How to prevent your website from being hacked.
Having a website is a must in today's world.
As a small business it is imperative that you show up online. Having a website is a must in today’s online world. Most of the time it’s one of the first things a potential customer is going to look at to get a feel for who you are and what your business is all about.
So, imagine this, you paid a web developer to build your website on Word Press. (This is a very popular platform choice amongst web designers because of the possibilities.)
Your website has been up and running for a while now. But on a Monday morning you realize your site no longer works; It’s been highjacked and is now advertising for Viagra.
I am sure this is making you laugh, and you are going “yeah right”, but this happens, and I know of a few companies who had this happen.
How embarrassing! Worse yet you don’t know how to fix it. You don’t have a contract with a web designer so you get on Google to find someone who can hopefully help you.
Information they'll need:
When you find someone to help, they are likely going to need the following information from you:
1.) Where is your website hosted and do you have the login information for that? is where you want to be looking. You get the best of everything from another small business.
2.) What is your WordPress admin information?
3.) What theme was the site built in?
4.) Do you pay for malware protection and backups?
5.) Is your DNS hosted elsewhere?
6.) Who is your domain registrar?
7.) Do you have the cPanel login?
Would you know these answers?
Be honest with yourself, do you know the answer to these questions? Most small businesses do not know these answers and that is a problem.
Outsourcing done right.
It’s important when you are outsourcing work to an IT consultant like me, or a web developer, that you have good communication throughout the project. You also want to make sure that anything being setup is being setup with your email address and name so that you are the primary account owner. You should always be provided the administrator login information to the accounts. Depending on where you are hosting your website many times you can add a web designer so that they can have the access they need without access to the administrator account. You also want to make sure the designer is comfortable with making DNS edits or have them work with your IT person so that things like your email do not get broken in the process of updating or redoing a website because your DNS records were accidentally moved or deleted (Yes this really happens, much more than you would think!!)
Maintaining themes and plugins.
If your website has any sort of theme or plugins, you need to make sure it’s being maintained. Between 2020 and 2021 there was a 150% increase of vulnerabilities found in WordPress sites. Think of your website like your car, it needs routine maintenance like having your tires rotated and oil changed. Your website needs the SEO maintained, it needs the plugins and theme to stay up to date so everything works as it should.
Website Protection is a must for WordPress Sites.
I recommend to customers who have a website built in Word Press to have malware protection on their site, the last thing you want to have happen is a customer go to your website and then get infected with malware or even worse have financial information compromised. I also recommend paying for backups of your website so that you can restore it to a known working time if you realize that your site has been compromised in some way. You might also want to consider having a built in firewall if your hosting provider offers it.
SSL certs are a must have!
No matter what platform you have your website built in, make sure you have a SSL certificate for you site, there are different types of SSL certificates depending on your needs, so make sure you web designer understands which certificate you will need.
How do I know what I should be looking for?
When looking for a web designer you have two options, a subscription based service or A La Cart. The A La Cart service is pretty self explanatory, but navigating the complexities of subscription services can be tricky. You should be looking for a company who can not only design you a sleek and modern website but who also understands the ins and outs of SEO, how social media integrates, how email marketing all come together, and can explain to you what branding actually is. You want a uniformed online presence so that you will be recognized across all online platforms. The majority of companies will do some of this but not all of it, or not everything will be included in the subscription cost. If you are a small business owner like myself you want something that is affordable while still offering you everything, Burda Marketing is where you want to be looking. You get the best of everything from another small business.
Wondering if it's time you should outsource you IT needs? Download my free outsource guide to see when is a good time to outsource.