A Hacked Website Ruined My Blogging Business. Or, Why I’m Speaking at Type-A 2018.

Hi there, my name is Adam Warner and I’m so excited to be attending and speaking at Type-A 2018! Rachel and the rest of the Type-A crew have graciously offered me a chance to introduce myself and share with you why I chose to speak about the importance of personal and website security in Chicago.

Who I Am and What I Do. The Short Version.

I discovered WordPress in 2005 and have been working within the blogging and online business community ever since. To feed both my entrepreneurial spirit and a love for helping others succeed online, I’ve founded several WordPress-focused businesses that provide education and plugins for business owners.

After working from home on my WordPress plugin business for four years while raising two toddler boys, it was time for me to get back into the software community that had given me so much. That’s why in 2016, I brought my passion for WordPress to SiteLock as a Product Evangelist and now, as an Open Source Community Manager. This has allowed me to deliver my zeal for WordPress to many WordCamps and other events all over the world. In addition to WordPress, I’m also passionate about my family, robots and of course, life, the universe and everything (and I’ve got the tattoo to prove it – just ask me).

Let’s Meet at Type-A!

I’ll be taking the stage at Type-A’s 2018 annual conference to talk about your personal security offline and how it relates to your online personality. Then I’ll transition into talking about the security of your website and blogging business. I’ll cover the best practices for securing your website to mitigate risk and make sure your business and income aren’t affected, even when the worst happens.

My session and the information it includes is for every attendee of Type-A. Whether you’re just starting your blogging journey or you’re an experienced online business owner, I’m certain you’ll leave with an actionable list of steps to securing yourself and your online presence.

Why is Website Security So Important to Bloggers and Influencers?

The average website experiences 59 attacks every day, any of which could result in stolen customer data, blacklisting by search engines, or suspension by your web host. A successful attack on your site could also impact revenue, tarnish your reputation, and degrade customer loyalty. To protect against a possible cyber attack and mitigate the consequences it could have on your business, you’ll need to invest in website security.

Unfortunately, many website owners believe their websites are inherently secure, or that website security is the responsibility of another party, such as a hosting provider. In fact, recent SiteLock data shows that 45% of surveyed website owners believe their web host provides security for their website.

While your hosting provider keeps the server your site is hosted on secure, securing your website is your responsibility. You can think of it like securing an apartment building – property management (or the web host) ensures the building and its premise is up to code, but it’s the responsibility of each tenant (or the website owner) to lock their doors and windows.

The reason I’m so passionate about website security is that I also make a steady income from blogging and digital product sales in my own business. I’ve been the victim of a hacked website in the past and it ruined my first online business. I want to ensure that not only are we helping each other get into the right security mindset daily, but that we’re taking the necessary steps to make certain our online businesses are protected as well as the financial futures of our families and those we employ.

My Blogging Story

Although I had been building HTML websites since the late-nineties, it wasn’t until I found WordPress in 2005 that I started blogging. My first blog focused on writing tutorials about WordPress itself. As I learned more about the software and how to customize your website with themes and plugins, I started to gain a following of others who wanted to learn about these topics too.

Having this experience, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, led me to create a free blogging network using WordPress Multisite (a version of WordPress that allows you to run hundreds or thousands of websites all from one installation). I monetized this platform by offering users access to custom features for a monthly fee.

My income was increasing every month, but there was an inherent risk of managing a website that I hadn’t considered and the site was hacked! Previous to this, the importance of website security hadn’t occurred to me. I tried, without success, to fix the hacked website on my own and with the help of others.Unfortunately, it seemed the more I tried, the worse things got. Every time I thought I removed the malicious code, it would just come back a few days later. There was a backdoor and I couldn’t find it. This went on for weeks and my paying customers started to cancel their accounts and request refunds (and rightly so). I made the decision to close my blogging platform, refund customers and move on.

hacked website

This was tough financially, but more so emotionally. I felt like a failure. But there’s always a silver lining when things go wrong. I learned a lot from that experience but most importantly, I learned about the necessity of website security.

I continued blogging about WordPress, creating revenue-generating websites, online marketing and of course, my experience as a parent. I still blog today, but my focus is on sharing what I’ve learned (the good and the bad) to help others be successful with their blogging journeys.

Let’s Chat at the SiteLock Sponsor Booth

SiteLock, the company I work for, is also sponsoring Type-A 2018. I attended Type-A last year and was highly impressed by the blogging and business knowledge of both attendees and speakers. As I’m prone to do, I talked with many people about my passion for website security as it relates to creating a sustainable income and it was clear this was a subject of great interest.

We want to continue sharing the importance of website security and demystify the process of putting security best practices in place. Although website security can seem intimidating, it isn’t hard to implement once the basics are in place.

We also have some pretty cool swag planned for you! There will be items that are both useful for security and also fun and unique.

I’m Looking Forward to Meeting You in Chicago

I hope you’ll join me at my session, “Website Security and Personal Awareness. What Everyone Needs to Know.” It will contain important information for any blogger and I promise to make my presentation fun and informative with no boring examples of code:)

If you can’t make my session, I hope you’ll take some time to chat with me at the SiteLock sponsor booth.

See you in Chicago!


Adam W. Warner discovered WordPress in 2005 and has been working within the community ever since. To feed his entrepreneurial spirit, he founded several WordPress-focused businesses that provide education, plugins and consulting services for online business owners. He is a true WordPress Evangelist in spirit and personality, and that also happens to be his job title with SiteLock.com. Adam is also passionate about his family, robots, and of course Life, the Universe and Everything.

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