and internships. Believe or not, many companies who offer internships are already starting the groundwork for next years intake, and you need to be doing some groundwork too.

Why you should be using LinkedIn to find your first job?

LinkedIn should be part of every job seeker’s arsenal. A study in 2012 found that:

  • 93% of recruiters used LinkedIn to recruit for permanent and temporary jobs
  • 77% of all job openings were posted on LinkedIn and 48% were ONLY posted there

I might have been sceptical about these figures, but for two facts:

  • whilst working in the UK, a colleague suggested that my husband sign up to LinkedIn as a great source for jobs. This was in 2009. My husband did so, and came across a job in one of the groups he was a member of. At the height of the worlds biggest crash, he was able to land a job that paid more than he’d earned before.
  • a neighbour of mine in Ireland is a recruitment agent, and he told me many years ago that he only uses LinkedIn to find candidates for positions he has to fill. Let me say that again: he ONLY uses LinkedIn to fill jobs.

So if you’re a professional and you’re looking for work, then you really do need to be on LinkedIn. Here are my 4 steps for getting a job using LinkedIn.

Step 1 – Set up and optimize your LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your resume online and should be the focus of your online branding initiatives. I’ve written blog posts covering every aspect of your LinkedIn profile:

  1. 3 Things that you need to know in order to optimize your LinkedIn profile
  2. 3 Things that will make or break your LinkedIn profile
  3. 4 Steps to choosing the perfect LinkedIn image
  4. What’s in a name? 4 Mistakes to avoid on LinkedIn
  5. 3 Tips to help you build an awesome LinkedIn headline
  6. How to create your own Google-able LinkedIn public profile
  7. 5 Reasons you should have a LinkedIn summary
  8. How to craft an outstanding LinkedIn summary
  9. How to add bullets and symbols to your LinkedIn profile
  10. LinkedIn Essentials: Finding keywords for your profile
  11. 12 Tips on how to improve your job descriptions on LinkedIn
  12. LinkedIn Skills and Expertise: Do’s and Don’ts
  13. LinkedIn Update: Skills and expertise
  14. 10 Simple fixes to turn your profile from zero to hero
  15. How to create LinkedIn profiles in multiple languages
  16. Is your LinkedIn profile missing something?

In addition to blog posts, I have a free ebook that you can download. It’s just been updated.

My Mastering LinkedIn ebook

My Mastering LinkedIn ebook

In summary, what you need to do is ensure that:

  • you have a professional image
  • your headline reflects what you do
  • you have included a summary of your experience and key skills. Include a call to action for example “connect with me using x email address”
  • you have recorded your work experience. If you have less than 3 jobs, then include any voluntary work you have done. LinkedIn required at least 2 previous jobs (with descriptions) and 1 current job as part of its assessment of how complete your profile is. This has a knock on effect as to where you appear in search results.
  • have included your education. Record your course modules in as courses and then link them to the relevant qualification. These courses will show potential employers what your qualification covers and they are searchable terms in their own right.
  • you have recorded your skills. Record the skills that you have been taught and have experience with. Do not embellish them.
  • you have reviewed the other sections available to you. These, such as publications e.g. your thesis or dissertation, patents and languages.

Note: LinkedIn added a number of sections specifically for students to help them showcase their skills. These include: courses, test scores, projects, organisations and honours and awards.

Once your profile is complete, then:

  • check the order that your sections appear, to make sure that the most relevant information is shown first.
  • check where you appear in search results using the keywords that you would expect potential employers to use. You should be near or at the top of those results.

If you need help optimising your profile, then consider asking someone to review it on your behalf. This is something I do. My profile assessments include an action plan of what improvements you should make.

Step 2 – Start networking on LinkedIn

Having a great profile on LinkedIn is pointless if no-one knows it’s there. When you are building your network start of with people that you know. If you have friends, family, alumni and colleagues on LinkedIn, then connect with them first. Next, if there’s a specific company that you’re interested in working for, then start following that company. Get a feel for the type of employees that work there, the qualifications and skills that they have, the language/jargon that they use, and get a better understanding of the type of candidate that works there. If you can, also look at the groups that employees of that company belong to. By being a member of the same groups, you start to become part of their network.

Start sending out personalised invitations to connect to the people that you’d like to connect with, and once you have made the connection, then start nurturing the relationship.

Step 3 – Start building your brand on LinkedIn

There are a number of ways that you can start building your brand on LinkedIn:

  • joining in discussions within LinkedIn groups
  • share other people’s posts
  • post your own updates.
  • start publishing your own posts on LinkedIn.

Step 4 – Start monitoring what jobs are available

In the Jobs tab, you have the ability to search for jobs. You can do this by job title, company or any other search criteria. Once you have carried out a search, you can save that search and get email alerts for any future jobs that meet that search criteria.

Start your research by analysing job postings to see:

  • what key qualifications are required by the companies
  • what skills are required for the jobs on offer
  • what experience is being asked for

If you can’t meet the key requirements of the job, then should you be applying it? You’re going to be in competition with people who do, and in all likelihood, those people will be shortlisted for interview as a result.

Being a proactive job hunter

Once you have your profile set up, started to build your network and have started monitoring and analysing the jobs that you could fill, you can move towards being proactive in your job hunting efforts.

One example that I came across, was a student who advertised on LinkedIn for an internship. This cost her money, but showed potential employers that she had initiative. She did in fact land an internship and a recent view of her LinkedIn profile shows that not only has she build up her profile, network and reputation, she now has a number of recommendations on her profile. I have no doubts that when this person finishes university, companies will be lining up to offer her a job. She has in essence used her time as a student to become a job magnet.


If you’re a student looking for work, then can I suggest that you take my free 30 day challenge? It will help you develop your job seeking skills. In addition, I have also developed a 28 page interview success workbook that is also free to access.

If you’d like me to take a look at your profile, then have a look at what is included in my profile assessments.

Take care for now

Karen x

How to get to the top of LinkedIn search results

How to get to the top of LinkedIn search results

How to get to the top of LinkedIn search results

The no.1 question that I get asked about in relation to LinkedIn is: how do I get to the top of LinkedIn search results? Most people get that being at the top of the search results means that they will get found by people looking for someone with their knowledge, skills or experience, however, they can’t understand how they get there.

How LinkedIn search works

To start off with, someone has to enter their search criteria. This could be anything: a skill, an area of expertise, a job title, anything. Next, when you click on search LinkedIn looks at all the profiles (364+million at present) to see how many include those keywords. It then lists the profiles that includes those word/s.


If keywords are not in your profile, you won’t get found. 

Let’s take the example of a search for “project manager”. When I carry out this search, I get over 5 million people. LinkedIn has found 5 million people who have either project or manager or both in their profile. However, LinkedIn will only display 100 results for basic account holders, and up to 500 for premium account holders. So LinkedIn decide on the order in which the results are displayed? Well, to make the results relevant, LinkedIn prioritises the search results in terms of the person doing the search. When it looks at the results, it takes into account:

  • The type of connection you are to the person i.e. 1st degree connections are given top priority, then 2nd degree, then groups, then 3rd degree and everyone else. So to get found by someone specific for example a specialist recruitment agent, then you need to be in their network.
  • How connected you are to the person searching. This includes what locations, jobs, skills etc. that you have in common. The more you have in common with the person searching, the higher up in the search results you will appear. So for example, if the search results include 10 1st degree connections fitting the search criteria, then those most in common with you will be shown first.
  • The completeness of your profile. 100% complete (shown as all-star) profiles are given priority, as they are perceived to be of higher quality. If your profile is not 100% complete, then you are going to be way down in the search results! (LinkedIn states that “users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn”)
  • Where, and how often, the search criteria appear in the person’s profile.

For example, in my search for project manager, the top person:

  • is a first degree connection
  • has 4 skills, 6 causes, 1 group and 1 interest in common with me
  • has a compete profile
  • has project manager in their headline, and the words project or manager appear in all their job titles, their summary, job descriptions, education and skills.

Assessing your profile

Have you ever searched for yourself on LinkedIn? It’s a really great exercise, for the simple reason that since LinkedIn search works on the basis of providing the results most relevant to you, then you should be at the top of your own search results. If you haven’t, then we need to examine why this is. What I do first is search for the person by name.

How many people share your name and where do you appear in the search results?

When I search for my name, there are currently 3383 Karen Brown’s on LinkedIn, and I appear no. 1 in those results. If you aren’t no. 1 for your own name, then you have a real problem. Check how LinkedIn rates your profile. If it isn’t all-star, then this will affect where you appear in search results. To get an all-star profile you need:

  • A Profile Photo.
  • Your country and industry – you entered these when you set up your LinkedIn profile.
  • An up-to-date Current Position (with a description).
  • Two Past Positions (also with descriptions).
  • Your Education.
  • Your Skills (minimum of 3).
  • At least 50 Connections.


If your last name has an apostrophe e.g. O’Reilly, or begins with Mc or Mac, check that you have used exactly the spelling. McDonald is one word, Mc Donald is two.

It may seem like common sense, but I’ve had several clients that I’ve had trouble finding by name, simply because they have a space in their name where there shouldn’t be one.

In my experience, many people haven’t added descriptions to their work experience, and this has a major impact on where they appear in search results. Not only because it means their profiles are incomplete, but also, many of the keywords associated with what they do are simply missing.

Once you are no.1 for your name, then we can look at other search criteria.

What do you want to be found for?

What I mean is, what search criteria do you want a person to use to find you? This is really important, because you may have a range of skills and talents, but it could be difficult to get to the top of all those skills without risking it looking artificial.

Now, do a search using just one keyword, phrase or job title that you want to be found for. Where do you appear in the search results? If you’re not number 1, then take a look at the profile of the person who is no.1 and see where the keywords are in their profile, and how frequently they occur. For example, they may have published books, have certifications or have projects that include that keyword or words, in which case, you need to ask the question about how you compare in terms of that keyword? Could you tweak your profile to include the keyword/s ? Have a look at your headline, summary, job titles and job descriptions first. Once you’ve done a couple of tweaks, then run the search again. Has your ranking improved? Check that you’ve got the right keywords in your profile. Trainer and training are different words, as are resume and résumé and LinkedIn will only search for the exact works used in that search.

Once you have gotten to no. 1 with one search criteria, then consider repeating the exercise with another keyword, or a similar phrase for example after getting to no.1 with project manager, try project management and program manager.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’d like help getting to no.1 in your niche on LinkedIn, then I’m here to help:

  • if you’re happy optimizing your profile yourself, then I suggest that you work through the lessons in either my book 50 Shades of LinkedIn, or my e-learning course How to optimise your LinkedIn profile.
  • if you’d like some help, but don’t feel comfortable letting someone logon to your account, then I can do a full profile assessment with action plan. If you choose this option, you get email support from me for 1 month.
  • if you just want someone to go in and sort your profile out for you, then look no further. Check out what is included within this option.
  • if you are looking for a wider range of support, for example whilst you’re looking for a new job, then consider becoming a VIP client. I only take on 5 VIP clients a month, as I want to really support you through what is usually a very stressful period whilst you’re looking for a job and going for interviews. If you want to talk, book a free 30 minute discovery call.

Take care for now

Karen x


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