How Can They Hack You? Let Me Count The Ways

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Website Security Is Fluid

It’s definitely not just installing a plugin and then forgetting about it. It’s a constant battle to outwit those who would like to gain access to vulnerable information. There are different areas of your site that can be vulnerable if not secured.

Today, we’re going talk about those different areas and why and how you need to keep them locked uptight.

Insecure Webhosting –

WordPress sites are hosted on a web server. Some hosts do no properly secure their hosting platforms. This makes all websites hosted on their server vulnerable to hacking attempts.

Using those bargain web hosting companies who don’t have the assets to protect your property can really hurt you in the long run!

screenshot of hostgator web hosting pricing

Using Weak Passwords

You have different passwords for different parts of your site and all of them need to be kept secure. Below is a list of passwords that need to be checked and possibly changed.

  • Your WordPress Admin
  • Web Hosting Control Panel
  • FTP Accounts
  • MySQL Database used for your site.
  • Email Accounts are used for WordPress admin or hosting accounts.

WordPress login page


Unprotected Access To WordPress Admin (WP-ADMIN DIRECTORY)

This gives a user access to perform different actions on your site. It is the most commonly attached area of a WP site.

12 tips to secure your wp-admin section

Incorrect File Permissions

Are a set of rules used by your web server. These rules s help your server control access to files on your site. Incorrect rules can give a hacker access to write and change those rules. Here’s a great article on WP BEGINNER on how to change these!

changing your file permissions in WordPress

Not Updating WordPress

Each new version fixes bugs and security vulnerabilities. If you don’t update you leave those vulnerabilities.

screenshot of a wordpress update screen

Not Updating Plugins & Themes

Same as updating WordPress. Not updating plugins and themes is dangerous can leave your site weak.

screenshot of a wp plugin update page

Using Plain FTP Instead Of SFTP/SSH

You should always choose SFTP access instead of FTP it is much more secure.

The key difference between FTP vs SFTP is that SFTP uses a secure channel to transfer files while FTP doesn’t. With SFTP, your connection is always secured and the data that moves between your FTP client and your web server is encrypted.

Using “Admin” As A WordPress Username

Never use “ADMIN” you should always use something unique. Enough said!

Nulled Themes & Plugins

Never use plugins and themes from unreliable sources. Malicious code can be put into either that can give a hacker access.


  • You Don’t Know What Else Is in the Code
  • Developers Need Money To Continue Improving Their Products
  • You Won’t Get Any Support From The Developer
  • You Won’t Get Any Automatic Updates

Not Securing WordPress Configuration WP_Config .PHP File

Wp_config contains your database login credentials. To keep that from happening add this piece of code.

The WordPress wp-config. php file contains very sensitive information about your WordPress installation, such as the WordPress security keys and the WordPress database connection details. You certainly do not want the content of this file to fall in the wrong hands, so WordPress wp-config. Here is a great article on how to secure these important files.

Not Changing WP Table Prefix

Change the wp_ prefix. Here’s a link that will take you to a blog post that will explain how to do this if interested.

The most important part of my job is to make sure your website stays safe, secure and user friendly and I take that very personally. If you’d like to have one person to go to with all of your website issues then let’s talk! Schedule a free consultation today!




The Must-Have Guide To WordPress Website Maintenance That Every Entrepreneur & Blogger Needs In Their Arsenal

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“Why Should I Care About Website Maintenance?”


First, let’s look at the numbers:


  • 60 Million websites are created with WordPress.

  • 39% of the top 10 million websites use WordPress.

  • 500 + WordPress sites every single day are created.


Website maintenance addresses every single part of your website. and each part is just as important as the next. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to break it down into three sections.







  • 49% of hacked WordPress sites are caused by vulnerabilities on your hosting platform.

  • 52% of WordPress vulnerabilities come from plugins.

  • 44% of hacking was caused by outdated WordPress sites.




In 2011, 18 million users were compromised due to a hack!




Let’s cover those:


Hosting platforms:


  1. Shared Hosting (GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.) This is where your website shares a server with a bunch of other websites.

    1. Service overload is the #1 reason your site is slow, your getting site suspensions or 500 errors. Your website is sitting there with 200+ other websites. These packages run anywhere from $3-$5, but like with anything else you get what you pay for.
    2. Pay for extra features like necessary SSL certificates.


  3. DIY VPS

    1. More for developers & bootstrap startups. Can cause lots of problems if a mistake is made.
    2. Great if you’re smart, savvy, and need to save money.

  4. Managed WordPress Hosting (Flywheel, WP Engine)

    1. Hosts handle all of the backend-related tasks plus offer support when you need it.
    2. Saves you time and hassle.
    3. $25 – $150 monthly for these plans (but they cover things like SSL’s that most shared hosting charges extra for.




PHP – PHP is an open-source server-side scripting & programming language that’s primarily used for web development.

  • The build of the core WordPress is written in PHP along with your themes & plugins.
  • Should be 7.0 or higher.
  • Faster speeds improved security.





It’s very important to choose the right theme from the very beginning.

Every element in a theme has some impact on your overall speed!


  • Start with a fast, lightweight theme that is built with only the features that you need. OR
  • A more feature-rich theme but you can disable features that aren’t in use:


  1. Google fonts.
  2. Font Awesome
  3. Icons
  4. Sliders
  5. Galleries
  6. Videos
  7. Parallax Scripts






  • Too many can slow down your site.
  • Quality is as important as quantity.


  1. SEO By Yoast
  2. Akismet
  3. JetPack
  4. Wordfence
  5. Contact Form 7.




Here is a list of settings and other tweaks you should or can make to your websites.


  • Change your WordPress login. By this, I’m not talking about changing your username and password. In this instance, I’m talking about changing the /wp-admin/ to something else. Think about it almost every website uses this same login extension. By changing this you make it nearly impossible to sign in to your website because only you would know the new extension. You can use anything you want. This can be accomplished with a plugin.

  • Disable, remove or tweak your plugins. A simple setting can mean the difference between a slow website and fast website.

  • Disable Pingbacks from other sites, (Disable all both from you and from other sites).

  • Limit the number of posts in your feed. No more than 10 is best.

  • Caching is the most important and easiest way to speed up your website. BENEFITS: Your server uses fewer resources. Can easily reduce your page speed by over 33%!

  • Image Optimization can significantly impact your overall page speeds. More important than Javascript, CSS & Fonts. Images make up on average 34% of a web page’s overall weight. The trick is to find that delicate balance between load times and acceptable image quality.

  • Important to also consider when thinking about the images on your site is the format type of file. Compression can reduce your image size by as much as 5 times!

    • PNG – Higher quality images – larger file size
    • JPEG – Good quality and size.
    • Compression types for JPEG | LOSSY COMPRESSION MEANS: Eliminating some of the data (may come out pixelated). LOSSLESS COMPRESSION: Doesn’t decrease quality by removing unnecessary metadata. ** Choose one that compresses and optimizes images externally.
    • GIFS – Kill your website performance.
    • Delete the number of revisions in both drafts and updated versions. To limit the number of revisions you can use a plugin like Optimize Database & Delete Revisions plugin or you can add this code to your .php function files. define (‘WP_POST_REVISIONS, 10’); YOU CAN CHANGE THE NUMBER TO ANY AMOUNT YOU WANT. You can also disable revisions altogether.
    • Clean up your WP_OPTIONS TABLE & Autoloaded data.
      • Here you will find things like; Site URL, Home URL, admin email, default categories, posts per page, time format, etc.
      • Settings for plugins, themes, widgets (remove old deactivated).
      • Temporarily cached data.
      • 4 – Field columns:
        • option_id
        • option_name
        • option_value
        • option_autoload These you can change, but be careful.




  1. Create a clean backup of your site before making any changes whether it’s updating a theme or changing a plugin. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The sites I manage are backed up every single day.

  3. Check sites for updates starting with WordPress, moving on to themes, and then plugins. Twice every month.

  5. Optimize databases (I use the Optimize Database While Deleting Revisions or the WP-Optimize plugins to accomplish this. Most of the above settings above can be done here). Twice every month.

  7. Scan for malware using Wordfence or another Security plugin of your choice. TIP: Make sure your hosting isn’t doing this already! Twice every month.

  9. Check your site speed with GT Metrix. (free) I do this once a month.

  11. Do a font-end visual check. Sometimes updates can make small changes to your site. It’s good to take a good look at this time. Check that email opt-in to make sure it’s working, social media buttons, or other important parts of your site. Twice monthly or after any changes.









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I’ve worked with Rena on all kinds of techy type projects and I can say with full confidence that she is responsible, timely, affordable, knowledgeable willing to take initiative, able to learn on the fly, and has a knack for all those server maintenances and WordPress issues that flouncy designers don’t want to deal with. I would recommend her highly!

Julie Stoian

She answers emails in a very TIMELY manner. She is quick and gets the job done even if she’s never done it before.

I find her a joy. There is always an email shot back to me to say job completed. Stop dragging your feet and sign up for her services. Money well spent!

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I Have Test-Driven My Share Of Tools & Here Are The Ones That I Can’t Live Without

*The tools and products below are used by me on a daily basis. I have a relationship with these companies and I am an affiliate for these companies including Amazon on the products. If you purchase or sign up for a service I will earn a small commission, but it won’t affect your pricing in any way. 

One question that I get asked quite often is, “What tools do you regularly use to do what you do”. I spend 90% of my time online and finding tools that are easy to use, easy to set up, and affordable could be a whole career in itself. If you’re not familiar with me I run three websites, three FB groups, spending time on social media platforms, plus I manage over 58 websites (not including my own).

I think that you are going to laugh at my two top tools, but I could not run my business without them. What is it you ask? You did ask, didn’t you? The most important tools that I used *drum roll please*

That’s right I think my pencil is my most important tool. In my business, I write everything down, but I also make mistakes. A good pencil and eraser are imperative. Now, this tool goes along with another important aspect and it’s very particular.

I use Stenographer pads. When I was in high school we were taught shorthand which for a very long time was a thing. It’s not a term you hear anymore but these little pads are the stenographer’s main tool. I like using them in my business sort of like a workplace diary.

Each day, I start on a new sheet by writing the date at the top. I write down everything including phone calls, emails, or in-person and this gives me a written record to refer back to. Anything that gets done end up in the book for that day. I couldn’t function without them and they are strewn all over my house. Next to the bed, for those 3 am brilliant ideas that disappear with the daylight., In my car, for those long rides when my mind is racing. When I open my emails, or whenever I’m on a call.

The next tool I use is my personal choice. Believe me, there are millions each a little different. I’ve tried most of them at some point or another. I love my Happy Planner though. It’s two years (the one pictured is only 12-month, it’s big enough to keep track of everything but still small enough to easily bring with you. I ordered mine from Amazon, but you can also get them at Michael’s.

As far as hardware goes, I use my HP laptop and I love it. If it died tomorrow I would go buy another one just like it and that’s saying a lot. I’ve considered a mac book, but I can do everything I need on this one and it’s under $1000 which makes it easier to replace if need be. I have to replace mine about every 2 years, but I’m going on year 3 with this one!

While I use my laptop daily and most often sometimes I find I need a smaller, more easily manipulated tool where I can create logos or graphics so I purchased an iPad and I love it as well. With the iPad, I also purchased an Apple pencil to go along with it for those fine touches that you can’t achieve with your finger.



These are the only hardware I use other than my iPhone and you already know how important those are to any business! I have an iPhone 10 plus and I love it. From the size to the APPS that makes life so much easier.

Now on to the software I depend on to run my business there are different types. I have client work, I have content creation & marketing and I need tools that work properly and will do one of two things. 1.) Save me time or 2.) Save me money. Those are the two requirements that all tools must address.

I need tools that work properly and will do one of two things. 1.) Save me time or 2.) Save me money. Those are the two requirements that all tools must address. Click To Tweet

The number one tool I use is Canva business. I love my Canva account and I use it every day. I have it on my laptop, on my iPad, and on my phone for those quick FB posts or Instagram graphics. I use it for work projects, client projects, and even personal projects. My home is filled with canvases that I have purchased from my own photos. It runs me $12.95 a month and it is well worth it! I couldn’t run my business without it.

Speaking of graphics. We use them everywhere. On websites, in social media posts and even advertisements & logos. I use several sources for images. The saying, “One Photo Tells A Thousand Words”,. Is totally true. Graphics can make or break your business. I use several free sites for stock images number 1 being or I wrote a post last year with everything you need to know before you use that image and even where to find them! When it comes to photos I have to say that the cream of the crop is Shuitterstock. It’s a little bit expensive, but the quality is amazing.

Graphics can make or break your business. Click To Tweet

While free graphics are great for some things others need a more professional image that shows your brand in the correct light. For those specific posts, I only use Styled Stock Society. It’s perfect for my business. I pay $100 a year and twice a month I receive beautiful images that I can download and use. They also have amazing templates like Wordbooks, checklists that you can just plug in your own information and wham, bam you have an amazing graphic that improves branding recognition which I know you’ll agree is essential.

Now, after you’ve created those stunning graphics (or hired me to create them) you have to get them out there. For social media scheduling, I use several tools. I’ve found there is no “one” scheduling tool that will work for all of my needs. So, #1 is Sendible. It is my go-to social media scheduler and what I use for those who’s social media I manage ($50 monthly).

There are two other scheduling tools that I use for different reasons. My favorite for scheduling all of my Instagram posts is called Grum. It’s the easiest to use, it always worked and I purchased it several years ago as a deal from Sumome for a lifetime subscription for $39. It’s no longer available for purchase and I am so thankful I bought it. It’s been so, so worth it to me. I love it!

I also use Tailwind for something. I use it for the Smart Bio on my Instagram account. If you’re not using this feature you are missing out on so much! This is available on the free version and what it does is let you customize your Instagram bio to include links to anywhere buttons etc. Check out mine here and see how much better it is! I

These tools are what I use to create and I couldn’t run my business without them. So far we’ve covered

  • Graphic Design tools
  • Social media scheduling tools
  • Hardware
  • Other (general products

Next week, I’ll cover email marketing, important APPS, themes & plugins.

Got questions? Leave them in the comments below! If you ask I will answer.




35 WordPress Hacks That Will ROCK Your World

This post was originally written in 2018, but it was updated Mar. 2020

  • This first one came to my attention after helping a friend create a new website. She was going through her web hosting company every time she signed on to her website. When you want to log in to your website you can type in your URL and then add /wp-admin/ to the end of it and you will be taken to your login page. For instance, to sign on to this site you would go to


  • A page is a static piece of content. It isn’t dated, nor does it show up in any sort of RSS feed. Great uses for pages are your ABOUT page, RESOURCES page, CONTACT page. A post is a dated piece of content that gets pushed out to your RSS feed. It’ll show up in readers. It also is categorized and tagged in your database differently than a page.


  • If you look at the top of your posting page you will see a tab that says “SCREEN OPTIONS” (See image below 1.). There you can decide what you want to see on your posting page. You can change it whenever you like and it includes things like plugins that you may want to use. Such as SEO by Yoast or CoSchedule. You can also choose whether you show an excerpt, you can turn your comments off and on, use the distraction-free writing functionality, turn off sharing buttons, even whether or not you use the featured image.


  • edit-post-the-blogging-911-wordpress


  • The next tab which is the “HELP” tab will give you instructions for writing posts, inserting media, etc. (Image 2)





  • On your posts page if you have “LAYOUT” checked you can decide what kind of page you want to create. On mine, I can use the “Default page” which will be whatever I have checked for your general layout (sidebar, no sidebar, right-sidebar, left sidebar). My other choices are: Archive, Blog page, Category Index, or a Landing Page. You can make any or all completely different from each other. (image 3)





  • You can also choose to make a post or page public or private. You can even make a post or page password protected. Like the resource library for this site. When you sign up for my email list you get a password which allows you access to the resource library.  (image 4).




  • You can also schedule posts in the future in case you are away. (image 5).




  • Write an excerpt (activate it in the post screen option) to customize how your post appears around the web. If you are using an SEO plugin, it’s called the meta description. One difference between the two: The excerpt box will display if you have your blog posts set to an excerpt format, whereas the SEO meta description usually only shows up in Google search results or in places where you share the link (like on social). The excerpt will show up in RSS feeders (if your website is set to only show excerpts).


  • Under the “SETTINGS” tab on the left under “READING” set your how your article looks in a feed to summary and only send out excerpts in your newsletters. If you send the whole thing out no one will have a reason to come to your site. (image 6).




  • You can always change the permalink (URL) of your post by clicking on the edit button right beside the permalink (URL) (image 7).




  • If you want to decide exactly how much text is shown of a post on the front page. Then use the jump break (image 7). It will stop the text and add a read more tag. (#16)




  • Trying to get rid of preformatted text by highlighting and using the eraser button. (image7).
  • The toolbar can do a lot of things quickly as you can see on image 7. I’ve already mentioned two the rest are as follows:
  1. Bold text
  2. Format text (H1, H2 etc. If you are not using these you should be.)
  3. Underline text
  4. Is to justify text
  5. Change the color of the text just highlight the text you want to change and enter the HEX number).
  6. Change the color around the text.
  7. I mentioned above
  8. Insert icons of different things like hearts, diamonds, etc.
  9. Decrease the indention
  10. Increase the indention.
  11. Undo
  12. Redo
  13. A list of keyboard shortcuts.
  14. Show/hide the bottom part of the toolbar
  15. Proofreads your writing
  16. Mentioned above
  17. Break a link
  18. Add a link
  19. Insert text/image to the right
  20. Center the text/image
  21. Left-justify the text/image.
  22. Insert a horizontal line across the page
  23. Quote button to accent parts of your text.
  24. Numbered list
  25. Bulleted list.
  26. Strike through text, example: She is was
  27. Italics.




  • When creating menus you can use not only pages and posts but categories, even external links.  Example: On your menu, you could have a “STORE” and it could take you to another site altogether. Or you could have a tab marked “RECIPES” and have it take you to all of the recipes on your site.


  • Under the “SCREEN OPTIONS” that I mentioned earlier you can set it to show your bio at the end of a post or page. You can change the wording by going to “USERS” & “EDIT”.


  • You need to create an archive page of all of your posts. I use a plugin called “CLEAN MY ARCHIVES” and I only have to place the shortcode [clean-my-archive] and it will post my archives. I also use a plugin called “GENESIS 404” which lets me create my own 404 PAGE (the page someone gets when they type in an error or there is a broken link). On my 404 page is a list of all of my posts so that readers can quickly find what they’re looking for. If you don’t have Genesis then you can go here for instructions on how to create your own Archive index page. If you’re using DIVI you can go to your 404 page and decide where you want to send those who have gotten lost.


  • If you go to “SETTINGS” “DISCUSSION” you can blacklist anyone you want. By simply entering their email. This will prevent them from being allowed to comment. (Trolls & bullies). You can also filter out comments by “trigger” words.


  • Go to “SETTINGS” “READ” to change the number of posts that show up on the front page.




  • Change your media sizes to fit parameters that you choose by going to “SETTINGS” “MEDIA”


  • If you have Genesis you can go to “GENESIS” “THEME SETTINGS” to enable breadcrumbs which are small bits of text showing the reader where they are on the website. If you don’t have Genesis you can use this plugin. Your site can find adjustments for this under APPEARANCE >>CUSTOMIZE.


  • You can upload more than just images to your website such and also Powerpoint presentations, pdfs, word docs, and now Google docs on your website. Just upload them just like an image. Just insert them where you want them with a link.


  • Trying to get images side by side? You can go to Picmonkey and Canva and make a collage or you can simply go to the “TEXT” view and insert the code that fits your needs down below and that will allow you to make columns. There are also plugins that will help you as well. Elementor is a good one, but Divi comes out of the box being to design in columns and rows.


  • What to create columns on your blog post? On your post or page edit screen and click the text view. Use the following instructions to create columns on your Genesis theme. Here is a great list of Columns plugins by Elegant Themes. 

    2 columns

    <div class="one-half first">This is the 1st column</div>
    <div class="one-half">This is the 2nd column</div>

    3 columns

    <div class="one-third first">This is the first column</div>
    <div class="one-third">This is the 2nd column</div>
    <div class="one-third">This is the 3rd column</div>

    4 columns

    <div class="one-half first">This is the 1st column</div>
    <div class="one-fourth">This is the 2nd column</div>
    <div class="one-fourth">This is the 3rd column</div>
    <div class="one-fourth">This is the 4th column</div>
  • Use the WordPress APP to respond to comments, check stats, and even write posts.


  • Use the find link content tool when creating links. When the link box pops up, just hit the arrow and choose “find existing content”. Then you can search or browse your posts for the link.


  • Go to “SETTINGS” “GENERAL” and fill in the first two blanks for your website title and tagline. This is what will show up in Google Search. If you don’t have a logo this will show up in its spot.


  • Fill out the “USERS” profile completely.


  • Change the name of your “UNCATEGORIZED” category to something custom by going to “CATEGORIES” find “uncategorized” click “QUICK EDIT” and change the name to whatever you’d like it to be.


  • Create a FAVICON (the small image at the very top). Mine is the circle at the very top of the screen. You used to have to use a plugin, but now you simply go to APPEARANCE>>CUSTOMIZATION and look under site identity and you will see SITE>>ICON. Go to Canva, Picmonkey (any photo editing APP) and create an image in the size of 512 X 512. You can use your logo just make sure it’s something that is legible. You can change it whenever you’d like.


  • Put a search bar where it is visible on every page. I suggest the top, but sidebar and footer are fine.


  • Put an email sign up form in at least three places on every page. Because there are so many different size devices. Chances are some of them will not show up so it is imperative to have it at multiple points.



  • Stop saying you wrote a blog. It’s annoying. You write a “BLOG POST” on your “BLOG”.


  • Don’t limit your sharing buttons to only the platforms that you’re on. Just because you aren’t utilizing it doesn’t mean that your reader isn’t. You may get new readers from the exposure.


  • When creating a link the rule of thumb is. If it’s a link to somewhere else on your site you shouldn’t open in a new window. If it’s a link to another site then you should definitely check the box that says “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”.


  • Don’t use CAPTCHA it’s annoying and people will avoid it altogether. The WordPress plugin Akismet works great.


Want even more awesome WordPress tips? Check out the infographic I recently created!


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