Friday’s 4-1-1, What I Learned From Getting Hacked Style

This is what I feel like has happened to my blog over the past month or so.

Getting hacked is not something that they warn you about before blogging. Despite coming from a web dev background, it was nowhere on my radar. Certainly not to the extent of the headache that it caused. One little piece of code can have such deep and damaging ramifications.

This was one was good. I’ve got to hand it to the creator. But, now, everything is all cleaned up and we’re rid of it.

I thought it was most appropriate to dedicate today’s Friday 4-1-1 to some of the things getting hacked taught me.

  1. Blogging is much more than just writing blog posts – everywhere you look about tips for blogging, one of the first things you see is how much dedication it takes. Most of the time, “dedication” is tied to posting regularly and getting engaged with your audience. But getting hacked takes “dedication” to the next level. Posting and getting engaged is central to the success of your blog. But you’ve got to be prepared to trouble shoot technical issues and ultimately fix them. You’ve got to think about SEO and creating the proper tags on your pages. Titles. Site map. You’ve got to make sure everything is good with your analytics. For me, right now, posting is the least of my concerns. Making sure that the integrity of the site – security and optimization – is in order is the thing that keeps me up at night.
  2. If you’re not familiar with code, learn it or hire someone you trust who does – I am not a coder. I don’t want to look at code and decipher what needs to be done. I get so impatient with it. And this hack job was no little thing. So, there’s finding rogue code and trouble shooting that goes along with working your way out of something like this. If you’re not prepared to do this, make friends with someone who can and will. Or it could just be the end of your blog.
  3. Even though you can’t blog, continue communicating with your community – admittedly, I have not done a great job of this over the past few weeks. But that’s the beautiful thing about all of the social channels that we have now. You don’t have to be tied to one to engage with your community. In fact, it could open up other opportunities that you might not have had on your blog. I have to keep trying this daily. It’s hard.
  4. Inspiration is all around, don’t close yourself off – I might have not been able to post anything to my blog for the past few weeks, but that didn’t stop me from searching, being open to inspiration, and jotting down ideas for posts. Often times, I think us bloggers get so attached to our blog that when something like this happens and it’s closed off, it stifles permission to be inspired and documenting it. Yes, we do have other channels to engage with, but the act of curiosity shouldn’t be tied to the state of your blog.

“Duh” – I’m using this as an opportunity to re-launch the look and feel of this blog. This notebook theme is perfect for the spirit of this blog, which is really based on exploration and journey. I am informal with varying levels of thought. I’m exploratory and open for not having the answer. I’m still making some design changes (coming in the next few days), but for now, I’m going with this simplistic approach. What do you think?

“Uh-huh” – there have been quite a few people who have helped me out in this time, who quite honestly, absorbed a lot of the headache for me. Ian and his team, Ryan, Christian, and Dave – thank you all. I really, really appreciate the work, the advice, and just the moral support that you gave me.

Here’s to a non-malwared, scary-message, hack-free site for the (hopefully) long-term.

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