What Small Business Owners Need to Know about SSL & Why it Matters Now

What Small Business Owners Need to Know About SSL and Why it Matters Now

As Google steps up its efforts to ensure a “secure web” in 2017 it adds complexity to each and every business owner’s life.  It doesn’t have to give you a headache though, because I will help educate you.

Here’s the What, Why, and How that you need to know without all the confusion, hype, and misinformation that is swirling about.

What You Need to Know

I will stay as non-techie as possible here, but I want to define a few terms that you will see floating around so you know what’s what.

What is SSL?

It stands for secure socket layer.  It essentially encrypts information from Point A to Point B. It doesn’t inherently make a site more secure per se because there are many factors that make up security. For instance someone can “securely” transport malicious code across a secure connection. So if you download something malicious across a secure connection you will still have an infected computer (and spew profanities!).

What SSL does do is ensure encryption of sensitive data across the open field of the web thereby thwarting “man in the middle” attacks. No one can spy on or steal the data from here to there.

What is HTTP and HTTPS?

Both are protocols for the web. Every website you visit is using it whether you are aware of it or not. The letters stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.  The “S” in HTTPS stands for secure.

 Why It Matters Now

In September, 2016 Google announced that it will start explicitly labeling HTTP connections as non-secure beginning in January 2017.  In addition, Google had previously added encryption as a ranking factor for your site.

There are three reasons for this:

  • Authentication: Addresses the issue of verifying ownership of your website.
  • Data integrity: Refers to whether or not data on the site has been tampered with while in transit.
  • Encryption: Refers to security of communications between client and server to ensure that no one else can read them.

Quoting directly from Google:

Beginning in January 2017 (Chrome 56), we’ll mark HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.

Google Chrome Warning for HTTP Sites

Late in January there was a minor widespread panic in entrepreneurial circles on social media about this deadline.  [Read more…]

Is Your Website at Risk? 5 Things You Must Know or Risk Losing Everything

Do you have full control over your most important online asset – your website?

5 Things every site owner must know or risk losing everything

If you don’t your webmaster might be holding you hostage (and you don’t even know it)!

Nothing pisses me off more than when a new client comes to me and their previous web person has held them hostage.     They don’t have their login information and even if they did, their access is extremely limited. Their website is not running optimally and often their requests for help or updates go unheeded for weeks.

Think this is an over exaggeration? [Read more…]

How You Can Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Your Choices and Corresponding Pro’s & Con’s

So you failed the Google Mobile Friendly test and you’re worried about its impact on your business. But, you don’t know what options you have and what the different options really mean. You’ve come to the right place.

There are only a few ways you can make your website mobile friendly. I will detail them here. You need to realize that mobile friendly does not necessarily mean fully mobile optimized. The impact of speed and performance becomes even more apparent on a mobile device. That said I am a believer in taking baby steps in the order and size that makes sense for you and your business right here, right now.

Don’t get duped into a super expensive or a cheap quick fix without knowing the whole story. Let me help you understand your options and the impact in plain English.

Don’t get duped into a super expensive or a cheap quick fix without knowing the whole story.Click To Tweet

Basically you have 4 options if you’re on a WordPress based website and 2 options if you have a static straight up HTML website. If you’re running different CMS software, you can find specific guides for those here.

How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Quick, Fast, Free Mobile Software (WordPress only)

[Read more…]

What Does Mobile Responsive Mean for Your Website?

What does mobile friendly meanIn light of all the talk about Google penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly, it’s a good time for business owners to understand what mobile responsiveness means.

Mobile responsiveness is a term given for how well a website responds on differently sized devices. It might be a smartphone (small device) or massive project screen (large device) or who knows what in the coming years (kitchen appliances, anyone?).

Mobile friendly is the term used for any site that provides a positive user experience to someone using a mobile device.

Mobile friendly is the term used for any site that provides a positive user experience to someone using a mobile device.Click To Tweet

Without getting too technical, mobile responsive sites are built adhering to the notion of a fluid grid. If you think of a screen that displays your website as a piece of graph paper, the more traditional desktop-only approach was a fixed grid. Here’s the paper, here’s the size, and with a few margins to account for different screen resolutions and browsers, boom you were done.   Think of it like putting a couch in your living room. You know the size of the room and the couch and you choose dimensions accordingly. The fixed approach broke when we started to view websites on a wide variety of devices. That’s where the fluid grid comes in. Your graph paper now needs to shrink and grow like something cool in a sci-fi movie depending on whether someone is looking at your site on a desktop, phone, tablet, etc. The dimensions are now uncertain and changeable. That big IKEA couch suddenly doesn’t fit in the living room because you went from a big house to a New York tiny studio in a blink of an eye. So the room (aka device display) simply chops off part of the couch or makes a mini-couch that is too small to be useful or some combination that makes for a poor user experience. [Read more…]

What Business Owners Need to Know About the Google Mobile Friendly Test

While the importance of having your website be mobile friendly is not new, the stakes just got higher. With Google’s announcement that it will start penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly starting April 21, 2015 the time is upon business owners everywhere to understand options and consequences.

What Business Owners Need to Know about the Google Mobile Friendly Test

What is the Mobile Web?

You know that little device you hold in your hand to text, surf the web, call people, and do a myriad of things with? That is the most common face of the mobile web. That said, while smartphones are the most prevalent basically any device that is not your typical desktop or full-sized laptop can be considered mobile. Technically mobile responsiveness is not only about making things look good on smaller devices but about making your site look good on any device whether big or small(even those not yet invented).

Why You Should Care

There are more than a few reasons you should care but predominantly those reasons fall into two categories.

First – User Behavior

The use of mobile devices to access the web is only increasing exponentially. According to Pew Research:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world

Your ideal clients are likely in that group. If they cannot find or use your website on their mobile device, your competitors and other options are only one-click away. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that mobile doesn’t apply to your business.

Second – SEO Impact

Google has already started tagging sites as mobile-friendly. As of April 21, 2015 their algorithm will change to penalize sites that are not mobile friendly. Your rankings and mobile search visibility may drop dramatically. [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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