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Practical Password Advice

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We’ve all heard the advice before. When picking a password be sure to not choose a word from the dictionary, make sure to use letters, numbers and symbols and never use the same password for multiple items.

All in all, it’s good advice, but the realities of the Web are much more complicated than that. If we could all remember a string of garbled text for every site we visit, our online lives would likely be much more secure. But as humans we are fallible and, as such, we forget, we take shortcuts and we inadvertently create worse security problems.

The truth is that most “hacks” that take place on blogs and any personal account are not caused by any software vulnerability, but through either password guessing or phishing. As such, the best security step anyone can take is to ensure that you have strong passwords and that you guard them closely.

But that is something much easier said than done. So here are some practical suggestions for creating strong passwords and making them stick.

Build a Good Password

The key to building a good password is to start with something you know and build off of it. For example, start with the word “orange” in the example below and then munge it to add extra security:

  1. Base Word: orange
  2. Add Numbers: o7ran3ge
  3. Add Capitalization: O7ran3Ge
  4. Add Symbols: O7r+n3G=

The above password, according to Microsoft’s Password Checker is “Strong” and can be easily made “Best” by adding six additional characters, perhaps by including another word. However, since not all sites or services allow more than 8-10 characters in their passwords, it is important to start with a shorter one that is secure and expand it if desired.

This creates a password that, with very little effort, can be memorized and reused while still being very secure. Though passwords created this way are not perfect, this is because they are not completely random, they are more secure than jotting down passwords or having to routinely use “forgotten password” features on sites.

Create Different Passwords

Once you’ve created a highly secure password, it is important to create variations of it. The reason is two-fold. First, using the same password on multiple sites creates a security risk. Second, even if you are comfortable using your password at multiple locations, not all sites will allow you to use symbols or capitalization in your password, essentially forcing you to pick a weaker password.

There are two easy ways to do this, the first is having different levels of security for the sites you visits. For example, your banking account should have the highest level of security, meaning the final password, but a forum you join might not be as important so you could use one of the weaker passwords, such as “O7ran3Ge”. However, it is important to change it so that one with that password could not make a guess at your more secure one, so you may choose “OranGe73” instead to keep it memorable.

You can also have a “throw away” password for sites you do not trust and do not plan to give any important information to, such as a blog you are visiting just once. These passwords can be very insecure but still should not be easily guessable. For these, a pet’s name or a pattern of keys on the keyboard may make sense.

Variations on a Theme

An even more secure suggestion for creating multiple passwords is to base each password on the site you are visiting. For example, if you were to log into this site, you might begin with the first four letters in the domain.

  1. Base characters: blog
  2. Shift the Letters One Left on the Keyboard: vkif
  3. Add Numbers: 1vkif3
  4. Add Capitalization: 1VlIg3
  5. Add Symbols: 1V+kIf3%

If you can remember the pattern of how the password is created, you can easily create custom passwords for every site you register for and no two sites will have the same password. (unless they have a similar domain). Best of all, the system degrades well. If a site doesn’t allow non alpha-numeric characters, you stop at the third step.

The problem with this system is that it might slow you down, especially on sites you don’t visit a great deal as you will have to work backwards to “figure out” the password rather than simply remember it. Still, it may be a small price to pay for security.

Add a Second Layer

However, even better than building a better password is adding a second layer of authentication. This adds a layer of protection beyond what you can remember (or figure out) and connects your accounts with something that you have on your person. This also adds a layer of protection should your password be phished or otherwise stolen.

A good example of this is the PayPal Security Key. This allows you to choose between either using a keychain, which displays a series of six ever-changing numbers, or receiving text messages on your cell phone.

You can also use the keychain with Verisign’s Personal Identity Provider (PIP) service. This lets you log into sites that accept OpenID. This includes an increasingly large number of sites. You can even install a WordPress plugin that allows you to login with your OpenID, thus letting you use your keychain with your own site.

However, there are many systems that allow you to have two factors of authentication and many banks require one of them. Which factor you choose will ultimately come down to what your current service accepts, as frustrating as that is.

Bottom Line

In the end, there’s no magic bullet to good password protection. You just have to use solid, easy-to-remember passwords and be careful who you give them out to. Be smart with your passwords, practice good security on your computer and you will likely be fine.

However, one final suggestion, for those that want the most secure passwords possible, take a look at the Perfect Passwords system at GRC.com and, while you’re at the site, check out the Security Now! podcast, which a great resource for security-related issues.

it is also where many of these suggestions came from.

However, passwords aren’t rocket science, they just take a little bit of planning and a willingness to trade convenience for security, at least a little bit.

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Do You Need to Make a Huge Blogging Shift?

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Sometimes, you get bogged down with your blogging routine. Routines feel comfortable, right?

But blogging is a feeling game like life is a feeling game. All flows based on your emotions. If you feel really good – first – then you take good feeling blogging actions and over time, with patience and trust, see good feeling blogging results.

Unfortunately, most humans give almost zero thought to their emotions before diving in to a blogging routine. Bloggers believe you need to do something or follow a set routine to succeed, to drive traffic, and to make money. Day after day, year after year, most bloggers follow a routine without giving zero thought to how they are feeling, if they enjoy blogging, if they have fun following the routine, and if they feel detached, patient and trusting in the process.

This is the only reason why as of about 7 years ago, 80% of bloggers never made more than $100 during their blogging careers. If 8 out of 10 humans can not make $100 through blogging over 1, 2, 5 or 10 years, 8 out of 10 bloggers clearly give zero thought to their feelings BEFORE blogging. Feel bad, and you see no money. But those 2 out of 10 bloggers who feel really good make lots of money over the long haul.

Shift

Maybe it is time to make a shift, guys.

2-3 months ago I made one shift. 1 month ago I made an even bigger shift; quite huge, for me. But what I did differently made almost zero difference. How I chose to feel marked the big shift, then, I moved into different blogging actions.

For example, I faced some deep fears, felt the fears, and instantly, after feeling pretty crappy for a short time, I felt better and better. Choosing to face fear, clear it, and feel better, helped me see things clearly. I tired of my blogging schedule, my social sharing groups, blog commenting and heavy cross promotion. In truth, I hated it. I did have some fun with each for a while but the passion long left me. Since how you feel before and while you blog means everything, my mindset-feeling shift told me I’d have so much fun guest posting. So as of about 3-4 weeks ago – maybe less – all I do is guest posting because I have fun guest posting and guest posting comes easily to me.

Making the shift involved facing deep fears of failure, loss and struggle. I had to feel the fear of letting go lifeless activities for me – at the time – to clear out the fear, and properly release these strategies, and to move forward so I could feel good, then, decide what blogging actions would feel fun and easy and enjoyable to me.

All shifts happen emotionally first, by your choice. After feeling some muck and then feeling better, you clearly and intuitively feel through the next fun-feeling, enjoyable step.

What About You?

Do you need to make any shifts with your blogging campaign? Or do you need to make one big, sweeping, all-encompassing shift?

Getting caught up in blogging routines feels comfortable, familiar and safe, sometimes. But do you feel good before you begin the routine? Do you feel good working the routine? Do you feel detached, relaxed, trusting and like you are cared for, and prospering, while following your blogging routine?

Be honest to make a necessary shift. If you love following your routine, cool. Proceed. But most humans are taught – me included – to follow some routine (no matter how you feel) to get something, specifically money, so you can avoid failure, struggle, poverty, going hungry, illness, and embarrassment. This is exactly why most humans work jobs. Follow a routine to get money even if you feel really bad or terrible following the work-routine; aka, even if you hate your job and it feels lifeless, or soul-less.

May be time for a big shift guys.

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Why Comedians Teach You a Powerful Blogging Lesson

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Last night I saw a funny comedian perform in Atlantic City.

Chris Delia charmed the audience with his silly, somewhat absurd, level of humor.

He also explained how comedians need thick skin to become successful. Humor is a very personal, subjective topic. Some people find some comedians hysterical but never laugh at other comedians. As you imagine, bombing feels terrible to most comedians. At least until they develop a thick skin.

I once read how Kevin Hart often waited until 1 AM to work an open mic. Sometimes he waited until 1 AM and the place closed down so he never got the chance to do his set. Imagine how thick-skinned you need to be to not let that bother you? Is it any wonder why he is now worth $150 million? He became immune to criticism, failure and rejection. As a matter of fact, after developing a thick skin, he likely did not see criticism, failure or rejection.

All those evenings of 1 AM sets in front of 1-2 lifeless people or all those nights of being told to go home at 1 AM after waiting for hours to do his act purged the fear of criticism, failure and rejection from his being. Void of these fears, he rose up to being one of the most famous, wealthy and powerful comedians on earth.

Bloggers Need Thick Skin

I once promoted a course to the tune of 8000 page views before I sold one copy. Did I quit promoting the course? No. I developed a thick skin during the process. I did not see 8000 rejections. I only saw meeting and helping more human beings through my blog. Even during moments when I felt like giving up I trusted in myself and believed in the blogging process. Quitting and failure were no options for me. But in the same vein, I needed to be thick skinned to see through criticism, rejection and failure.

I needed to be aware of opportunity amid the appearance of nobody reading my blog. Toss in being patient and persistent in helping folks during my most trying times and you have a pretty thick-skinned individual.

Do Not Care What People Think

Chris Delia shared how he could care less what people thought about him. He dressed down a few hecklers during the show.

Comedians succeed because they care less about what people think of their acts; being heckled, ignored or criticized had nothing to do with their belief in self and their belief in their comedic style.

As a blogger, give no thought to what people think of you. Guess what? You cannot control your reputation. No matter how long and hard you work in life to maintain a positive reputation, you can never physically control what people think of you. I am largely a nice guy 99.99% of the time yet some people genuinely hate me. I cannot control their demons. Plus I know we see the world as we see ourselves so if someone hates themselves I cannot do anything about that self-loathing.

Focus on yourself. Focus on what you think about yourself because this is the only thing that matters. Being comfortable in your own skin aligns you with loving, loyal followers who appreciate you for who you are. Let go everybody else. Critics form an energetic yoke if you care about their thoughts but dissolve into thin air when you could care less about what they think of you.

Bloggers become successful because these few folks who have thick skins shine brightly in a world of thin-skinned bloggers who fear criticism, judgment and rejection. The few who step it up do wonders because we all want a piece of free spirits who march to the beat of their own drum without caring what people think, say or do, in response or reaction to them simply being themselves.

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Do You Have an Exit Plan for Your Blog?

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This past week I ceased sharing posts in blogging tribes.

I finally got it; I joined tribes because I feared unless I shared other blogger content, nobody would read my content. I feared if nobody shared my content, nobody reads my content, and I needed to share other blogger content to effectively influence bloggers and people to share mine. Ouch.

As you can imagine, I put in many long, hard hours working a job, NEEDING to be online to succeed with my blog. Rewind. Working a job. Did you see this phrase? I worked a job. I needed to be online to succeed. Largely, at least. Does that sound like a business owner to you? Does that sound like leveraging? Sure I drive some passive traffic and profits to my blog but being honest, I largely worked a job and had a job for much of my 10 years online, and I did not have a pure business so I could step away from my blog and business for months, at a time. Or, forever.

Exit Plan

I have more of an exit plan now. I have a blogging business. I am writing my tail off to be in as many spots as possible without relying on sharing tribes and other groups that require me to be online, to social share posts, so other people can social share my posts, so I get traffic and profits. I began to think; what am I doing? I mean, if you love joining social sharing tribes, do it. Nice friendship builder. But you need to have some exit plan with your business and need to see how you can step away one day so it is about a 100% passive income machine – or, so you can sell it at a tidy profit – in order for you to be a free entrepreneur, versus a bound employee.

Think Leveraging

I am having so much fun writing blog posts and guest posts daily. Plus it is easy peasy. Every piece of content is forever, unless all these blogs vanish or get closed out by all these bloggers. Fat chance. Plus I can drive to Atlantic City today with my wife and enjoy a show this afternoon into evening and my business will still grow from a heavy passive element. Even though I am online writing this morning, all my blog posts and guest posts serve as a passive promotional army for the Blogging From Paradise blog and brand.

Imagine me trying to social share other blogger posts as I am driving down the Parkway? Not happening.

Networking Rocks

Network. Have fun making friends. Build a rock solid foundation for your blog. But eventually, evolve into someone who leverages your presence so you work a business, not a job. Any strategy 100% dependent on you being online, sharing blogger content so other bloggers share your content and boost your success, is a job, not a business, because you are tied to the online world and have no exit strategy, and a light passive element to your blogging business.

Gradually place less emphasis on networking online. Focus on purely passive elements, like writing more blog posts and guest posts, which last forever. Humans change, quit, fail, change tastes; you never want to be at the mercy of the fickle human beast. Unless all blogs close down, all of those blog posts and guest posts you wrote are pretty much forever.

Focusing a bit more on things – things helping people – helps you leverage your blog and business powerfully so you can make an exit plan and step away from your blogging business for 1, 2 or 3 months. I know bloggers who take vacations for months; everything keeps growing money-wise because they leverage, and are not dependent on people for cash flow, because their system creates the cash flow.

Trust in the process plays a big role too.

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