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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images and How to Use Them Without Getting in Trouble

Images are an excellent addition to your website, blog post or social media and can help you get more shares and interactions. However, not all images off the internet are okay to use since there are laws that allow people to have rights to those images. Using just any image off the internet can get you in big trouble and leave you with a hefty fine!

Image Copyright Laws in Canada

We live in a world where images are so easy to find with just a click of a button but we can’t use any image we find since there is a cost for ownership of most images. It’s important to be aware of copyright laws in Canada to ensure you don’t get fined for using content off of the internet. Under the law, any image taken by any device (camera, smartphone, etc.) is subject to copyright. This means that if someone takes a photo, it is their photo and anyone else that would like to use it has to seek permission from the photographer. The photographer is not required to register their work to have it copyrighted since when the photo is saved (onto a smartphone or camera roll) it automatically is subject to copyright and is protected under copyright laws. Therefore, it is essential that we learn to keep these laws in mind because if you get caught using an image that belongs to someone else- you could be fined!

How To Find Great Free Images

There are many ways to find images that are free and can enhance your content.

These are some of the ways:

1. Create your own images: Grab your camera or even your smartphone to capture some images! This allows you to be in full control of what the image will love like and leaves tons of room for customization. Also, having your own images ensures that the content is original and authentic.

2. Find some royalty-free images on Google: When you search on Google, make sure you’ve clicked the “labeled for reuse” button! This allows you to reuse the image. See below:
How To Find Great Free Images on Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Use Creative Commons to search multiple platforms to find free images: This site allows you to search for images easily and helps you find free images from various platforms. Check out our blog post on Creative Commons for more information.

4. Find some free images online: Using sites such as allthefreestock.com allows you to search for various free images, videos, music and icons that are royalty-free.

5. Tools such as Canva: Canva allows you to edit your images and it basically works as an easy-to-use graphic design platform. It also has a massive repository of free images along with fairly inexpensive images (approximately $1 for a high-quality image).

6. Buy some images: There are sites that allow you to purchase high-quality images. Sites such as iStock allows you to buy images for as little as $12 per image. You can also get a subscription for $40 per month that gets you 10 images per month.

If you’re ever in doubt, you can always check where that image appears online through TinEye. You simply upload your image or paste a URL of the image and this tool does a reverse search to find out where that image appears online.

Keep these tips in mind next time you add images to your content!

Tumblr: Still the Easiest Way to Blog

It’s been four years since Yahoo bought Tumblr and in that time, blogging platforms have grown tremendously.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to share just about anything via their personal Tumblelog. You can quickly and easily post whatever you want – text, photos, videos, music, quotes, and links, from wherever you want – your web browser, phone, desktop computer, or email. The service prides itself on its ease of use, as well as the ability to customize everything including the colors of your Tumblelog and the HTML code of your Tumblr theme.

Who uses Tumblr?

Tumblr people are categorized by their retro-hipster vibes and their ability to showcase blog content through images, videos and words. Content on Tumblr is quirky and strange and heavily embodies the persona of an out-of-the-ordinary millennial. Due to its individualistic nature, Tumblr people are also categorized as ‘regular individuals’ and rarely as companies or businesses. An individual that owns a company may have a Tumblr page but it is highly unlikely that the company would have a Tumblr page.

In total, there are around 357 million registered blogs on Tumblr and users spend a whopping 3 hours per day on the site. This is exponentially higher than various other social media platforms including Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Tumblr or WordPress?

Some businesses choose to use Tumblr over WordPress to appeal to their young and fun audience. Take Denny’s for example – they’re famous for their American, greasy, feel-good, late-night, partially hungover food. Here’s an example of their Tumblr post that works well in line with their business and aims to target their audience.

If your audience is under thirty and your service or product is very visual and you’re strapped for time then Tumblr is the way to go, if your audience is older and you want to do more than blog (and more with your blog) then use WordPress.

Benefits of Tumblr

Since Tumblr is a form of a micro-blog, most content is easy to share and visually appealing. These aspects have made Tumblr more of a social platform that incorporates bltumblr post typesogging. Also, Tumbelogs are likely to appeal to a wider audience, as some will prefer the assortment of photos, video files, and links that a traditional blog may be lacking. Tumblr’s API allows Tumblelogs to be extensively modified; users can delete all the basic formatting and start from scratch to design the look, feel and layout. If you can imagine it, chances are you can do it with Tumblr. The outcome for bloggers is huge; connect more deeply with your readers, in less time, and on your customized, easy to use microblog.

Tumblr Photos and Videos

Since 2013, photos and videos on Tumblr have become a huge success due to their fairly visually appealing nature. Many Tumblr users are attracted to the shareable photography and videos found on Tumblr. Even design projects and ideas for tattoos are popular on Tumblr due to the professional photos and visual content found on Tumblr. Some examples of Tumblr posts that include excellent imagery include motivational quotes, images of scenery and animal videos in the form of gifs.

Cabana: The New App by Tumblr

This year, Tumblr announced they will be launching a new app called Cabana. This app allows users to watch videos with their friends simultaneously. After downloading the app, users can add their friends to an existing “room” or create a new one and add up to six friends. Then, they are able to watch any video on YouTube while on a video chat in the same room. This app is great for group entertainment! However, there are many ways to group video call already including through Messenger on Facebook. Cabana will have some tough competition!

This is an updated post from the original post about Tumblr from 2013. To view the original post click here.

Summer Special! Branded Social Media Templates

Images rock on social media and posts that contain images are way more likely than plain text or link posts to help you get more likes comments and shares.

Our design partner Anne Dunnett of Inklings Design and Everyday haiku recently created these AMAZING branded social media image templates for us – we can easily add text to them and post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (you might have noticed them in our posts!). We would like to share them with you. Read on to learn the story of this amazing idea (in Anne’s words) and to get an extra special offer.

 

Branded Social Media Templates

As an entrepreneur, I know how challenging it is to keep up with changes in the industry. Businesses evolve, grow and transform and I’m not the only one that feels this way. I know many people who have two businesses or more and are sometimes juggling them and figuring out how they fit together. A transformation is in the works as my graphic design business evolves and changes.

This social media branded template design offer is part of this change.

My second business is Everyday haiku which is a blend of haiku poetry and design. I’ve created an on-line course that comes with haiku designs where students can add their own haiku poem into the design and have a little piece of art to post on social media. I recently put on a workshop and one of the attendees loved these “template designs” so much that she wanted to use them to promote her own business on social media. I explained to her that the haiku designs are not intended or meant for that usage and they are a big part of the Everyday Haiku brand. As a result of this, I wanted to fill a need with a fantastic idea to help people like her who are looking for beautiful and inspirational designs so that they can easily add quotes and content. The basic templates have a polished and professional look and feel so that it will attract more followers and get people engaged.

Then, I decided to take it one step further and offer templates that are designed to match your brand. By adding your logo and your brand colours, I will provide you with a cohesive and professional representation of your business. See the offer below with design samples and more information.

AND……. I’m in the process of creating an exciting social media haiku design offer!

For those of you who are at a loss of what to say and tired of coming up with content, this will make content creation super easy! It will include branded haiku and designs for your business that you can post on an ongoing basis. The haiku will be written just for you and in-line with your specific market and themed by topics that are in the moment and relevant to your business. It will get people curious and start conversations about you and your offers.

Stay tuned! More details are in the works.

 

 

Facebook Likes

How to Get More Likes on Facebook

**How To Get More Likes on Facebook – this is an update of an older post. Go here to see the older one, Get People to Like Your Facebook Page.**

Facebook has become a major alternative to Google when it comes to promoting your business online and driving traffic to your site. As of this week, it boasts a massive 2 billion users. Not only can your Facebook page help bring tons of traffic to your website but the traffic it brings is more targeted, visitors are more likely to visit more pages and they will stay longer. This, combined with the fact that having a Facebook page can help you stay engaged with existing and new audiences, means that Facebook might be a major component of your digital marketing mix if it isn’t already (especially if your product is consumer related!) However,  the challenge then becomes how to get more likes on Facebook.

Once you have created a Facebook Page for your organization the challenge becomes attracting the right audience and getting people to “like” and interact with your page. Here are a few tips that will help you get more page likes on Facebook.

Tips to Get More Likes on Facebook

1. Content – there is a popular saying, “content is king” and it really is the key to growing your following. Did you know that only 1-3% of your followers ever see your organic page posts? Shout out to Mari Smith for mentioning that stat at Call to Action Conference this week.

If your content adds value (by that I mean that it grabs people’s interest or tells your audience something they didn’t already know) and stimulates likes, comments and shares, current followers will be more engaged and more new followers will come. Images and videos have the most engagement and using tools such as Canva (the online design tool) are great ways to enhance your visuals. So, take the time to post quality content.

2. Website widget –  add a Facebook widget to your website so that people can click from there to like your page. Providing social media links on your website is a great way to increase engagement in the digital space- especially on Facebook. When people visit your website, they may never return but if they visit your site then follow a link to like your Facebook page, you’re more likely to have an ongoing connection with them. That’s why it’s so important to have widgets on your website to form a digital connection.

3. Invite friends – use the ‘suggest to a friend link’ to find and send invites to friends but be selective and only invite Facebook friends who might actually be interested in your product or service. Also, adding a link to your Facebook Page URL to your email signature will drive more people to your page.

4. Create a unique username for your Facebook page URL like ours-  http://www.facebook.com/outsmarts -which is short and sweet and branded. This will help make your page easily accessible to potential customers and clients. To do this, go to your page click on the ‘about’ section on the left and then click on ‘Create Page @username’

5. Promote your page – when you are networking both online and off, tell people about your page. Even having your social media usernames (or at least images of the platforms you are active on) easily visible on your business cards is very beneficial! If you use Twitter or other social networks, link and tell your followers in those forums too. Run a photo contest on your page to get more people engaged.

6. Update regularly – update your Facebook page regularly (refer to tip #1 when doing so!). You should update at least once a day but not so frequently that your posts become intrusive and annoying.

7. Place an ad – Facebook ads are highly targeted. Use ‘Promote Your Page’ ads to get more followers on your page by advertising to people in your target area who might be interested. You might be surprised as to how many new “likes” this will generate. You can also boost your posts so that more people see and like your updates. The more that people do this, the more your posts will show up on their timelines.

8. Avoid overselling – it is not good Facebook etiquette to simply use your page for promotional purposes. Use the 20/80 rule and ensure that you only promote your company, products or services 20% of the time (focus the rest of your posts on adding value and building loyalty with your followers).

9.  Make your Page Stand Out- humans are visual creatures so make sure to use a great cover image that grabs people’s attention. It could even encourage people to click on the link below. And be sure to use the customizable call to action buttons. Having a call to action button makes your services and products easily accessible to the public. Another way to stand out is to include posts that target your specific audience- relating back to tip #1 (content is king!)

10. Promote your Page – make sure your Facebook Page URL is highlighted on all direct marketing and traditional advertising vehicles, add “Like on Facebook” information to letters, packaging and shipping materials to spread the word in other media. If you have a physical location, you could have a tablet or iPad next to checkout encouraging people to like your page.

11. Engagement is Essential – even though page likes are an excellent indicator of your success on Facebook, it is important to remember that engagement is even more vital. Are people commenting, sharing or actually liking every individual post? Remember to include great images, excellent content and use all the tips mentioned above to increase engagement on Facebook.

We hope you found these tips helpful!

Need some help with your social media? Get in touch with us today.