What Does WordPress And A Chick Have In Common?

You would never guess when it comes to learning new tips for WordPress that one Chick behind the scenes trumps them all!

Meet The WordPress Chick

kim_doyal_the_wordpress_chickHer name is Kim Doyle from The WordPress Chick and she has created a very exciting and profitable business using WordPress and authored a book called WordPress & The Genesis Framework For Beginners.

Kim has been responsible for teaching and training many other everyday people starting online as well as offline business owners how to create thriving and profitable businesses on the WordPress platform.

One of the funniest things I did not know about Kim, is that she can talk in a cartoon voice and has wowed her webinar audience with it a time or two. I would have loved to have been on one of those webinars.

She definitely has an awesome personality.

How I Met Kim Doyal

wordpress_tipsI met Kim online about four years ago when I was looking for a video tutorial on how to customize a StudioPress theme I was using at the time on my site.

Turns out she had just made a step-by-step video tutorial on that particular theme. I email her a question, we talked on Skype once and I have been a fan of her site ever since.

Kim Shares Some Secrets

I decided to ask Kim a few questions to let you see how she has used WordPress to build a business and a brand.

Using WordPress In Business

Kim, out of all of the business models that you have tried since you have been online, what made teaching WordPress tips through TheWPChick the business model that you chose?

I wish I could tell you that teaching WP tips through The WPChick was a well thought out strategy, but it really was an accidental, or should I say, organic process.

When I first started The WPChick I didn’t really know what I was doing but I loved WP and I knew in my gut there was something in the name.

I honestly had NO idea how I was going to build a business or monetize the site.

The decision to start teaching WP came about when I started doing more client work and was getting into customizing themes (which by the way was never what I intended to do.

I thought I was just going to get into information marketing) when I stumbled across StudioPress (pre-Genesis, post- Revolution themes).

I had a ton of fun customizing them and utilizing the widgetized home pages so I started creating some tutorials on what I was doing (the videos were pretty bad, but ignorance is bliss, right?).

It was when I looked at my Google Analytics and realized that a couple of my StudioPress video posts were getting more traffic than just about anything else that I realized I was onto something.

I always loved training and speaking and felt like I’d stumbled across the ideal business, but the truth is that it was a lot of hard work, consistent  effort and trusting that I had something of value to offer.

I always say my audience is the ‘everyday user’, people? who use WordPress for their businesses but don’t want to get into code.

They want their sites to look good, run well, be optimized and have some bells and whistles.

It was also when I started teaching my Genesis for Beginners class that I realized I had a ton of fun teaching and it was also the best return of my time/investment.

The second question I have for you Kim is, what is the number one tip you have for anyone who is considering the WordPress platform for building their business?

The biggest tip I have for anyone who is considering the WordPress platform for building their business is to pay attention to YOUR business first.

This applies to two different groups of people: People who want to build a business around WordPress (developing client sites, themes, plugins, doing training, etc.) and business owners who use WordPress for their business.

I’ve seen lots of people in the first group (web developers, etc.) who are so busy working on client projects that they forget to maintain their own brand and build an audience.

I spend the first part of my day, everyday, working on my business.

I create blog posts, email broadcasts, videos, podcast episodes, etc. in the morning because that’s when I’m at my “creative best.”

Working on other projects (client sites) requires a completely different energy so it’s easier to manage that later in the day.

It’s also too easy to get caught up working on other projects and your own content gets put on the back burner.

Creating valuable content and sharing your skills and expertise is what makes people feel like they know you.

The other piece of this is that

you have to be willing to share your own content, toot your own horn.

The second group of people, those who use WP for their business, need to make sure that even if they’re not the ones entering the blog posts or maintaining the site that they have a fundamental understanding of what their site should be doing for them.

Ask for your analytics, ask how the SEO is set up, how is the opt-in converting, etc.

As wonderful as WordPress is no business can run on a set it and forget it system.

A Personal Testimonial

I can honestly say from my own experience that after listening to Kim’s podcasts, watching her step-by-step video training and reading her newsletter from TheWPChick, I have been able to take what she teaches and apply it to helping my own local business customers who have asked me to build them a website on the WordPress platform.

One of those website’s was for my husband’s boss and it was very exciting and profitable for them and me.

The Important Take Away To Know

Anyone can learn to create a very exciting and profitable business using the WordPress platform.

To find out how to implement the newest strategies and tips on WordPress and to learn more about Kim Doyal (aka, The WordPress Chick), you can visit her at TheWPChick.com.

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Are WordPress Plugins a Security Risk?

I posted recently over on Sparkplugging CEO about WordPress security best practices. I included some recommendations for security plugins I like, including WordFence and Better WP Security. Evan felt that security plugins are risky. He says

Using security plugins can really hurt. While some of the checks are good, adding more Plugins simply opens up more holes. Other suggestions for hardening WP include changing wp-content folder location, limiting file upload types using Apache’s Directory switches and changing the default media upload location for starters.

And to a point, he may be right.

Plugin Risks

Plugins are simply bits of code that you add to your WordPress website to extend its functionality. We use plugins to display videos, combat spam, connect to social media, and a host of other things. No matter what you want your site to do, there’s probably a plugin for it. But are they safe to use?

Risk Concept

Generally speaking, yes. You do have to keep in mind that they are created with php code, just like WordPress itself. And because they’re written in php, they can potentially open doors for hackers to use.

Here’s the bigger issue, though: There is no licensing or governing board for plugin development. Anyone can write and distribute a plugin for WordPress, but not every developer is stringent about security, and not all plugins are properly maintained. If you’re using a plugin from a less-than-diligent developer, it could potentially leave your site vulnerable to attack.

Choosing Good Plugins

But just because plugins may create a risk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. In fact, you’d find it pretty difficult to run a WordPress site without any plugins. It does mean, though, that you should practice due diligence when choosing which plugins to use.

  • Only use plugins from known sources. Never download a free plugin that cannot be found on WordPress.org. Paid plugins are obviously not available for download there, but if it’s free to use, you should find it in the repository. 
  • Only use plugins that are maintained. Check the last time it was updated. If it was more than a few months ago, look elsewhere.
  • Only use plugins whose developers are involved. Every plugin on WordPress.org has its own forum where users can ask questions. If the developer isn’t answering those questions, that’s a bad sign.
  • Keep your plugins up to date. Follow security WordPress security bloggers such as WPSecurityLock.com, SafeWP.com, and Sucuri.net to stay updated on vulnerable plugins and make sure you upgrade them as needed.
  • Limit the number of plugins you use. They can and do conflict with each other, so it’s a good idea to keep your plugins to a minimum.

Security Plugins

So with all that said, does Evan have a valid point? Do security plugins increase your risk of being hacked?

I don’t think so.

The two plugins I recommended meet all my criteria above. They’re well known, frequently updated, and both have security-conscious developers. I don’t have any concerns about using either plugin on my and my client’s blogs.

Now you could recreate the security functions of these plugins without actually installing them. You could browse your server logs and ferret out the IP addresses of bad guys, then add code to your .htaccess file to keep them out. You could add some more code to your functions.php file to hide your WordPress version. You could even check to see that your core files haven’t been changed recently. Or you could let WordFence do all that for you.

I’ll let WordFence handle it, thanks.

As with nearly anything in life, security plugins have their pros and cons. In this case, I believe the good far outweighs the potential for bad, and I think most WordPress users would agree. After all, who wants to go poking around in the .htaccess file to accomplish something that can be done with the click of a button? Not me.

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Super Simple Instructions To Change Your WordPress Admin Username

Yes, if you have an administrator account in WordPress that is simple ‘admin’, you have to change it.

Yes – Now :)

And yes, you can do it.

Step One: Create a new administrator account

(Using a username that is not easily guessed and a password that is not easily guessed.)

Step Two: Log out.

Step Three: Log in as the new administrator.

Step Four: Delete the old ‘admin’ account.

(Choose the ‘Attribute all of posts’ option and select your new administrator account.)

I told you it was simple :)

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