Maintenance: Thank You, Pharma Hack

Well, I’ll say this for the WordPress Pharma Hack: it has made me look more closely at my website.

Well over a year ago I began the process of converting this website to use WordPress. As I did so, I created pages in my WordPress install to introduce the Chicago Bass Ensemble to new visitors, to mention the musicians in the Chicago Bass Ensemble, to host our contact form and mailing list. I mostly left the old .html and .php pages in place, figuring that if anyone had bookmarked them, I wanted them to get something better than a 404 error.

Of course, the RIGHT thing to do would have been to put proper redirects in place, but I was focusing first on getting WordPress running, and then on getting the right site design in place (still not done, as of this writing).

I did get WordPress running, and good pages in place, and started writing blog posts about this and that. But I got distracted from the task of finishing up the redirects. The silver lining in getting hacked by the crafty devils who created the Pharma Hack is that I’ve been visiting google and searching every few days in order to see my progress in clearing out the bad page titles and content visible only to bots. In the process, I have noticed how many old pages are actually showing up in search results. The first impression some visitors might have of the website is of the old pages, stripped of all the css and graphics that I had used with the site first went up. (The wayback machine doesn’t capture all the old images, but don’t worry, you’re not missing much.)

So in addition to diligently following instructions for removing the Pharma Hack, I’ve been adding redirects here and there, and fixing links within the pages that–for whatever reason–I’m leaving in place.

I don’t know how quickly I’ll see improvements in search results, or whether traffic will really suddenly zoom (pretty sure it won’t actually), but I know that for those visitors who do make it here, the Pharma Hack has actually improved their experience.

3 Responses to “Maintenance: Thank You, Pharma Hack”

  1. JacqueHarper says:

    …and in the “Lovely Irony” department:
    One of the symptoms of the Pharma Hack is the addition of files to the folders of your plug-ins.
    I’ve been using a plug-in called WordPress File Monitor to help watch for such files. And a few days ago, WordPress File Monitor warned me that several files had been added or modified . . . in the WordPress File Monitor folder!
    I did some exploring and found rogue database entries that are another symptom. So I deleted them, then deleted and re-installed the WordPress File Monitor plug-in. Outbreak contained, I think.

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