SSL and Browser Security Warnings – How To Make Your Website Secure

If your website has a contact form and it isn’t securely set up with an SSL certificate, security warnings are going to start showing up on Chrome when visitors visit your site using that browser. If your site is set up with Google Search Console (and your site should be!) you probably got an email about this.

Chrome Will Show Security Warning

Chrome is one of the most widely used browsers and there’s a good chance the bulk of your site’s visitors use it so if your business relies on people filling out forms on your website to fill your lead funnels then you are going to want to fix this ASAP. Doing so gives visitors the comfort factor that the details they submit on the form are encrypted and secure.

SSL – How To Make Your Site Secure

First things first, pages or sites that are secure have HTTPS rather than HTTP as their URL. I don’t want to get too technical in this article but if you want visit this to find out more about HTTP and HTTPS . The extra S simply denotes a site that is Secure.

In order to set your site up as secure you have to purchase an SSL  Certificate. There are two options.

  1. Free Options  – Free certificates are fairly new (see https://letsencrypt.org/), but just as valid as paid certificates; they take a bit of configuring with the hosting company.
  2. The traditional method is to pay for a HTTPS certificate for the domain name. HTTPS certificates expire after a certain amount of time; generally you purchase for one or more years. When the certificate expires, it will no longer work and users will see a “This site is insecure” message when they try to visit the website. A new one has to be purchased and configured.

It’s often easiest to purchase it through your domain provider or hosting firm so you have less to worry about but be careful not to get gouged – some SSL Certifcates cost as little at $11 all the way up to $200 for basically the same thing.

Once you’ve bought the SSL Certificate then you can install it on the server and make the switch. Get your website developer or someone who know what they are doing to do this to be on the safe side and  ensure that nothing breaks in the process.

Before you start any of this though it is important to know that the change can impact your SEO and any URLS you have out there and that there will be a bunch of work after the fact to complete the process. You should also be aware that it can take up to 24 hours before everything propogates and your site is back to normal (so do this at a low traffic time to avoid too much disruption).

AdWords and HTTPS

If you are running AdWords campaigns, pause your campaigns prior to making the switch. Once the changes have propogated you will have to change all of your Final Destination URLS and any URLs in your extension links over to HTTPS. Unfortunately this means all the data on your current ads will be lost.

To change the Final Destination URLs, select all the ads you want to change and use the bulk editor in AdWords to replace the http with https.

For extensions this is slightly trickier, select all your extensions and download these. Edit the spreadsheet you have downloaded by doing a search and replace on http and replace it with https then upload the file.

Your ad will then go through the approval process which can take a few hours.

Google Analytics and HTTPS

If your HTTPS is set up as a redirect (which it probably is), then the simplest way to do this is through changing your analytics property settings to https rather than http. To do this, head over to the admin setting in your Google Analytics account, click on property settings then change the efault URL to htttps from the dropdown.

Search Console and HTTPS

Search console is a little different in that you should have a separate instance for the HTTPS. Google recommends that you add a new instance of your site in Search Console. Technically you should have 4 instances of Analytics (www, without www, http and https).  Add a property from your search console dashboard using https as the URL. You should be able to verify this from your Analytics or Google Tag Manager in the Alternative Methods tab of the verification section. Once you are done, submit your new sitemap. Revisit this in a couple of days to make sure the sitemaps is indexed and to check your crawl errors and fix any broken links. You should also check your robots.txt while you are in there.

Social Media and HTTPS

If you have a social media presence (who doesn’t?), it is a good idea to go through the deep links in your bios to make sure that the URL is listed as https instead of http.

SEO and HTTPS

Finally, you should run an SEO audit of your site to identify any http / https conflicts or mixed content issues (for example in image URLS and third part external links). There are WordPress plugins that can help you to easily fix these in bulk. If you don’t, pages that have old http links may show up as insecure in Chrome.

And finally, it is important to remember that when you upload images from now on the URL should use https too.

HTTPS and SSL In Conclusion

Making the switch to https is worth it and shouldn’t take more than a few hours to do. It’s important to understand the impact that your changes might make in other places too and to limit any negative impact by coordinating updates to your AdWords, Analytics and Search Console as soon after the site propagates as possible.

Need help with that making the switch to SSL or with switching over your AdWords and Analytics once the change is made, contact us – we’d love to help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things You Don’t Know About Google AdWords But Should

Google’s AdWords platform is a great way to advertise online. It allows you to pay to show up on the first page of Google for search terms that your targeted audience might use to look for products or services online. You can choose which geographical area you want your ads to show up in and you choose how much or how little (there is no minimum) you would like to spend. It’s a great way to generate leads and to drive sales and your campaigns are highly measurable (especially if you link to Google Analytics).

At Out-Smarts we’ve been running AdWords campaigns for clients for over a decade. Over the years we’ve learned a few things that are key to PPC success. Here are 5 Things You Don’t Know About Google AdWords But Should to make the most of your AdWords investment.

The Landing Page is Key To AdWords Success

AdWords does a great job of driving traffic to your website but that’s only half the story. For your Ads to convert, the page people land on your website has to:

  • Have a relevant headline that relates to the words you used in your ads and the keywords in your AdWords campaigns
  • It should have short, sweet, original text that tells visitors about the benefits of your product or service (from their perspective, not yours!) and how it solves their problem or makes their lives/jobs better.
  • It should have a clear call to action telling visitors what to do next i.e. order now, request a free quote

The content on your page is key – if the content doesn’t line up with the context of your ads your Quality Score will be impacted and your ads are less likely to show up. You can even risk having your account being suspended, your ads won’t run.

Be particularly careful with landing pages that have a before and after image or that link to testimonials – in fact you are probably best to avoid using these.

 

Take Advantage of Free Google AdWords

Did you know that you can enjoy Google AdWords free of charge? This option is only available to non-profit organisations. It allows these groups to access initially $10,000 U5 Things You Don’t Know About Google AdWords But ShouldS n free advertising and if you outgrow that you can sign up for the Grantspro Program which raises this to $40,000 USD per month. To take advantage of this you have to register and meet certain criteria. It’s available in most countries around the world and you must have a valid charity status. To begin this process sign up for Google for Non Profits. This means registering with TechSoup (Canada) or in the US.

 

There are Two Flavors of AdWords.

There’s full blown Google Adwords and Google Express. They are both really similar but Adwords Express is designed to make it easy for you to set up your ads. Managing your ads easy is because you don’t have to – it’s all automated.

If you don’t have a website then Google Adwords Express is the way to go as it allows you to advertise your Google+ page on Google and Google Maps. It might also be the right solution if you have a small budget, want to spread a wide and targeted net and you don’t have a clue about (or don’t want to learn how) to manage your bids. But beware, with Express Google decides the keywords your ads show up for and you have no insight into how much bids cost.

Compare AdWords and AdWords Express

 

Ad Extensions will Help your Ads Convert

AdWords give you capabilities beyond the basic Extended Text Ads and you should use them where appropriate as they help increase your Click Through rate to make your ads way more effective.

Ad extensions add extra information to your ads. This is information your business or offering. Such as:

 

Sitelink Extensions – shows links to specific pages on your site below the ad

Callout Extensions – gives more detailed info about your business as part of your ad

Structured Snippet Extensions – describe features of a specific product in your add

Call Extensions – add phone numbers to your ads, when people click they initiate a call to your company (particularly good if you have a towing company or similar!)

Message Extensions – similar to call extensions, in this case when people click it initiates a text message

Location Extensions – shows location and address information in your ads

Affiliate Extensions – shows the retail chains where people can buy your products in your ads (UK and US only)

Price Extensions  – shows prices for different products or services

App Extentions – links to mobile apps

Review Extensions – showcase rave reviews of your product in your ads

 

Spend Time In Analytics to Improve Your AdWords Success

Google Analytics is key to AdWords success. We find that we spend almost as much time in Analytics measuring Ad performance as we do in AdWords. It is really important to link your AdWords and Analytics account right after you set up your ads but before you launch your campaigns. Next, head over to your Analytics Admin Panel and set up your goals. Your goals will reflect what it is you want people to do on the landing page once they have clicked through on your ad. These can include:

  • Destination URLs (i.e. thank you for your order),
  • Duration goals (when people spend a certain amount of time on your site).
  • Events – When an event on your site is triggered i.e. someone watches a video or clicks to share your content on social media
  • Pages Per Session – When a visitor visits a specified number of pages

Once these are set up you can then determine if your AdWords traffic is converting once it reaches your site. You will also be able to see which of your Campaigns, AdGroups and Keywords are converting as well as understanding the actual search queries people are using that result in click throughs.

Google AdWords is one of the best ways to drive targeted traffic to your website. It offers a robust platform with lots of options to help you hone your campaigns. Optimizing your landing page for conversions, taking advantage of Google Grants, using Analytics and adding ad extensions are just of few of the tactics you can use to make the most of your pay per click campaigns.

Out-Smarts provides AdWords set up and maintenance services. If you are considering your pay per click options we would love to hear from you.

Related articles:

Google Analytics Set Up

Reasons to Use Google Analytics

 

 

Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business at Small Business BC

Join Mhairi at Small Business BC or from the comfort of your office and learn about the basics of social media as we share our tips and tactics for success.

Seminar Date

Thursday,  June 15th 24th, 2017 – 1:00pm to 4.30pm

Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business

Just because you know what social media is, does not mean that you necessarily understand how to use it to grow and develop your business. This workshop focuses on understanding social media, what is it and how it’s connecting people.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how/if social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
  • Understand what opportunities are available for you to leverage social media for business growth and prospecting.

This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live webinar. All webinar participants will also receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.

Register to attend at:

SMALL BUSINESS BC

BY WEBINAR – YOUR HOME OR OFFICE

How Does Facebook Pixel Work – Getting Set Up

Advertising on Facebook is becoming more and more sophisticated to the point that you now have many different options to help you build your audience, get followers attention and drive traffic to your website.

If your goal from advertising on Facebook is to drive website traffic and conversions, then installing and taking advantage of Facebook Pixel is a must.

What is Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you install on your website. It allows you to more effectively measure the performance of your ad campaigns and it helps you determine exactly who sees your ads.

The features and benefits of Facebook Pixel include:

  • Ability to track customers across devices
  • More effective targeting
  • Create custom audiences for retargeting
  • Uncover niche segments that are similar to your current ones
  • Dynamic remarketing of ads – people who visit your site will see your ads on Facebook
  • Audience insights

Getting started with Facebook Pixel

To install Facebook Pixel, go to the link below to create your Facebook Pixel.

https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/pixel/facebook_pixel

Facebook Pixel Set Up

There are 2 types of code you have to install on your site to complete this process.

  • The first is the pixel base code that goes on all of your pages.
  • The second is the event code which you place on certain pages that you want to track specifically.

Creating Your Facebook Pixel

Facebook is going to step you through a process to set up your pixel and to get the codes for your site.

Facebook Pixel SetUp

Installing Facebook Base Pixel on Your Website

The next step is to choose which method you want to use to install the Pixel on your site:

1. Using a tag manager
2. Copy and paste the code

In order for your Pixel to work, you must copy and paste the code into your website. This cookie allows your site to send information back to Facebook and measures visits and where people go on your site.

We prefer to copy and paste the code into the website rather than using a tag manager because that way you have more control over things that can go wrong but if you are not familiar with the code of your site you might want to go with the first option. There are also several WordPress plugins that facilitate this.

Facebook Pixel Code

Facebook generates a handy dandy Facebook Pixel ID and instructions to send to your webmaster. The code has to go on every page of your site for it to work properly. The best way to do this is to install it in your header file somewhere between the <header> and </header> and before the <body> tag.

Facebook Pixel Set Up

Pixel Events Code

The Facebook Pixel events code tracks specific actions on your pages. The first thing you need to think about is your website’s call to action – what is it that you want people to do on your site? There are 3 options in the setup process.
  • Basic – lets you track events and optimize for conversions based on people who take action on your site.
  • Recommended – includes all of the above along with basic parameters providing additional data and measurement parameters.
  • Advanced – adds an extra layer to include product level granularity (i.e product type, style).
Here are the standard Facebook Pixel options:
  • View content
  • Search
  • Add to basket
  • Add to wishlist
  • Initiate checkout
  • Add payment info
    Make purchase
  • Lead
  • Complete registration
Choose the most appropriate of these depending on your goals for website traffic, conversions and what it is you want to track.
Facebook Pixel Events

Once these pieces of code have been installed on your site you will get a Facebook notification.

Facebook Pixel Notification

You can check to see if your Pixel is working by going to your Facebook Ads Manager. There you will notice a new Pixel tab.


Click on it to see your Pixel Fires (total amount of pixel activity in the date range).

Facebook Pixel Chart

 

To troubleshoot or validate your Pixel set up, there’s a useful Chrome add-on called Facebook Pixel Helper.

Facebook Pixel - Helper

Facebook Pixel Next Steps

Now that you’re all set up with Pixel, it’s time to create audiences and track conversions.

Create Audience

This allows you to target your Facebook ads to audiences of people who have visited your website and lets you remarket to them.

From your Facebook Ads Manager click on Pixel then on the ‘Create Audience’ button. Audience options include:Facebook Pixel - Audience

• Anyone who visits your site
• People who visit specific pages
• People who visit specific pages but not others
• People who have visited in a certain amount of time
• Or, you can create your own custom combo.

Decide which option best fits your needs, name your audience and that’s it. You are ready to create your first remarketing ad on Facebook but first, you have to wait till your custom audience is big enough.

Create Conversion

From your Facebook Ads Manager, click on Pixel then again on the ‘Create Conversion’ button.

This time you have 2 options:

  1. Track conversions with standard events – use this if you simply want to track and optimize conversions and build your audience.
  2. Track custom conversions – use this if you can’t use standard events on your site or if you want to split conversions on your site.

Facebook Pixel Conversions

Related articles and resources on Facebook Pixel:

Learn about Facebook Ads

Facebook Pixel Implementation Guide

 

 

Google Adwords Express and Adwords

Did you know that there are two versions of Google’s advertising platform Adwords? There’s full blown Google Adwords and Google Express. They are both really similar but Adwords Express is designed to make it easy for you to set up your ads. Managing your ads easy is because you don’t have to – it’s all automated.

If you don’t have a website then Google Adwords Express is the way to go as it allows you to advertise your Google+ page on Google and Google Maps. It might also be the right solution if you have a small budget, want to spread a wide and targeted net and you don’t have a clue about (or don’t want to learn how) to manage your bids. But beware, with Express Google decides the keywords your ads show up for and you have no insight into how much bids cost.

Benefits of Adwords:

  • Pay when someone clicks on your ad
  • Full control in choosing keywords, bidding on those keywords, and how your account is structured
  • Targeted by geography – can reach people anywhere
  • Access different ad formats and reports on Google, Google Maps, and partner sites.

Benefits of Adwords Express:

  • Pay when someone clicks on your ad
  • No control in choosing keywords, bidding on those keywords or how your account is structured
  • Advertise on Google, Google Maps, and partner sites.
  • You can reach people anywhere

If you want full control over the search words your ads appear for, or if you want to manage how much you bid for those keywords then Adwords is the best option.

Adwords Express is a way to test the waters and to find out how Google’s advertising platform works but if you are serious about advertising on Google, full blown Adwords is the only way to go. Adwords can be quite complex but it’s easy to learn yourself if you have time to dedicate to it, if not consider outsourcing (hint – we do that!).

Switching From Express to Adwords

When you are setting up a new advertising account Google really wants you to set up an Express account so it is easy to set up Express accidentally. If you started out with Express and now want to move to the full blown Adwords to take advantage of full functionality, the best way to switch from Adwords Express to Adwords is by calling Google support.  Here’s a link that will help you with that.

If you set up Adwords Express by mistake you can cancel the account by clicking on the Settings Cog at the top right of your screen after login then clicking on preferences in the left hand sidebar and scrolling down to the bottom of the page where you will see the ‘Account Cancellation’ option. However if you do this then try to set up a fill blown Adwords account using the same email address you might not be able to. Best to call support!

Using Adwords Express and Adwords Together

Using both of these at the same time is not recommended, there are no benefits from doing so and it will make it more complicated to keep track of everything and to manage your campaigns.