I’m going to tell a truth up front; I want to make money off my blogging efforts. There’s nothing wrong with trying to make money, especially if you put a lot of time into it. I may not be blogging 24/7/365 because, after all, I do have a life and responsibilities, but I put enough time into it that it wouldn’t be depressing if I started making money off it (by the way, did you ever notice that little blurb just underneath the commenting policy before you leave a comment? lol).

With that said, I decided long ago that the first thing I wanted to establish with anyone who ever visited any of my websites or blogs or even my videos is that I could be trusted, and that I had ethics that would preclude me from doing anything I didn’t believe in or that gave me the impression that I couldn’t trust the people who might want to work with me. To that end, let’s start with a video:


What Helps You Trust Others
https://youtu.be/SIW8wPqCcNA

As you can see, I’m not overly trusting of a lot of people. Of course I trust most of you who comment here (okay, no I don’t lol), but in general I like to make people earn my trust, just as I work at getting people to trust me.

In the early days of this blog, I used to add a product at the end of every blog post. That’s when I used to be with Commission Junction and I was new to affiliate marketing. I was probably familiar with 50% of the items I shared, but I definitely wasn’t familiar with the rest of it.

I was trying to appeal to the people who were coming to the blog, which means that sometimes I had things like shoes, dresses and baby items… none of which I’d ever use. It took me a couple of years to realize that wasn’t the way to go and I stopped doing that, only posting things I actually used or knew about (which is why I link to a lot of books). I also never made any money from any of those things, and I didn’t deserve to (the only thing I ever made money off was that Mailwasher Pro ad over there on the left; I still use that and yeah, you should too. BTW, this isn’t an affiliate link, but a link to the original article I wrote about the product).

Mitch and Shanice ethics
Don’t I look ethical?

Over the years I’ve come up with my own ethics as it pertains to affiliate marketing and accepting sponsored posts (which I don’t do on this blog or my main business blog). I used to apply these standards to guest posting on my finance blog when I accepted them and, because so many people didn’t follow through on their agreements, became one of the reasons I stopped accepting them. It was way too much time upfront and on the back end that it just wasn’t worth all the effort anymore.

A phrase I hear all the time these days is “side hustle”, which basically means finding ways to make money off your blog via ads and such. Many of these folk are doing it the right way, but I also know there are folks who are doing things that they really don’t believe in because, to them, it’s all about the money; money trumps everything.

Man… if y’all knew how much money I’ve let slip by me over the years because there were things I just wasn’t going to do you might want to slap me across the face and say “get real”. Hey, if it violates my own ethics or standards I couldn’t live with myself. This isn’t a religious thing either, since I’m a non-believer in anything like that. It’s just my belief that there are way too many people willing to do literally anything for money, and I refuse to be one of those people.

Anyway, that’s me. I’m not going to ask anyone if they believe in being ethical for money or if they’re being ethical in making money because I don’t want to put anyone on blast. Instead, I decided I’m going to share some of my positions regarding my ethics, or “rules” if you will, that help me determine what’s good and not good to do.

1. If you really don’t believe in a product or service, don’t write about it.

It’s rare that I’ve written about products on this blog other than when I’ve talked about books. I did write on that Mailwasher Pro item and since I’m still using it all these years later I think I’ve proven that I really believe in it. The last product review I wrote about was concerning the Fitbit Flex, and I was as detailed as I could be about how I use it.

honest product reviews

My friend Pete sometimes writes product reviews on his main blog, but one of the best he ever wrote was when he talked about buying solar panels for his home and all the research he put into it before deciding on who to go with. Check out this post and notice the quality of the information he give about solar panels in general and why he selected the people he did. This is the kind of quality one can give you if they’ve actually used a product or service, and he’s not even making any money off it.

If you want people to trust you, your words will come across better if you’ve actually seen what you recommend personally, rather than many of the researched reviews about products that, if you’re actually paying attention to the articles, you realize folks have never used.

2. If you accept guest or sponsored posts, have a policy and make sure people read it before you work with them.

Some of you know I’m not big on guest posting, and I don’t accept it on any of my blogs unless I ask someone to write one based on their expertise. With that said, I do accept sponsored posts on 3 of my blogs (although only one actually gets requests), but I have one rule that I stick with.

That rule is… people need to use my name in the email. It might sound petty but I’ll tell you why I have it.

I learned that my finance blog is on a lot of lists of sites that accept guest posts. I learned about it 4 or 5 years ago. This meant that, though I have an advertising policy on that blog that most people aren’t even seeing it.

I know this because most of the email I get is something like this:

Hi,

My name is XXXXXX and I recently found your blog and wanted to reach out on behalf of some of my clients.

Specifically, we are interested in guest posts and sponsored posts. Is this something you offer?

If so, could you please send over more information.

My gripe is that the advertising policy is right on the main page of the blog, with the link just under the About link. It’s nice and bold, very easy to spot. That I’m always asked about guest posting or sponsored posts and what it entails when everything is written in the policy is irksome.


Babies know ethics 🙂

The advertising policy also tells people to write to Mitch at the blog’s email address. I do that because it’s a test. See, I’m big on responding to comments (along with 29 other things as it regards blogging), and if I accept a comment on this blog I’m going to respond to it (because unfortunately we know that some comments won’t pass muster).

Thus, I expect anyone who wants to have a sponsored post on my blog to respond to any comments those articles get. A good test to see if people will pay attention to the rules is to see if they’ve even made an effort to see if there’s an advertising policy (or guest posting policy) on a site before reaching out to the person. If they don’t, it’s easy for me to tell. After all, the rules are in the policy; it’s not like I’ve made it hard to follow.

3. If you accept banner ads, at least check out the advertisers first.

I not only accept banner ads, but I’ll accept sponsored links on posts that are more than 6 months old. That comes with two caveats though. The first is that the link has to have something to do with the article. The second is that I get to check out all links before I approve them.

I check out all links and websites. There are topics I won’t accept, so if they have blogs I check those out as well just to make sure we’re on the same page. If I’m going to link to it I want to make sure it’s trustworthy because my name is going to be associated with it. We also know the Big G is always looking at everything we do online, and even though I won’t go out of my way to please them or any other search engine, it’s stupid to intentionally antagonize anyone right?

4. Have established policies or procedures that you want others to follow and that you yourself follow.

I shared my advertising policy for my finance blog above. I haven’t added it to either of the other blogs that I would accept advertising for because I’ve yet to be asked. I have comment policies on 4 of my blogs where they’re easily seen (if not always paid attention to) just above the comment area.

I also have a way to show people when I’m linking to an affiliate product (a light blue line under the link) and this year I’ve started adding a disclaimer at the end of any article that has a link in it (I used to put a note pretty much anywhere in the post). That’s actually requested by search engines, although I’m not sure how they’d know there was a notice or not.

5. Let people know whether or not you’re providing the service

You might be trying to make money by providing services instead of products. In that case, I’m going to assume that you’re including it in your articles when you write on certain subjects or in your About page.

However, I’ve also known people who say they’re providing services, then turn around and give it to someone else to do. If you have employees that’s fair, but if you’re giving it to someone you don’t know via Fiverr or some other service, that’s disingenuous and sneaky, especially if you’re not telling people that’s what you’re going to do.

I see that often with people who contract with someone to provide articles, then pass it off to someone else and pay them way less than what they’ll be getting. That’s when quality starts to fall, and you’re going to be the one who takes the blame and gets the criticism.

Your ethics don’t have to be my ethics when it comes to making money. All I’m suggesting is that you think about your ethics when you’re ready to start trying to make money online. In person people are pretty forgiving; online, not so much. Be honest and real; that’s all I’m asking for.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 Mitch Mitchell

A week and a half ago I bought a new mattress. It only took me 20 years to do so, and 20 years to realize how mattress technology has changed. Let me share the little video I did about it with you:


https://youtu.be/kO8ZIUMy6HI

Kind of cool, right? For those who didn’t watch the video first, the company I bought this mattress from, Raymour and Flanigan, is the same one I bought my other mattress from along with the cool looking headboard. As a matter of fact, my previous dining room table, which is hidden somewhere in the basement, was also purchased from the same company; I’m saying it that way because the location of the main store has moved to a new and much larger location. In this area, this furniture store is one of the big names in town and because I’d purchased other things for them I trusted them much easier than I trusted a couple of the other stores I visited.

Also, because you might not have looked at the video (go ahead, look at it to see how neat it is lol), you may not know that I purchased a Beautyrest, which is a top brand name and one of the top ranked mattress companies in the country. I’d also heard of them so that also made it stand out in my mind and helped encourage me to buy it. Of course it didn’t hurt that it was on sale, and they threw in new box springs and added free delivery and they took the other mattress and bed springs away for free also; win! 🙂

We Have Tubes - Ottawa 01 08
Mikey G Ottawa/Street Photographer via Compfight

The thing is, this isn’t where I started my research for mattresses. It started online, mainly because of my wife, who’d had some mattresses recommended to her. All of them were off-brands, and some of them were mail order only. Even with research I couldn’t imagine ordering a mattress that I couldn’t test first.

There were a couple other stores we checked out before I went to this store because one was closer and one we happened to walk by in our large city mall and decided to check out. I’d actually tested what I considered a perfect mattress, but I couldn’t pull the trigger on a $5,750 mattress! Maybe when I hit the lottery I’ll consider it. lol In any case, I didn’t know those stores all that well, so even if I’d found something I liked I probably would still have hesitated.

Let’s face it; we love what we love and buy what we know. I’m pretty loyal to foods and desserts that I’ve loved since I was a child. I still buy Tide because Mom bought Tide. I buy Ragu because it’s the first spaghetti sauce I liked. I’m a loyal Hershey’s chocolate fan, Miracle Whip fanatic and Velveeta lover because they’re foods I trust and the company’s behind them are brands I trust. It would take a lot for me to even think about trying something else, let alone switching permanently. That’s what branding does to and for us; it simplifies our life and makes us consumers for life.

This is one of the things most of us who blog or are self employed are working to be for someone else. I find it’s not all that easy to do, although I know it can be done. I know this because I can name names, although I’m not going to do it right now (I’ve done that before).

There are people making pretty good money online because they’ve been able to brand themselves well; I’m certainly not going to hate on them. I don’t want to be against them; I want to be in the place they’re in. I’m working on being seen as an authority in multiple areas, and I’m working on being more influential in those same areas. I don’t need thousands of people, but I’m definitely shooting for those 100 true fans to help me realize my long term goals.

I know what will work if I only want more traffic, but that takes a lot of time and effort and isn’t the best way to reach your target market. I know many people say success is in the numbers; that’s turning out not to be true anymore, especially for a lot of people on YouTube lately.

For once I’m not giving advice in one of these posts. Instead, I’m looking for a conversation to see what some of you think is the best way to build yourself as a brand. I know I’m not convinced in guest posting, email lists, Adwords or Facebook marketing. I’ve actually done all of those things and, because of stupid Google Panda I got smacked down like a lot of other people over the years. Who knows; maybe I did it wrong, so I’d be interested in hearing what y’all have to say.

That’s all I’ve got; let’s see what happens…
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 Mitch Mitchell

Last March I wrote a pretty comprehensive post titled 31 Big Mistakes People Make Blogging And In Social Media. It’s still one of my post popular posts, and it almost reached 100 comments (okay, 50 comments since the other half are mine lol).

social media tips
School’s open on
social media

One thing bloggers need to know is that sometimes you have to rehash a particular topic because time goes by, and you’re not marketing some posts as much as the articles get older. You can either address the entire post or you can bring over elements from a previous post and add new items. If you bring previous topics you need to be ready to write about them in a different way.

Out of the 9 topics I’m going to address about things people do wrong on social media, I’ve touched upon 3 of them previously. This time around the title topics are written differently and I’ll talk about them differently, using different words and examples. After all, one should only copy from themselves a little bit; am I right?

Before I go further, let me say this one thing. Though I’m saying these things are wrong, these are actually things that irritate me more than their being wrong. If you’re into doing any of the things I complain about here, keep at it; don’t let me dissuade you. If you’re open to seeing why I’m irked by these things, since I’m sharing my thoughts for your benefit, then please check them out.

Enough of that; let’s get into it:

Posting too many times in an hour

I love Twitter; it’s my favorite social media platform. I love the chance to interact with other people and it’s proven to be the place that generates more shares than any other site.

I know the same happens for a lot of other people, which makes Twitter a great place to market one’s services, products and thoughts. Yet, something I see happening too often is a person deciding to share lots of posts in an hour or two. And I mean a lot of posts! Often the exact same thing, even if it’s worded differently.

Folks, there are 24 hours in a day. There are ways of posting on social media sites that allow you to spread out your marketing. You can try Buffer for many of them; I use it for everything except Twitter, where I use Tweeten. This will help you alleviate the overkill while you’re online, which is probably why you’re posting that way, and allow you to space your messages out to reach a higher audience.

Posting non-business articles on LinkedIn

I have two points that are specific to a social media site, and this is the first one.

I know that Linkedin wants to be Facebook in the worst way possible. Just last week they mentioned that they’re adding trending topics to the site; ugh! However, it’s still supposed to be for business purposes, even if they’re making it harder to do.

Since that’s the case, and almost everyone should know it, then why are people posting things that have nothing to do with business? Motivational quotes; Facebook & Twitter. Motivational images; Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Fashion pictures when you’re not a designer; other places please!

The way I see it, if you’re not doing anything to help promote yourself or someone else, or you’re not sharing something that’s within your industry or business related, you’re making yourself look like you really don’t care about business or making business contacts. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just visit your profile page and you’ll see people you’re connected to posting and making inappropriate comments that has to be making them look unprofessional. Do you want people thinking that about you/

Posting too many sales messages in your personal Facebook stream or Instagram account

Nendoroid And Figma Prezzie
Danny Choo via Compfight

I love Instagram because I love looking at the pictures. I like Facebook because I like seeing what’s going on with my friends and family. What I don’t like on both of these sites is that lately more people are using both sites for advertising their wares and services more than as a truly social medium.

I get it; Facebook has over a billion potential customers is hard to keep away from, and they also own Instagram. You never know where a customer might be, and that’s a lot of people to have the possibility of reaching. With that said, there are other ways of reaching people if you’ve got a message to put out that not only will be of more benefit but could end up going to a targeted audience, which will improve your potential to make sales or get business.

First, there are business profile pages you can create like like this one I have for my business. There are also group pages that sometimes allows people to post advertisements of some type, which you could get around by creating your own. Finally, there’s Facebook Ads where for a nominal fee (depending on genre) you can not only post an ad but gear it towards specific demographics and potentially reach a lot of people you’re not even connected to.

I’m not saying that you should never post any type of marketing to your Facebook page, because your friends and family might not know what you do, so it never hurts to clue them in from time to time. I’m saying to please, PLEASE, don’t do it all the time!

By the way, I know that Instagram doesn’t have groups and such, but they do have advertising that uses the same algorithms that Facebook does. Also, I believe that we’re all marketing all the time no matter what we do or where we are, so you might as well make yourself a kind of brand celebrity and show people a bit of what you’re made of. Most buyers like to know who they’re working with or buying from so take a break every once in a while and show something of yourself. Please! lol

Never posting anything of your own

I’ve mentioned this one before, and now I’m going further with it. I used to only see this on Twitter, but now I’m seeing it on all social media sites.

First, if you’re ever sharing my stuff I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s always appreciated.

With that said, every once in a while I’d love to have the opportunity to promote your stuff when I see it. The problem is that most people either don’t have anything of their own to share, or are too cowed to do so. Those who are doing it don’t understand what they’re missing.

As LinkedIn becomes Facebook, this has become quite pervasive there as it’s always been on Facebook. LinkedIn is supposed to be a place where we can promote ourselves and our business, but few people actually do it. Facebook might be a place where more people are socializing yet I see a lot of people (including me) posting things they’ve found on other websites, including YouTube.

The difference for me is that I also post my own things, although not all that often. I post my business works on my business site on Facebook, but I also post them on both LinkedIn and my business profile page on Google Plus. I post my local missives in my local blogging group site. Every once in a while, if I write about diabetes I’ll post it in my diabetes group on Facebook. If I feel I’ve done a video that I want to get some outside feedback on that I think my friends or family might enjoy, I’ll post it on my Facebook timeline.

Twitter… everything goes on Twitter! 🙂 I space it out so that I’m not inundating people; no one wants to deal with that. Still, there are a lot of people who aren’t even trying; don’t let that be you.

Never sharing anything from other people

IMG_5020
The Advocacy Project via Compfight

This is the antithesis of the previous gripe. It’s “all about me not about you” syndrome. You might put out some pretty good stuff, but if you don’t look like you’re ever going to share other people’s content which shows that you’re actually trying to help or inform others I’m probably never going to follow you… unless you’re a celebrity who follows me first (it happens more often than you think)! 🙂

“Sharing is caring” isn’t supposed to be empty words that sound pretty. There’s more to life than just talking about yourself all the time. You’ll find that the law of reciprocity as stated by Amirah Hall benefits all parties, way more than you might anticipate. Give it a shot and prove to yourself how it can benefit you.

Never giving credit where credit is due

I’ll own up to the one being hard to do most of the time because people or sites don’t help us to help the authors give them credit. Sometimes we have to go above and beyond to find a way to highlight someone whose words we like, kind of like I did above with Amirah (whom I don’t know).

Going out of your way can be time consuming, so I don’t fault anyone for not going the extra step I do most of the time. What I will do if fault people who never show love for someone by mentioning them in a blog post, even if they link to someone else’s site, or acknowledge that they wrote something when you repost something they’ve written when they give you share buttons with their social media personal contact information in them. Even if it’s not in the share button, if you’re on someone’s blog they’ll probably have a link to Twitter or some other site right on the page where their content is (I know everyone doesn’t but most do); it won’t take much longer to add that link to something you might share when it’s possible.

I know it’s harder doing it when someone posts an article on someone else’s blog or website, but many times if it’s a quality site they’ll have a person’s links next to their name somewhere. I’d rather give credit to the writer than the website, since the website’s going to benefit just by your going there; who’s with me on giving credit where credit is due?

Arguing too much with others

I’ll admit I have a trigger topic that used to get me arguing with people at a moment’s notice. What I’ve learned over the years is that arguing accomplishes nothing except getting one or both people upset. Discussions are always a better option, but you won’t find a lot of that happening online because we don’t know each other all that well, and we can’t see facial expressions or body movements.

Getting into an occasional argument is no big deal. Doing it all the time, everywhere is definitely a big deal. It got to be a big deal for me, even though I’d stopped participating in it (especially during the election season) that I almost left social media. I know a lot of other people who either left social media or just dropped certain sites, never to return. Even now, a lot of it just seems to have gotten worse.

Think about how too much arguing might make you look in the eyes of people you’re connected to. I can tell you that I’ve muted a lot of people on Facebook and removed a lot of people from my life on both LinkedIn and Twitter. I don’t have time for arguments in my life anymore as I reach for peaceful living. Discussions are a different matter because those have a chance to lead to understanding.

If you like arguing then go ahead and keep doing it if it makes you feel better. If not… just stop!

Hitting on people inappropriately

DSCF5091 #LDEAfrica
Paul Saad via Compfight

Ugh! This one is mainly for the men who might read this. Y’all need to get a grip on yourselves and stop being jerks by targeting women on social media sites.

I see a bunch of punks (yeah, I said it!) every day on Instagram and YouTube saying some of the meanest and vilest things to women about their looks, about their believed behavior, about the positions they take, about what they want to or are going to do to them while hiding behind fake names and fake accounts that it’s sickening.

Every once in a while when I see someone saying things like this I’ll follow them back to their page, especially on Instagram. I’ve been amazed at how many of these people have pictures of their children or family members there, or talk about religious things. What a bunch of phonies!

The way I see it, you purveyors of filth need to grow up and take some accountability for yourselves. I’ll block people in a second; occasionally I’ll call someone out, and I might even “accidentally” leak some of their contact information so others can see who they are (it’s amazing how many people hiding behind fake names and profiles don’t realize how much information about themselves they’ve actually shared lol) and address them in a more open battlefield. I don’t suffer fools kindly, and I hate misogynists almost as much as racists and bigots. If you wouldn’t say it to your mother, sister or daughters (or, for some of you, granddaughters), stop saying it to women you don’t know!

Not engaging others when they reach out

It’s called social media for a reason; the idea is to try to be social.

On Twitter, I’m following just under 1,360 people at the present time. On LinkedIn it’s just under 1,000. On Facebook it’s just under 600. I think it’s around 150 people on Google Plus.

Those are pretty low numbers for a lot of people so I’m not close to bragging here. The point I’m trying to make is that almost everyone I’m following or connected to is a person I’ve talked to at least once. Sometimes I’ll reach out to someone, while other times they’ll reach out to me.

Occasionally someone I don’t know will reach out to me because they saw something I wrote or shared. When that happens I’ll talk to them. After all, they took a moment out of their day because they felt compelled to say something. What kind of jerk would I be if I didn’t respond (unless they were mean; that almost never happens lol)? What kind of jerk are you if you don’t respond?

If you’re shy online get over it! I understand not making the first connection because that can be tough; believe it or not, I’m somewhat introverted when it comes to that sort of thing. But someone coming to you while you’re in your safe place and you not responding; that’s not cool at all. Go ahead, answer or say hello to those people; it can only benefit you and even make you feel good.

That’s all I have for the day; I believe I’ve probably said enough. If you have any thoughts on this article please go ahead and have your say. Hopefully it’s made you think of at least one thing you might not be doing that you can improve on.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 Mitch Mitchell

A few weeks back I decided to tackle the question of What Is An Authority Blog Post. That article did pretty well when compared to many of my other recent articles, although it hasn’t done as well as last week’s post in the Limit Login Attempts Plugin for WordPress, which I recommend to everyone with a WordPress blog. Still, it’s helped me come to an interesting conclusion which I’ve been pondering since I wrote the first post on authority.

Authority
I’m an authority on sand people

Actually, I’ve been thinking about this much longer than you might believe. It all started when I read the book Millionaire Messengericon by Brendon Burchard back in 2011. This book talks about how all of us are experts in something because we all know something someone else doesn’t know, even if we don’t know absolutely everything about it. He was also one of the first people I saw use the word “thought leader”; I have to admit I’ve loved that term ever since.

Of course, by the next year this site and all my other sites were suffering from a Google Panda smackdown, and as I was losing my rank and not paying attention I had no idea what was going on. Over the course of the last couple of years I thought my main issue had to do with mobile speed, but it turns out even with that none of my blogs are ever going to be what they were before; sniff!

I’ve always seen myself as more of a thought leader than an authority. My reasoning is that most of what I do is actually opinion based on research and observation, even though I’ll share some statistical numbers here and there. I don’t write a lot of posts that are as specific as the one about Limit Login Attempts or teaching people how to block newsletter popups. Instead, I like to pontificate on things like the pros and cons of professional writing and things I’d do differently if I were starting a blog today.

I give my version of details, and I think I’m being helpful, but that’s not what Google considers as helpful. Helpful comes from people like Neil Patel or from sites like Kissmetrics. It’s not that I don’t write anything helpful; it’s that I could never keep up with the level and amount of content those folk put out on a daily basis, let alone a regular basis. I can brag about being a solo bloggers with almost 1,750 articles on this blog alone, on a multitude of topics, but those folks are putting that much out yearly, if not monthly for the shared sites.

Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging and I were talking about the merits of writing long form content and how it seems to drive higher content on a more consistent basis than shorter articles. My thought was that, though some of my longest posts have received a lot of attention, overall articles under 1,000 have ranked consistently higher as a group.

Snoopy authority
Also an authority on Snoopy

Back to this question of being an authority; what makes it so? I went looking for some answers like I did last time and, oddly enough, the answer came from my last post when I said this: “Others will identify your posts as authoritative…” By extension, this means it’s going to be other people that decide on who’s an authority or not.

It’s really that simple. It’s not long or short posts, it’s people. Sure, search engines can help guide those people to us but if we can’t count on them then it’s up to us to find those people who might help to get us recognized as authorities… if that’s what you’re shooting for… which I am. lol

I called it simple; it’s not really all that simple. It takes a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of directed work and it takes a bit of passion to get it done properly. I use as an example a guy named Marcus Sheridan who used to run a blog he called The Sales Lion which is now pretty much just a website, with all that old content gone (at least I couldn’t find it) because he doesn’t need it anymore. This is a guy who started blogging to help promote his swimming pool business and ended up being seen as an authority on marketing and content and a whole host of other things.

I’ve worked hard over the years at being seen as an authority because of my writing. I know it takes a lot more than just that, because if it only took writing then Jack from The Jack B would be an international superstar… which he still is in my eyes. 🙂

It takes marketing, promotion, branching out, talking to people on the phone, being willing to do speaking engagements… over and over and over again. Whew; I made myself tired just writing that!

At least I’m doing some of these things; still, I wonder if I have enough time and energy to get there. Do you think you can get there? Do you want to? Let me know below, as well as your thoughts on what you think makes people authorities.

(anywhere you see a highlighted blue link on this blog indicates it’s an affiliate product)

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 Mitch Mitchell

This post about the Limit Login Attempts plugin for WordPress blogs was initially written back in 2009. However, at that time I didn’t really talk all that much about how it worked or its settings, nor did I put images on my blog back then.

Limit Login Attempts Admin

This is one of those things where, based on a lot of things I’ve been reading, it’s not only good to republish a piece, since most of the content is changing, but upgrading it so that it reflects more of what I want to tell you about since it’s still pertinent to our needs and security.

As stated before, the plugin is called Limit Login Attempts, and its purpose is to dissuade hackers from attempting to use their nefarious software from gaining access to our blog’s username and password. I keep coming across more folks who’ve had their blogs hacked, including some of the more famous names, and there’s usually two ways their sites get hacked. One is that a hacker’s found a backdoor way of getting in, possibly via old themes you’re not using anymore that you didn’t remove from your Appearance tab. The other is them figuring out your username and password by hitting it multiple times with their bots.

Most of us are too lazy to change our username from Admin, or forget to change it to something stronger when we first create blogs; heck, many don’t even know they can do that.. I used to be bad at this, but I’ve taken care of both that and my password with my newer blogs. Still, against automated software, you need something stronger to protect your property. That’s why I love this plugin so much.

Obviously, the first thing you have to do is install it via the install plugins link. It should pop up pretty quickly, and you should feel pretty safe using it since. One thing that violates my norm is that it hasn’t been updated in about 5 years, but it’s been uploaded way over a million times and people are still using it. I read some of the latest reviews and it seems that most people love it, but nothing’s ever 100%. However, people who are having problems with it either tried to modify it or have already been hacked, which is a totally different issue.

As you see in the image above, the first two things you get are options you don’t have to take any interest in. They’re stats that tell you how often idiots have tried to get into your blog, which I’ve never reset, and how many active bots are trying to get in now. I have to admit it’s freaky realizing that 34 of these morons are trying to break into my account right now; it’s not going to happen in their lifetime. 🙂

Before I go any further I need to warn you that whatever settings you set also apply to you. So, you’ll either need to feel confident in knowing and typing correctly your username and password unless you have it set to automatically put it in on your browser, which you probably don’t have set up if you’re doing it away from home. Just so you know, if you lock your silly self out (because you’ll feel pretty silly if it happens), you can always get back in by FTP’ing into your account on the back end, deleting the plugin, and once you get back into your blog adding the plugin and starting again.

You need to decide how many login attempts you’ll allow before it shuts down for a certain number of minutes. It’s defaulted to 4, but I’ve made mine 3 times for this blog since it’s my most popular. I have it on 4 times for my business blog and all my other blogs 5 times because I’ve been known to forget what those passwords are; sigh! lol

The second is how long you want to make people wait before they can try it again if they get it wrong whatever the number of times you set it for. The default is 20 minutes, but that didn’t feel strong enough for my tastes. I have mine set at 4,500 minutes, which is 75 hours or just over 3 days. I figured that was enough to frustrate the normal hacker who’s not all that bright.

The third is how many times you want to allow someone to try to get it and locked out again. The default is 4 more times and an increase to 24 hours. Since I’d already decided on 75 hours up front, 24 hours would have made it easier for the hackers. Once again I thought that was too generous, so I changed mine to 2 more times and 300 hours, which is 12 1/2 days. At this level the hackers have had just over a month to try to break into my blog; that’s not a bad deterrent I’d say.

This last one is the biggie though. It’s nice of the folk who created it to still give you a chance to have it automatically reset after a certain period of time. Their default was 12 hours; once again that seemed deficient from where I stand. I decided to up the ante and go with 900 hours, which ends up being 37 1/2 days before a reset.

The next two things are the default settings, and I’ve left them alone because, truthfully, I’m not sure what they really mean. Even on their page they don’t really tell you what it means, but they recommend we stick to the default.

The last two are kind of a crapshoot, depending on what kind of information you want to see.

I told mine to log all the IP addresses, and it’s been listing them since I initially added the plugin in 2009. They’re all listed just under the Change Options button, almost 15,000 of them. lol Actually, that’s not quite true, because many of the IP addresses tried multiple times to get in. You get to see all that information, which can be intriguing, but for most of you it’s probably unnecessary.

I also told mine to stop sending me email, which is the default setting. I initially wanted to get email alerts when I first installed it, but after a couple of weeks my stress level was rising and I decided I didn’t want to know. lol After this one, you hit that Change Options button to save your settings and you’re good to go!

I feel that I have an extra layer of protection, and that helps me sleep better. You’ll still want to add a backup plugin just in case someone figures out how to get into your blog and you need to restore it, as well as a firewall plugin just in case something’s already on your blog and you want to block the weasels who got it on there from activating it. This one is definitely a must to have if you ask me… so go add it immediately! 😀
 

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