There is so much thought and work that goes into setting up your own blog—deciding which Content Management System to use, creating great content, picking your theme and targeting your specific audience. However, there’s one increasingly important element many bloggers fail to consider: security.

It doesn’t matter how much effort you dedicate to perfect the look and feel of your website if you fail to secure it from attacks properly. You run the very real risk of all your hard work being for nothing. These five practices are all essential pursuits if you want to give your online endeavors the best chance for success.

Use Strong Passwords

It may seem obvious, but it can’t be reiterated enough: passwords are your most powerful tool against hackers. Most sites now demand complex requirements for your password. This may seem frustrating and time-consuming, particularly when you have several to remember. However, ensuring stringent password protection can keep you safe from one of the most common online hacks there is: brute force attacks.

This attack is a regular phenomenon in which malicious hackers run programs that use algorithms to try as many different password combinations as they can to get into your account. By making sure each set of login details is unique, avoiding common combinations and using a variety of symbols, you can significantly reduce the risk of hackers stumbling across the right one.

Protect from Public WiFi

Even if you have done the best you can with your passwords, there’s still a chance of them being intercepted, particularly if you’re a regular user of public WiFi. These free networks are invaluable when updating your blog on the go; they enable you to indulge in writing sessions in your local coffee shop or respond to comments on the train. However, they’re notoriously insecure.

This is because they run as an open network, which means your data is viewable and accessible by others who are also connected. Hackers are so aware of this weakness that they even set up rogue hotspots in order to trap you into sharing your data with them. Fortunately, there is a foolproof way to overcome this. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be used to encrypt your data before you connect to the network, allowing you to browse anonymously and securely. Secure Thoughts recommends VPNs for phones too, so you ensure protection for all your devices.

Utilize Plug-ins

It’s not just on the administrative side of things that you can run into security issues. Simply by having your blog hosted online, you are putting yourself at risk. Luckily, depending on which platform you have chosen to use to create your website, there are security plug-ins available to keep you safe.

These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dedicated firewalls
  • Login lockdown
  • Two-step authentication
  • Direct anti-virus and malware protection

You don’t have to be a security expert to use them either; there are options for both novice and experienced bloggers.

Update Everything

It’s almost too simple to consider, but one of the best ways you can keep yourself safe and protected online is to ensure you are always updating the software you regularly use. This includes operating systems, internet browsers, blogging apps, security programs, etc. Developers often release security patches in newer versions of software for problems that have been identified in past updates.

Think about it: As soon as the software is released, hackers all over the world are trying to find ways to gain access to it. Over time, they begin to find their way in via security holes. These holes are faults in the code, which are vulnerable and can be manipulated. Companies are constantly working hard to identify these holes and solve them before the next update release. If you aren’t stringent with staying up-to-date, then you’re leaving significant areas of weakness in your security setup.

Evaluate Personal Security Practices

It won’t matter how many precautions you take to secure your blog if your personal security practices are sloppy. On top of the aforementioned points, here are a few other simple adjustments you need to make to your online habits if you haven’t already:

  • Only click on trusted links and open emails from known senders.
  • Update your social media login details regularly.
  • Never overlap business and personal accounts.
  • Ensure regular full-system backups in case the worst does happen.
  • Don’t willingly post private information online.
  • Be stringent when allowing other staff members and contributors access to your blog.

Blogging requires effort and dedication, and you wouldn’t want all of that hard work you put in to go to waste. To avoid full-scale disaster, be sure to add these habits to your workday, and you will be free to focus on what really matters: managing a successful blog!