Time to Upgrade Security

green security padlock
courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

Like many authors with personal websites, I have until now ignored the publicity around Google’s new announcements about changing to a secure URL  with jolly green padlock and an https:// prefix for the web address.

Why, I thought, would anyone be bothered hacking a small site like mine? I’m not selling anything, I may not even have any readers. I’m not a supersite like the UK’s National Health Service, an ISP like Talk Talk, or Spain’s Telefonica.

And more than many seemingly agree with me as I’m not the only normal www. on the web without an SSL certificate.

I do block loads of inept hackers trying to leave comments but if they don’t show on my webpages, that must be all right–right? Sadly not.

Google is now upping the ante. It is downgrading non-secure sites in its search engines, and popping out little warning notices prompting readers to think carefully before interacting with non-secure sites.

Why Pay Extra for SSL?

Is it worth paying the extra for an SSL certificate to encrypt a site which has nothing to hide?

I now say yes and have a few good reasons for doing so.

  • Internet communications can be bounced from computer to computer before reaching the server. Any one of these could attack an unprotected site with malware or worse. People around the world can extract sensitive data–not just yours but that of your readers even if you are just asking for an email sign up for a freebie or newsletter.
  • Do you really want readers to see a warning notice suggesting your site is unsafe? It’s bad enough seeing a warning that your site is suitable for adults only because you have a rather risque book cover shown somewhere on it.
  • SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificates encrypt your site from the moment it leaves your computer so it can reach your secure server safely. Your readers can be confident that any details they post requesting a newsletter, or even just making a comment, are safe with you. It’s  difficult for spammers to get a security certificate.
  • And if it’s cost that’s worrying you–check again. More and more companies are in the market to provide the certificates so prices have been dropping. You can even get free access through websites like Cloudflare or Let’s Encrypt if you feel confident to manage the tech details.

Warning notice

Like everything else you do on the Internet, check out the provider you choose carefully. Google has already noted that some certificates are not as trustworthy as they claim to be.

If you have a shared website –if your URL contains the name of your web host in the suffix like blogspot.com or ipage.com–then you can have your https prefix for free.

But if you have your own .com address, it means getting your own certificate from a trusted provider sooner rather than later.

I am now energized to sort out my web presence security asap.

Have you done yours yet?

Motivation and Inspiration


Overworked?Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of jk1991 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tired, worn out, not an idea to rub together?

It’s all too easy to forget why we’re here writing and beating our heads against our keyboards day by day. No wonder writers end up brain dead and chasing after new shiny goals to magic the way to success.

Instead of setting yet another dozen unachievable goals for 2017, stop and focus on what it means to be an energized writer.

  • Do you wake up every morning, racing to reach your computer, full of excitement about your writing passion?
  • Do you enjoy a brisk walk daily. use all five senses to take in your environment, find something new there to write about each time?
  • Do you find time to look out for friends and family?
  • Are you reading at least one unputdownable book and making notes on how the author worked to achieve those results?
  • Are you getting a good night’s sleep?

It’s all too easy to burn yourself out and answer no to each of these.

  • Do you wake up every morning, racing to reach your computer, full of excitement about your writing passion?

The first essay in Ray Bradbury’s Zen and the Art of Writing woke me up from a long spell of drudgery, just writing to make ends meet. This isn’t a how-to-write book but a how-I-did-it book which reignited my passion for writing as a vital creativity for life.

Come to it with zest and gusto, he says. and shows how it’s done.

A blog post on Jon Morrow’s new   Unstoppable   website filled with his zest and gusto for life charts his Seven Life Lessons. It’s a long post but a marvellous paean to the indomitable spirit of a man who has made his name over and over as a highly successful and helpful blogger.  I recommend it.

What is inspiring and motivating you to meet the New Year full of energy and raring to go? Share your thoughts and plans in the comments below.

Increase Energy Fast

Find a New Hobby

kayaker photo
kayaker:photo by Rosemary Ratcliff at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sometimes all it needs is a new experience to shake you out of your rut. A new achievement, a new hobby, a new friend. Do something you’ve always said you’d never do, Sign up for something you’ve always said you’d like to do. And then find the means to do it.

It works. I know it does. I’ve just done it.  When I volunteered to help at our weekend literary festival, I was overworked and exhausted. I was  behind on deadlines. I had no time to spare and I’d promised to help out for three days!

But doing something completely different, making new friends who also love books, being on my feet all day long away from my desk and home environment, suddenly widened my horizons and gave me the zing to crash through my deadlines in days rather than weeks.

Think about it. What would you like to do?

Revive Something Old

recycled notebook
photo by zirconicusso from freedigitalphotos.net

Then my little novella ShriekWeek appeared in a print anthology–thanks to the Wild Rose Press.  I had a box of books to sell. I told myself II was too tired, had too much to do. But friends rallied round and in no time half my allotted copies were sold. Never underestimate the power of print or jolly friends in pubs, 🙂

Have you some previously written blog posts you can fashion into a report to give away to encourage more subscribers to your blog or newsletter?  Just changing your writing style or content can give you a flurry of new enthusiasm.

Try Using Blue

photo by supertrooper, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
photo by supertrooper, courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Blue is the lucky color for brides. It is used to protect against evil in some cultures, and denotes spirituality in others.

According to graphics design site Canva, using blue in your website design and logos helps you inspire confidence, brands you as trustworthy.

Or just have fun with this quick Canva color quiz. Which color perfectly reflects your personality?

Do you agree with the result? Share it and let me know in the comments below.