What is the HTTPS Initiative?
To aide in fight on cyber crime major search engines like Google, Bing (who owns Yahoo), Firefox and Safari are pushing an initiative to encourage all website owners to create a safer searching environment by adding a layer of security to your website taking it from “http” protocol, to “https.” In the past, designers including us, did not recommend adding this security feature to your website because it was typically only recommended for sites that had some sort of eCommerce present within it. Additionally, the cost for SSL Certificates were a chunk of money that, if not really needed, could be a savings in the development cost. However, to the increasing amount of attacks on shared server environments – which most business owners utilize – and the spread of malware, it has become a more valuable tool to use wide spread and limit access to any information you are collecting through your website – even for just email sign-ups.
What Does The HTTPS Initiative Mean For You?
While the changes have begun across the board for most search engines, they have recommended developers make updates to sites or apps they manage and be compliant with the HTTPS protocol by January 2017. This doesn’t leave much time to get your site updated. After this date, their search programs will change favoring such protocol, which means without changing your site to HTTPS, your website will begin drop in where it is delivered in search ranking.
What You Should Expect to Pay
Many hosting companies are charging anywhere from $50-100 per hosted domain (live website address) for each SSL Certificate. Right now, GSG Web Hosting is offering single SSL Certificates for $19.00 per year or $109 for a Wildcard SSL which covers your main domain plus sub-domains. If you have multiple websites (each under a different domain) that you need to protect, you can look to see if there is a UCC Certificate available. These come in different size blocks (1-5 websites, 5-10, 10-15, etc.) The price will adjust accordingly for the total you need. GoDaddy, for example, offers a UCC SSL for up-to 5 websites that will cost $150.00/annually. Keep in mind that the fee for your SSL Certificate is in addition to your annual hosting and domain registration fees.
Protecting Your Investment
Scammers are already seizing the opportunity to cash in on this offering fraudulent opportunities targeting the purchase of SSL Certificates or overpriced SEO services to improve your raking during this process. Please work directly with your hosting company to implement your SSL Certificate. If you are unhappy with your existing hosting company, please speak with me and I will be happy to recommend a trustworthy provider.
As far as SEO, I recommend getting your SSL Certificate in place, then remain status quo as you ride out the storm of transition until February or March. This will give time for bugs to be found and adjustments to be made on your website and through the search engines. Until then, I suggest you continue to develop regular communications and distribute this content as usual and simply not fret about your placement.
If, after this time, you want assistance in improving your web placement, I suggest we have a conversation before investing money in SEO or Online Advertisements. I can often identify simple steps you can do improve your web placement without extra cost. Additionally, if you choose to invest in advertisements or SEO, I can help you identify ways to make your investment produce a greater long-term ROI.
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About the Author: Julia Eudy is the founder of Golden Services Group and experienced online marketing professional. Her proven skills assist business owners develop a solid online strategy, track data analytics, write compelling SEO-ready copy and crates a focused communication process to promote long-term referrals.