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3 Tips You Should Know When You Start Blogging

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Did you know that the WordPress ADMIN user is a security vulnerability? Are you at risk of being a ping spammer? Here are 4 tips for new bloggers.

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Just yesterday, I was visiting a blog and all of the posts were written by “Admin”. This is a common newbie mistake but it’s also a very dangerous one. I’ve written before about this being a security vulnerability. I’ve also written about other tips for newbies. Here’s my list of the top threetips that come to my mind. (Not all are about security. It’s an eclectic mix.) Feel free to add your tips in the comment section.

#1 – Delete the ADMIN User in WordPress

One of the first things everyone should do after installing WordPress is to delete the user “Admin”. Why delete it? It puts your website at risk. Hackers know that WordPress creates that account by default. So, it’s easy for hackers to run a program looking for sites with that user. Then, all they need to do is crack the password and they’re in your site as an administrator.

What should you do? Logon as Admin, add a new user (with the “Administrator” role and a secure password) and log off. Log back on as your new user and delete the Admin account. If you have published posts using the admin user account, assign them to your new account when you’re prompted to do so.

#2 – Create an XML Site Map

An XML site map is a a file that contains a list of the URLs of the website pages that you would like indexed by the search engines. Actually, it contains more than that. It also contains important metadata (an additional information layer) with information such as when the page was last modified, how frequently it changes and how it ranks in importance relative to other URLs.

What should you do? If you’re using WordPress, you can install an XML sitemap plugin, or if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can create a sitemap file manually and FTP (file transfer protocol) it to the public folder of your website. (I use XMLSitemaps.com to generate the sitemap and the Filezilla client for my FTP program.)

#3 – Register for a Free Gravatar

A Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar and it’s free and easy to create one. Go to Gravatar.com and register your username. Register the email address that you use for commenting along with the URL of your blog. Upload your profile picture and you’re ready to go. After doing this, you’ll no longer have that generic icon that you see next to your comments on blogs. This is a big step towards branding yourself and building name recognition.

What should you keep in mind? Your username is part of your brand. So, choose it wisely. Since Twitter only allows 15 characters, you may need to get a little creative. Go to KnowEm.com to see if your username is available on most of the common social networking sites. Don’t forget to register your username on as many social networking sites as you can, whether or not you ever intend to use them. (It will prevent someone else from reserving it.)

What other advice do you have for bloggers? Can you think of anything else that puts our websites at risk? (That question alone could lead to a whole post on security plugins.) Feel free to add your suggestions below.

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By Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

82 replies on “3 Tips You Should Know When You Start Blogging”

Thanks for sharing some extremely important real world advice Sherryl!

Unfortunately, not one of the first two or three courses I took
about learning “how to” use WordPress bothered to explain
the very first point you shared!

And all three teachers were suppose to be WordPress experts!

And point two, I got help from a techie and point three one of the instructors made us aware of.

But all in all, what you’ve shared here for free, is extremely important and helpful!
Thanks so much for doing so!

Because it will help lots of beginners and intermediates!
Mark recently posted..How Some Really Tiny Gestures Can Lead To Massive Customer Satisfaction!Part TwoMy Profile

Hi Mark,

You’re welcome! Thanks so much for letting me know that you found my 3 tips helpful.

When I started blogging, I invested in the book “Digging Into WordPress” by Chris Coyier & Jeff Starr. It’s a really valuable resource and it’s available both in print and as a downloadable PDF. Recently, they updated it to be current with WordPress 4.2. (Even though I bought my copy in 2010, I can still download the updated version for free.)

At the risk of sounding like I’m promoting something, if anyone here is interested in buying a copy, I’d really appreciate it if they used my affiliate link: keepupweb.us/1JtJiR6
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Blogging Tips Are You Missing?My Profile

I just deleted my admin account. I did not know that could be a security problem. Now I have to setup a gravatar. I’m glad I found this post. Thanks.

Hi Sherry,
thanks for your wonderful thoughts. all the above listed points are really helpful for new bloggers. Sitemap submission is necessary for new bloggers.

This is very helpful indeed. Thank you very much. For me, the most important here is deleting the admin user and preventing pinging. I did not know about this. Thanks again.

Hi Sherryl,
These are not just tips, but the words of wisdom for the individuals who are quite new to the field of blogging. The tips shared in this post are quite effective in order to create and run a successful blog. Thanks for sharing this valuable share.

These are simple yet very effective tips for the newbies. Getting a Gravatar is so simple and quick, still
people tend to avoid it. Thanks for sharing this .

I have recently started blogging and am learning new things everyday. The above tips proved to be very helpful especially the point about XML sitemaps. I didn’t know the importance of sitemaps earlier but after reading this I definitely have got to get some for my sites. Thanks for sharing and helping newbies like me.

I have recently changed my old static website for a WordPress blog. I’m only just finding my feet with blogging but was really pleased to see that I have the basics right.

Thank’s for a post that helped to put my mind at rest 🙂

Hi Sarah,
Your comment made me smile. I’m glad that you’ve got the basics right! Congratulations on replacing your static site with a WordPress site and for building a nice foundation so quickly. Lots of people blog for a long time and still use things like the admin logon.

Below my reply, you’ll see that I’ve selected a link to an article about “pinging”. This is something that a lot of bloggers aren’t really aware of and actually, I’m among the people who feel that the core program for WordPress should handle pinging better.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Ping Your Website Blog and When Not ToMy Profile

Sherryl, quite a short but good list of tips for new bloggers. I’d like to add some info too. When working with wordpress, add in some plugins like All in one SEO pack to enhance your website’s visibility in search engines.

Hi Glen,
Thanks for mentioning using an SEO plugin. Some premium themes have SEO built in but if you’re using a free theme, you definitely should consider a plugin like the All-in-One SEO pack. I recommend Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin too. That’s an excellent plugin to use.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Should Be A Habit Not A HeadacheMy Profile

Really useful information , as a Beginner these tips will be really useful to me , will definitely follow up your tips and i need any help will surely contact you …thanks for sharing

Apologies if this is a double post. Not sure my last one went through. Thank you for tips 1 and 4. I had to go and delete my admin account. It hadn’t occurred to me that this was a security risk. Thank you.

Hallelujah! I wondered what I might have done wrong or not done at all. Glad to know it’s just a bit and byte issue that is resolved. THANKS.

Terrific ideas. I must confess I depend on my webmaster for this kind of thing. I would suggest this though: backup regularly. This is so important. The isp we use for my blog actually does this automatically every evening. I also know there are tools available to do it automatically.

Great ideas here! Thanks.

Patricia Weber, LinkedIn Group BHB

Hi Patricia,
It’s wonderful that you have a webmaster to depend on. (Sometimes, I wish I had one. 🙂 I miss the days when I had an IT department who would look out for the day-to-day techie “stuff”. Now, not only do I babysit my sites but client sites as well.)

I just realized that your Gravatar isn’t showing up. You have one right? (Maybe the email address that you commented with isn’t associated with it?) I’m so used to seeing your profile pic on LinkedIn that the “anonymous” icon startled me.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do you Brand Yourself, Your Company, or Your Product on Social Media Sites?My Profile

You are so right! I put it on my to-do list and skipped ahead to it to check.Indeed Sherryl, different email. Hope to see my Gravatar show up now. Thanks for the nudge.

So odd; I add the email that I used here. Even confirmed it. Oh well. Back on the to do list. THANKS.

There you are! 🙂 I had to delete the cache on the “server”/host for your Gravatar to appear. Deleting the cache makes the “client”/our computers go to the server and retrieve a fresh version of the page.

Hi Sherryl,

Yes – I do agree. If I have to think back to when I started blogging – these are some of the best tips or guideline to use when you are new. If only I didn’t learn these tips the hard way through experience and learning from mistakes.

Hi Anton,
I avoided making quite a few mistakes thanks to a lot of research but I still learn lessons the hard way. It wasn’t until my Thesis theme broke (weeks after upgrading a plugin) that I learned that backups don’t always restore everything. It turns out that there was an export option for the design settings in Thesis. If I had paid attention to that, I wouldn’t have had to recreate my entire design. (Thankfully, I had documented the design but it wasn’t pretty.)

Security is a huge concern Ray. All these updates recently are starting to consume a lot more time. It seems that there has been a recent onslaught of upgrades to plugins (probably still the aftermath of the 3.4 upgrades to WP). Just today, I heard from someone who upgraded their Google XML sitemap plugin and could no longer “see” their site. Thankfully, she had tracked which plugins she had recently upgraded and was able to disable it.

(Since talking with her, she’s taken my advice and stopped using that plugin. She is now exploring Webmaster Tools. The fewer plugins that we depend on, the less chance there is of something breaking on our site.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Steps to Protect Your WordPress Blog from HackersMy Profile

All great tips! One of the first things I do for a new client new to WordPress is set up some kind of backup system. Ideally, one that is easy for the client to use and one that includes mailing the backup to the client, so not everything resides on the server.

I like how you included the Gravatar in this list. It may be simple to us, but to someone new to blogging, it may not be apparent.
Leora recently posted..9 Posts on Website SecurityMy Profile

Hi Leora,
Thanks for mentioning backing up. I try to set up scheduled backups that email the backup too. I don’t think everyone appreciates the value of having a Gravatar. No matter how many times I mention them, I still see people commenting without them. Maybe they’re camera shy?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..The Powerful WordPress Text WidgetMy Profile

Sherryl,

There are a lot of things that fall into the category of “No matter how many times I mention them, I still see people” doing X “without them.” For example, concentrating on incoming links for other sites for SEO, or remembering to add an image to a post, or using imagery in general.

Sometimes, after years of slowly saying it in different manners, one day they (sometimes) get it. People sometimes need real life experiences to be convinced.
Leora recently posted..9 Posts on Website SecurityMy Profile

Really useful advices, especially for me, because I have just started my small home business, and it is my first time (honestly I am a newbie to this scene) and I feel glad about all the useful information I can collect. Thanks for sharing your helpful tips!

The perfect fundamental tips when starting out. The one other thing I always do is change my permalinks to something that looks a little more pretty – I always go for the custom option just like you have (%postname%)

Yeah i agree, an About page is very important. I find it makes the page seem more personal and one is more likely to engage with the site, the blog because of this fact. Good post.

Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed my post Elena Anne. I recently wrote about a personal experience that I had when we were shopping for wall-to-wall carpet. When I searched for a small local store, I found a business that was about 10-miles from us. This business is tucked into an old mill and we had no idea that they even existed. They have a pretty basic website but their about-us page won us over. We ended up buying from them and we’ll definitely both recommend them and buy from again.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

To publish our posts I recommend to use different user, because when we use admin username to post you can easily know the user name by clicking on the author

Hi Sherryl,
Yes I too recommend WP for blogs but it comes to business sites, most of them have their customization. And Joomla fits best (according to me) for business sites. and blogs WP is only the BEST CMS.

I loved Joomla when I first started using it. It’s good to hear that you use it. We definitely should have alternatives. I don’t know if it’s still true but up until a couple of years ago, our local university was still promoting courses in Drupal.

Thanks for the information about ping spamming Sherryl. Just last weekend I noticed my art director had updated my blog with an auto-ping feature… and here I was still pinging it by hand!

Hi Catherine,
It’s not easy keeping up with all the ins and outs of WordPress, SEO, social media etc. That’s why it’s great to be able to read other blogs and quickly catch up.

I read your post earlier today and I recommend it. Responsive web design is definitely something that we all should be paying attention to. The use of smart phones and mobile computing is definitely an area that everyone who is interested in online marketing should pay attention to.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

I read this article earlier and just realized that I did not leave my comment. Senior moment… I SO appreciate this kind of information. Thanks for keeping us informed. I needed to do that whole admin thing. 🙂

Good tips Sherryl and like the others I am surprised that people do not have a gravatar. I also think that although there are lots of information abut security etc it can be confusing for those new to blogging as much in written in tech language and not always simple to understand. That is why your posts resonate because you can communicate in a way that is easy to understand.
Susan Oakes recently posted..How Tough Is It To Stand Out In A Crowded Market?My Profile

Excellent suggestions Sherryl!

Often wonder why people online don’t get a gravatar? Not having one could make a person appear a bit dodgy. And some of them are. The worst is when it’s fake identities created for various dubious activities.

Blogging has showed me that there are many other things worth learning and doing. Also when I start blogging I realized how big the online world is and how many opportunities it can offer.

Sherryl — very good advice. It always surprises me that people leave the default Admin. Very dangerous as you point out. Two other pieces of advice: update your WordPress to the new releases so you don’t have a disaster like Thomson-Reuters. They were three updates behind and their site was hacked. Also backup your blog so that you can restore it if it crashes or is hacked.
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..WordPress Security — If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It Before It IsMy Profile

You’re welcome Praveen Definitely register for a Gravatar. It’s free and easy to do. When people start recognizing you, they’re much more apt to pay attention. Everyone likes to do business with people they like and know. Using a Gravatar personalizes your interaction on blogs and social media sites.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Should Be A Habit Not A HeadacheMy Profile

Great tips! I hadn’t thought about number 1 and didn’t even know about number 3. WordPress is so widespread now, that securing your site has become very important.

Thank you for all the little useful tools, too. I’ll definitely be using knowem.com. It’s a tool that can save marketers a lot of time.

Hi Sherryl, After reading your post I’ve just done your Number 1 comment, didn’t even realise there was an Admin account. I’ve already got a sitemap but i’m now going to look at number 3. Thanks for all your help, I’d be a bit lost without reading these posts

Hi Richard,
Thanks for letting me know that you took my advice and deleted the admin account. That’s a big step. Not only are you protecting your website, it also makes your site look much more professional. You’re definitely welcome. Thanks for letting me know that you find my blog valuable. Feel free to ask questions. Lots of times, I find the inspiration for my next article by reading the comments. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 Basic Steps to Better Blogging, Better Branding and More BusinessMy Profile

Hi Sherryl, I have just started a workpress blog, so your info feed will be more helpfull than ever. All the social media and tech stuff kills so much time, between learning, and posting, etc.. It takes a way from other business tasks. Thanks for helping me sort it out and making it a little easier.

Hi Myron,
Good luck with your blog! It does take time. So many people start blogs and abandon them. One of the keys to blogging is to be consistent. If you decide to blog once a week or every other week, just try to stick with it. You may find it helpful to write ahead of time and then schedule your posts. Make sure you’re backing up your site too.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Your Email Address Part of Your Brand?My Profile

I have learned so much by reading your blog. It always amazes me how much there is to learn. It is also mind boggling how fast things change. For a newbie like me having a resource like you is a God send.

I have done most but not all of these thing. The one thing I might add is to have a good “About” page to tell everyone about you, the blogger, and what your site is all about. Oddly enough that is one of my highest visited pages and then the visitor goes from there to other articles.

Thanks Susan! I appreciate your feedback. There is a lot to learn. When I first decided that I was ready to start blogging, I bought the “Digging Into WordPress” book and spent hours learning from other bloggers. It can be a little overwhelming at first.

Having a good “About” page is more important than a lot of people realize. Thanks for letting everyone know that your page gets a lot of visitors. I just took a peek at it and you have done a great job on it. (Maybe, you’ll get some new visitors to your blog when people read this. 🙂 )
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What the Heck is an RSS Feed?My Profile

Thanks Sherryl, That is high praise coming from someone I greatly respect and someone I consider a friend. :-)))

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