Do you know the #1 pitfall of a small business website?
Besides not knowing the pitfalls, that is!
I’m not going to talk about the #1 pitfall today. In my experience, that one would be making your own website with no experience so that the site just drives people away! instead of helping you. Take a look at my post on annoying websites here.
But today I want to tell you about another pitfall. A major pitfall – one which if you’ve done your site yourself and you’ve done light-years of work on it and you fall into this one, you may not get out of … I’m talking about your small business website getting hacked!
Oh, I know … I get it. Hacked? Why would anyone hack little old me? We are a small business which sells widgets not defense secrets! Or we don’t do billions of dollars in sales or have billions of clients’ personal info to steal. No one is going to bother with us.
And then they do.
I know this well because it happened to me very recently. I could not understand ‘why me.’ And I could never have fixed it myself. Could not. I was way out of my league! Luckily I found some great people to sort it out for me but not without hassle and stress and lost time and money.
Take a look at this article from last year on small business sites getting hacked!
So how can you avoid this major pitfall? First of all, keep your site updated. We use lots of software on these sites: themes and plugins and all these bits of software that make out life so much easier and which we take for granted. But they all need to be updated. Often.
I know it seems that every time you go on the site something wants updating and you are a busy entrepreneur with too much to do already than to be updating everything every day. But the risk you take by not doing it is very real. You can lose time and money and customers and their trust [that’s forever] and maybe even all the work you put into building the site.
Make sure the themes and plugins are updated. I you have plugins you are not using, get rid of them.
Get a security system for your site. Many of us have security systems on our homes. All of us have anti-virus software on our computers so we understand the need. This is the same. Get a security system on there to help guard your hard work.
I wish it would kill off all the bad guys but it won’t. They will keep pounding away at your site with a battering ram trying to get in and take advantage of any little lack of diligence! Be safe. Wordfence has been standing strong as my site is still attacked every day. It can help you too.
But there is one more thing that I have to mention here. I will take the blame for what happened to my site and say that I got too busy and neglected to update things as I should and it was that vulnerability that allowed the hackers in. But there is another seedy underworld here that I became aware of when this happened. I can’t prove it, you see, so I will not name names.
But let’s see if this sounds odd to you? My hosting service sent an email saying that they saw suspicious activity on my site. I called to find out what was going on and and was greeted by another company, one which specializes in fixing hacked websites. Wait, what?
Oh yes. Directly. I called one company. And the call was answered by another. And they were willing to “help” me out by cleaning up the hack for AN EXTREMELY HIGH AMOUNT OF MONEY for a small business. And he recommended that I did NOT try to fix it myself because people who had only ended up with more problems. I declined. I simply could not trust him or the way the whole thing had been handled.
I went online and read horror stories of how this company has ripped people off for similar issues. I found someone else to help me and moved all to another hosting service. I can’t say that my old hosting service caused the problem but they sure were not there for me when the problem came up and instead sent me directly to some con-men. For that, I would not forgive them!
So for you … first keep all plugins and themes up to date. Don’t just set and forget. Put it on your to-do list to go in and check for updates even if you are not posting!
Get yourself Wordfence or other security for your site.
And if you do get hacked, be sure to ask around to find reputable help and don’t assume that your hosting service will send you to someone reputable!
Your website is your business online. Keep it safe! Better safe than sorry!
Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper - Patt loves the online world and love to share it!
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