Internet security has always been a major concern for businesses and website owners. In today’s online world, these threats are becoming more and more widespread and diverse in nature. With so many attack vectors and vulnerabilities being discovered daily, it’s more important than ever that you keep a close eye on potential security risks. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best practices you can employ to keep yourself and your website protected.
On the local level, individuals should ensure they are running all of the latest up-to-date software versions and actively updating your virus protection definitions. It’s always a good idea to change your passwords regularly, use stronger passwords, and never store them anywhere in plain-text. There are several password management applications out there that use encryption methods against your master password database which will make it very difficult to decrypt should the database fall into the wrong hands. An example is KeePass, a free open-source password manager that uses the best, and most secure encryption algorithms.
Things to look out for when searching for the right WordPress theme
Are you just about to start a great online project? Maybe a tech blog, a stylish fashion magazine or a local news website? If you have opted for WordPress as your CMS, than that is a good first choice so far. Now you will have to look out for and find the right WordPress theme which fits your needs. In general, a suitable WordPress theme is one that contributes to the readability and accessibility of your content and it should make your website faultless.
Your first choice to make – free or premium?
When looking for a WordPress theme you can choose between free and premium templates. The difference between free and premium in functionality and overall design can be determining. The benefits of premium WordPress themes are quite notable. You can customize and modify your theme mostly through an extensive options panel. With a premium WordPress theme it is convenient and comfortable to switch styles and colors via multiple styles, you will have reliable support and moreover premium themes meet the modern web requirements.
Professional or personal website?
In case your plan is to launch a business website, then you’ll have to look out for different features and options of a WordPress theme as opposed to a blog or an online magazine. Typical features of an online magazine are for example a static front page or an informative sidebar – or even two. With business websites it is usually very likely that they present their services in an intuitive way and for a blog a nice and neat overview of latest blogposts is quite suitable.
What is your website/content about?
Depending on what kind of website you are planning to run, you should decide on suitable content management features of your online presence. For a simple and clean blog with maybe an image here and there, a pure and clean tempate would be suitable. For a vivid online magazine where latest a most popular articles should be in focus, a WordPress theme which allows you to create a static front page and manage a great bunch of content through custom widgets would be a really good choice.
Make your choice
No matter what kind of website your are planning to launch, there are plenty of WordPress themes to choose from. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find what is best for you. If you are having a hard time to decide, just think of the most important aspects your website should contain and focus on those – like e.g. a full-width header image, a flexible layout, several color schemes or a custom background. And if you’ve eventually made your choice you can finally focus on great and unique content.
If you are new to the online world of websites and blogging, you may have heard of WordPress or even recognize the prominent ‘W’ logo. If you are one of these people and don’t know what WordPress is, this is your opportunity to learn about one of the most prevalent and accessible website platforms.
WordPress is an innovative tool that is used to build websites. You will often hear it referred to as a Content Management System (CMS). That means WordPress is an application designed to support the creation, management, publishing, editing, organizing, and deletion of website content – all from one central dashboard.
WordPress.COM vs WordPress.ORG
Signing up with WordPress is completely free. It’s an exceptionally cost-effective way to get started on any website. However, the option many users must face is to either use the hosted platform, WordPress.com, or go with your own web hosting space using WordPress.org.
For beginners, starting with the hosted platform on WordPress.com is a good way to learn the ropes and get started. This will get you a sub-domain that is located on wordpress.com. You will have access to built-in plugins, features, and themes that are readily available on the WordPress platform. However, you are limited in that you will not be able to access or download the larger repository of free and premium plugins and themes. You will also have limited support for free themes and are restricted from modifying them. This route is suggested if you are just interested in trying out WordPress as as starter package or have a very simple 1-2 page website.
If you choose the route of downloading the WordPress software through WordPress.org you will need hosting from a web hosting company. Here at InMotion Hosting, we give you the option to have pre-installed WordPress software to go with your hosting. You will have your choice of a unique domain name, full support and access for all themes and plugins that exist on the WordPress platform. Another perk of owning your own WordPress site is that you will be able to monetize by adding advertisements to your page. The WordPress.org route is recommended for those who are past the planning stages of their website and require full customization, plugins, and business features such as ecommerce.
Why is this the best platform for any user?
1) Flexibility and ease of use
WordPress is often associated with the creation of blogging websites. However, since its founding in 2003, it has evolved to provide a comprehensive solution for any type of website. Whether it’s a business, informational, non-profit, job listing, or even corporate website, the CMS excels in providing a comprehensive list of website templates. WordPress is also able to handle all sorts of media content, from text, images, music, and video.
WordPress caters to the needs of both novice web users as well as those who are more advanced and familiar with web development and coding (such as CSS and HTML). WordPress provides beginners with the tools they need to get a website started with minimal difficulty. Free and premium themes are available as a starting point from which you can quickly build and shape a website to match your vision.
WordPress is also completely open source, which means the code behind the WordPress system is available to the general public to use and modify- making WordPress extremely customizable. Many big name brands also use WordPress for their website. The New York Times, CNN, and People Magazine, just to name a few, are all powered by WordPress.
2) Large knowledge base
WordPress’ long standing success and continuing popularity comes with an enthusiastic user base that has created a massive repository of informational tutorials and videos that can help one use WordPress for all their website needs. With the robust, global WordPress community, the answer to any question you might have should be easy to find with a simple Google search. And if it isn’t, the active community on WordPress support forums is quick to respond and provide input.
There are 40,000 plugins and counting for WordPress! Anything from needing something to make sure your website isn’t being flooded by spam content to making sure your website is secure from potential hackers. WordPress has plugins for optimizing your website. What about help with your website’s SEO? You know, Search Engine Optimization – the way that Google learns how to rank your website? There’s a plugin for all of that! When you use WordPress, you have thousands of plugins available at your fingertips to help you design, protect, and optimize your website for any of your needs.
4) Keeping up to date
Staying on top of updates has never been easier with WordPress. The growing popularity of WordPress has led to continuous modernization to make sure the system is always advancing. New improvements are being added all the time. Updates are hassle free and inform you what new features and functionality are being added or fixed.
Overall, WordPress is a strong platform to get started on your website venture. WordPress has grown exponentially and has diversified to fit almost any website niche. With a vast library of themes and plugins to choose from and a very simple learning curve, WordPress continues to be the top solution for a website CMS.
Who isn’t talking about WordPress right now? Seriously, WordPress is my first love. It’s what my website is built with and it’s what my 62 year old father’s brand new website is built with. It’s intuitive and easy to use. So easy that I didn’t even have to walk him through writing his first post. This is the man who was so excited when he first learned to text that he sent me 4 text messages that only said, “Look, I’m sending a text message!”
So, if my father can learn to use WordPress, you can learn to use WordPress. I promise. As with all software, there is a slight learning curve while you get used to it, but trust me, once you do, it will be worth it.
I’m going to help you out with the most difficult part of building a site with WordPress – finding a theme. There are so many themes available on WordPress and they all offer features, customization, and ease of use at various levels and various prices. So, if you find this article helpful, you’ll see more of them focusing on features, pricing, and purpose. If you don’t find this article useful, pretend like someone else wrote it.
But, for now, we will focus on FREE WordPress themes. Everyone loves free! I’m going to pull my favorite themes from across the internet to show you the breadth of themes available and the different features in each one that won’t cost you anything but time.
I’m starting here because it’s a personal favorite of mine. It’s actually the theme I use on my almost a food blog (I tend to ramble and rant more than post recipes). I love it because it’s clean and it’s customizable. Built right into the theme options is a page for CSS updates. I appreciate a theme developer who encourages people to use his theme the way they need to. I was able to make this theme my own by using the in-theme options and then changing the CSS to get the feel I wanted.
This elegant theme comes with a lot of subtle design details; notice the “scroll” button that stays in the bottom right corner when navigating the site. Clean Retina keeps up with the times. It will look just as great on your phone or retina display as any other computer.
Personally, I love Woo Themes; talk about a WordPress Powerhouse. Woo Themes doesn’t just stop at themes, they also have plug-ins to make the themes achieve your end goal. The result is a group of themes and plug-ins that are designed to work as well separately as apart. A lot of the Woo Themes and plug-ins are available for free, or you can purchase a subscription and have the availability to download multiple themes.
Why Artificer? Well, it’s a free theme that is designed to be a store. Yep, it’s actually a shopping cart and partners well with all of Woo Themes’ widgets, including Woo Commerce! The design is simple, so your products don’t get lost amongst too many “features”, and as with most Woo Themes, it is responsive, so it’s easy to purchase from your shop on the go.
Wow. I love this theme and I really wish I had a need for it, but unfortunately, I don’t. But, if you’re a photographer, videographer, graphic artist, painter, or any other image-centric vocation, this is the theme for you. While this theme does require the Options Framework plug-in to work (this is available for free download through WordPress.org), the installation of that plug in is so easy, and this theme is definitely worth the extra step.
Helix gives you all of the features available to standard WordPress themes, compatibility with pages and blogs, and the eye catching full-screen image rotator draws your clients in before they even read anything you have to say.
I like the Oxygen Theme because of its professional simplicity. This is a great way to introduce your company to the world. The theme is responsive, which as you know is important in our portable lifestyle. It is easy to customize with multiple widget areas, multiple menus, a built-in light box, and customizable back ground. It also includes a featured content slider, so you are able to easily update the focus of your home page if you are running promotions or want to highlight part of your business.
Researching a theme is the first step to building a successful WordPress website. You want a theme that has a general feel that you are looking for, or has enough customization available to make it fit your website.
When selecting a theme, take your time, install a few themes and try them out. Make sure it is easy to make changes to the site and that you are comfortable using all the features available to you through the theme options. Remember, no two themes are exactly the same on the back end, so you need to be as comfortable with changing your website as you are with looking at it.
So, you started a business and it was successful. Awesome! Then, you decided to expand to the internet to increase your foot traffic, sales, or company recognition. Great! Now that your business is represented online, the breadth of possibilities is practically endless. A solid online presence is a great way to display the important aspects of your business and to increase the effectiveness of a marketing strategy. We are in a mobile, digital age, so in order to meet the needs of your clientele, having a website that works on all any device, regardless of screen size is a necessity. Developing a responsive site design is the way to achieve this.
What Is Responsive Web Design?
What does it even mean? There are so many terms for websites and how they interact with technology, (mobile devices: cell phones, tablets, netbooks, etc.) and that is the main principle behind the term “responsive web design”. Here is a chart that explains the variety of terms that describe how a site works on a mobile device:
For the sake of clarity, we are going to refer to all sites who adjust based on the device accessing them as “responsive”. The method you choose to build your site with is up to you; this is more focused on why you want your site to be considered responsive more than how you choose to make it that way.
How Will Having A Responsive Website Help My Business?
Your website is the first thing a lot of your customers will see before even entering your physical store, assuming you have one. You, or your company, spent a lot of time and money developing a website that encompassed the values of the business, presented information cleanly, is easily navigated, and highlighted the most important features of your company. You want those factors to be evident online no matter how your clients choose to access your site. You want the site that appears on a computer to look just as good on a tablet or smart phone. It needs to be easy to use and provide all the information that is important on the go. Culturally, we don’t stop for anything anymore, and a responsive website allows customers to connect directly with your business without having to be in front of a computer.
From a marketing perspective, a responsive website can enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaign by allowing potential customers to instantly connect with you. There is no delay or attempting to remember to “check that site out when we get home”. Your customers can see your add and immediately look at your website. Modern marketing often utilizes mobile devices to make advertisements more effective, so a responsive web design broadens your marketing options.
If you aren’t using a responsive design, you’re running the risk of your site not displaying properly. Menus, alignments, or images could be skewed or proportioned incorrectly, your client may have to scroll around to find content, or it may be so muddled it’s illegible. By implementing a responsive design, you know everything will be laid out clearly and the most important information can be featured conspicuously.
A responsive layout for your website will also assist in maintaining brand recognition. By making your site responsive you will be able to ensure that your site looks the same whenever or wherever it is accessed. This is especially effective if you choose to have an adaptive layout as that will give you more control over the specific placement of banners, images, and text.
As technology advances, more options become available for handheld devices. For example, the iPhone alone has gone through four different screen sizes and six different screen resolutions since its initial release. Having a responsive website not only allows your customers to see your site at its best as a representation of your business, but it also means there is less of a need to continually redevelop new layouts to keep up with the ever changing technology of mobile devices.
How Do I Make My Site Responsive?
Making your site responsive really depends on how your site is being, or was initially built. For example, if you are using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, you will be able to find a wide variety of themes that are already designed to be responsive. If you are going down this path, be sure to check any custom CSS that may dictate the layout of your site before making it responsive.
If your theme isn’t already responsive, you can make it so in systems like Joomla through custom coding or modules like Bootstrap. Our Support Center has a helpful article on how to do this!
If your site was custom built, you will want to contact your developer to see what options they have available to make your site responsive. If you haven’t built your site yet, but know you are going to be working with a developer, be sure to ask if they include responsive designs in their services.
Responsive site layouts open a world of possibilities to your site and your business. Not only does it allow you to ensure the online representation of your business is as neat and tidy as your storefront, but it will allow you to connect with more and possibly new demographics of customers.
Czaja Silvasi is a QA Representative who monitors InMotion Hosting’s Sales, Support, Billing and Web Design teams to make sure they are giving our customers their absolute best. When she is not busy at work, she enjoys Roller Derby and organizing over 15 pairs of Chuck Taylor shoes that she keeps in her closet. She also has a few awesome websites she runs, but they are not 100% work appropriate. Czaja first joined InMotion Hosting in 2011 as a Customer Care Representative and recently celebrated her 2 year anniversary with the company.
Ever heard of WordPress? Yes, it is the largest publishing platform on the web. In a previous article, I introduced you to what Softaculous was all about: A utility software in your control panel which automates the installation of website applications. Today I’m going to show you how to install WordPress in less than 5 minutes without any technical knowledge.
First thing you need to do is login to your InMotion Hosting cPanel and click on the Softaculous icon located under the “Software Services” section.
Once you click on the Softaculous icon, you will be redirected to the Softaculous dashboard. If you look to the left side of your screen, you will see a list of software categories. Click on the “Blogs” category and then select WordPress.
When you click on WordPress, you will see a brief overview of the software. Click on the big blue “Install” button to start the process.
On the next screen, you will see the software setup form. First thing you need to do is choose the domain name you want to install WordPress on. To install WordPress on your main domain, you need to leave the “In Directory” field blank. Next, you need to pick a database name (no one else will see this name, so you don’t have to be creative). In Database settings, you want to slightly modify the table prefix to enhance your site security. Instead of leaving the default wp_ prefix, you can do something like wp_sit3nam3_.
Enter your site name and description. You probably want to leave the WPMU box unchecked unless you know what you are doing.
If you scroll further down, you will see the screen to create your admin account. Please do not use the default “admin” username. Create something original for yourself. Don’t forget to create a strong password. Enter your best email, and select Install.
That’s it. Softaculous will work it’s magic and within seconds after you click the Install button, your WordPress will be installed. Then all you need to do is go to yoursite.com/wp-admin/ and enter your login information to start writing posts.
The past weekend drew a crowd of those eager to learn about WordPress to Loyola Marymount University where WordCamp LA curated speakers for all levels of Blogging Enthusiasts. On the closing day of the weekend we were proud to open up our Los Angeles office for developers to relax, network and enjoy lunch on us!
It was a great opportunity for us to chill out with our fellow WordPress fanatics, and also find new ways of working together. There were a cozy few who made it to Developer Day hosted at our Los Angeles office, and not only observe what it was like working here, but also to forge some amazing relationships with the @InMotionHosting team.
Jason, our Affiliate Manager, was available to speak to those about monetizing their blogs, as well as myself who is looking forward to introducing our panel of expert guests to do a live broadcast here on #IMHhangouts.
The hardest part of starting a new business is figuring out where to begin, let alone the design of your company website. For inspiration, I get my feet wet by going to TheBestDesigns.com. It helps you get familiar with what the current standards of design are and it spurs up ideas that may work for you. Even if you’re not a designer, you can get ideas of what you want and what direction you want your company to go. Not all of the examples are standard business websites. They cover an array of websites, but it’s interesting to see what concepts people come up with when they’re not restricted by basic business type restrictions.
I need to have connection at my fingertips to check in at ease on several of my websites. In fact this has only become a feasible option very recently, and made especially accessible with WordPress Blogging Platform. For my mobile tools, I use a mobile tablet browser, a wifi hotspot, and an iPhone. Each of my browser devices has various apps installed to connect to the websites, including my favorite of course, ‘WordPress’.
You can find and install the free WordPress by Automattic App in both the iTunes App Store, and Google Play. Once installed I keep it handy in the immediate wallpaper on both of my devices.
Before you can configure the app, you have to enable remote blogging from your WordPress installation:
Go to Settings >> Followed by ‘Writing’ and scroll down to check the ‘Enable XML-RPC’
Now your mobile devices should be able to connect to the administration of your WordPress, and you’re ready for configuring your mobile client for posting directly to your blog! The difference between using WordPress Client App for remote publishing, is that you avoid the extra steps of logging in via your browser WP-admin page. The App retains an API permission with your administrative back-end, so getting on with productivity is simply faster and skips a lot of navigational clicks down into the system. I have advised many clients to get onto this system, and since they rarely access full administrative interface, I tend to feel a lot more secure that they are not interfering or tweaking with the actual PHP code and site structure.
The WordPress App is very simple to set up:
I select the ‘self-hosted’ for my client’s blogs, it’s pretty useful even for those managing multiple sites.
Now that your WordPress app is configured for each of your blogs, I tend to use the tablet for note-taking and constructing articles on the go, and the smaller screened device for keeping up-to-date with incoming comments:
The downside to having this level of connectivity is that you do have to be fairly organized with your time management, your productivity can increase, but not if your addiction to checking in on your hosted blogs takes over your focus for your own relaxation time!
We are proud to be sponsoring WordCamp Orange County 2012. Sponsoring meetups like these allows us to meet fellow web developers and actually get something out of the event at the same time. Refining webdev skills, learning some juicy tidbits from the innovators-come-speakers themselves.
I’m particularly looking forward to using WordPress as a CRM by Bill Erickson! WordPress is not just a blogging platform but provides a friendly front-end based off from a database. In fact – our own blog is powered by WordPress here, and since we advocate it, we’re often providing the same fanatical support to our customers choosing to host their websites with WordPress.
Website owners soon come to realize the benefits of this content management fanatical intraweb community… Once you can organize your website content, and even the interaction that comes along with it, you are exposing your website to a new level of influence; If you can track and maintain those interactions and relationships that come along with it.
So – If you’re in the Orange County area, we hope to handout a few goodies. Simply retweet this blogpost and place a comment for the opportunity to grab some swag in case you miss out on the WordCamp Orange County. We noticed the tickets have sold out already, but we wouldn’t want you to lose out now would we. Word!