How do you stay safe while blogging?
Even if you’re new to the blogging game, even if you have only a handful of followers, it’s important to be cautious about what and how you post.
I don’t want to scare you with tales of stalking, identity theft, trolls or generally dodgy internet folk, but it’s best to be safe rather than sorry. In my opinion the best blogs are honest, but that doesn’t mean putting yourself at risk.
Here are ten tips to help you stay safe while blogging:
- Location, location, location. Never, ever, post details which could give away your home or exact current location – your street sign, address, and other personal details should be off limits. Never publish a photo of your children’s uniform or anything which could link to their school, nursery or location. I’ve been asked many times which nursery and school my kids go to, but I will never share this information online.
- Delayed gratification. Wait until you’ve left a place before blogging about it. Turn off social media location settings or keep the location vague. Blogging about an upcoming holiday to your hometown is fine, but if you back that up with real time social media posts pinpointing your location, then beware of others piecing together information that your home is empty.
- Think of the children. If you choose to blog about your kids, always ensure they’re dressed appropriately. A good rule of thumb is not to post photos you wouldn’t be comfortable posting of yourself. So cute photos at the beach might be OK, but bath time shots might not. It’s up to you as a parent to err on the side of caution. Even if your kid agrees to be included, they’re minors so be extra careful.
- Local customs. Bikini clad shots of you sipping cocktails might go down well in your hometown, but could be less welcome in other parts of the world. Be cautious about what you post, and consider how your words or photos might be viewed in the country where you took your photos or in which you’re blogging.
- Check with others. If you’re publishing a blog with a quote, reference or photo of someone else, check with them first. It might feel fine for you, but it could put someone else in a dangerous or embarrassing position. And besides, it’s just good manners! Equally, check comments on your blog and social media – unbeknownst to them your friends or family might leave personal details or clues which would be better deleted.
- Boost your security. As for the techie side of things, I use a free plug10in called Wordfence, which strengthens my WordPress firewall and adverts me if there are any new logins from other devices.
- Change your password. It sounds obvious, but if you opt for a password like ‘password’ or ‘12345’, you’re asking for trouble. If your blog is password protected for close ones only, using a complex password is paramount.
- Beware of scam emails. If you get an email asking to include a link, infographic or whatnot, delete it immediately. If you get asked to click on a link, ensure the sender is someone you trust. It may not actually be dodgy, but chances are it won’t help your blog traffic.
- Stay up to date. Make sure your Blogger or WordPress version as well as your plugins are the latest versions. I generally update my software as soon as I get a notification.
- Back up your data. I use a paid for service called Jetpack for automatic updates. There are different plans available, with the personal plan (around $40 USD per year) including daily automatic back ups. It’s worth it, especially if you live in a country with sketchy internet or lots of malware.