As a Photographer and website owner, you have no doubt heard that most photography websites are recommended to have an SSL Certificate these days. In fact Google are going to make it a real issue for you if you don’t!
So let’s cut to the chase – Do you need an SSL certificate installed on your photography website? – Yes!
How do I get one? – Ask your hosting provider.
Okay that was the short answer, and actually implementing SSL is not always easy and it can even break your website if not handled correctly.
Now if you have already switched to SSL, you might think this article is not aimed at you – it is – but you can skip past the next few paragraphs to the part sectioned “What you really need to check after you install SSL”.
So for those of you who haven’t installed SSL yet – here are the basics:-
Firstly what is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer – don’t you just love geeky acronyms!
It’s a way of securing the data that passes between your client’s browser and your website.
To implement SSL, you install an SSL Certificate on your website and direct traffic to an https:// connection instead of http:// so that the client’s browser know to use the encryption protocol. Yes I know, more geeky stuff.
Why do you need an SSL Certificate?
Two reasons – Firstly, it will improve your Search Engine rankings – not by a huge amount, but enough to make it worthwhile – Google now favours secure sites in their ranking algorithm.
Secondly and most importantly, Google have announced that by July of 2018 Google will start labelling sites without SSL as “Not Secure” in their Chrome Browser and this will start to scare clients away from your website.
Here’s what clients will see if they use Google’s Chrome Browser starting in June:-
*( Image courtesy of Google )
And here’s the information that Google will present to them if they click that little information icon:-
Now do you want your potential clients to think that any information they give to you could be stolen by hackers? Of course not, but if you don’t switch your site to start using SSL security then this is what will happen.
But I don’t think many of my clients use the Chrome browser?
Well according to this report, Chrome is in use by over 57% of all web-users worldwide. And if your client isn’t using an iPhone, it’s highly likely their mobile phone web browser is Chrome.
How do I get an SSL certificate for my site?
Fortunately nowadays it is very easy. If you are using a reputable hosting company (like MyPhotoCTO.com ) – then they can add a basic SSL certificate to your site for free. Just ask your hosting company.
Now that I have my SSL certificate, how do I switch on security for my site?
Well depending what platform you are on, the settings will be different, but I suspect most of you who haven’t yet got an SSL certificate will likely be using WordPress – To switch on security all you need to do is to go to Settings – General and change the setting for “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL)” to start with “https://” instead of “http://”
Job Done – Right?
Well unfortunately not quite.
What you REALLY need to check after you install SSL!
If you have implemented SSL correctly, then you should see a Green Padlock in the Chrome Browser when you visit your site.
Here’s what it should look like:-
Now if your site doesn’t show that green padlock, it means that some of the content on your site is coming though without an https connection – this is very common, so you should check this. And you should check every page on your site.
The easiest way to check is to use the site https://www.whynopadlock.com/ which will provide you with a report showing exactly what content on your site is causing the issue.
I’m not getting the green padlock – how do I fix it?
Well there is a great little WordPress plugin that can fix 99% of most issues. It’s called “Really Simple SSL” and I highly recommend it – you can get it at https://wordpress.org/plugins/really-simple-ssl/
This is too technical for me – who can I get to fix this?
Well your hosting company should be able to help in most instances. (This also presents me with a wonderful opportunity to blatantly plug our service at https://myphotocto.com – we can do this for you as well.)
So there you have it – get SSL enabled on your site and you’ll fix two issues – you’ll help your SEO and you’ll stop clients leaving your site in droves come June 2018.
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