Why your business web site needs a Secure SSL Certificate now!

It’s been almost four years since Google first told everyone they should make the switch to HTTPS. In their passionate plea to website owners to create a more secure internet, they used a rallying cry that would surely go straight to the heart of everyone: HTTPS would become a ranking signal.


Not surprisingly, the world did not make a mass switch to HTTPS overnight. In fact, almost four years later, the majority of websites still aren’t using HTTPS. According to NetTrack usage data, only about 29% of websites are using HTTPS. This is a huge increase from the roughly 7% of websites that were using HTTPS back in 2014 when Google started the push for a more secure web, but it’s still a far cry from what Google wants.

It’s important to note that while the majority of websites still don’t use HTTPS, over half of all web traffic is encrypted. This is because most of the top websites have already made the switch.


There’s still a lot of misinformation and half-truths about HTTPS and SSL out there, including:

  • It’s expensive
  • It can hurt your rankings
  • It’s hard to implement
  • It’s not necessary

Now that we’re into 2018 and Google has promised that its July 2018 release of Chrome will flag all non-HTTPS sites as not secure, the answer has most definitely changed. The new answer: Everyone needs to make the switch to HTTPS. If you have a website and you want to generate leads, make sales, or just tell people about your business, you have to get an SSL certificate.


If acronyms drive you crazy, then here’s a handy cheat sheet:

HTTPS – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. What it means to you: communication is encrypted so data or information sent to and from your website is secure.

SSL – Secure Socket Layer. What it means to you: it’s the standard technology used to make your website HTTPS.

In other words, if you want to encrypt data on your website and get in line with Google’s recommendations, you need to buy an SSL certificate. But there’s a lot more to it than making Google happy.


If you sell things on your website, there’s not even a debate. An SSL certificate is not optional. Since most payment gateways don’t even work properly without an SSL, we don’t need to convince the ecommerce folks out there to get one. So this is mostly for you lead generation folks.

Remember back when a lot of businesses said they didn’t need a website? And then they all said they didn’t need a mobile-friendly website? Well, any business that’s worth a grain of anything has a website now, and the ones who aren’t mobile friendly are trailing far behind. The same thing is going to happen very soon with HTTPS. The websites that don’t have it will fall behind the competition. Search engines, users, and even browsers will soon heavily favor secure websites. It all comes down to security and trust. Customers won’t buy from you if they don’t trust you, and your website must be secure for your users to trust you.


Google isn’t going to stop pushing HTTPS. Since making the original announcement in 2014, Google has pushed HTTPS harder and harder. It is now a legitimate ranking factor (albeit one of hundreds). Originally used only as a tie-breaker when all other things were equal, it’s now widely believed that SSL means more. In the search results below for “minneapolis web design,” the first six results are all HTTPS. Could that company down in position seven move up with an SSL certificate? That’s certainly a possibility, and it’s definitely a logical step in their SEO efforts.

No, it’s not a guaranteed magic bullet to move you up in the search results. But it is best practice for SEO. More importantly, it’s best practice for your customers.


Doing things for search is nice, but search engines don’t help you pay the bills. Your customers do. Everything you do should ultimately be for the benefit of your customers. How does HTTPS help your customers? It tells them that your website is secure and that any information they share with you on that website will be secure.

In other words, having an SSL certificate builds trust. Unsurprising fact of the day: when your customers trust you, they’re far more likely to buy from you or use your services.


Chrome, the most popular browser in the world, now tells your customers when your site is HTTPS or just plain old HTTP. At the moment, this doesn’t mean all that much since the “warning” is fairly innocuous. But later this year, Chrome is going to warn all users when a website is not using HTTPS with this scary message:

That’s right. If your website isn’t HTTPS, Chrome will immediately call attention to the fact that your site isn’t secure. Over half your website visitors are going to see this message. What impact do you think this is going to have on your customers? Hint: it’s going to cost you a lot of sales.


If you’re doubting whether or not you actually need an SSL for your business website, consider whether or not your website allows customers to do any of these things:

  • Make a purchase or submit credit card information
  • Create an account
  • Submit a contact form
  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Search for something on your website

Now we’re updating our recommendation to this:

  • If you have a website

There are no more excuses now. If you have a website and you want people to trust it, you have to be secure.


You don’t need to be a mega corporation to afford an SSL certificate. This is a small investment for any legitimate business. Properly implementing and maintaining an SSL will cost you a couple hundred bucks a year. For most businesses, it pays for itself after one sale. Given how many sales you’re going to lose when Chrome starts flagging your website as unsafe, this is a very small price to pay.


You may have heard some horror stories about companies switching to SSL and dropping to page 500 of Google search results. There’s a simple explanation for this: they did something terribly wrong when they made the switch. It wasn’t the switch itself that caused the problem. Remember, HTTPS gives you a boost in the rankings. A properly implemented SSL certificate cannot hurt your search rankings.

As you may notice, the site you’re currently visiting uses an SSL. We aren’t an ecommerce site. So why did we make the switch? Well, as a web design and marketing company, it’s kind of important to follow best practice. Did we notice any drop in performance when we did it? Nope. Our rankings either stayed the same or went up. Our traffic continues to go up. Our leads continue to go up. While we can’t definitively say that HTTPS helped us, we can definitively say that we’re in a better position today than we were before we had it.


Implementing SSL is pretty easy if you’ve done it before. Most business owners haven’t. There are a lot of things you need to worry about when making the switch, including mixed content, duplicate content, redirects, broken links, and much more. Fortunately, this is all standard stuff for a qualified developer.

Instead of spending days trying to make the switch only to find you’ve tanked your website because you did something wrong, you’d be much better off contacting a professional web development and hosting provider. They can quickly get you running on HTTPS without any short- or long-term negative effects to your performance in search results or anywhere else.

No matter who implements SSL for you, the time to make the switch is now. Don’t let an unsecured website be your downfall. If you’re ready to make your website more secure and create a better experience for your users, contact us today.


Click here and fill out the application form, opt if you need assistance with your SSL to be setup or not.

Are you paying too much for web hosting?

If you have a website I’m willing to bet money you could get a better deal on your hosting fees. In fact, you could be paying a lot less for your web hosting but you probably don’t realise it (because if you did you would’ve switched right?).

Anyhoo, I’ll cut to the chase: this is my attempt to spread the word and make sure businesses at least know they have options. So what’s on offer in the world of website hosting? Is low-cost hosting a myth or a scam? Why is there a huge variation in hosting costs? How difficult is it to switch hosts?



Cheap hosting works just the same

First of all, let’s just talk about cheap hosting for a minute. I mean it seems crazy right? How could you get something for $13 a month that you could easily be paying $1,500 a month for? I’m not making these numbers up by the way, I had recently worked with a client who was paying this to a Perth based web design company. So what gives? Is the cheap hosting you get with Justified for $159/year worse than what you’ll get elsewhere? I’ve already covered the myths of cheap hosting so I won’t repeat myself but basically the answer is no. In fact, you might actually be getting less. The client I mentioned before was paying $1,500 per month just for their website!

What’s on offer? Why the huge variation in hosting costs?

So what’s available in the world of hosting? Well just about any web design company will provide hosting and it pays to ask what their hosting fees are because it can quickly add up. In the example above, over the period of just one year the difference is almost $18k. I doubt there’s a business out there that would turn down the opportunity to save that sort of money, especially in a down economy. Some companies do their own hosting and that gives them control over the web servers but it also increases the costs since they have to buy and maintain the computer hardware itself. The other option is a web company will purchase hosting from a provider, either based here in Australia or, more commonly, in the U.S. This is what Justified does, and it’s a far more convenient and scalable option. It allows hosting to be bought on a ‘as needed’ basis and because it’s provided by large, dedicated hosting companies they are generally a faster with more reliable service.

So why the variation in pricing?

This is still a mystery to me but we can make some educated guesses. In some ways it’s just Economics 101 – a supplier’s price point is balanced between what customers are willing to pay with making the maximum amount of profit for the business. I’m not saying that anyone’s been crooked here but after all web design companies are there to make money and hosting is a nice ‘set and forget’ revenue stream for them. Not many people know about low-cost hosting so they just carry on paying their hosting bill, not realising they could be saving big dollars. So if you know anyone in that situation, do them a favour and let them know they have options. And to be fair, if you know why web design companies charge what they do for hosting, share your comments with us. And this leads us to our next question: Is it easy to change hosts?

How easy is it to switch web hosts?

There are two considerations here – (1) Your current hosting agreement: You may be locked into a contract with your current host that requires a certain notice period and (2) Moving your website files: The first step is getting a backup of your current website (a tip here is to ask how you can download it as there are often big fees for getting it on a CD). Unfortunately with proprietary website setups (like Wix) you can’t actually take the website framework so you’re left with the unenviable task of manually copying and pasting all the content (good for them, bad for you!). This is one of the great things about Justified websites. Since they’re built on a completely open framework, you can pick them up and take them to another host without any problem (and no exit fees!). We have moved several websites to Justified web hosting and in most cases it takes no more than two hours, which we will do for free!

So are you paying too much for web hosting? If you are then at least you know now you can do something about it!