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 coachkarenbrown.com. 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, karenbrown.com 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  – whorepresents.com
  • Therapists finders – therapistsfinder.com
  • Experts exchange – expertsexchange.com

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, .co.uk, .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 godaddy.com, namecheap.com 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 jobmagnets.com website domain name to come available, but was able to buy it at cost. Now I own it completely. However, karenbrown.com 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 yourname.ie and yourname.co.uk automatically forwards your traffic to yourname.com.

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.

Save time scheduling posts using Buffer and Pinterest

Save time scheduling posts using Buffer and Pinterest

Save time scheduling posts using Buffer and Pinterest

One thing that I’ve learned from being a member of Yasmin Vorajee’s Momentum Circle is that you need to be consistent in your business, and that includes posting regular updates to all your social media accounts. The only problem is, I work around school hours and carer duties, so don’t just have tiny time for my business, I have teeny tiny time! So when I discovered this quick of how you can save time scheduling posts using Buffer and Pinterest, I had to share.

Buffer for scheduling posts

I use Bufferapp to schedule my posts. There are other applications such as Hootsuite etc that do the same thing, but I use Buffer. It allows me to:

  • set the number of posts that I want to schedule to each social media channel
  • set the time of day the posts should be sent out
  • post them automatically

This allows me to be post consistently. I still need to check my accounts and respond to comments, retweets etc, but I can start the week knowing that during the week, my social media accounts will be filled with useful content.

Pinterest account for bookmarking content

I also have a Pinterest account. Pinterest is a great place to bookmark your content. You can create boards that you pin content to, saving useful content that you can use later. All content is saved via an image on the website, so it is essential that any blog post has an image that you can use to save the post on Pinterest.

I have lots of different boards, for both personal and business use. I have set up different boards for job hunting tips, interviews etc. I also have one for my blog. When I come across interesting content from other websites, I add them to the relevant board.

Buffer + Pinterest = quick and easy scheduling of posts

Recently, Buffer added the ability to connect your Pinterest account to your Buffer account. Whilst you can post to Pinterest from Buffer, I don’t. But what the integration between the two applications does do, is allow you to load and schedule your posts by clicking on the buffer icon on the pin. The implications are huge.

By creating a Pinterest board with all my content: blog posts, ebooks and e-learning courses, I have everything in the one place. Next, when I’m looking to load content onto Buffer, I just need to visit that board and click on the Buffer icon on the pin. Buffer then loads that pin, adding it to the schedule. It’s that easy.

I don’t know how much time you spend each week planning your social media content, but this method has saved me a huge amount of time. And because I’m posting regularly and consistently, then I can see, especially on LinkedIn, that the number of profile views and invitations to connect has increased.

About me:

I’m a trainer, resume writer, career coach and author, specialising in LinkedIn. Nearly 75,000 copies of my free Mastering LinkedIn ebook have been downloaded since it was published last year, and over 4000 people have signed up to my e-learning courses on Udemy.

If you’d like to learn more about job magnets, then book your free 30 minute discovery call, by phone if you’re in Ireland or via skype for the rest of the world.

I only take on 5 VIP clients per month. If you would like to become one of those people, then check out what’s included in my VIP package. Let’s work together to get you the job that you want.

Alternatively, if you have a business and need help with social media, then I have the perfect package for you. Check it out.

Take care for now

Karen x

How to increase your visibility

How to increase your visibility

How to increase your visibility

As part of the 30 day blogging challenge, I’ve been researching and posting about personal branding and, as part of my career coaching course, I came across a really simple framework that anyone can use to help them identify how visible they are, either online or off. It simply asks you to assess how visible you are across three spheres:

People

Offline: This is how many people who you know personally and who know of you. For example, you will be well known to your friends, family and immediate work colleagues, but how well know or how visible are you to senior managers? If you apply for a job internally, your reputation within the company will open many doors for you. To increase your visibility strategically, your first need to look at who you want to be visible to and then look at how you could get introduced to them.

Online: How many people are you connected to online? This could be your friends on Facebook, your followers on Twitter etc and your connections on LinkedIn. Networking etiquette online is a little more relaxed, except on LinkedIn , where professional standards are expected. Many people will accept an invitation to connect from someone who takes the time to introduce themselves. Once you are connected, then take the time to nurture and build a relationship with the person. My post 6 simple ways of adding value to your LinkedIn network can help.

Places

Offline: This could be anywhere from your office, your place of worship and the clubs that you are a member of. How many times have you heard than more business is conducted on the golf course than the board room? If you want to raise your visibility, look at where the people you want to be visible to hang out.

Online: Which groups do you belong to on Facebook and LinkedIn? Have you joined or do you actually take part in discussions? If you’re on Twitter, do you take the opportunity to follow the leaders in your field of expertise? For example, from a business point of view in Ireland there is the #irishbizparty chat session on Wednesday evenings and on Sunday evening Theo Paphitis has his #sbs sunday.

Events

Offline: These could be anything from weddings and funerals, to professional networking groups and conferences. Use them as a way of introducing yourself to others.

Online: For example, from a business point of view in Ireland there is the #irishbizparty chat session on Wednesday evenings and on Sunday evening Theo Paphitis has his #sbs sunday.

How to increase your visibility?

To assess your current visibility, use this simple download to identify where you are visible at the moment. This can then help you identify areas of weakness and areas that may need work.

Download your personal visibility plan: 

If you want to increase your visibility, then think about:

  • who you want to be visible to
  • where they hang out, offline and on
  • how you could get introduced
  • how you could build up a relationship with the person, so that they know you as more than a contact on their email list.

When you are trying to increase your visibility, don’t forget about your personal brand and how you appear. Keep it professional until you’ve built up a relationship.

Related articles:

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