Using Google Webmaster Tools
At the end of last month I wrote a post about phishing scams and about the damage they cause not only to the website but also to unsuspecting visitors. I also mentioned using Webmaster Tools provided by Google, a set of tools you can use for free to help you with tracking, progress, visitors, analysing performance and also keeping a check on the health of your website. By health I mean any occurring errors, blocked urls and malware on the site. You even get a message from Google if your website needs to update the version.
Google Webmaster Tools
You just can’t be everywhere all of the time. It’s summer time here, (you wouldn’t think so looking at the weather) so I am spending more time away than normal from the computer. I am so pleased that I took the time way back when to register with Google’s Webmaster Tools. This morning checking my mails for anything important that might have come in overnight I spotted an alert mail “Notice of Suspected Hacking on…” with the url of the site and links to the potentially compromised pages, pages that appear to have been created or modified by a third-party.
Armed with this information I was able to quickly locate the problem and clean up the mess this unwanted third-party had introduced into the website. From the outside, the home page looked quite normal. The malicious content itself was hidden through a process known as ‘cloaking’. Once all this content was removed, the website safe and secured I was able to resubmit it to Google for it to be indexed. It passed successfully. Had I not this set up in place I would have not been any the wiser.
The site is a WordPress blog completely up to date with the latest version and any plugins used are all updated, secured and yet the hackers managed to compromise the wp-content folder and introduce their malware and .exe file. It’s certainly worth every minute you spend to set yourself up with the Webmaster Tools. If you haven’t done so yet you can do it here. If you should need any help with your set-up you can leave a comment at the bottom of the post.
There is much more to this set of free webmaster Tools, however this is one feature that I praise very highly and which is easy to set up, even by a beginner. If you are prepared to learn more about what can be accomplished with this set of tools then there are videos on the official Youtube channel for the Webmaster site which you can watch.
One can always do website maintenance oneself but then of course you have to take the time to learn the ‘how to’ . Of course if time is an issue and you cannot be everywhere when you run a business you can employ a professional who will manage your business website for you, and resolve any problems as they occur. Maintenance service costs are normally affordable, a small monthly charge and peace of mind so that you can focus on expanding your customer base.