Do I need SSL for my website ? What is it ?

What is SSL ? How do I know if my website has it ?

 

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a protocol which encrypts all data sent between a website and the viewer.

If your website has SSL installed the URL visitors see when they visit your website will begin with https:// instead of http://, and there will be a padlock symbol displayed in the address bar of the browser . (See below to see what it looks like in Chrome)

What does this mean? Why is it important?

In the past it was only considered important for a website to use SSL if data such as credit card information was transmitted. Most modern e-commerce stores get round this by using external payment gateways that take the user off-site to complete purchases (eg to the PayPal site).

 

However, many websites use forms which transmit personal details. This data is transmitted in unencrypted format and it is possible for hackers to intercept these details. These include contact forms or the forms that people use to sign in eg to WordPress websites. While it is unlikely, it is possible for passwords used on forms to be intercepted.

SSL is becoming the new norm

Google believes users deserve and increasingly expect a secure and private online experience when using a website. Consequently, they will in future be penalizing HTTP connections in terms of the security information they give users, and also in terms of search results priority.

At the moment, if you go to a standard http:// web page using Chrome you will see this symbol to the left of the URL:

If you click on the ‘i’ symbol you will see a moderate warning that the site is not secure. However, if you open a page with a form requiring sensitive information on it – such as the login page for a WordPress site, you will now see a clear warning that the page is not secure:

Obviously this is likely to make users feel a little bit worried – or insecure – and Google has warned that this ‘Not Secure’ warning is to be extended to any pages with forms in the next revision of the browser. In the future, it is likely that ALL http:// pages will be tagged as not secure.

In addition, Google allocates a slight ranking bonus to SSL sites in search results – not huge, but only likely to increase in future.

 

So should I move my site to https:// now, or can I wait ?

 The use of https:// is going to rapidly become the norm so yes, probably now or in the very near future is the time to do it.

 

Oh no, isn’t this going to cost me a fortune?

Not necessarily. SSL certificates can be purchased from your hosting company for as little as $30 per annum including setup –  though some may charge a lot more. Do make sure the fee includes setting up your certificate on the server, as it can be a b it complicated for the average website owner.

More expensive certificates may offer a warranty against the encryption being broken. For most people this isn’t necessary though as all they really need is the reassurance for their visitors that the data is encrypted – and the actual encryption is just as strong on cheap certificates as on more expensive ones.

Some hosting companies also offer free SSL via a new certificate issuing authority called ‘Lets Encrypt’.

 

So I’ve got an SSL certificate – now what?

Now you need to convert your website to use the https:// protocol. If you have a CMS such as WordPress this can be relatively straightforward using a plug-in.

If you do not have a CMS then you will need to convert all your links to https://   then set up 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS via an .htaccess file. If you know what this means, then you can probably do it yourself – otherwise ask your web developer.

 

I want to move to https:// – can you help me?

We have installed LetsEncrypt on our servers and are currently converting all existing WordPress sites hosted by us  to SSL as a free upgrade.

For other sites – non-Wordpress or hosted elsewhere – please ask us to quote.

Praise for BackupBuddy

We integrate the premium plugin Backup Buddy in all our WordPress sites. WP is a complicated beast, and it is not unheard of for things to stop working after an update. Sometimes plugins don’t play nicely together when a new version is added, and on the odd occasion the whole site may stop working.

Backup Buddy allows us to:

  • Schedule backups to suit the individual client
  • Manage server migrations easily and smoothly
  • Move sites from a development environment to their new home
  • Reverse updates individually on a plugin by plugin basis if required
  • Deal quickly and efficiently  with disaster recovery should it ever be necessary

Here’s an example . . . .a recent update to a Facebook Feed plugin one of our clients was using stopped working when used in the sidebar. Using Backup Buddy’s file restore facility it was a matter of two or three minutes  to restore the  previous version of the plugin and get everything working again, something that might have taken ages to do manually. This premium plugin and the convenience and safety it offers is part of every Webcraft WP package.

A busy start to 2017

Just taking a short break to write what I see is this year’s first blog article. Ironic when you consider how many times I tell clients there is no point in having a blog or a FB page if you don’t post regularly !

So – without further ado, here are a few sites we have completed since the beginning of the year:

 

West Highland Yachting Week

This is a site for Scotland’s premier sailing regatta. They are a long-established client, but they needed a site they could get more ‘hands-on’ with, keeping entry lists and results pages updated easily, so we created a shiny new WordPress site for them.

We maintain the site and provide support free of charge as sponsors for this event.

 

 

Paradise Found

Paul Booth is a landscape gardener based in Aberdeenshire. We actually started Paul’s site last year, but he got too busy to send us the material  needed to complete it.

Fortunately we were able to pick the project up where we left off and it is now a thing of beauty. Needless to say the client is delighted.

 

 

 

Craignish Cruises

This local boat trip company takes customers into the infamous Corryvreckan whirlpool and on wildlife and whale watching trips.Argyll coast.

A new boat this season meant it was time for a dynamic new website as well. The Trip calendar allows holidaymakers to see exactly what trips are available when, and it is planned to add online booking in the near future.

 

 

Retreat 2 Crete

We’ve done a lot of holiday cottage sites for local businesses on the West coast of Scotland, but this is the first one for a villa in Crete.

The owner wanted something atmospheric, that would lure potential customers in.

This is the result. See what you think. 

 

 

Etive Boat Trips

 

It’s been a very boaty year so far, which suits us as we are sailors ourselves.

This is a site for a new boat trip company who will be taking holidaymakers up remote and dramatic  Loch Etive this season.

 

 

 

New WordPress Care Packages

WordPress sites are great if you want to keep your content updated – but for security and ongoing functionality you also have to keep WordPress itself updated, keep all the plugins up to date and make sure you take regular backups.

All this ‘under the hood’ stuff takes time and can go wrong if you are not 100% sure what you are doing. With this in mind we have now formalised our range of care packages, from basic bronze to full fat gold.

See below to find out which one is most suitable for you.

 

Bronze WP Care Package

Cost: £15/month or £165 per annum

Most suitable if you are a ‘hands on’ type

Scope:

  • Basic site hosting and technical support
  • Weekly content and database backups
  • Client keeps WordPress and all plugins updated
  • 30 min/month maintenance time allocated

Note: If you only take out basic Bronze package and the site is on our servers then you are obliged to keep it maintained and  secure

 

Silver  WP Care Package

Cost: £30/month or £330 per annum

Best value package for most clients

Scope:

  • Site hosting and support
  • Support for content/layout issues
  • Weekly content and database backups to a remote location
  • Backup Restoration if required
  • WordPress core updates
  • Plugin Updates
  • Premium  anti-spam plugin installed
  • 1 hour/month maintenance time allocated

 

Gold  WP Care Package

Cost: £40/month or £450 per annum

Full fat option – no worries, ever

Scope:

  • Site hosting and support
  • Support for content/layout issues
  • Weekly content and daily database backups to two locations
  • Backup Restoration if required
  • WordPress core updates
  • Plugin Updates
  • Plugin conflict issues dealt with if necessary
  • Premium anti-spam plugin installed
  • Malware monitoring and removal
  • CSS tweaks to theme to change appearance
  • 90 minutes/month maintenance time

 

For more info on our WordPress services see our new WordPress site at webcraftwp.uk

Wow, it’s been a long time . . . part 1

Too busy to blog, and anyway we have a Facebook page now . . . 

Still working away, almost entirely with WordPress now.

Here’s just a few of the sites we’ve completed or redesigned over the last twelve months.


whsIn July 2016 we completed the conversion of West Highland Sailing’s website to WordPress.

With over fifty pages, the site is bursting with information about the company, the boats and the canal and surrounding countryside.

 

Zoomable charts of the canal, booking forms, availability calendars, downloadable PDFs of all the major documents and lots and lots of really great photos.


kkSeptember saw the publication of the Kold Kronicles website, a site for the readers and fans of a new series of groundbreaking fantasy novels.

The author was particularly interested in the blogging side of WordPress, and is using it to good effect to keep in touch with his fan base.

 


 

Mobilegeddon?

mobilegeddon3What does Google’s new algorithm mean for your business?

Since the 21st of last month (April 2015) Google will – for searches made from mobile devices only – reward sites that are deemed to be ‘mobile-friendly’ with higher ranking for the same search terms as non-mobile-friendly sites.

 

So what?

If your traffic mostly comes from desktop, laptop or tablet users then don’t panic – your search rankings will not be affected. However, it is worth remembering that approximately 60% of web traffic is currently driven by mobile devices.

 

How do I know if my site is mobile-friendly?

Simples. Go to https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ and plug in the URL of your site

 

Help! My site is not mobile-friendly. What can I do?

Firstly, don’t panic. Remember, searches  that are not from phones will not be affected.

But – we recommend that you consider updating your site in the not too distant future to use a responsive design that will look good across all platforms.

 

How can I do that?

Just ask us for a quote. We will set up a new WordPress site for you using a responsive design, and transfer your existing content.

How much will it cost?

How long is a piece of string? It depends on the size and functionality of your existing site. Roughly, it will probably cost as much or a little more as it cost to set up your site in the first place – if we did it. If your site was created by another company it might be very much cheaper than you think. Ask us for a free, no-obligation quotation –  fill in our contact form.

 

Are there any other benefits other than Google rankings?

Yes. You can manage a WordPress site yourself. Simple edits are a doddle –  no need to call your web developer. You – or us if you prefer – can add almost any functionality you can thing of in future, from e-commerce to galleries, forums or online booking. And the site is easy to transfer to another server or web provider with a few clicks should you ever want to do so.

And finally . . .

After recommending to our clients that they think about updating their website to make it responsive and mobile-friendly we realised that the project to convert our own (Webcraft) site, which was started several months ago, had stalled and we were not practicing what wee were preaching. A (very) long weekend burning the candle at both ends – and in the middle – sees the project finally finished. We hope you like the result.

screenshot

 The site is powered by WordPress using a modified version of the Air Balloon theme.

New website for KS Treecare

We created K&S Treecare’s original site for them three or four years, ago, and it has served them well. However, with the advent of Google’s new search algorithm which favours mobile-friendly devices K&S decided it was time for an update.

It’s built in WordPress using a modified version of the Accelerate theme.

They like it – hope you do too.

kstreecare

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