WordPress Security Presentation

The first ever WordCamp Charleston was held this past Saturday to a sellout crowd, and it was a huge success. Everyone involved did a great job, and there was a diverse and interesting group of attendees. It was so fun actually that I can’t wait for the next one. Too bad I can’t make it up to WordCamp Asheville.

Anyway, I promised I would put up the slides of my talk on WordPress security, and here they are. Of course there was a lot of talking that went along with these, so there may be gaps in what does and doesn’t make sense. All of the talks at WordCamp were captured on video however, and they should be up at WordCamp.TV soon. I will let you know as soon as that happens.

Oh, and if you found this presentation interesting, you should also check out my friend Jared Smith’s presentation on WordPress Peak Performance. His slide deck is available on his site. Trust me, he is the guru of this stuff.

So, enjoy the pointers on securing and backing up your WordPress site and, as always, if you have any questions just give me a shout!

You're A Professional, Act Like One!

This is a rant. I will admit it right off. I have been hitting a lot of new folks in various writing and social media communities recently and they are driving me nuts. I go to an author’s site or maybe their twitter profile or a fellow Gravatar Profileblogger, what they are saying interests me, and then I try to find out more about them. Dead end. These folks, as well meaning as they may be, are trying to present themselves as professionals without taking the basic time to create a professional online presence. I am not talking about stuff that costs a lot of money, but stuff that has a big impact on how easy it is to find you and how you are perceived when people do find you.  In marketing speak part of this is branding. In business speak a lot of this should be common sense.

Branding and consistency are what help your customers, readers, users, fans or even friends find you on the web, find what you are doing and what pertains to you, and also know that the you they find really is you! Think of it as not trying to convince people what an honest reputable person you are while selling watches out of the back of a borrowed car in a vacant parking lot. Also think of it as not handing out business cards that are missing your phone number, address or email.

So, with very little money, how can you clean up your act? Well, here are ten cheap and easy steps.

1) Make sure you have your own website. Yours. Not part of Facebook or LinkedIn or Google+ site (though you do want those). WordPress.com is ok for now, but only because they let you export everything in the future. This site will be your home base. You want somewhere that you control and that the Lords Of Facebook can’t change the look and feel, and advertising, of without your input. (Cost: $0 to $10 a month – or somewhere in between. Your choice!) [Recommendation – WordPress.com if you want to go free, DreamHost if you want a bit more control and are willing to pay a small amount for it.] Continue reading “You're A Professional, Act Like One!”

Presenting on WordPress Security

WordPress User Group Security PresentationJust wanted to let you all know that I will be speaking at the May WordPress User Group meeting on WordPress Security. Since WordPress enjoys the position of being one of the most widely used web platforms, it is also one of the most attacked. This has become particularly clear with the DNS and dictionary attack over the last month.

We will look at the basics of WP security touching on everything from file permissions and user accounts to preventing script injection and backup procedures to protect your blog from hacking or downtime.

The May meetup of the User Group will be held on May 14 at The Flagship on the corner of Calhoun and East Bay, from 6:00pm to 7:30pm, and feature 2 presentations. For more information, visit the WordPress User Group of Charleston’s site.

WordPress for Education – Review

WordPress for Education by Adam Scott is one of those rare books that fits a niche I didn’t even know existed. I had never thought about the complexities of using WordPress for EducationWordPress in an educational environment before hearing the title of this work. Once I began to think about it and to explore what it meant to use a tool like WordPress within an educational environment, or for that matter to use it within any reasonably interactive learning arena, the need became clear.

While the author does cover the perfunctory topics of installing WordPress, getting a theme set up, and establishing users, he does not dwell on those areas. Thankfully. There are far too many excellent books that cover these tasks in depth. Best not to waste the meat of the book on those things. While the topics of security, backup, and optimization are touched on so the first time WordPress user knows they exist, the suggestion is obviously that those are topics for further reading.

Very quickly Scott gets down to business with plugins that will aid in education – such as those for generating bibliographies or for exporting your entire site as an electronic book. Even more important are the chapters on using multi-user WordPress, BuddyPress, and Open Courseware to develop a fully integrated electronic classroom environment. This can be anything from as simple as posting assignments online to as complex as letting students develop their own smaller sub-sites, creating discussion groups for interactive learning, and submitting and grading the final results.

Scott has a very easy and likable writing style. He has obviously used the products he is talking about and knows their details. He presents that information in the same way you would hope a good professor would, in a friendly yet authoritative manner. In WordPress for Education he presents the information you need to know while not pretending to be the be-all-end-all source, which is impossible because WordPress is a constantly changing and evolving platform.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is contemplating setting up an online education environment be it in primary education, secondary, or beyond. This also applies to businesses.  We must not forget that education continues long after leaving the school building. Many of the techniques and tools in Scott’s work would be excellent for implementation in employee training, religious education, vocational training, or other areas. Even civic clubs like writer’s groups or any organization that has a teaching or testing process could benefit from at least a light read of the book.

Also note that, as is the case with all Packt Publishing books, the WordPress for Education is available in both paper and multiple electronic formats, so it is quite convenient to have with you in whatever form you prefer.

Note: The publisher gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of. There were no strings attached, and that gratis review copy in no way influenced my opinions towards this work.

Essentials of Website Development

Palmetto Technology HubThis Monday, December 19th, I will be conducting a training session for the Palmetto Technology Hub on the essentials of website development.

No matter if you are doing your own web design or overseeing the production of that work; no matter if you are using WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuk or a hand coded site, there are certain best practices that should be followed to get the best results possible. In this training we will cover things such as page flow, hot positions, usability, and accessibility. What we discuss will impact both your search engine results and customer satisfaction. Additionally, what we will be going over can be used for any platform with any web tools.

For more information on this training session, please check out the Palmetto Technology Hub’s event calendar.