How to Get Back Into a Locked WordPress Website
A few months ago, I wrote an article for another publication about how to become a digital nomad and work remotely. Since then, several of my readers have reached out to me with similar questions. One of them was Andrea, a successful entrepreneur who recently closed a deal to grow her company in Europe. She was wondering how she could get back into the website that she created for a brand agency that she co-founded.
Here’s the thing: When you run a business, it’s important to keep track of all the sites that you create. But it’s also crucial that you maintain control over the content that you post on these platforms. Otherwise, it could become a liability to your business and brand. That’s why when I first saw that the agency website was locked, I was concerned. After all, this is the platform that you rely on to get in touch with your audience and grow your business. So, how can you ensure that you maintain control over what you post, even when you’re not physically there?
In this article, I’ll walk you through several steps that you can follow so that you can regain access to your agency’s website and re-establish control over its content.
Take Control Of The Brand’s Reputation
The first step towards regaining control over your brand’s content is to take control of its reputation. You’re probably familiar with reputation management. It’s the process of monitoring, measuring, and improving an organization’s online presence (i.e., their reputation).
Now, imagine that you’re the CEO of a brand. You wake up one morning and discover that someone has posted a negative review about your company on a generic travel website. While this may not seem like a big deal, it could potentially hurt your company’s reputation, which ultimately could lead to a loss of business. What do you do about this problem?
If this were the 1940s, you’d probably put out a press release defending your brand and criticizing the review. These days, you could engage with the reviewer, or potentially offer them a discount, in an effort to improve your brand’s reputation.
The point here is that your CEO’s reputation is your company’s most valuable asset. It’s something that you’ve worked hard to establish over the years with consistent and continuous effort. So, when a crisis like this happens, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy and asking yourself, “How can I improve my reputation?”
Set Up Regular Monitoring
Once you’ve taken care of your brand’s reputation, it’s time to monitor it. You do this through the creation of brand-specific websites and social media accounts. But, you also should be monitoring your brand’s reputation in the public eye on general platforms like Google and Twitter. (For more on monitoring, take a look at my guide to reputation management.)
These websites and social media accounts form the basis of your online presence. They provide your audiences with information about your brand, which in turn, can lead to increased sales and marketing success.
Regular monitoring ensures that your brand’s reputation remains consistent and consistent in the face of changing circumstances. And it allows you to respond quickly and decisively to any negative publicity or crisis situations that may arise. (For more on responding to crisis situations, check out my guide to crisis communication.)
Take Care Of The Website
The next step is to take care of the website itself. This means that you should make sure that it’s secure, that there are no broken links, and that it lives up to your standards. Most importantly, you should check for any unauthorized changes to the content, as this could lead to legal trouble and further brand damage.
What if I told you that there was a way to ensure that all of the above were done, whilst maintaining complete control over the content that was posted on your website? You’d probably tell me that my services were too expensive and you’d need a freelancer for that.
Luckily, there’s a solution: the lock-down plugin for WordPress. And, it was specifically designed to handle situations like this. When you activate the plugin, the contents of your website will be locked, meaning that only you and the web host can access them. This ensures that even if a hacker does manage to get in, they’ll have a hard time doing anything major without your knowledge.
From a marketing and business standpoint, this is an ideal solution. As an entrepreneur building a brand, you want to ensure that the content that you post online is of the highest quality, and that it’s consistent and trustworthy. But, as a webmaster and content manager, this is your pride and joy, so you don’t want to give it up easily.
Get In Touch With The Webhost
Once you’ve taken care of the website and have locked down the contents, it’s time to get in touch with the web host. You do this by sending them an email stating that, “I’d like to have my site (http://www.yoursite.com) locked down with the lock-down plugin.”
What if I told you that, once they’ve activated the lock-down plugin, they’ll send you a key, via email, that you can use to access the contents of your site? Wouldn’t that be convenient? It would, but it’s not that simple. Once they’ve activated the plugin, they’ve got the key, and they’re under no obligation to give it to you. So, you’ll need to convince them to help you out.
You can try offering them a monetary incentive (i.e., a reward) for helping you out with this request. Alternatively, you could appeal to their sense of professional responsibility and say that you’re sure that their customers will have more confidence in their products and services if they can vouch for the security of your website’s content.
If you’ve built up a significant following on social media and you’ve attracted the attention of online trolls and/or hackers, then you may need the help of specialized security firms like Norton Security, which provides the above services and offers numerous online security packages for businesses, individuals, and government organizations. (For more on cybersecurity, take a look at my guide to internet security.)
If you receive credit card information from users, you should be particularly diligent about following the guidelines set out in the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). This is a set of security standards that were established to protect sensitive payment data such as credit card numbers, and tracking information, such as cookies and IP addresses. (PCI DSS is often referred to as PCI for short.)
PCI DSS requires that you put in place a system of controls to ensure that your organization is compliant. You can start by reviewing your existing processes and procedures, as well as setting up new controls that will help you stay within the bounds of PCI DSS.
You should also consider what will happen to personal information that you no longer need. For example, if you’re using Google Analytics to track the website’s traffic, you no longer need the data that’s being sent to Google. You can either delete this data or secure it according to their guidelines. (More on securing Google Analytics data can be found here.)
Re-establish Owner Privacy
If you’ve ever used the Owner:Owner privacy option when sharing a private pool on a social media network, then you know how important it can be to regain some level of control over the personal information that you’re posting. (Sharing a private pool on social media lets you share content with only a limited group of people. It’s usually accompanied by a restricted visibility setting. Meaning that only the people you select can see your content. For instance, if you’re posting about your family, you may not want everyone on your social media network to see the posts about your child’s graduation party or your spouse’s birthday.)