Why it’s so important to nurture AND protect your blog through change
Change has affected us all one way or another since the pandemic started and sadly many blogs went quiet as a result. Of course, you may not know what to say or what your readers want to hear as you go through change. And in the bigger scheme of things it may not seem important anyway to nurture and protect your blog all the time.
But imagine losing it from one day to the next because that's what happened to one of mine. And if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone! Imagine the effect on an author, therapist or coach who is desperate to return to some kind of normality. After all, your blog is the voice that speaks for you when you’re busy doing your heart's work!
Here's why you need to nurture and protect your blog
As a reader of this site you may not know that for the last 6 years I have split my time between Attract Readers and my own coaching business Success Network For Women in Business which I've run since 2005. I have had a hosted WordPress site with a blog for almost as long!
When the pandemic started, the effect on my clients' businesses soon had a knock-on effect on mine. Having learnt to be resilient and always have a financial buffer, I knew I didn't want to 'pivot' as in previous recessions. So this time I decided to "park" Success Network to become a Freelance Coaching Associate to a Global Outplacement Company. I figured it would be an easier way for me to do the other thing I love apart from providing blogging support – helping people through transitions.
During this time, I didn't pay much attention to the inner workings of my website - apart from writing blog posts which felt like an important part of my journey through the pandemic. I even updated old blog posts including my most-read post about change, burnout and resilience.
And so I wasn’t prepared for what would happen next.
The consequences of not giving your site the TLC it deserves
One day I tried to log in to my site but noticed I was locked out. There was a strange coded message and alarm bells started to ring!
I was horrified to discover that hackers had planted lots of dodgy stuff on my site. In all my years in business this had never happened before. I knew I had at least 2 months of backups … yet still I mourned the loss of the 'virtual home' I had built over 16 years.
It reminded me of the first lockdown, when our camper disappeared from a supposedly secure storage facility. It may feel like a first world problem on the one hand, but on the other it’s still a violation of your space and you can't help but feel vulnerable.
I was confused too. I thought my site had been quite safe. It had an SSL certificate to make it secure and was regularly backed up and updated. I considered my password to be strong and I was always looking out for phishing emails and scams.
In hindsight my site may have been vulnerable all along. I realised I hadn't changed my password in years, hadn’t deleted two inactive plugins (I didn't know they can pose a risk) and may have missed a warning to do with one of my updates. Naturally, with all the pandemic upheaval, my mind had been on other things.
Why nurture and protect your blog - the lessons
1. Writing and keeping it secure aren't two separate things
Have you ever nurtured a rare or delicate plant? Then you will know that it needs more than good soil, light and water to grow. You also have to protect it from the storms!
The same goes for your blog. Working on your content keeps your blog alive which attracts the right reader and who knows what amazing things can come from that. But without protection from outside attacks your lovely writing can disappear in a flash!
2. Imagine the fallout from losing your site
Just think for a moment how an attack could damage your business. Especially if it put other site users' details at risk! It is worth thinking about as insecure passwords, for example, could lead to data leaks on other sites and the fallout could be immense.
Apparently there are 1.2 million hacked websites on the web at any one time. It is perhaps not surprising when you can find tutorials on YouTube how to get into a site in 6 minutes.
And another thought… what about considering the cost of cleaning up your site and restoring it if you weren’t able to do it yourself?!
3. A hosted WordPress site will always require love and attention
It pays to check it often. Make sure auto updates and backups are actually being done.
WordPress offers a Site Health Tool which looks a little basic but is easy to keep an eye on. You can find it under Tools > Site Health in your admin area. It even gives your site a score! It may be worth bookmarking this article on WPbeginners that explains in more detail how to make your site secure.
If you don't have the patience or the tech skills you may prefer to outsource your site's security to a trusted website person. They can easily fix any vulnerable areas so you can relax and focus on your writing.
And what happened to my site you may be wondering?
As my hosting provider was very helpful and the backups were there, we set the wheels in motion to try and clean up the site and bring it back. (It would make complete sense, right?)
There are different ways through change
But then, seemingly out of nowhere, I heard a quiet whisper. It spoke of looking forward rather than back. I sensed that there was more to this than met the eye and knew at once I needed to see my loss in a different light.
So I asked myself: "How is this (bad experience) helping me?"
An interesting question!
It dawned on me that my old site had been the subconscious safety net which allowed me to keep my options open. It felt comforting to know it was still there despite all the changes.
Of course my conscious mind knew it didn’t reflect the post-pandemic 'me' anymore. I am not the same person I was a year ago. I had to accept it was time to put the old to rest.
So I let go, surrendered. I now feel much lighter and good things are happening too.
It can be easy to forget that when a bad thing happens this also creates space for something new to emerge.
I hope you can see the need to nurture and protect your site at the same time. It’s all too easy to take it for granted.
And if you think it might be in need of a rethink, just imagine what an opportunity this could be.
What might emerge?
Never forget that giving your blog the TLC it deserves is just another way to reaffirm your place in this world.
PS. You know where to find us if you feel stuck with your blog. Helping blog writers to move forward is what we're good at!
And if you're affected by major change and are uncertain about taking your next step, you can reach me directly here.