what is https and why should you care?


Ok, so here’s the deal about http versus https, in layman’s terms:

https sites have their identity confirmed. It’s like Anne Hathaway being carded to confirm she’s really her and not just an absurdly good look-alike trying to get free drinks at the exclusive club.

Why does this matter? You’ve heard of phishing, right? When a site poses as another site to steal your password or credit card information? Right? Good. So, this poser phishing site, it can look the same, even down to the url in the address bar, thanks to super sneaky technology. This is like being an Anne Hathaway lookalike who actually changes her name to “Anne Hathaway” to fool more unsuspecting bouncers. https is our defense mechanism against this, a technical way to confirm the identity of the site you’re visiting to ensure it’s the real deal.

But my site doesn’t even take credit cards! Why should I pay for a security certificate when I don’t ask for sensitive information?!

This is a really awesome question. As a website-owner for an informational site (like an online brochure, where you might have a menu, services, a contact form, etc- but you’re not selling anything or even using passwords for visitor logins), technically it’s not required. HOWEVER, starting several months ago, google (Chrome and other browsers are not far behind) are starting to slap you with a HUGE OBNOXIOUS INSECURE SITE WARNING that basically is horrible for your bounce rate and makes your public trust you less.

So, even if you’re not dealing with sensitive information, it behooves you to pony up the $50 and get the little shield to the left of your URL. It’s just good for your reputation and user experience, if nothing else.

But I’m a cheapo and I don’t want to pay for it!

I feel you. I, too, am a frugal small business owner. That’s where the heroes at open source ssl come in. Mosey on over to letsencrypt.org for a totally free* security certificate for your site. *It just takes a little technical know-how to install it.

Hey wait, I’m no tech wizard!

Right right, that’s my job. I can help you get setup (free for members on my maintenance plans, affordable hourly rate for others). You can also contact your host for support- but be prepared for them to sell you their own service before helping you install the open-source option.

Whelp, hope this helps you feel less confused about why the little exclamation point started showing up in your site’s url bar and with some ideas about how to fix it (and why it’s important).

Need more resources or just want to pick my brain on the nitty gritty details? Book a free 30 minute consult and we can talk out your particular situation, totally no cost and no pressure.

 

book now!


Eleven Reasons to not freak out about Google’s Mobilegeddon


1. Your site may not be affected.

The best way to check is this box below. It’s Google’s test for your responsiveness. Just plug in your URL and if it says “Awesome!” in green, you can sit back and drink your coffee with smug satisfaction, knowing your site is safe from the looming SEO disaster.

2. But how much of a disaster is it, really?

Google’s penalty only applies to users browsing on mobile devices. Let me say that again: Google’s penalty for lack of a mobile site will only happen to those browsing on a mobile device. I can’t believe how many fear mongering articles leave out this crucial point.

3. Who browses the web on their phone, anyway?

Well, a lot, it seems. Mobile and app browsing comprise somewhere in the vicinity of 58% of all web traffic. So while the ding to your search status doesn’t affect everyone, the effect may be substantial.

4. I thought you were going to tell me how not to panic?!

Right, so more and more people are browsing mobile every day, but here’s the thing: nobody knows how much this will actually damage your search status. If you are currently #2 in Google’s results for “Mitsubishi mechanic Oakland,” will this penalty knock you to number 3, or to page 3 of the search results? It’s hard to say, and I think it’s fair to note your current ranking and wait and see in a week or two just how much you are affected by the change before deciding how much to invest in what kind of mobile upgrades.

5. But shouldn’t I be fixing this NOOWWWW?

Woah, cowboy. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but be aware that the band-aid quick fix may not help with all the criteria Google uses to score your mobile site. A “phone-only” version of your site may help in the short run, but it isn’t a complete solution (why?)

6. So what do I dooooo?

Check your current site. Do a little research. Get a free consultation about your specific options from a professional you trust. Take a deep breath and do it the smart way, thinking forward, so you won’t be caught with your pants down next time Google has a mandate.

7. Sometimes the upgrades aren’t that expensive.

It just depends on how long ago your current site was made or upgraded. If all you need is bigger font sizes for mobile, you can do it yourself or hire a professional for an hour or two.

8. Maybe it was time for a redesign anyway

This could be a great excuse/inspiration to bring your website up to all the current standards, move it to WordPress or another update-friendly Content Management System (CMS), and make it fully responsive at the same time. If you’re due to change themes anyway, may as well make it responsive and you get two birds with one bag of birdseed.

9. Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can mitigate your worsened placement

Some companies just absolutely cannot afford to redesign right now, or have another very good reason they Absolutely Cannot make their site mobile friendly (though it’s hard to imagine what that might be). The good news is that you can beef up your placement to compensate for the penalty by just following a few easy SEO optimization tips. Grab a free consult to learn more about that.

10. Remember the benefit here

Another way of thinking of this whole mobile-site panic is that Google is offering you a free premium search listing for the low price of having a mobile-friendly or responsive site. If you can jump on this before your competitors, you are rewarded with a free bump to your search results.

Remember the positives and take heart, my friends. You too can be mobile responsive and save yourself the increased blood pressure of being on Google’s bad side.

11. I can help.

A big part of the stress can be finding a designer who’s comfortable mobilizing your current site or switching you to a fresh responsive theme. I can respect your current branding and design decisions and get you what you need within most any budget, and I’ve been doing this for years to many, many sites. When you’re ready to make the mobile move, please consider your neighborhood designer.