Updates, shmupdates…

There’s always the problem of what to write about. I do have a couple of books I’ve finished and I also have a movie we saw a couple of nights ago, and then I logged into the website and decided a little information and an update might possibly be in order.

Website Security

You have to be really careful with security on websites, I don’t think I’m paranoid but I decided I should do something about it. People are constantly trying to hack into websites and one way in is when people have the standard login details with a user name of ‘Admin’ and an easy password to crack. I had the user name of ‘Admin’ and a challenging password, everyone still recommended that I change the user name. I found this to be something I couldn’t do by myself and so I asked for help. I found, for a small fee, someone trustworthy (recommended by a friend I trust) could go in and change the user name and password to those of my choosing. I chose a word at random and then added a letter which explains why my articles no longer have my name on them or ‘admin’.

Spam

Another bugbear of website owners is spam, not the tinned variety as vaguely mentioned in the song by Monty Python called Spam, but comments on articles designed to link back to the home website and give them some SEO love. SEO? Search Engine Optimisation, it’s what we all want more of, the better our SEO the more people come and visit our website and the more money we make. That’s why people insert spam as comments on articles, you’ve probably seen some of them and they make little sense as they’re really just vehicles for key words and links back to their websites.

You’ll find two sorts of spam comments. Those placed by bots and those placed by real people. Often they make the same amount of sense as those real people have little English. I presume this works in other languages as well. I’ve had spam in multiple languages and that was in one comment.

There are all sorts of methods to stop them inserting their spam comments. I’ve tried a number of them and they all work in varying ways. Some of them make you sign up as a ‘member’, others make you answer a question, some make you tick a box to ensure you’re human and various other methods. I’ve used Akismet and found it sometimes lost important comments, one of the best comments I had I saw the email come through and was looking forward to reading it again but when I went to my website it was nowhere to be found. I got rid of Akismet shortly after that. My most recent exercise in spam comment control consisted of a box you had to tick to prove your humanity, unfortunately this seems to have disappeared as I’ve just found out. I will be checking to see why and if it needs fixing or if it needs replacing. (edit: I’ve just found it had been deactivated, now it works but I think I need to find a new sentence as I’m bored with the old one).

Of course, there is the problem spam commenters now have. Google have decided they’re not going to let this practice continue and are actively working to stop it. You can read more about it in this article. This is great but I still have spam comments as it takes a while for the information to filter through and it does nothing to help the other search engines as they work differently to Google. I’m getting up to a dozen in a day.

The Case of the Missing Shopping Cart!

Those eagle-eyed readers might have noticed the missing shopping cart. I’m not going to send you on a hunt to find it as I know exactly where it is but I’m not enabling it at present. During a recent update I carefully upgraded my shopping cart only to have it break the whole website, I couldn’t get to it using either the front end (the bits a reader would normally see) nor the back end (the bits I see while writing this work of fiction), it was totally broken. I finally got some help and got it working again but without the shopping cart. They released another upgrade and I tentatively put that into action only to find the very same problem. I wasn’t very complimentary or polite while I reinstalled my whole website. I might be going back to a previous version that did work while I extract the data but after that I don’t know what I’ll do.

I have options. I could use a previous version, install another cart entirely or even sell off all my part-work magazines and stop thinking of selling books and magazines on this website. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and haven’t come to any conclusions.

Reviewing

It’s an interesting place I’m in at the moment as while I’ve been pondering my options I was approached by Sainsbury’s eBooks in the UK to review books for them. I can’t help wondering if I’ll have time to do any selling. Naturally I jumped at the chance and will be using one of their books for Mondayitis on Tuesday, not a new book but I had to test their system somehow so I ‘bought’ a free book from them.

I’ve also finally made the jump to getting books from Net Galley for reviewing. I have one book I’ve read through Net Galley and will present a few words about Madame Bathory in due course.

All of this is making me really ponder my part-work magazines. If anyone wants I have ones about Warplanes, craft ideas, sewing, knitting and crochet, cooking and so much more. I suggest you get in quickly and help me make up my mind.