Friday Finds for Weekend Reading – WP Security & Best Website Awards

by Sherryl Perry

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This post is part of the weekly series Friday Finds featuring news that you may find both valuable and interesting. The topics that I’ll be focusing on this week include a security vulnerability in two popular WordPress plugins, award winning websites, a blogger’s view of keyword stuffing and infographics about online marketing strategies and social media. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts, concerns and experiences in the comment section. That way, we can all continue to learn from each other.

Interesting Articles You May Find Valuable

Remote Code Execution Vulnerability was Disclosed: A security vulnerability that affects two favorite WordPress caching plugins was brought to everyone’s attention this week. Both WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache (W3TC) are at risk of being exploited. This is a very serious vulnerability and at the very least you should make sure that the plugins are updated. Some of the commenters in this article suggest replacing them entirely.

Award-Winning Websites That Inspire Us – This article takes a look at some of the companies that won a Best Website award from the IAC (Internet Advertising Competition) in 2013. The 10 winners that are featured represent: Government, Small Business, Advocacy, Employment (2), Beverages, Travel, Automobiles, Retail and Consumer Goods.

Keyword Stuffing – What’s the Limit? – This article was posted a couple of weeks ago but (like many good blog posts) the content will be relevant for a long time. I think it’s a good follow-up post to the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago that featured a video of Matt Cutts (the head of webspam at Google) talking about theSynonym” team at Google.

37 Different Online Marketing Strategies (#infographic) – This one is for those of you who find infographics informative and a nice break from reading long blog posts. If you’re the type of person who enjoys infographics, you may also want to check out the Social Media Snapshot Men vs Women infographic that I blogged about this week.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below. For those of you who have concerns that your WordPress site may have malware (or a few other security risks), you can always scan your site for free here on Sucuri.net.  Best wishes for a safe and happy weekend and a productive week ahead

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick June 21, 2013 at 6:19 am

I really like the keyword stuffing article. I do believe that Google is looking at overoptimisation quite strongly at the moment and overusing keywords is not good. But as the article says if you do it naturally it will be OK.

Thanks for posting these links Sheryl.

Reply

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm

You’re welcome Patrick. Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed my article. (I’m having fun with this series.)

If you’re interested in learning more about keyword stuffing, the post that I linked to below features a video by Matt Cutts where he talks about the Google “Synonym Team”.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Do You Avoid Keyword Stuffing on Your Website Blog?My Profile

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Shannon Hawkins May 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

In my opinion, Mr. Townes has a lot of personal issues, as well as professional, which I was not happy to learn about today. In my humble opinion it would be best to avoid W3TC now and in the future, since the author has such a negative attitude, and appears to believe he is the only person that can understand how his plugin works. The fact is there are plenty of other free plugins out there to solve performance issues for WordPress blogs such as WP Super Cache, and Batcache, just to name a few. Those authors do not have attitudes of supremacy. Although it may seem like W3TC has a ton of features, 95% of those features actually slow down blogs and are loaded with tons of bugs. The old rule “Keep it Simple Stupid” applies to all plugins, most especially W3TC, which is far from simple, and is so complicated no one seems to be able to configure it without problems. Most of those problems are in the plugin itself, but the author has a habit of blaming those problems on the users claiming they don’t understand how his plugin works. Users should not have to understand. Good programming makes it easy to use a plugin. It is best to avoid W3TC to avoid problems of every kind imaginable.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 23, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Hi Shannon,
I apologize for not replying to your comment sooner but I somehow missed it. There are quite a few different caching plugins available. I wasn’t aware of anyone having issues with the author of W3TC. I did have a negative experience with the plugin and my WP theme (Thesis 1.85). It totally destroyed my CSS design one day. I’ve since tried a handful of other cacgubg plugins until I finally ended up with Hyper Cache. (So far, so good.)

One of the hosting vendors that I use, HostGator, recommends WP Super Cache. I have it installed on several client sites but I ran into issues with it on my blog and it won’t run on a few other client sites. It sometimes comes down to trial and error. I can commiserate with having an issue with a plugin though!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Friday Finds – Google Author Rank, Digg’s RSS Reader, Hashtags & PinterestMy Profile

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Chris Rogers April 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Regarding Keyword stuffing, i have found that the most natural sounding articles and content are what goes the farthest.

Not only has my research solidly backed this up, but I have statistically proven it to myself throughout the course of time.

Just write good unique quality content and keywords will naturally highlight themselves (not literally on your screen).

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Chris,
I agree with you completely that writing quality content is the most important thing to keep in mind. Plus, I understand exactly what you mean about keywords naturally highlighting themselves! I did notice a significant increase in organic search traffic when I started creating keyword rich headings in my articles. The search engines do pay attention to heading tags and I think it helps to define my posts for my blog readers. It’s become a habit for me to write them.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Friday Finds for Weekend Reading – WP Security & Best Website AwardsMy Profile

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Ray April 30, 2013 at 1:46 am

Seems like this past week or two there have been quite a few WordPress security related issues. I hadn’t heard about the total cache or super cache issues. I just updated them on two sites. Fingers crossed that it takes care of things for at least a little while.
Ray recently posted..How Long Does It Take Google To Show My Authorship Face?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I hadn’t heard about the plugin issue either Ray until Leora mentioned it in a comment that she left for me. When I mentioned wanting to share it, she was kind enough to email me the source. It’s not easy keeping up with all the security issues lately let alone installing the updates. Thanks for letting me know that you found that info valuable.

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Jeri
Twitter:
April 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm

More than a few people have recommended I install a caching plug-in, so I did. Luckily, I could make head nor tails of all the options, and deleted W3TC about 10 minutes after installing it. Then I started to read all of the plug-in reviews after the fact, and am glad I may have avoided catastrophe. I do use a lot of images, and hope I can settle on a fairly user-friendly caching plug-in at some point in the future.
Jeri recently posted..Poem Inspiration: The Scream by Edvard MunchMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi Jeri,
Some of the comments that were left in the article that I linked to mentioned Quick Cache. In my reply to Susan, I mentioned that I just installed it on a client site that I was having issues with. I had never used it before but it was a very simple install and it seems to be running fine. Lots of times, you have to make small modifications to PHP files but I didn’t have to do anything special to get it to work on the blog that I installed it to. It might be worth looking into.

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Jeri
Twitter:
May 1, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Thanks so much. I will give Quick Cache a try.
Jeri recently posted..Writing Workshops: The Necessity of Critique GroupsMy Profile

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Sarah Arrow
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Hi Sherryl, thanks for including my post in your links. It’s been a worrying week with all the WP security issues at large.
Sarah Arrow recently posted..Should you tell your story in your sales page copy?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

You’re welcome Sarah. I hope some of my readers check out your blog while they’re there. (I’m sure they will find other interesting articles that they would enjoy.) It has been a worrisome week for sure. For some reason, I was late reading about the plugin vulnerabilities and Leora Wenger mentioned it in a comment here.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do NOT Delete Your Google FeedBurner RSS Feed Migrate ItMy Profile

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Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

Glad I don’t have any of the plugins with vulnerabilities:-)

The article on keyword stuffing is spot on and gives us a way to “legally use keywords”.
Catarina Alexon recently posted..Do MBAs harm the economy?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 11:07 am

I thought the keyword article was written well. It reinforces that we need to use common sense and write good content without obsessing over SEO and the search engines. I’m glad you weren’t using either of those plugins. I had used both of them in the past but had long since ditched them.

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Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

Tried one of those plugins in the past and my whole site collapsed. Michelle helped me fix it. Willl never, ever use them again:-)
Catarina Alexon recently posted..Do MBAs harm the economy?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I can relate Catarina. W3TC totally trashed my design and restoring neither my database nor my complete site would fix it. I ended up having to recreate the entire design. I did learn that I could have exported and imported the settings. (I had assumed that they would have been included in my complete site backup.) Also, I ended up writing post about it that became very popular. So, some good came out of the experience.

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Elizabeth Scott
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 1:44 am

As a person new to the blogging world this article is extremely helpful. I agree with Susan that it is better to “grow” with your readers an content than to keyword stuff. :-)
Elizabeth Scott recently posted..What is a Virtual Assistant and are they worth the money?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Hi Elizabeth,
Welcome to the world of blogging! Years ago, people would stuff their pages with keywords in the same color text as the content background. (That way, website visitors would not see the text but the search engines would.) Automobile companies would stuff their pages with keywords from competitive manufacturers. (For example, a search on the word “Buick” may have landed you on a web page for Ford.) Thankfully, Google clamped down on all of that nonsense. For someone today to deliberately stuff their content with keywords sounds like tempting fate to me. They’re bound to get caught and penalized at some point.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Organic Search Traffic from Google Important to You?My Profile

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Glynis Jolly
Twitter:
April 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I got some good information at the blog, Blogging with a Dash of Social Media. Appreciate the link you provided.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for letting me know that you found the link helpful Glynis.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Is Organic Search Traffic from Google Important to You?My Profile

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Kevin April 27, 2013 at 8:23 am

There are some great sites on that list, but I find it kind of silly that one of the takeaways for the Coors site is the birth date pseudo verification thing, as if that’s ever stopped anyone from viewing a site. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t realize you could just put in whatever year you wanted.

I do like the UPS Store one, though. So many brick and mortar businesses don’t seem to realize that there’s a pretty high chance that visitors have come to their site looking for directions or store hours.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Kevin,
There are some great examples here. I honestly had never heard of the IAC awards before. As for Coors, I’m sure the age verification app is simply there to comply with the law. I agree with you that there were better takeaways from that site.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Social Media Snapshot Men vs Women (#Infographic)My Profile

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Susan Cooper
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm

I find these Friday find posts really helpful. It’s hard to find the time much less read everything out there. You cull it out and give us the best stuff. That is so appreciated. Word stuffing seems a bit time consuming to me. I understand the need to help with our SEO but I prefer to grow with and through awareness and as good a content as I can provide. I loved the infographic. That was really good stuff. :)
Susan Cooper recently posted..Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing: RecipeMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Susan,
Thanks for letting me know that you find this new series helpful. Now, I have to get in the habit of writing it and posting it a little earlier in the day. :)

I’m glad you liked the infographic. Some of them can be a lot of “fluff” but Sarah did a great job on this one.

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David Hood April 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm

The infographic is concise and relevant. It does give a better understanding of the different marketing strategies to tap.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 11:13 pm

David,
Thanks for letting me know that you found that infographic helpful. A lot of people don’t like infographics but personally, I like a lot of them.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Social Media Snapshot Men vs Women (#Infographic)My Profile

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Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Sherryl,
Thanks for the article about the plugins. My webmaster discovered a problem with W3Total Cache this week and disabled it. I didn’t know it was a security breach.
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..There’s No Second Chance to Make a First Impression on Social MediaMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Hi Jeannette,
That’s great that you webmaster keeps on top of these issues. Do you know what he replaced it with?

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Susan Oakes
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Hi Sherryl,

I was reading other articles and this article about the caching plugins and I am confused. I only installed W3TC a few weeks ago. Some people say just delete it, others say use other plugins, others say just make sure it is updated. So for some of us it is difficult to know what to do. What do you suggest?
Susan Oakes recently posted..Think Strategically To Enjoy Additional SalesMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Susan,
I’ve run into issues with both of these caching plugins and long ago replaced them. You may remember a post I wrote a while back about the fiasco I went through when W3TC broke my website design. I had made one simple change to my Thesis design and I lost all of the CSS. Neither restoring my database nor my entire site worked. I had to recreate the entire design. (I now know I could have exported and imported the design settings but live and learn.)

It turns out that other people have had issues with W3TC too and I’ve seen my share of issues with sites and WP Super Cache. The problem is that there are so many variables on each of our sites that there really isn’t a one-size-fits all solution.

I asked a blogger who I believe is an expert on Thesis for his recommendation and he suggested Hyper Cache. I’ve been using that for about 5 months now and so far, I haven’t run into any issues. On the other hand, I installed Hyper Cache on a client site today (not on the Thesis theme) and although I modified the wp-config.php file exactly like I always do, I kept running into PHP errors and had to remove it. I ended up installing Quick Cache (which I’ve never used before) and so far, it seems to be running fine.

If I were you, I’d ask around to see what other people who use Headway as their theme are using for caching. Then again, introduce one plugin that’s different from theirs and it could be a different outcome.

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Susan Oakes
Twitter:
April 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Thanks for the advice Sherryl
Susan Oakes recently posted..Business Growth Should Not Be ComplicatedMy Profile

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John Mak
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Hi Sherryl! I am aware of keyword stuffing and lately I’m receiving guest posts or seeing other articles on the web that they are keyword stuffed! I can see that still many writers overdo it and that’s the result of trying to “optimize” the article for SEO which that completely ruins it! My advice? Keep it simple! Thanks for sharing!

John
John Mak recently posted..Really Taking Advantage of What the Cloud Has to OfferMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

John,
I totally agree with you. Bloggers need to stop writing for the search engines and return to writing for our readers. I’m not suggesting that we ignore SEO. I do think that we should be cognizant of it and keep it in the back of our minds. I truly believe that good SEO habits can be formed. To me, the best habit that I got into was to keep a document where I jot down the tags and keywords that an article is about. I don’t do this to make sure I use them, I actually write my article first and then identify the keywords that I used. That way, it’s a natural flow of my thoughts rather than contrived text.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tracking Your Blog Post SEO Meta Tag DataMy Profile

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