Blogging is a full-time job for some, and many new bloggers start out with the hope of being able to replace their day job at some point. Blogging is no longer just a hobby; it can make you some real cash once you acquire a large following. If you take it seriously and work hard, it can score you a variety of new and exciting opportunities.
No matter if you’re new to blogging or already have a fan base, knowing how to secure your site and internet-enabled devices is important. As a blogger, you’ll have a lot of data you’ll need to protect, and if you want to keep your followers interested in sticking around, you’ll need to know how to keep them safe when they visit your blog as well.
If you’ve ever wondered how to stay secure online and why it would benefit you as a blogger in particular, look no further.
You’ll likely be storing backups of your blog on your computer or perhaps in an online storage service. If your site ever crashes or gets wiped for whatever reason, you’re going to need to be able to access your backups to restore it. The last thing any blogger wants is for all his or her hard work to be wasted, so make sure you are using the right security methods to protect your data.
Besides backups that could get deleted, you may store other important data on your computer, such as photos, documents and other files for your blog, which will all need to be safeguarded. The most basic way to protect them is by using security software, such as an anti-virus program that will allow you to scan your device for malware and be able to remove most malware you might acquire.
Other ways to keep your data safe is learning how to avoid common internet mishaps and keeping your operating system (OS) updated. Take basic internet security precautions, such as not clicking on unfamiliar hyperlinks and paying attention to subtle differences in the text and appearance of emails sent to you by seemingly familiar parties.
Installing OS updates will be helpful because the updates often contain patches for security vulnerabilities within the software itself in an effort to prevent hackers from accessing your device. You can often enable automatic updates in your software settings, and your software may alert you of any new updates if you prefer to manually upgrade.
Password-protect your device, too, to prevent anyone who can access it from accidentally deleting your data. Hackers aren’t always at fault when a file goes missing, and on your computer, you can set up additional user accounts for others who might need to use it.
If you are using your blog as a means of income, you’ll of course want to protect it, as well as any online banking you are using that may be connected to it (perhaps you receive payments directly to your checking account and track transactions online). Your blog can offer you some financial security when you start earning money from it, but you’ll have to be careful about how you’re handling your finances on the internet.
Hackers could get into your online accounts if you’re not careful and steal not only your personal information but also that of anyone who may have sent you money for anything related to your blog. Taking steps to keep hackers out of your accounts also means protecting your customers. Safeguarding your accounts is simple to do, and you can start doing so by checking, and possibly changing, your passwords.
Basic account security begins with a strong password that isn’t easily guessed, so be sure none of your passwords have any personally identifiable information in them (such as your birthdate, names of anything or anyone linked to you, address, etc.). You must also avoid reusing passwords because when you don’t, a hacker could access more than one of your accounts just by guessing or obtaining a single password.
A strong password will also be made up of a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols whenever possible. A passphrase can be used, if necessary, in order to help you remember it easily. The length of your password matters too—so aim for at least eight characters.
Additional ways you can protect your online banking accounts is to avoid saving any of your passwords anywhere, including on your web browser (click “No” if your web browser asks you if you want to save the password for a website, and check the settings of your browser to manage or delete your passwords if you already have some saved). Always pay attention to your transaction history in case any suspicious activity appears.
Maintaining a Good Reputation
A good reputation can go a long way when you’re a blogger, and the better the reputation your blog has, the more likely you’ll be able to begin using your blog to earn a living. It can also be helpful for marketing purposes, as fans of your blog may share your site with others on social media and during conversation with their friends and family.
The security of your blog and how you go about protecting any customer or visitor information can make or break your good reputation. Visitors of your blog are always potential customers when you have your blog set up to earn you money in one way or another. If a data breach occurs, they may not be as confident visiting your blog or shopping for anything on it.
There’s also likely to be competitors if you’re blogging about a popular topic, and some may not be as nice as others. Besides the possibility of a competitor targeting your blog or social media accounts related to it, just about anyone online could cause conflict with you for whatever reason (for example, maybe they don’t agree with something you wrote about or promoted).
Since social media is crucial for bloggers to keep their fans engaged in conversation about topics previously written about and any other relevant content, a disagreement of some sort isn’t unlikely, nor is an encounter with a troll or two! Avoid getting too personal or arguing with anyone online, as it’s uncommon for it to be good for a blogger’s reputation (or business!).
Providing a Safe Blog for Your Visitors
Most of all, your blog must be safe for your visitors. If you chose to use WordPress to host your blog, consider taking a look at the various security related plug-ins you can use to weed out spammers and keep your site protected. For those not using WordPress, check with your web host to see if it offers anything that could better secure your blog.
Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when blogging too, especially while on the go, as hackers sometimes use public WiFi as means of accessing your device and can spy on your activities. Their spying can help them obtain all sorts of personal information (including login details needed to access your blog) and even alter or delete your data. A VPN prevents this by routing your online traffic through an encrypted remote server that secures your internet connection no matter where you’re blogging.
Now that you’re aware of why it’s essential for bloggers to practice good security habits, are you planning on taking any precautionary measures to ensure the success of your blog? Are there any security habits you already practice on a regular basis and want to share with other bloggers? Let us know in the comments section below.
About the Author: Caroline is a blogger whose main area of expertise is internet security. As a blogger, she often writes on the topic of securing websites and utilizing safe online marketing practices. You can read more of Caroline’s work at Secure Thoughts.