It’s been a long while since I wrote a post where I touch upon a lot of different things. I’m doing this for two reasons. One, because each of the things I’m going to talk about are relatively short, which means writing about just one of them wouldn’t be much of a blog post. The other is because this is my last post of 2019, as I’m giving myself a 2-week break.

3844328 via Pixabay

I’ll tell those of you who read this now that after the new year this paragraph will change to remove the part about it being the last post of 2019. Within a couple of years, few of these things will be considered as evergreen content, but one never knows who’s late to the game when they start researching some of the things I’m going to talk about.

Let’s begin.

1. Classic Editor

The write up on WordPress 5.0 was scary for some of us to say the least. A lot of the talk was about how the editor area was going to drastically change. It was supposed to be released at the end of November, then it was pushed back to some time in January. Thus, it was a shock when it came out at the beginning of the second week of December; stupid pundits! lol

I was going to wait for a while before updating, until I remembered I had 5 blogs. I decided to test out the update on my blog with the least amount of content, figuring it couldn’t hurt that bad.

I was wrong; it hurt a lot! The editor area was drastically different, and it turned out my version was missing a lot of stuff after I started researching it. I normally run without using WYSIWYG, but I tried both that & my norm and I couldn’t get it to work. I’m not going to do into all the details because, frankly, I’ve been working hard to forget them. Not only that, but there’s an easy fix for it.

Conveniently, someone created a plugin called “Classic Editor“, and it brings back the editor we love. The most amazing yet not shocking thing is that after one day there had already been more than 700,000 downloads; seems a lot of us hated the update. lol I’ve just saved you a lot of time and effort that I was about to go through to recode everything until I learned about the plugin. If you learned about the plugin from me, go ahead and thank me for it. 🙂

2. Instagram downloads

A few weeks ago I gave everyone the process for downloading all your Facebook information, or at least all the things that might interest you. At the end of that article I mentioned that I was going to do the same thing with Instagram, which Facebook owns. Suffice it to say I did it, and got over 4,000 images back; whew!

The quick down & dirty process is you have to sign onto your Instagram account on your computer first. Next you click on the little man and it’ll take you to your profile page. Next click on the gear looking thing and go down to privacy and security. Once there, scroll down to Data Download. That’s where you put in your request to get all your images, which is basically putting in your email address and your password. It can take up to 48 hours to get an email with links to where you can download everything. I hope you have fast internet if you have a lot of pictures; just sayin’…

3. HTTPS mess

Last week I had a conversation on Twitter with a lady who’d done a podcast interview with someone whose belief was that it was a necessity that everyone have SSL certification to makes their websites secure; you know, the https thing. We had a back and forth on it with her stressing its importance and my saying it’s not that important to everyone. She indicated that I could possibly suffer on the back end without having it; I said I’d deal with it. I’ve had troubles with Google in the past, so I’m fearless. lol

Here’s the reality of the situation. HTTPS isn’t a necessity for everyone or for every reason.

It’s a necessity if you’re trying to sell products. It’s a necessity if it’s your main business site. It’s a necessity if you’re worried about Chrome outing you for not having it, which they’ll do by telling everyone your site is “not secure”. With around 60% of the populace using Chrome as their main browser, and being gullible enough to believe “not secure” means “dangerous”, it could put you in a state of dis-ease.

website security
DariuszSankowski via Pixabay

However… if your site is a blog and you’re not selling anything directly, it’s not a necessity. If you’re selling affiliate products, where people click on a link and go to another site to buy something, it’s not a necessity. At least for now no one’s getting penalized for not having their sites secure; if it ever gets to that point, then all hosting companies will probably help you take care of that issue.

For my own purposes, only my main business site has the https certificate. My hosting package allows for one free SSL certificate, and it made sense for my main site to have it. At a cost of $65 per certificate per year for each of my other sites, that I’m not making any money from, it’s a ridiculous cost to come out of my pocket. The recommendation you’ll get from a lot of people is to switch hosts; that’s more problematic than it’s worth unless you’re making enough money for it to become an issue. At least that’s my take on it. In any case, I’m here to tell you it’s not worth a lot of consternation; think about it before you start pulling your hair out.

4. Google’s turn to mobile

This one’s kind of interesting. Google’s decided that mobile’s the way to go for everyone, as their stats are showing that more people are accessing sites via mobile than they are via desktop. If you’re a part of the Google Search Console program, you’ve probably already received an email telling you that they’ve switched your site to mobile first capability… even though we didn’t ask for it.

The strangest thing I’ve seen occurring because of this is that my desktop site seems to be moving faster than my mobile site. That wasn’t the case 2 years ago when I spent an inordinate amount of time working on my mobile speed. For some reason now, my mobile speed’s seem to stay in the 70’s & 80’s but my desktop speed averages between 95 and 99. I’m not sure what the significance of this is or why it’s happening, but if you want to check out your own site, check out this link. If you’re on a WordPress site & haven’t done anything to enhance your mobile presence (or speed), add the WP Touch plugin.

5. Breaches

It’s time to get smart and comfortable with a couple of realities. One, social media sites can’t protect your data; two, social media sites can’t protect your data. Yes, I meant to say it twice because I want to reinforce that in your mind.

Facebook had another breach. Google Plus had another breach (and will be shutting down its site sooner than expected). Instagram’s had breaches; LinkedIn’s had breaches… YouTube… I’m not so sure. Breaches have become a norm, and not only on social media. Lots of large companies and online sites have had breaches, and many of them don’t tell us until months later that it’s happened.

Can you protect yourself from them? Probably not 100%. Can you do a few things to help? Absolutely.

For your blog, add the Limit Logon Attempts plugin and any of the multiple firewall plugins out there. Make sure you check your settings so that they’re strong but won’t inhibit you too much if you forget your username and password (which should be ridiculous but one never knows).

Make sure all of your passwords everywhere are hard to break and have a place where you can keep them all. Don’t store all your passwords within your browsers, especially for banking sites.

When it comes to social media in general, be more judgmental in the things you share online. For instance, on Facebook I don’t tell my birth date, my wife’s name, or my cellphone number. Because I have a business, I do have that name and phone number listed, but if you don’t then don’t put one on there. Think about your security as if the Russians are trying to steal it (which they are; you know it’s true lol), but don’t obsess over it. BTW, this is proof that having a site with https isn’t foolproof; so much for being secure…

There you go, my 5 things I feel you need to know as we head into the new year. I wish everyone the best and let’s hope 2019 brings us all peace and success!

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