Make Website Security a Priority for Your Home Care Site with These Tips
Monday, December 10, 2018
By Amy Selle, corecubed
Who wants to hack the website of a small, independent home care agency? That’s a refrain we hear often to explain why companies decline regular website maintenance. Most people think that website hacks are done by a shady person looking to cause trouble or steal data. In reality, however, websites are compromised all the time with hacks and malware regardless of size or content. In fact, the majority of website security breaches occur not to steal your data, but to attempt to use your server as an email relay for spam, or to set up a temporary web server, normally to serve files of an illegal nature. And hacks are regularly performed via automated scripts written to scour the internet in an attempt to exploit known website security issues in software.
These days, it’s not a matter of IF your website will get hacked, it’s WHEN. If you want to keep your home care website as safe and secure as possible there are some key strategies you can employ to thwart hackers:
- ALWAYS make sure every user on your WordPress website has a secure password – and a password such as “myagencyname2018” is not even close to secure. When setting up or updating your password, WordPress will often offer a secure password option that you can use, and there are also plenty of online resources for generating hard-to-crack passwords.
- ALWAYS keep your site’s core plugins and all third party plugins up to date. The rapidly changing nature of the internet and technology in general means that security issues are constantly popping up. Hackers are always finding new ways into websites, and the developers of WordPress and its plugins are constantly responding and patching the holes the hackers make. But they can’t help you if you aren’t installing the security updates they’re releasing! If you’re running a version of WordPress that’s gone a few years or even a few months without an update, there are a plethora of security patches and responses to threats that you aren’t taking advantage of – setting yourself up as an easy target for robot hackers. If your website and its plugins are left out of date for too long, it’s only a matter of time before your site runs into potential serious trouble.
- Install and properly configure security software like iThemes Security or Wordfence. While WordPress on its own is pretty secure provided you follow the aforementioned steps when choosing a password, it doesn’t provide enhanced security features. Installing one of these plugins and enabling its security firewall and scanning features will go a long way towards keeping the hackers out.
These plugins will send you email alerts when something concerning happens, like a change to a file or an increase in attempts to log in to your site by hackers. It’s VERY important to read these emails thoroughly, and if the email suggests you take action, contact your web developer/webmaster and have them look into it.
- HTTPS! As you know, most URLs start with http, but that little ‘s’ in https makes a big difference when it comes to security! These days, it is highly recommended that website owners purchase an SSL certificate from their web host (or check to see if the account comes with a free one; some do) and start serving their site securely. This means your site’s URL will be https://mysite.com rather than http://mysite.com. The addition of the little ’s’ in the http and the fact that visitors will now see the free “secure” lock icon in the browser when they access your site has a few advantages. A big one is SEO for your home care website. Search engines like Google have started ranking sites with https in front of their names higher than insecure sites. But security is the biggest key advantage. When you have an SSL certificate, any data between your website and your visitor’s computer is encrypted, which makes a hacker’s job just that much more difficult when they are trying to gain access to your site.
If all of this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, you’re not alone! Maintaining a secure home care website and top-notch home care SEO requires a combination of skill, expertise, and meticulous persistence – but it is so crucial to keeping a safe, working online presence for businesses who could face serious repercussions if their website were to go down. Give your website and your SEO a gift this holiday season and throughout the year and make website maintenance a priority!
About the Author
Amy Selle is Managing Director for corecubed. She acts as a strategic marketing partner to corecubed clients, helping them achieve results in an increasingly dynamic marketplace. She believes that in a competitive market where all businesses have services to sell, it is a company’s brand and the ways it communicates with its constituents that set it apart from the pack. Prior to joining corecubed, Amy was Director of Marketing for Cantata, a family of organizations focused on leading innovations that will enable Americans to live their best lives as they age. At Cantata, she was the recipient of a Public Relations Society of America Chicago Chapter Skyline Award for marketing healthcare services, and a Publicity Club of Chicago Silver Trumpet Award for consumer marketing campaigns. Prior to Cantata, Amy worked for various other senior care organizations and hospital systems in management, business development, sales, and marketing. Amy earned a Master of Arts degree in Media and Organizational Communication Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, both from Northern Illinois University. To learn more about corecubed’s services, call (800) 370-6580 or visit us at www.corecubed.com.