Why Having An SSL Certificate Matters

Attention website owners:

Does your website have one of these?

With one of Googles most recent announcements, all websites will be required to have a secure socket layer as a level of protection for end users. While this may sound confusing, a secured socked layer is referred to as an SSL certificate which encrypts the communication of a website between the browser and web server. While this is primarily in effect on Google, many of the other browsers are set to follow suit as well to better protect users. As of 2017, over 44% of all web users we using Google Chrome. By neglecting your SSL, you are eliminating the single largest user segment of the internet. Google also said it will be giving sites with SSL Certificates an extra boost in their search engine rankings as incentive to encourage other users to follow suit. Sites that fail to comply with an HTTPS: will be deemed with "not secure" warning. Since Google loves their users, they are looking for every way to make users feel more secure while using their browser. This transition is set to take place in July of 2018 when they issue their new version of Chrome 62. Websites with any kind of text input ability will require an SSL certificate. So by now you're probably asking what is an SSL Certificate and how do they work? An SSL Certificate also known as an, "HTTPS:" is a Secure Sockets Layer and is the new standard in establishing an encrypted link between a web server and end user (whether on desktop PC or a mobile device). This link ensures that all data passed between servers and web broswsers remains private. Those sites without SSL Certificates will not be able to establish a secure connection and users will get the, "Not Secure" warning when accessing those sites that are not secure. In a nutshell, this just means your company information will be digitally connected to a cryptographic key. SSL Certificates contain the following information: the name of the holder, copy of the certificate holders public key and serial number and expiration date SSL Certificates are important because they protect users from cyber criminals. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates damages will cost the world over $6 trillion dollars a year by 2021. Sites failing to have an SSL Certificate will identify weakness in their networks and expose holes in website security. SSL Certificates encrypt sensitive information. Information sent over the Internet is passed from computer to computer and get to and end destination on a server. Any computer with a connection between you and the server will have accessto all data you type in including bank account and credit card number usernames and passwords, as well as other sensitive information not encrypted. When SSL certificates are used, information becomes unreadable to everyone except for the server you are sending information to. So you are probably beginning to see why SSL Certificates build trust for end users. Viewers will know sites are safe by the HTTPS address and green lock and Secure wording in the address bar and will have more comfort and security knowing information being transmitted is safe against transit based hacks. To secure you SSL Certificate, click here. You should also have an SSL Certificate on your website if you collect any data or payments from your customers or if they use your website to send you private information.

The Top 5 Sources to Market Your Business in 2018

With the recent surge in mobile phone and tablet popularity, internet usage has exploded. Studies show more and more people now turn to their mobile device for answers to their pressing questions. The same way people in social settings turn to Google looking for answers in debates, more people are turning to their mobile devices looking for solutions to problems they are having.Now that Google and SIRI are less than an arms length away from your potential prospects practically 24/7 (yes people do sleep with their cellphones next to them), having an online presence in today's world is no longer an option but a necessity just as the days of getting by without having a website in this economy are simply unrealistic. In this article, you will discover the top tips to making sure your business is set up to prosper in 2018!
Warning, ignoring the information in this article will cost you to lose clients/patients/customers to your competition in 2018! This is factual and based off of current trends so grab a pen and be sure to take some quick notes.
A common question I hear a regularly is, there are so many different outlets for social media, where where is the best place for me to market my business?   While that is a great question, there is no magic pill and likewise it is best to leverage the most commonly used platforms so so potential prospects have a chance of finding you versus your competitors.

1. The first place your company must be listed is in the Google My Business directory (GMB).  While Google makes their money from advertising space shown in the top of search queries and competing for organic search results can be competitive, the GMB directory is a prized possession on the front page of Google and can bring in free traffic to local businesses. Having a well optimized directory can bring in an additional steady stream of incoming calls or people coming to your store or office regularly. The best part of this is that Google is not charging for this space, which means it is free!
There are many components to optimizing your Google listing. Your Google My Business listing should have your name, address, phone number, website, store hours and the services you provide.  Additionally, your GMB listing should contain multiple and consistent 5 star reviews from your happy clients who have had a good experience with your company.  These reviews can help visitors make a buying decision instantly if the reviews are positive and can quickly deter customers with adverse reviews. Additionally, you can improve your listing in the local search results by having your business listed in the local business directories and industry niche sites. Lastly, you want to make sure your listing is connected to your website. Many people will instantly look to go to your website to make sure you are a real business and see who they are dealing with.
 
2. After people find your listing on a local search, get a recommendation or look your business up, the first place they will gravitate to is your website.  Your website should be mobile responsive, meaning it adapts to all browsers and is neatly organized.  Your website needs to be free of clutter, have professional images that portray your business and what people can expect when working with you. Additionally, you want to have a separate page for each service that explains the some of the common issues or benefits of each product or service you provide.
Website viewers often have very little patience so it is important to make sure everything is easy to find and not cluttered as well as making sure your website loads quickly especially on mobile devices as bounce rates tend to be much higher.  Your website should have your contact information, location and directions and preferably a map so they can see where you are located.  At Trackable Results, our website developers  include a click to call button on all of our websites to make it easier for visitors to contact the business rather than having to remember a phone number or scroll around trying to find the businesses phone number.
 
3. If your website did a good enough job, people will either call you or visit your social media, to get a better idea of who you are and to see what other people are saying about you.  Because of this, it is a great idea to put links to your social media on your website to make it easier for visitors to get the information they are looking for.
Because social media has grown so much in popularity over the last few years, having a company Facebook page is important.  Business Facebook pages can show up in the search results and can be another tool used to attract potential clients. While making posts on Facebook can help get your name out there for free, it can be tedious sometimes coming up with content, remembering to post often and getting likes and getting comments and shares.
There are companies that will make regular posts for you, to help you get regular posts out and create engagement.  Before hiring an agency for that, it is good to look at the expected rate of return because it is estimated that fans usually see less than 15 percent of your regular posts due to Facebook's algorithms.  Therefore, money spent may often provide a much better return on investment by running ads on Facebook and sending them to a call capture page.
Another benefit of having a Facebook page is the ability to cookie website visitors or people who have had engagement with your Facebook fan page.  This allows you to retarget visitors and place your ads and banners in their social media.  This works great and can create an omnipresence on the internet, giving you more credibility and very affordable laser focused ads.  This is important because statistics say that the majority of website visitors never return to a website after the initial visit.  If you are paying for clicks to your website and not using this feature you are throwing money out the window!
4. The fourth source many successful business owners are leveraging today is YouTube. In the past, running T.V. commercials has been very prohibitive due to the large costs required to  produce commercials and run them on air.  Business owners can now create their own videos and upload them to YouTube and display their videos to those most interested in their products or services. YouTube does this by allowing business owners to rank videos in the major search engines as well as run ads to laser targeted audiences.  Since these videos can be displayed on multiple devices, video marketing now makes it easier then ever for business owners to market their practices online.  No more need for costly television ads or the liking.
With the recent advancement in mobile device technology, many people are ditching their digital cameras in favor of their mobile phones.  Mobile phones not only take great pictures but also take great video which can be easily uploaded to YouTube.  You can embed your YouTube videos on your website to increase conversions on your webpage and decrease your bounce rate, which helps your website perform better in the major search engines.
5. After your business is listed on Google, your website is immaculate, your social media (Facebook and YouTube) is getting you noticed, how are you going to contact your prospects and clients? The answer is having a matching email address. I hope your not using an AOL, Yahoo, or Gmail address are you?  Back in 2016 there were some issues people had with email hacking that resulted in a massive lawsuit over a real estate wire that was misdirected to the wrong hands. Now most attorneys have switched their emails over to a more secure email platform. Furthermore, if you are in the medical industry, corresponding over public email accounts can be a HIPAA violation.  If you are using a public email service, do yourself a favor and start using a vanity email account.  Your email address should be yourname@yourdomain.com.  Having your own vanity email is cheap and looks much more professional than using a free email service.  Additionally, free emails are more prone to hacking. So secure your own company email now.
 
By implementing these strategies in your business, you can expect to position yourself where you potential clients are looking and give yourself an edge over your competition.  While those who are still be counting on old fashion marketing strategies that just don't work in today's environment, your business can take advantage of these new technologies and position itself in front of those most likely to benefit from your services.  The growth of social media, mobile devices and internet many business owners have found numerous ways to cut back on outdated marketing methods and replace them with far more effective medias.  Those neglecting these methods in their practices may sadly be disappointed in 2018 when they come to find the marketplaces methods of researching businesses has completely changed.
I hope these tips find you well as we enter the new year.  If you would like any help implementing the strategies and tips above or have any questions about your marketing, please feel free to contact me. I wish you lots of health, happiness and success in the New Year!

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