20-top-bloggersCan't believe that January is over so soon. (Yes, I probably say that every month – but it's true!)

Apologies if I've missed visiting some of my favorite blogs this month. You'll read why below.

But first – a lovely surprise for me….

20 Top Bloggers in 2015

January 2015 certainly went out on a high when I spotted that I had been featured by Enstine Muki in his post 20 Top Bloggers. I am really honored to have been included with such a list of great bloggers. Pop over later and read these blogs, and you'll see exactly what a high standard they set.

The one notable omission from the list is Entine himself. Every post is an education, and he's the creator of the free My Comment Author's plugin I use for these “end of month” posts, which help bring casual visitors back to my blog. If you're not using it, I do recommend it – read more here.

But before you pop off to read the other blogs, here's the highs and lows of my month.

Articles in January 2015

  • I started the New Year with a post about Work-Life Balance, and the challenge that it gives me. This wasn't the best time to attempt to improve on this as I had a HUGE offline job going live this month…. the culmination of a year's work and with 40 staff waiting to start using it again, it had to be right. More on this below….
  • My second post was about Email Marketing Services, explaining why I'm recommending Aweber to all new clients – after much deliberating and chopping and changing in my own business.
  • In the week when my client's software went live I knew I'd have no chance to produce a good blog thanks-col-pxpost, so I asked my friend James McAllister to do an Interview. He did a sterling job for me, handling the comments etc which saved me a lot of time and stress. You'll see from the number of comments it attracted that it was a popular post. So another big thank-you to James at Help Start My Site.
  • Finally, more or less back in the saddle, I continued my New Year clean-up with a Review of Social Fresh Start and Twitter Tips. In a nutshell I had so many Twitter accounts from old blogs that I couldn't maintain any of them adequately – so I've drastically pruned my Twitter accounts, and am using Sue Worthington's Social Fresh Start course to keep me on track. Apparently I have to wait 30 days for the old Twitter accounts to be properly closed down after deactivation. In the meantime they are still emailing me – but I hope they will do the decent thing and disappear after the 30 days!

So… I started the New Year focused on a fresh start because my offline client's software upgrade going live should have freed up more time for my online business. The software upgrade is running pretty well (touch wood) with only minor glitches, and I'm starting to pick jobs off my never-ending “to-do” list.

This would all have gone a lot better, if it hadn't been for….

Hacked Blogs

You remember those old blogs, related to the old Twitter account…. Well a couple of them got hacked. (Not this one – just some old ones.) I had unfortunately missed a few WordPress plugin upgrades, and Hostgator told me that was the reason. I thought I had things tied up with several security measures, but be warned – those old plugins were enough to let someone in.

While waiting for Hostgator to pronounce on my sites I went in via FTP with a slash and burn approach and deleted everything I didn't recognize!

The sites seem to have survived my major surgery and I added the Wordfence plugin that I use on most of my sites. I don't know why I hadn't put it on before on the old sites too, because it's a super plugin and very easy to set up. It scans your site for problems, tells you what to clean / correct and you also have the option to immediately lock out specific IP addresses and usernames that try to access your site (e.g. admin – which you should NEVER use). That's just the free option.

The paid option gives even more facilities, including Country Blocking and support. You can read about Wordfence here.

Not A Lot Of People Know This

The most scary “attack” was where someone tried to sign in to one of my sites using the correct WordPress username. Obviously I don't use “admin” – nor do I use anything that anyone should have known about. It's actually a private family nickname, so goodness knows how they got hold of that. Needless to say I have deleted that username and am now using something more obscure.

Apart from the slip of not immediately updating a couple of plugins I've worked hard with site security, so this was quite a blow to my pride as well as my work schedule. Wordfence will now email me when its scheduled scan detects any problems or required upgrades, and I'll be fixing them very promptly, and I urge you to do the same.

As usual this problem arose because I had too much on my plate and neglected the old blogs. So I've taken the drastic step of taking down some of the old blogs I wasn't keeping updated and now I just redirect the domains to an affiliate site. At one level it's been sad to see the hard work of those old blogs wiped out, but I'm trying to be philosophical and remember how much I learned from setting them up.

EU VAT On Digital Products

I've mentioned briefly the problems caused by this very silly change of rules dating from January 2015. I have no intention of attempting to explain them because the rules keep changing as it dawns on “the powers that be” what a nest of hornets they have stirred up.

The implication for me, as a digital product provider, is that I have to account for VAT on my sales. I have enough admin to handle without this, so the simple answer seems to be to move my product to the Clickbank platform where VAT is handled for me.

This meant I had to take time to create new sales and download pages and to learn about selling on Clickbank, as opposed to buying – the latter being too easy!

I am very nearly there with this – just a couple of technical glitches to sort out and I'll be compliant.

Thanks To My Comment Authors For January 2015

So, that's been a run through of my month, and all that remains is for me to say thanks again to everyone who has been kind enough to read my blog and add their useful comments. I look forward to seeing you all again in February.

Did YOUR New Year start off as well as you'd hoped? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Total Comments on this blog in Jan 2015

Hi, My name is James McAllister.
I made 15 awesome comments.
Hi, My name is Edward Thorpe.
I made 5 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Enstine Muki.
I dropped 4 awesome comments.
Hello, My name is Sandy.
I dropped 4 awesome comments.

 

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