Category Archives: Web Safety Tips For Writers

Keep Your Website Visitors Safer With These Tools | Web Design Relief

You may have an author website with great design elements, informative content, and lucrative promotional material, but this means little if your website isn’t safe! When it comes to your author website, Web Design Relief feels the safety of those visiting your site should be your top priority. Without the proper precautions, you leave your visitors open to having their personal information stolen or their computers harmed by malware and viruses. No one will be able to focus on your writing if their security is at risk! Put an end to cyber threats and keep your author website visitors safer with these tips and tools:

Author Website Safety Tips and Tools 

Strong password protection: Step number one to protecting your website is making sure that no one with malicious intent can get in. Change your password often, every 90 days, in fact, and avoid using the same password for every account you have. The most secure passwords are over eight characters and include special symbols and numbers and at least one capital letter. If you need advice on creating a strong password, there are online resources that can help you.

Quality web hosting: Your website needs somewhere to live, just like you, so make sure it’s a safe place! A secure web host puts protection first, so your web visitors can worry about your next writing release instead of hackers. An excellent web host will make routine backups of your website, install software updates, and regularly monitor the site—just like Web Design Relief’s hosting service.

HTTPS: Unlike an HTTP web address, HTTPS, which uses an SSL certificate, keeps information on your website encrypted. If you’re not techy, you may have just said, Huh? But the concept is simple: an HTTPS address safeguards information like e-mail addresses or credit card numbers so fans can safely purchase a copy of your book directly from your site. An HTTPS secures your website visitors’ information and prevents it from leaking into the vastness of the World Wide Web!

Secure contact form: A contact form is a great way for editors, agents, and readers to send you an e-mail without your actual e-mail address being visible. But you want to protect theirs as well. If someone sends you a message, then suddenly starts receiving spam right afterward, they will likely not be stopping by your site again anytime soon. So make certain that your contact form keeps user data secure and uses CAPTCHA verification so only humans can input information onto your website, and not spam bots. 

Limit user logins: One of the simplest yet most effective tools for online protection is limiting the number of users who can log in to your site. The more users and login locations you have, the more points of entry a hacker has if they gain access to one or more user passwords. Keep user logins to a minimum, especially those who are administrators of your website. 

Account lockouts: Many hackers attempt to use brute force to access websites and steal information being exchanged on it. Brute force attacks use codes and bots to try thousands of username and password combinations to log into your site. How do you stop this? Simple: Adjust your settings so that after three incorrect login attempts, your account is locked!

Smart security plugins: When it comes to your author website, plugins are your friend! While many websites have built-in security, it doesn’t hurt to keep your web visitors fully protected with as many security measures as possible. Plugins like iThemes Security, Google Authenticator, and Jetpack (just to name a few) protect your website by regularly scanning for malware, setting up firewalls, and making it harder for hackers to gain access with modified login methods.

Your author website should be a hub of networking opportunities to not only boost your writing career but also attract literary agents and editors! This is why it’s important to maintain a safe website. You want visitors to return and not worry that their personal information, along with yours, is at risk. This means you should drop dangerous website habits like never changing your password. Discontinue hosting with a problematic or illegitimate provider, and keep just anyone from uploading content to your website. Instead invest in safety with secure servers, plugins, and more!

 

Question: How often do you use an author’s website to purchase books? Did you feel safe doing so?

5 Social Media Security Tips And Best Practices You Can Do Right Now | Web Design Relief

Writers: With online trackers, spambots, data leaks, viruses, and hackers hiding in every nook and cranny, protecting your online identity, information, and social media accounts has never been more important. The Internet experts here at Web Design Relief have a few tips and best practices you can use to protect yourself and your online presence.

Smart Tips And Best Practices To Keep You Safe Online

Use Two-Factor Authentication

This is something you should set up on all of your social media platforms and devices. Most of the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. have some sort of two-factor authentication protection available to create a second barrier to entry into your accounts. By integrating with your smartphone, tablet, or personal email address, these social media sites can authenticate that you are the user—rather than someone posing as you. Here’s how to set up two-factor authentication on Apple and Android devices.

Create Complex Passwords

This might seem obvious, but many people don’t do it, preferring to use passwords that are simple and easy to remember. After all, no one will hack YOU, right? Wrong. While it might be easier to remember something like Password1234, it doesn’t do much to protect you, your privacy, or your personal information. To more effectively keep your author website and social media safe, create passwords that have complex (sometimes nonsensical) combinations of letters, characters, and integers. A password like AA2714jolp!!$% may be harder to remember when you’re in a hurry to check out cute kitten videos and the latest tweets on your social media accounts, but it’s an important line of defense in the ongoing battle to protect your information.

Review Your Security Settings

Every smart device and social media platform has fairly comprehensive security settings to help protect you and your information. Checking and reviewing the settings on each site you use can help you guard against hackers accessing information you don’t want them to have. Since the big Cambridge Analytica leak, Facebook has upgraded its privacy settings tenfold, giving you more comprehensive control over who—and what—can see your data. You can even set limits on what posts and details the individuals on your friends list can see. As a result of the Facebook leak, many other social media platforms implemented large privacy overhauls as well. A best practice is to always check your security settings and stay updated about new changes and additions.

Change Your Password Often

The average social media user rarely updates his or her passwords or tends to use variations of the same password over and over. This has the potential to create a huge breach in your online security. No two passwords should ever be the same, and as mentioned earlier, every password should be a complex combination of letters, symbols, and numbers. Using the same or similar passwords for all your accounts leaves you wide open to spam, data loss, and hacking. To be extra secure with your social media platforms and online privacy, you should change your passwords at least every two or three months.

Check Before Logging In With Or Linking To Social Media Accounts

Many times you’ll come across apps or websites that ask you to log in with or link to one of your social media accounts. While Social Login may seem like a convenient way to log in and out of apps, it could also provide access to your personal information via those platforms. Before allowing an app or website to use your social media account as a login, be sure to check what they will be accessing. Some will ask for an email address—others may ask for access to your friends, birthdays, and more.

 

Question: Do you think social media platforms provide enough security for their users?

Your Secret Identity: 7 Ways To Safeguard Your Author Pen Name Online | Web Design Relief

Perhaps you’re a science fiction writer who also enjoys penning lighthearted chick lit, or a serious academic striving for university tenure who happens to spend summers plotting thrilling potboilers. To keep your worlds from colliding, you’d probably use a pen name. But aside from donning a pair of Clark Kent eyeglasses, how can you ensure your true identity will remain a secret?

Web Design Relief Explains Seven Ways To Keep Your Secret Identity Safe

Get A New Email

It seems so simple, but many people slip up and use their personal email when signing up for websites, copyright registration, etc., inadvertently revealing their true identity. Make sure the email you use for all your writing business represents your pen name.

Set Up Separate Social Media Profiles

You may already have an Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter account in your own name, but if you post anything about your literary accomplishments, then the jig is up. Instead, set up separate social media accounts in your pen name that are completely independent of your personal ones. As a further safeguard, make sure not to “friend” yourself or otherwise link your pen name accounts with your personal ones.

Purge Personal Photos 

On your author website, bio, and social media accounts, avoid using any photo that shows your face. A simple Google image search or a face recognition app could connect your author persona to your real identity. Many writers who use pseudonyms opt for a distant or obscured photo or their book cover as an option.

Soft-Focus Your Bio 

It goes without saying that you can’t list the date you graduated from your alma mater or your current workplace in your pen name bio. You’ll have to be vague about the details and tell your life story in soft-focus. But don’t get carried away and start making things up or claiming credentials you don’t have. If and when that information comes out, you’ll be discredited.

Consider Copyright Issues 

If you copyright your books using your legal name, then your true identity will be revealed within the first few pages of your book, right in the copyright clause. So much for anonymity!

However, if you copyright using your nom de plume (leaving your legal name off the copyright form), the length of copyright protection may be shorter. Also, without legal backup, it can become more difficult to prove you’re the owner should a claim arise in the future.

Check Out DBAs And FBNs

If you’re serious about separating your legal identity from your nom de plume, you may want to talk to a lawyer in your state or municipality about setting up a corporation or a limited liability company. You can then do business through that corporation, though you’ll still have to use your legal name for signing publishing contracts.

If you intend to receive payments, do any kind of banking, or get a credit card under your pen name, some states require that you fill out a “Doing Business As” or “Fictitious Business Name” form. With this in hand, you can register your domain name for your website, thus keeping the information about your identity masked from the publicly searchable domain name registry.

Limit Public Appearances

Keep in mind that even if you’re attending a conference far, far away from your hometown or office, it’s always possible you’ll bump into a colleague or old friend. You’ll also have to avoid being photographed, because there’s a risk those pictures will be posted on your fans’ social media pages. For every public appearance, weigh the risks and rewards carefully.

Though it’s not easy to hide your author persona in a world of rampant online interconnectivity, writers who are scrupulously careful about keeping their personal life separate from their writing life can continue publishing in happy anonymity.

 

QUESTION: Do you think pseudonyms are a good or bad idea for authors?

5 Biographical Elements NOT To Include On Your Author Website | Web Design Relief

Whether you’re a New York Times Best Seller or a new writer ready to self-publish your first book, the moment your author website goes live—you’re a public figure. Your readers will want to get to know you better, and you’ll be eager to tell them your life story. But along with true fans and interested… Continue Reading

Strategies To Keep Your Author Website Safe (For Yourself And Your Visitors) | Web Design Relief

When building your author website, you’ll carefully select your theme, typeface, and color scheme. As a writer, you’ll agonize over every sentence. But, while the creative elements of a website may be well in hand, many writers are not as savvy about the technical security aspects of smart web design. If your author website isn’t… Continue Reading

How To Create Backups Of Your Author Website If Your Web Host Doesn’t

Like the savvy writer you are, you have your author platform running like clockwork. Then one day, you check your email and find that the host for your author website has contacted you—and it’s bad news. Your website has been taken down because it’s been hacked. Unfortunately, this is a problem that’s becoming more and… Continue Reading


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