Small business owners know the importance of having a website to compete in today’s market. While you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a website, they’re hardly free to have built and maintained. Websites take an ongoing, strategic effort to effectively market small businesses. While many business owners have come to realize the importance of having a web presence, many have neglected website security. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste by not doing all you can to secure your website. Learn how to keep your company website safe and protect your greatest marketing asset!

Website hacking and how it can impact your business

website hackingFor business owners having your website hacked can create huge issues. For e-commerce sites, not having the right security can compromise your customers’ personal data. For other sites, malware can be added that will place hidden links on your site or cause redirects of your domain to “less than desirable” places. Sometimes the hacker will simply deface your website; your website is no longer there and is replaced by text or other unrelated content. That can impact your site’s credibility with your prospects, customers and search engines. Size of the website doesn’t matter. Forty-three percent of all data breaches in 2019 involved small and mid-size businesses, according to The Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report.

How do sites get hacked?

There are several ways your website can get hacked. Here are four of the most common ways into websites according to WP Template:

  • 41% get hacked through vulnerabilities in their hosting platform
  • 29% by means of an insecure theme
  • 22% via a vulnerable plugin
  • 8% because of weak passwords

The three most commons “hacks” are brute force attacks, SQL injection hacks, and cross site scripting. There are different ways hackers can get in, and there are several ways you can keep them out. Keep in mind that not all security issues are going to result in hacking. Even if you never get hacked losing your SEO rankings due to poor website security. Google cares about how visitors interact with the sites, and website safety and security influence user experience (UX) directly so it makes sense that Google cares about these issues.

Ways to make your website secure and protect your marketing asset

make your website secureYou don’t need to spend a lot of money to keep your company website safe. Below are a few basic items to help protect your greatest marketing asset:

  • Get an SSL certificate – Better website security can bring you better traffic. The connection between site security and rankings has become straightforward. Back in 2014, impressed by the user security on HTTPS sites, Google decided to consider it as a ranking signal. SSL certificates show you’re trustworthy and authentic. You get purchase a certificate from several places, including GoDaddy.
  • Keep spam off your site – Do you have an onsite blog? Fantastic! That’s a great move on your part. The question is, are you monitoring it for spam comments?  If not, it could be impacting your site’s SEO. Most spam comments have spammy links in them and you don’t want those on your site. To prevent comments like this, you can either check your blog manually on a regular basis or install a plugin that asks for verification prior to accepting a comment on your blog. You can also simply turn of blog comments entirely.
  • Block bad bots – not all bots are bad! Search engines are considered bot and you don’t want to block them. Bad bots include site scrapers and comment spam, among others. To protect your site from bad bots, implement CAPTCHA to ensure bots can’t submit fake requests. You can also keep an eye on activity on your site (programs like Wordfence help with this, as does Sucuri).

There are more advanced ways to protect your site. For those, engage the services of a website professional to help

How else can you protect your website?

You can be proactive and adhere to the preventive measures to prevent hacks:

  • Update your CMS software
  • Use a strong password for login
  • Change passwords frequently
  • Regularly back up your site
  • Get a malware scanner for your site
  • Monitor your website backend access
  • Scan for vulnerabilities and monitor them regularly
  • Monitor all unusual increases in traffic
  • Invest in a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Use an application firewall

WordPressIf your website is built on WordPress, consider engaging the services of a WordPress maintenance company, or ask your small business marketing professional how they can assist to  keep your company website safe and protect your greatest marketing asset.

Patty Hughes
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