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December 31, 2012

Google Releases New Holiday Webmaster Help Video

Happy end of the year, fellow Internet addicts! Matt Cutts just released a new Webmaster Help video – and this one’s short and sweet. In it, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, offers up a few tidbits of advice… things to add to your final 2012 “to-do” list before you ring in the New Year.

I’m planning on getting all three of these items accomplished myself, simply because they’re vital to my business since I work exclusively online. If you make any portion of your living online like me, then I’d suggest you think about knocking this stuff out in a hurry as well.

Protecting Your Computer

Cutts vehemently warns that everyone should install Google’s Chrome browser as soon as possible in order to prevent malware from running rampant through your hard drive. Of course, he works for Google, so this is a not-too-subtle plug for using the company’s browser.

Of course, you can use whatever browser you want (I’m a Firefox girl myself), but he brings up a good point. I’d just like to expand on it a bit. Run every one of your antivirus scans – in-depth – and clean your registry. Then run your disk defragmenter. In addition, delete all those temporary files lurking in your computer and restore all of your Internet browsers to their factory settings (or, at the very least, clear your cache).

It’s important to make sure your operating system and all programs are up-to-date as well. These should all be routine tasks, but let’s be honest – we don’t always stay on top of this stuff like we should. Take a day this week and whip your computer back into shape. The “end of the world” has come and gone (and we’re still here!), so set yourself up for success in 2013 by creating a secure work environment for your online business.

2-step Identification

If you’re a Gmail user, set up 2-step identification immediately.

It’s the ultimate way to protect your account against hackers gaining unauthorized access. Gmail account hacks have become an all-too-common trend these days, so adding an extra layer of security is essential to protecting your private correspondence and sensitive personal data.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about a man who had maintained a successful content-selling website for the better part of five years. It was a runaway success, and the site’s stats were nothing less than enviable. The site followed the membership model, and hundreds of people were signed up for monthly content-delivery services.

Then, suddenly, the webmaster found himself locked out of his site. I stumbled upon his story when I discovered his frantic posts begging for help in a popular online forum. The hacker had redirected his URL to some random website that he didn’t recognize. When he checked out the WHOIS data for his site, he nearly had a coronary.

The hackers had transferred the domain to their account, and the “new owner” was some unreachable guy in Dubai. The registrar was little help. The webmaster could do nothing but sit back and watch his life’s work dissipate in the blink of an eye.

He lost his entire inventory of content.

His monthly income.


Wanna know how they got in?

You guessed it – they hacked into his Gmail account and completed the rest of the process quite easily from there. Moral of this story: set up 2-step verification. It only takes five minutes, and setting it up now may save you years of anguish and hours of investigation down the road.


Matt’s last suggestion is something that I’m seriously guilty of neglecting myself. One word: backup. We all create content every single day for our online ventures, but saving it in Word, uploading it to WordPress, and calling it a day is simply not enough.

If my laptop fell on the floor, for example, my hard drive would be toast. If I wanted copies of my writing, I’d be forced to track down my published work and make copies of everything to secure backups of what I’d have lost. There would be no way I could pull that off – my work is everywhere now, and I write every day. Think of how long it would take to track it all down by memory alone.

That’s why you should create backups of your work routinely – whether it’s making copies to a jump drive, burning your content to DVDs, or even storing your stuff on a backup computer. Put it somewhere. Personally, I’m planning on trying one of those online backup companies in 2013 – seems easier and more secure than leaving a jump drive laying around. In addition, I could access my data from anywhere.

Remember that the New Year gives us all the chance to reinvent ourselves. We can fix what we screwed up, remedy sticky situations, and start ourselves off on the right foot in 2013.

Take Cutts’ suggestions to heart this week and give your online business a much-needed makeover – I know I’ll be right there with you.

Nell Terry is a tech news junkie, fledgling Internet marketer and staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She thrives on social media, web design, and uncovering the truth about all the newest marketing fads that pop up all over the ‘net. Find out more about Nell by visiting her online portfolio at Content by Nell.