Categories
Digital Marketing

Is Your Website Secure and Why it Matters?

Google has recently announced that they will be taking further measures to alert users of unsecured web pages, particularly any that have a web form. This means that if your website isn’t secure then it is likely users will leave without contacting you, signing up to your mailing list or buying your product. Ultimately resulting in a loss of sales.

Trust is the biggest factor in online buying decisions and according to a study by GlobalSign almost 50% of online shoppers on average worry about their credit card information being stolen.

They also found that 84% would abandon a purchase if data was sent over an unsecured connection.

Not only is this relevant to e-commerce, but it has been shown that the use of a HTTPS security seal can improve lead generation by over 40 percent

What do I mean by secure?

When someone visits your website do they see this?:

Or do they see this?:

Apart from saying secure, there is a big difference between the two images and getting it wrong will cost you sales.

HTTP V’s HTTPS

‘HTTP’ and ‘HTTPS’ are the names of two protocols (computer rules) that control how web pages get transmitted to your screen from a webserver so you can view a particular web page.

Although there are a lot more protocols, these two a the ones most people are familiar with and the ones we see at the start of website URLs.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

HTTP is the most common and is for loading a regular hypertext page (web page).

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secured)

The second most common protocol we see is HTTPS, for hypertext pages that are secured against hackers.

So the obvious difference is that HTTP isn’t secure. By secure I mean the information isn’t encrypted as it is being transferred from the server to your screen.

For most web pages this isn’t a problem as the information being transferred isn’t sensitive, but if there is a web form or payment gateway on the page then there is a chance that your email address, password, credit card or other personal details could be intercepted by an unfavorable third party.

Most, but not all e-commerce sites and sites with login areas will load over HTTPS and entering your data into these sites isn’t secure. This is why Google is trying to highlight this issue to users to alert them before they enter sensitive information.

But all business website’s should switch to https as it will affect lead generation and sales.

What is Google changing?

HTTPS has been a ranking factor for search results since 2014, with Google preferring to display secure websites in results over non-secure, affecting the number of visitors that find your site. Now your website conversions are going to be affected too.

Google already displays a green lock and the word “Secure” on all secure pages, but they are rolling out a plan to highlight unsecured web pages. This started with adding the “i” inside a circle, but in January 2017 they added the words “Not secure” on pages that request credit cards or passwords over HTTP.

From October 2017 they will make a further change by adding animation to the address bar, whereby the words “Not Secure” will appear when someone goes to type data into an HTTP site.

This won’t just be for passwords and credit cards but any type of data. So if your website has a contact form or email sign up form then it will be affected.

Googles end goal

Eventually, google will mark all HTTP web pages as “Not Secure”. But waiting until then to secure your website will already be too late.

 

Advantages of securing your website

1. Protect your customer’s data

2. Increase trust

3. Improve search rankings

4. Increase conversions

So how do you change to https?

You can’t simply announce that your new web address is now https://www.mydomain.com as there is no protocol in place for the browser to follow. Instead, you need to purchase an SSL certificate from your web hosting company and then install and configure the certificate.

These cost less than €100 and you only need the most basic version. Most web hosts will allow you to do this with a few clicks of the mouse, but you will need to test your site and ensure that all internal links on your website are changed from HTTP to HTTPS.

You will also need to ensure any images and scripts that are linked to or displayed on your site are also updated too. Until you have all relevant links updated you won’t see the green secure badge on the address bar.

This can be tedious, even for the more techie among you, so it is advisable to contact a web developer to do this for you.

If you are serious about marketing your business online then you need to ensure that your website is designed to convert visitors.

Categories
Digital Marketing

Your First 1000 Subscribers

I was at a web marketing talk last week and as seems to be common practice there is always an emphasis on social. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I think a good social strategy is important for most businesses, but I always cringe when I hear so called social media experts encourage people to grow their social media followers.

The problem is if you grow your Facebook page likes or Twitter followers then you do so more for Facebook and Twitter than you do for your business. At the end of the day it is Facebook and Twitter that own that data, not you.

If Facebook decides to make a change to their algorithms and only show your status updates to 15% of your fans then they can and you will be powerless. This has already happened. Facebook have been limiting page reach for a few years now and small and medium size pages are now only seeing a 15% – 20% reach on updates. For large pages this figure is closer to 2%.

Why would they do this?

To encourage you to advertise with them. You may have noticed the Boost button below your page updates. Facebook make it vary easy for you to promote your posts and get more people to see it for little money.

This is great, but only if you first except that all that time and money you spend promoting your Facebook page to get more likes, has led to very in terms of organic reach.

All things considered though, having a Facebook page may still be a great way for you to promote your business. You just need to make some changes and put an emphasis on how you promote it and what you promote with it.

I have argued for a long time that you need to use your website as the central element to all your digital marketing. Directing traffic from other social media sites to your website, with the goal of building your mailing list. This will put you in total control of your fans and not leave you at the mercy of large corporations whose goals are to sell more advertising.

To help get you started you should take a look at this infograph on how to get your first 1,000 subscribers. If you want some tips on planning the perfect business website then download my guide to an effective website

Quick Sprout

How to Get Your First 1,000 Blog Readers
Categories
Digital Marketing Web Design

Has Your Business Embraced Mobile?

Most people in Ireland now own a smart phone, yet only 46% of Irish SME websites are mobile friendly. This means that when someone tries to view one of those non-mobile friendly websites on their mobile or tablet, they will likely have a negative experience.

Content will be hard to view and they will need to pinch and pull the screen, moving the content around as they try and read the tiny text and click the tiny links. If this wasn’t enough to damage your business, Google recently decided to hit a further blow by penalising non-mobile friendly websites and boosting visibility to those that are optimised for mobile browsing.

Google’s Mobile Update

Google wants to deliver the best experience to their users and mobile accessibility is now top of their list. As of 21st April 2015 Google changed their algorithms to reward websites optimised for mobile. This means that where you may have been appearing in the top 3 search results you may now be pushed onto the second page, never to be found.

Test Your Site

You can test your website here. If your site passes then you can relax; your search rankings won’t be negatively affected. If your site doesn’t pass then you should consider talking to a web designer.

With Mobile Comes New Browsing Habits

How people consume media and search for information on mobile is different to how they use would on desktop. Because people carry their mobile phones with them at all times, they tend to search for information the moment their queries arise. The information you display and how you display it is even more important today than it was before.

53% of mobile searches have local intent

More often than not, when people search your business on a mobile, they want to know where you are and how to get in contact with you. Understanding this need becomes valuable when planning a website that is optimised for mobile.

Things To Consider

Here are some elements you need to consider if you want to succeed in the mobile era.

Contact Info:

Your contact info should be front and centre. Your phone number and address should be on all pages and easy to find. Placing phone numbers in websites’ headers has become very popular lately and for good reason. When the first thing the users see is the phone number they are looking for then your website has just done it’s job.

Map:

Similar to contact info, you should make it easy for customers to find your place of business. Embed a Google map into your contact page and put a (view larger map) link above or below it that takes them to the Google Maps app. You could also consider adding a map to the footer of your site so it is visible on all pages.

Large Buttons:

Our fingers are bigger than computer cursors. With mobile screens squashing everything together it can be hard for site visitors to click on links in your site. Make sure all buttons are nice and big with enough white space around them. Hitting the wrong link and then having to click back is irritating to say the least.

Less Clutter:

Mobile devices have a limited amount of pixels, so choosing what is important and what isn’t is crucial to creating an effective website. During the planning stage you can focus on what is needed to convert visitor into customers and ignore elements that will prove distracting.

Responsive Design:

Responsive web design is where the content and overall layout responds to the devise it is being viewed on. Usually this means moving content that would be side-by-side on a desktop to lie one on top of the other so each section fills the full width of the phone. But it can include so much more: from changing text size for legibility, increasing button size for easy clicking, or most commonly to replace the navigation with one designed specifically for mobile devises to improve user-friendliness.

The benefits to Responsive design is that you only have one website. This significantly reduces both development and maintenance costs while allowing for a more consistent user experience. On top of that, Google has said that it prefers responsive design over separate mobile sites as content won’t be duplicated.

Overall Goals

Before you race off to find a web designer, you need to think about your overall marketing goals for your business and how your website can play an integral role in attracting new customers and nurturing your current ones.

If you’d like more information on the importance of mobile web design for your business, contact us today.