Follow Good Advice! Switch to SSL

Ignoring Good Advice is Bad News

Do you ever get the feeling that your clients aren’t listening to you? Whether you’re a dentist who wants people to use floss, a vet suggesting vaccinations or a lawyer advising on mediation rather than litigation, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with that scenario!

The same thing happens to me too. Some people ask me for expert advice but then take no notice. This troubles me because I only make recommendations which I believe will give my clients a real benefit. I certainly don’t make work for work’s sake.

I think people ignore advice when the topic is too technical or too difficult to understand. If it pushes people into unfamiliar territory or it will cost money to fix, the barriers are even greater. Unfortunately, like tooth decay and acrimonious court cases, when people reject good advice problems often get worse.

Listen to the advice: switch to secure hosting

Back in 2014, Google began to push companies to move their websites to secure hosting aka SSL (you will see a little padlock or the letters “https” for a secure site). I took a training course on this in 2014 and I have been encouraging site owners to switch since then.

Unfortunately, there are still businesses that haven’t made the switch. This includes lots and lots of the professional services firms I review. Does it include YOU?

Grumpy ostrich

If you don’t switch, it might hurt

Google’s data showed that in May 2017, only 56% of sites were secure. You might have seen messages from Google from your Search Console account (if you have one). I guess this report from Search Engine Land shows that even Google has problems with people not listening!

My advice is simple: if you aren't already displaying the padlock and using HTTPS, switch right now! Seriously, email your web team and ask why you haven't switched already.

With General Data Protection Regulations looming, it is more important than ever. You need to get good advice on your liability and that should include an SEO audit.

Moving to SSL matters, even if you don’t sell online.

HTTPS was originally used for ecommerce sites but now it is important to everyone. It's also important that you do it right.

Google rolled out an updated version of the Chrome browser in October 2017. If your site doesn’t comply, visitors may see warnings like these.

Or other warnings if your SSL certificate is invalid.

Invalid SSL certificate warnings

This affects all browsers

Microsoft Explorer, Firefox and Safari are all showing security warnings if the certificates are missing or badly installed. I don't know about you but I think these look scary.

Would you want to visit a site after you’d seen those warnings? If you haven’t moved to SSL and your bounce rate has risen, this is probably why. Equally, if you have switched to "https" and your traffic has dropped, you need to find out if there's a problem with your security certificate.

When you offer a professional service, people need to feel you’re trustworthy. These warnings will damage that trust and this will affect your business.

SSL warnings in Firefox and Explorer

What’s all the fuss about HTTPS?

For many years, e-commerce sites have used secure hosting for pages where visitors enter personal data. It makes perfect sense. No one is going to want to have their credit card details shared through a non-secure connection, anymore than they want to leave them written down somewhere.

Google decided that it would be better for website users if all pages were secure. There are two reasons for this, firstly, a business needs to demonstrate a level of legitimacy in order to get a security certificate (SSL certificate). This makes the web a better place in theory and should reduce the number of spammy, low quality websites in existence. It also means that your visitors’ data is protected. Even if they only submit a contact form or sign up for an email, they are sharing personal data with you and trusting you to look after it.

Do you really want to be the company that fails to look after them properly? The one breaches their trust?

Of course you don’t! Getting a certificate and upgrading your website hosting is relatively straightforward these days. The tricky bit is getting all the “bits” of your site properly migrated over. This is important. If you implement your SSL certificate correctly, Google says you won’t lose any website traffic. If you get it wrong, you will have problems and your visitors might see horrible warning messages in their browsers. So switch but switch well is the message.

I’m not a techie but I have a great checklist for your techie to follow to install your certificates properly. Would you like a copy? Just email me to Request My Checklist.

What Next?

When I talk to prospective clients, I am honest. If you ask me about your site, I will be open with you about the challenges and results we are likely to face. For example, we're unlikely to get you a map pin for Solihull if your business is closer to Shirley and it will be harder to get good results if you use 0800 numbers. I give my clients a straightforward appraisal and then, if we are both happy, we work forward to build a long term relationship.

If that sounds good to you, just get in touch. You can start with a risk-free report which we will review and then agree the best way forwards to achieve great results.


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