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Why A SSL Certificate For Your Website Is No Longer Optional

Posted on Monday, December 03, 2018 by Julia O'Reilly

Why A SSL Certificate For Your Website Is No Longer Optional

As you surely have seen on the news in the past year, website hacks and breaches like the Equifax hack in September 2017 and the Facebook hack in September 2018 are a constant. The creativity and reach of cybercriminals grows ever larger. Ugh.  But the good news is that for several years, organizations like Google have been working toward the making the web a safer place by encouraging website owners to use HTTPS protocol for secure transmission.

In July 2018, safety measures became even more rigorous. Google announced it would be marking all sites that have not adopted HTTPS as not secure. This means if your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, it will display a ‘Not Secure’ in the URL bar. 

ssl not-secure message

If this doesn't scare visitors away from your site, it should. If your business has a website, it's your responsibility to secure your customers information.*  Be sure that ackers and spammers work continuously to steal your customers information or use your website as a launching point to place virus attacks. 

*"Such information can be login details, signups, addresses and payment or personal information. SSL certificates will encrypt the connection and help protect your visitors’ data from being misused by attackers."
_Forbes Magazine, Ivailo Nikolov, May 18, 2018

As the Internet changes, we advise our clients on how to adjust with it. Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are are now requiring website domains to render (that is, display your website) using the secure connection of HTTPS in order to continue to be found within their search results. We can't stress enough the importance of a SSL certificate and pointing your website's pages to HTTPS. When you visit any website on the Internet, data is transferred between a server and your browser. We want all of this transferred data to be encrypted.

According to Kayce Basques, Technical Writer for Google:

"You should always protect all of your websites with HTTPS, even if they don’t handle sensitive communications. HTTPS provides critical security and data integrity both for your websites and for the people that entrust your websites with their personal information."and "One common misconception about HTTPS is that the only websites that need HTTPS are those that handle sensitive communications. Like taking credit cards. Every unprotected HTTP request can potentially reveal information about the behaviors and identities of your users. Although a single visit to one of your unprotected websites may seem benign, some intruders look at the aggregate browsing activities of your users to make inferences about their behaviors and intentions, and to de-anonymize their identities."

Make sure your tech works!

"...certain browser features require HTTPS to work. Features like getting a user’s location, accessing their microphone, or storing data locally on their device, all require that your website supports HTTPS."
_digicert, Vincent Lynch, January 8, 2018

So What Is HTTPS?

HTTPS or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure is a secure version of HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol). All websites use HTTP to transfer data from a server to your browser. HTTPS encrypts the data on either end for maximum security. For example, if you provide personal information in a website form your information is encrypted on one end and decrypted on the other end.

How Do I Acquire HTTPS?

The first step is a SSL (Secure Socket Link) certificate. In order to create a completely secure connection, an SSL certificate for your domain must be purchased. This certificate is purchased from a Certificate Authority by the administrator of the server that hosts your website. The SSL certificate will contain a public encryption key that is downloaded by the browser.

Once the SSL certificate is installed on the web server where your website lives, the next step is to test every page for errors, assets not loading or broken links. This is a complicated process that should only be handled by a trained webmaster or web professional. Adding HTTPS to your website will change the page URLs of every webpage the search engines already have indexed in their results. If this transition is not managed properly, your website could suffer serious search ranking penalties or set backs. Successfully enabled HTTPS websites with SSL certificates are seen as more trustworthy for visitors.

Contact us to learn more about adding SSL to your website.

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How many and which domains should I buy now?

Posted on Monday, April 30, 2018 by Julia O'Reilly

Should I buy .com, or get all the extensions?

These are questions I receive often from my clients.  If you're asking, you're not alone.

Here are some thoughts to help you decide.

My general working principle is this: your best investment for a domain is one domain that is easy to spell, easy to say, and is a .com domain (no .net, .us, .org or other extension).

That said, there are instances in which you might be better off investing in some of the other TLD’s for your site.  (TLD = top level domains.  These domains sit at the root of a website, and are identified by extension:  .com, .net, .us, .org and so on.)

Multiple domains, one website
Buying multiple domain names and pointing them all to your website is a common practice.

Yes, you can point multiple domains to your website main domain. The best way to do this is to use a URL Forward or Forwarding or Redirection order or whatever your registrar calls it.

The procedure is relatively simple to implement (depending on which method you use), but it's important to take precautions so that you do not lose search engine ranking unnecessarily.  

If you're uncertain

Get your main domain handled first. 

You’ll get the best registrar pricing if you purchase your best domain for 5 or 10 years.  Most registrars offer 1 year, then multiple year increments for a better price.After your main domain is registered, buy the other contenders for a year or so while you experiment and monitor results. Point these domains to your main website domain.  

A good webhosting service will provide you with extensive analytics, or you can find a 3rd party service like Google Analytics for reports to tell you how much traffic is coming to which URL (domain). This can inform your decision to renew a secondary domain or not.

Buy as many as you can easily afford, and that you can afford to maintain and market to.  There’s no return on investment for a URL that sits quietly parked, unless you’re in the business of buying and selling domains.  (Domain investing is a robust and thriving industry, we’re just not discussing it in this post.)

Ask yourself why you're budgeting for more domains, what is your goal and your net gain?  

Do you simply want to tie up the domain so no one else can buy it?  Perhaps so, if you think your visibility will be high enough to warrant the purchase and protection.  While I don’t encourage anyone to make an investment based on fear, there are domain squatters who scout for isolated .com registrations and buy the .net or .org or other TLD that is an exact match.  The ROI for these investors depends on traffic, and other considerations, including their perception of the popularity and attractiveness of your domain. Your website may not be heavily trafficked at first, and the risk may not be that high.  Evaluate that cost against your budget.

Do you want to expand the possibilities that someone might type .org, .net or .info to search specifically for you, if they don't find you at a .com? (Hint: this is probably not a compelling reason to invest.  I mean, really, do you often duplicate searches using other extensions when you're looking for someone or for a service or product?  For me, that answer is no.  Sometimes, but not often.)  Weigh your costs against the possible return.  If you can easily afford the expense, it may be worth a trial year to observe the analytics, and see if anyone is searching for you or your services, products or type of business at those TLD's.

.mobi

Do you want the cool factor and the bleeding technology edge that a .mobi currently offers?  The .mobi extension is typically reserved for mobile device site development, and you have to develop an alternate mobile site to take fullest advantage of it.  

If you think you may want to do this down the road, yes, you should grab it as soon as you can.  The .mobi domain has a definite 'cool' factor, has greater credibility and implies that you are serious about your business, and is likely the wave of the future.  

.mobi is also better for SEO and domain ranking.  More browsing is happening on mobile devices as of this writing than on any other platform.  

More on how to pick a great domain name later.  For now, thanks for stopping in.

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user

How many and which domains should I buy?

Posted on Monday, April 30, 2018 by Julia O'Reilly

Should I buy .com, or get all the extensions?

These are questions I receive often from my clients.  If you're asking, you're not alone.

Here are some thoughts to help you decide.

My general working principle is this: your best investment for a domain is one domain that is easy to spell, easy to say, and is a .com domain (no .net, .us, .org or other extension).

That said, there are instances in which you might be better off investing in some of the other TLD’s for your site.  (TLD = top level domains.  These domains sit at the root of a website, and are identified by extension:  .com, .net, .us, .org and so on.)

Multiple domains, one website
Buying multiple domain names and pointing them all to your website is a common practice.

Yes, you can point multiple domains to your website main domain. The best way to do this is to use a URL Forward or Forwarding or Redirection order or whatever your registrar calls it.

The procedure is relatively simple to implement (depending on which method you use), but it's important to take precautions so that you do not lose search engine ranking unnecessarily.  

If you're uncertain

Get your main domain handled first. 

You’ll get the best registrar pricing if you purchase your best domain for 5 or 10 years.  Most registrars offer 1 year, then multiple year increments for a better price.After your main domain is registered, buy the other contenders for a year or so while you experiment and monitor results. Point these domains to your main website domain.  

A good webhosting service will provide you with extensive analytics, or you can find a 3rd party service like Google Analytics for reports to tell you how much traffic is coming to which URL (domain). This can inform your decision to renew a secondary domain or not.

Buy as many as you can easily afford, and that you can afford to maintain and market to.  There’s no return on investment for a URL that sits quietly parked, unless you’re in the business of buying and selling domains.  (Domain investing is a robust and thriving industry, we’re just not discussing it in this post.)

Ask yourself why you're budgeting for more domains, what is your goal and your net gain?  

Do you simply want to tie up the domain so no one else can buy it?  Perhaps so, if you think your visibility will be high enough to warrant the purchase and protection.  While I don’t encourage anyone to make an investment based on fear, there are domain squatters who scout for isolated .com registrations and buy the .net or .org or other TLD that is an exact match.  The ROI for these investors depends on traffic, and other considerations, including their perception of the popularity and attractiveness of your domain. Your website may not be heavily trafficked at first, and the risk may not be that high.  Evaluate that cost against your budget.

Do you want to expand the possibilities that someone might type .org, .net or .info to search specifically for you, if they don't find you at a .com? (Hint: this is probably not a compelling reason to invest.  I mean, really, do you often duplicate searches using other extensions when you're looking for someone or for a service or product?  For me, that answer is no.  Sometimes, but not often.)  Weigh your costs against the possible return.  If you can easily afford the expense, it may be worth a trial year to observe the analytics, and see if anyone is searching for you or your services, products or type of business at those TLD's.

.mobi

Do you want the cool factor and the bleeding technology edge that a .mobi currently offers?  The .mobi extension is typically reserved for mobile device site development, and you have to develop an alternate mobile site to take fullest advantage of it.  

If you think you may want to do this down the road, yes, you should grab it as soon as you can.  The .mobi domain has a definite 'cool' factor, has greater credibility and implies that you are serious about your business, and is likely the wave of the future.  

.mobi is also better for SEO and domain ranking.  More browsing is happening on mobile devices as of this writing than on any other platform.  

More on how to pick a great domain name later.  For now, thanks for stopping in.

read more