Time for an upgrade?

Top 10 Reasons Your Business Website Should be Mobile-Friendly

  • According to the data compiled by the Mobile Marketing Association of Asia, of the nearly 7 billion people worldwide, over 5 billion people own a cell phone, whereas just about 4 billion own a toothbrush.
  • According to Morgan Stanley, of the over 5 billion mobile phone owners, 91%keep their mobile devices in close proximity, 24x7x365.
  • An average person reports a stolen/missing wallet after 24 hours. Nevertheless, the average lost mobile phone is reported in less than 70 minutes.
  • Currently, mobile phones are employed for carrying out 3 out of 5 searches.
  • Almost 75% of Smartphone owners depended on their devices for getting directions and location-related information.
  • According to Mobile Marketer, an overwhelming 70% of searches carried out on mobiles lead to action in under an hour.
  • A stunning 61% of local searches on mobile phones lead to an instant phone call.
  • Mobile phone coupons are redeemed 10 times more often than conventional coupons.
  • By the end of 2014, over 50% of all internet traffic will be via mobile phones.
  • People worldwide favour mobile browsers for banking transactions, local information, travel bookings, shopping, most recent sports news and blogs. They also prefer mobile apps for music, social media, maps, and games.

The latest trends according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal that:

  • Currently, there are over 16 million mobile phones in Australia. This shows a healthy 7% growth from the last quarter of 2013.
  • Overall, there are more than 12 million internet subscribers in Australia.

Many Australian users do own more than one mobile device. Nevertheless, this only indicates that right now, many of your potential customers are viewing your conventional desktop business website on a mobile device.

Hence, it’s prudent that you ask yourself: What does my potential/existing customer see on a Smartphone or tablet in my business website versus my competitor’s fully-responsive or mobile website? Discussed here are some key reasons your business website should be mobile-friendly.

Reason #1: There’s an Explosive Growth in Mobile Internet Users

You must understand that the mobile audience is exceedingly big already. More importantly, this audience is growing rapidly. The study by three leading authorities Berg Insight, Morgan Stanley Research and Boston Consulting Group has concluded that Internet usage worldwide will unquestionably double from current usage levels, by the end of 2015. The study has also concluded that the majority of users will be using mobile devices as their primary gateway to the Internet.

There’s a Steady Growth in Smartphone Usage

Currently, not all the over 5 billion mobile phone users own a Smartphone. Nevertheless, as low-priced 3G-capable Smartphone devices swamp the market, the Smartphone user base in Australia is growing explosively. Goldman Sachs has forecast that over 80% Americans will own Smartphone devices by 2015. Australians will follow closely, as well.

Reason #2: Recommended by Google

When Google makes recommendations, marketers pay attention because Google controls a large pie (67%) of the search market share. Google’s stance on recommended mobile configuration has always been Responsive Web Design.

Of late, Google has advocated the Responsive Web Design as being the industry best practice.

Responsive Web Design: Single URL, Single HTML

Since responsive design business websites have a single URL and exactly the same HTML, irrespective of device, it’s more efficient and simpler for Google search spiders to crawl, regulate, index, and organise content. In contrast, a separate mobile site has a different URL and separate HTML that’s different from its desktop counterpart. This means that Google spiders have to crawl and index numerous versions of the same website.

Responsive Website Design Delivers Better User-Experience

Another vital reason Google favours responsive business website design is because your content resides on one website and a single URL. Your visitors find it easier to share, engage, and link your content when it resides on a distinct mobile website when compared to content that resides on a conventional desktop website.

For instance, a mobile user shares helpful content from a mobile website with a Facebook friend. Later, when this friend accesses the shared content using a desktop, the user views a stripped down mobile website on the desktop. This definitely results in a below par user-experience. Considering that Google places a huge emphasis on user-experience in its SERP results, this attribute needs to be taken into account for a favourable SEO.

Google Wants Mobile Websites

Google has clearly indicated its desire for mobile websites. Websites fashioned for desktops do not deliver a good user experience when accessed on a Smartphone. Google intends to prevent user frustration by providing web surfers a superior Internet experience. Due to this, more and more business enterprises will begin moving in the direction of Responsive Website Design. Surely, you wouldn’t want your business enterprise to fall behind here. Remember, what works optimally for Google works optimally for your business enterprise, as well.

Reason #3: Single Website, Multiple Devices

Responsive Website Design delivers an excellent user-experience across numerous devices and screen sizes. Since it’s exceedingly difficult to foresee all the diverse devices and screen sizes that visitors to your business website use, creating a responsive website design is critical. A website that functions optimally irrespective of these variables provides a more consistent and superior user-experience when compared to a separate mobile website that’s created for a particular device and screen size.

Advantage of a Website That’s Fashioned for Numerous Devices & Screen Sizes

For instance, just consider an individual searching for a product/service on their Smartphone during a break at workplace. The person finds the product or service and decides to research further after going home. The person will undoubtedly use a desktop after arriving at home ─ certainly not their Smartphone.

In this instance, if the business website in question is responsive, it will deliver a positive user experience to the individual. The transition from mobile to desktop will be smooth because the user will view the same business website on the desktop after arriving at home, as well as, the Smartphone during the break at the workplace, previously. On the contrary, if this business website is a dedicated mobile site, the person would have been frustrated by having to locate the desktop version after arriving home and find the product/service all over again.

At Aykira, we fashion a brand new responsive website or a separate mobile website for your business. We design business websites that deliver superior user experience across numerous devices and screen sizes.

Read about our website services here .

Reason #4: Easier to Manage

When you have different desktop and mobile websites for your business, you’ll need separate SEO campaigns, too. Here, you must understand that it’s much simpler managing one business website and one SEO campaign when compared to managing two websites and two SEO campaigns. A responsive website scores over a separate mobile website in this key aspect.

Mobile-Specific SEO Strategy

There are several advantages of a mobile-specific SEO campaign. You can optimise for the prime keywords of your business that potential visitors to your website may use on their mobile devices.

For instance, an individual looking for a local restaurant on a Smartphone is bound to use the word “nearby” or “vicinity” in the search query. Nevertheless, a separate mobile website isn’t a prerequisite for a mobile SEO campaign. You can incorporate mobile-specific keywords effectively into a responsive design website, too.

Reason #5: Small Businesses Need Mobile-Friendly Websites

The escalation in Smartphone and tablet use in Australia has led to a rapid decline in desktop internet browsing. Currently, an astounding 50% of mobile owners use their mobile devices as their key tool for surfing the internet! Mobile devices certainly present a great deal of flexibility and handiness ─ especially when it comes to on-the-go search for swift access to information.

Mobile-Friendly Business Websites Attract More Customers

It’s a confirmed fact that over 90% of mobile users search for a local business enterprise on their device. Nevertheless, what’s even more notable is that these mobile searchers invariably contact the business they query within 24 hours! Hence, if your business website is mobile-friendly, you will attract more customers (and revenue) to your business.

Small Businesses Have Nothing to Lose

At present, over 70% of small business websites in Australia aren’t mobile-friendly. Their customers find it challenging to research and make purchases using mobile devices. Additionally, almost 90% of the small business websites do not facilitate easy viewing on the iPad. Nevertheless, small businesses can gain a competitive edge by taking the mobile challenge head-on.

At Aykira, we give helpful suggestions to make your business website mobile-friendly – find out more about our website development services here .

Reason #6: eCommerce is now effectively mCommerce

The dramatic growth of mCommerce in the last 5 years (over 5000% according to Capgemini & IMRG report) has prompted small businesses to revamp their business websites. You must not delay remodelling your business website to capitalise on this exponential rise in mCommerce.

Convert Visitors Arriving via Mobile Devices into Loyal Customers

An increasing number of people are opting for online purchases to save money, energy and time that making the trip to a retail store takes. Mobile shopping has undoubtedly become more mainstream. You can keep up with this most recent trend by optimising your offline business establishment to cater to mobile users. Just ensure that the user-experience and purchasing process on your business website is glitch-free. Convert mobile visitors into loyal customers.

Avoid the Pitfalls of a Mobile Unfriendly Website

Regardless of the purpose of your business website ─ whether it’s for providing information or for eCommerce ─ a mobile unfriendly website has a detrimental effect on mobile customers. If your business website is mobile unfriendly, over 60% of mobile users will be discouraged greatly and may desist from engaging with your business enterprise in the future. With the popularity of mCommerce expected to rise, deferring the updating of your business website can be perilous.

Reason #7: You’ll Lose Business to Your Competitors

Regardless of the industry your business belongs to, you must always strive to be innovative rather than getting stuck in imitating your competitors. Almost two thirds of medium size enterprises have already remodelled their business websites to boost their online sales. Nevertheless, in the small-size segment, only 20% have opted for mobile-friendly websites.

Mobile Website Influences Your Online Sales

If your business website loads swiftly and promotes easy navigation, your customers will be enthused to buy from you. On the contrary, if your website loads slowly and requires frequent zooming in on the products to read, your customers are less likely to buy from you. Many small business enterprises have already recognised the importance of mobile web over their online sales. If your business enterprise doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website yet, there’s no reason you should delay opting for one.

Findings of Google’s Study

If your business lacks a mobile-friendly website, you indirectly help your competitors. A study conducted by Google reveals that:

  • Around 50% of Internet users confided that even if they favour a business enterprise, they’d use the enterprise less often if their website weren’t mobile-friendly.
  • Over 60% of users will move to your competitor’s website if they don’t find what they’re looking for on your mobile website quickly enough.
  • Almost 80% of users who aren’t impressed by the content on a mobile website will move to another website.

Reason #8: Lack of Engagement Results in Lost Revenue

The absence of meaningful engagement with mobile users proves to be tremendously expensive to businesses. Small and medium sized business enterprises in Australia that lack mobile-friendly websites lose billions of dollars in revenue. Less than 20% of SMEs in Australia have mobile-friendly websites. Considering that more than two-thirds of Australians own a Smartphone, the percentage of mobile-friendly websites is abysmally low.

A Mobile Business Website is Indispensable for Your Social Media Campaigns

A mobile business website works optimally with your search, as well as, your social media campaigns. Since many of your potential customers use a Smartphone or tablet to locate your enterprise, Google spiders show a higher affinity for mobile-ready websites. Besides, numerous apps can direct visitors from your mobile site to your enterprise’s social profiles.

Mobile-Ready Website Promotes Targeted Search

A mobile website permits your business enterprise to deliver original content to your customers. This content helps rank your business websites ─ conventional and mobile ─ much better on Google’s lists. Your prime keywords remain the same on both the websites, but mobile users do select slightly different phrasing. Remaining active on social media and providing links to your mobile website guarantees more activity arriving your way. If your links get reposted, your website is assured of a higher rank.

Enhance Engagement With Your Customers by Opting for a Mobile-Friendly Website

If your business enterprise lacks a mobile-ready website or lacks a website altogether (surprisingly, many small businesses do lack a website), NOW is the right time to launch a mobile-friendly website. Opt for a mobile-friendly website for your business ─ your customers want it. Businesses that delay launching a mobile-friendly version of their business website will lose customers and revenue. More importantly, these enterprises will be overtaken by their competitors who have decided to follow the trend.

Reason #9: Mobile-Friendly Website Design Drives Fresh Sales

A mobile web presence results in new sales opportunities for your business enterprise. Since your potential customers use mobile devices on an ongoing basis every day, a mobile-ready website results in sales opportunities that you’d miss out on a conventional business website.

Mobile-Friendly Website Promotes Customer Retention

An overwhelming 66% of Smartphone users said a mobile-friendly website persuades them to make a purchase. Likewise, 74% said that they would definitely revisit a mobile-friendly website.

Reason #10: Setting Up a Mobile Website is Inexpensive & Simple

Getting a mobile website for your business need not be expensive. As with all sophisticated technology, mobile website design and upkeep carried an exorbitant price when it was newly introduced. Nevertheless, you can fashion a mobile variant of your existing business website or even opt for a fresh Responsive Web Design without denting your marketing budget.

It’s not essential to begin from scratch

Setting up a mobile website for your business doesn’t necessitate beginning from scratch. If you own a WordPress or Joomla website, you need to merely incorporate a component that exhibits your existing website content optimally on a mobile device. This is regardless of the device’s screen size. If this option isn’t feasible, your website developer can easily recreate your prime content for easier mobile surfing. Mobile browsers automatically redirect visitors to these modified pages.

Conclusion

The reasons discussed here make it crystal-clear that a mobile-friendly business website is an indispensable addition to your enterprise’s online marketing arsenal. Since Smartphone use is expected to exceed actual desktop use some time in 2014, your business enterprise will miss out on an excellent opportunity if it isn’t driven by a mobile-friendly website.

=========================

=========================

What’s the difference between mobile and responsive design?

There are two major methods for creating mobile websites: responsive design and mobile templates.

Responsive design requires you only have one website that is coded to adapt to all screen sizes, no matter what the device the website’s being displayed on.

In contrast, a mobile template is a completely separate entity requiring you to have a second, mobile-only website or subdomain. Mobile templates are also built for each specific site, not per screen size. This can cause some issues, as we will discuss below.

Responsive design, a term originally coined in a 2010 A List Apart article by Ethan Marcotte, has been by far the most popular and widely used method for designing a mobile website.

Here are some of the undeniable reasons your website needs to be responsive.

1) Mobile usage is exploding.

This might not be a surprise for most of you, yet despite the impressive statistics below, many businesses do not yet have a mobile website. Hopefully, reading through these stats from Smart Insights will light a fire to stop ignoring the need for a mobile website.

  • Over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device.
  • In 2012, more than half of local searches were performed on a mobile device.
  • In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device.
  • 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.
  • 25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.

2) Positive user experience is a must.

According to Google’s Think Insights on mobile, if a user lands on your mobile website and is frustrated or doesn’t see what they are looking for, there’s a 61% chance they will leave immediately and go to another website (most likely a competitor). It’s also said that if they have a positive experience with your mobile website, a user is 67% more likely to buy a product or use a service.

3) Blogging and social activities bring mobile visitors.

If you’re like most inbound marketers and have elements of blogging and social media incorporated in your strategy, you probably have been seeing increased mobile traffic. A recentstudy by ComScore cites that 55% of social media consumption happens on a mobile device.

With that being said, if you’re sharing out content links or links to your website and don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re not only going to experience high bounce rates and low conversion rates, but also a frustrated audience.

4) Responsive design is preferred for SEO.

In June 2012, at SMX Advanced, Google’s Pierre Farr went on the record to declare that Google prefers responsive web design over mobile templates. Having one single URL makes it easier for Google bot to crawl your site as well as reduces the chance of on-page SEO errors. For these reasons, responsive sites typically perform better and are easier to maintain than a separate, mobile-template site.

5) A speedy responsive website is key.

According to the Google PageSpeed Developers, standards recommends that the content above the fold on a mobile device loads in under 1 second and the entire page loads in under 2 seconds. This is typically not possible when loading a desktop website on a mobile device. When a user has to wait too long for a page to load, there’s an extremely high chance they will leave your site.

Curious about how well your current website is performing on a mobile device? Google Developers has this nifty little tool to check your mobile site’s speed.

6) Responsive adapts to future devices.

One of the big benefits of responsive design is that the size of the template is designed based on screen size, not device. This means that no matter what size screen someone is viewing your website, it will display properly for that screen size.

So, in the future, as new devices (TVs, watches, glasses, etc.) are being used for web browsing, your responsive site will still look beautiful.

Moving forward, it will be extremely critical that your website provides mobile users an easy-to-use experience. Having a mobile website is no longer simply a nice feature — rather, it is now a necessity and literally impacts the growth of your business.

Are you curious the possible return having a mobile website might have? I’d suggest checking out is this “Full Value of Mobile” calculator by Google. Here, you can input different variables about your business and marketing, and it will give you a full rundown of how your metrics can be increased with proper mobile design.

What do you think about responsive design? Is it something you’ve already implemented or are you planning to do so soon? Share your thoughts below!

The resident Director of Inbound Marketing at Savvy Panda, Luke Summerfield and his team develop web and marketing success stories for medium to fortune 100 companies and nonprofits. Luke is also the head instructor of Master Inbound, a comprehensive online Inbound Marketing training course.

 

 

=====================

=====================

Why Your Website Should Be Mobile-Friendly and How to Make Sure It Is

Take a look around on any subway, in any airport, or even around the meeting table at work and you’re bound to find a number of individuals glued to their smartphones. As providers improve their networks and hardware giants continue to push out new devices, customers are browsing the web more from their smartphones and tablets rather than from traditional computers. While these devices sport full web browsers, it is becoming important for businesses to tailor this experience to their mobile users.

In late 2012, Google conducted an independent survey titled “What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today.” Of the 1,088 smartphone users that were surveyed, about 67 percent indicated they would be more likely to purchase a product or service from a business that built a mobile-friendly website. Couple that with the fact that 61 percent of users also said they’d leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile and it’s clear that having a mobile-friendly site is more important than ever.

What Customers Want

While some businesses choose to create full-featured native applications, web technologies have advanced to the point where this may not be necessary. Responsive web design makes it easy for you to devote your development time to your website with a good presentation on mobile and no additional resources expended on mobile app development. Any further development could be costly so you must focus your efforts on what your customers want most.

While there are laundry lists of mobile feature requests, the ones appearing most often include speed, clarity, and access to contact information. Customers want to be on a website within a few seconds and once there, they want to see large buttons and clear, readable text. They also want to easily find contact information within just a few taps.

Why Customers Want Mobile-Friendly Websites

Why People Want Mobile

The development of your mobile site should be determined by the kinds of products and services your business provides. Since mobile devices sport relatively small screens and a different way of interacting with page content, simply shrinking your text into the device’s screen won’t give customers that warm and fuzzy feeling about your site.

Customers want to know if you’re open, how to contact you, and where to get more information about your products. It also helps if they can purchase your products without being asked to download an application or being redirected to a non mobile-friendly e-commerce site. You’re more likely to complete a sale if you empower your customer to do so on-the-go, perhaps right after seeing a relevant, engaging advertisement for your best product.

How to Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly

There are quite a few easy ways to make your website mobile — many of which can cost relatively little. If your website is built on a publishing platform like WordPress, there are afew plugins available that will transform your site into a mobile-friendly version when viewed from a smartphone or tablet.

In addition to plugins, adding a responsive layer to your website can ensure that your single set of content looks good no matter what kind of device it is used on. Adding responsive design principles to your website will require a little tweaking by a professional designer, but it will remove the need for duplicate sets of content for each device type or platform.

If editing code or tasking someone to do so is not what you want, there are websites that will help you work through the process of either converting your website or deploying a quick mobile version based on pre-built templates.

Regardless of which method of mobile compatibility you choose, it’s important to test your site on a variety of browsers and devices. What may look great on an iPad could appear distorted on an iPhone or a phone with a larger display. There are a number of mobile device simulators available on the web to help you test your website across a variety of platforms. Given the growing trend of mobile browsing, your efforts to accommodate mobile devices will pay big dividends now and into the future.

Is your website mobile-friendly? If so, tell us what steps you took to get it that way.

========================
========================

Here’s Why You Should Start Using CloudFlare Today

Written by ellice

We learned so much at today’s DreamUp with CloudFlare! Brent Coco, a trainer at CloudFlare, joined our DreamUp to provide a ton of information about the web performance and security company — including how it works, and the benefits it can have on your site! Bonus feature for DreamHost customers: its basic service is FREE when you have an account with us!

Watch our DreamUp with CloudFlare below to learn all the fascinating features you can use to better your site today!

How does CloudFlare work?

CloudFlare is a network of data centers that sits between your web server and the rest of the internet. As a DreamHost user, your customers web content will live on a DreamHost web server, or what I’ll call an origin server. Visitors wanting to visit your customers’ web pages will navigate their browser to their site and instead of going direct to the origin server, websites with CloudFlare will direct traffic to the CloudFlare network instead.

This does two things: CloudFlare can serve cached static web content to the visitor, and screen visitors to make certain they are good and not traffic coming from an attack, malicious bots, or other bad things. Because CloudFlare’s network is made up of 32 global data centers, that means we can serve your visitors web content very fast regardless of the distance between your origin server and the viewer.

What is static content and why would I want it cached?

Static content is really anything on a web page that doesn’t change very often. Javascript, CSS framing, images are all great examples as these typically are not changed from visitor to visitor. The advantage of having it cached, and cached around the world, is that your website loading performance is greatly increased. On average, websites on CloudFlare load twice as fast and because that traffic isn’t coming from your origin server, CloudFlare can save 65% of bandwidth.

Who can use CloudFlare?

Anyone who has a web page who wants to increase performance and security. That can be WordPress blogs (or any kind of CMS platform), eCommerce sites, personal websites, company websites. Just about anything.

How do you know who is bad traffic and how do you protect me from it?

CloudFlare sees a lot of internet traffic, over 5% of the internet. We can tell what traffic is coming from what IPs and if we detect that and IP address is causing attack traffic, like a DDoS attack, we can rank it for security risk. We use our own IP reputation ranking in conjunction with 3rd party rankings to develop a threat ranking and depending on what settings you select, will screen out or challenge some of those visitors.
What’s even better, CloudFlare is very robust and works as an Anycast network. This means that web traffic is routed through CloudFlare in the most efficient way possible and isn’t dependent on certain pathways. So if, for instance, someone on CloudFlare is getting DDoS attacked, we can keep their website up and available because we have a lot of flexibility on how we get the good traffic to their origin server.

Are there different plans with CloudFlare?

First, everyone who has a website with DreamHost can sign up to use CloudFlare for free. That means your web content performance is increased, your bandwidth usage is lowered, and you’re protected from malicious web traffic and DDoS attacks.

For those users who have a lot of mobile content or who are more sensitive to security issues should consider the CloudFlare Plus plan. The Plus plan adds our technologies called Mirage and Polish, which optimize images for mobile delivery. Nothing is worse for a mobile site visitor when they have to wait for content to load. They’re already on the go and don’t want to wait around, so CloudFlare makes it easy optimize content delivery by doing all this for you automatically. Mirage chooses the right image size for your visitor’s device and Polish reduces the image size to make delivery as lightweight as possible.

Additionally, the Plus plan gives your customers SSL. Flexible SSL, where the visitor to CloudFlare connection is encrypted is turned on. And Full SSL where, the connection between CloudFlare and DreamHost servers are also encrypted is available if the customer has the Secure Hosting option activated as well.

How do I activate CloudFlare?

It’s easily done through the DreamHost control panel. Under the Manage Domains section you can either edit a current domain or add a new domain and choose the CloudFlare options from here. And that’s pretty much it. You’ll have more granular options at w​ww.cloudflare.com​once you’ve activated the service.

You cache static content, but what if a website has content that’s customized or constantly changing?
That’s correct, CloudFlare is designed as a next-generation CDN which caches and serves up at each data center around the world, so visitors are very close to your website regardless of where they are. But we also have a way to greatly increase delivery of dynamic content as well. We call it Railgun.

Railgun is a dynamic content accelerator by acting as a WAN, creating a secure tunnel connection between a DreamHost server and the CloudFlare network. This means we don’t waste time by creating new handshakes, setting up new routing protocols as CloudFlare is updating. What’s more, Railgun works similar to video compression where only the changed bits are updated. This greatly reduces the amount of data that’s transferred and speeds up the dynamic content delivery. That content is then refreshed in CloudFlare and served to your visitor along with the static content which was already cached at the network edge.

Bottom line, Railgun can speed up that hard to cache dynamic content by 200x and does so with a 99.6% compression rate. And Railgun is free for all DreamHost users.

Does CloudFlare do anything else to speed up delivery of web content?

In addition to eliminating speed of light restrictions by moving the web content closer to your visitors via a CDN, CloudFlare also optimizes the way the content loads for your visitor. We have a few neat technologies which streamline the data. For example, we use AutoMinify, a method to remove all the extraneous html code such as comments and whitespace from web content before the data is sent over. This minimizes the space needed and speeds up delivery.

Another example is Rocket Loader. Rocket Loader asynchronously delivers web content to the visitor and combines multiple JavaScript files into a single request to avoid the overhead of multiple network requests. This speeds up page delivery.

For mobile sites, our network pre-formats images to fit whatever device is requesting the content in a technique we call Polish. Mobile devices are sent over smaller images which fit best and decreases the amount of data transfer. This is coupled with another technology called Mirage, which quickly loads the viewable content first and then fills in the rest – the unviewable page – later. This gives rapid loading for the needed content to keep the user experience consistent.

My site gets intermittent traffic spikes, can CloudFlare help with this?

Absolutely. We have a lot of customers who depend on us for jumps in traffic, caused by advertising campaigns or seasonality. Because CloudFlare doesn’t charge for bandwidth, there’s no extra or unexpected cost. What’s more, CloudFlare’s caching technology reduces your bandwidth usage.

How can CloudFlare help me if I’m under attack?

If you believe that you are undergoing a DDoS attack, CloudFlare offers all customers the option of ‘I’m under attack mode’. This will immediately put in place a challenge captcha page for all visitors. Outside of those times, CloudFlare’s Threat Control means you can select different security levels based on our IP reputation database. In addition, CloudFlare allows you to block countries or IP ranges if you don’t wish to have traffic from those sources.

What should I do when I make edits to my webpage?

If you are making edits to your web pages and want to refresh what is currently cached in CloudFlare, you can manually purge the cache from your account at www.cloudflare.com.​Once you’ve logged in, you can navigate to the General Preferences area of your account and click the green Purge button. This will erase your cache that is currently on CloudFlare almost instantly. Now your new content will begin to cache!

 

==============================

==============================

 

4 Reasons why you should be using CloudFlare

CloudFlare on GreenGeeks

 

Late last year we announced a partnership with CloudFlare, where we make it easy for you to enable CloudFlare on your account to take advantage of the benefits that CloudFlare offers. If you aren’t using CloudFlare on your hosting account, here’s 4 reasons why you should:

1. Increase in Site Performance

We use the best quality hardware and network available, so naturally our web hosting is already fast… but CloudFlare provides an increase in website performance through their global CDN (Content Delivery Network). When enabled, the CDN will automatically cache your static files (JavaScript, CSS, Images, etc.) on their servers located across strategic data centers around the world. When a visitor visits your website hosted with GreenGeeks, CloudFlare’s Anycast technology will load those static files from a server located nearest to the visitor and your dynamic content will load from our servers. This results in faster load times due to decreased latency between server and visitor. Through feedback from customers, we’ve seen increases of 50% or more on site performance when CloudFlare is enabled.

2. Built-in Security

Security is a big focus here at GreenGeeks. We do everything to ensure our servers and customer sites are secure from a server standpoint, but most website defacement’s occur due vulnerabilities in the website code it self.  With CloudFlare, you’ll be protected against a range of threats: cross site scripting, SQL injection, comment spam, excessive bot crawling, email harvesters, and more. This is done automatically and will stop most attacks without the confusing configurations that are required with other security plugins and tools. Simply select your security level from High, Medium, Low and Essentially Off. CloudFlare will even learn about your site and traffic patterns and adjust its security on the fly.

Of the sites that are using CloudFlare with our web hosting, CloudFlare stopped over 200,000 threats in just one week.

3. Easy to Enable with GreenGeeks

It’s dead easy to install, so there’s no excuse not to enable CloudFlare. Here’s a video that Lawrence made that shows exactly how to enable CloudFlare on your GreenGeeks shared andreseller hosting accounts. For our VPS and Dedicated customers, simply contact our support by opening a ticket from within your GreenGeeks Account Manager. One of our technicians will install the Plugin for you.

 4. It’s free!

The basic service which will satisfy most of our customers will cost nada, nothing, zilch! Need I say more?

If you’re not using CloudFlare, I strongly recommend that you do. A faster site and a secure site helps with search engine rankings and really, your customers will have a much better experience on your website.

Thanks for choosing to host green!

Karl D.

 

 

 

 

======================

======================

E-Commerce Sites

Not Every E-Commerce Site Needs SSL

If you use Paypal or another third party payment gateway and all the sensitive data is being processed at the gateway’s website then you likely do not need an SSL Certificate.

For example, a customer clicks to buy items in their shopping cart on your website. You send them to a site like Paypal to fill out the CC information and finish the transaction. Paypal contacts the bank and finishes the transaction. In this case, your website is not capturing sensitive data and you do not need an SSL certificate for this kind of e-commerce. However, the site that processes the payments does.

If you accept the credit card information on your website and then forward it to Paypal or other payment processor then you still need an SSL certificate.

For example, a customer clicks to buy the items in their shopping cart on your website. They go to a page on your site and fill out the financial information. After they finalize the transaction their information is stored on your site and/or you send their payment information including the credit card data to a payment processor. In this case, you do need to encrypt your customers information before you send it to the Credit Card processor. So you would need an SSL Certificate.

Other Forms

If your site has forms that ask for sensitive, personal information you should be using an SSL Certificate. Otherwise, that data is transmitted in clear text. Not having SSL on your site could mean that you are missing leads due to vistors not filling out forms on unsecured pages.

Login Forms

If your site allows or requires users to login with a username and password then you should use an SSL Certificate on the login page. Without the SSL Certificate on the login page their passwords are transmitted in plain text and could be intercepted by hackers(even beginner ones) anywhere along the path from their computer to where your website is located.

 

======================

=======================

Yes, You Should Get An SSL Certificate for Your Website

Share11

Google has recently come out and explicitly said were starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. Currently, it is a “lightweight signal”, but that could easily change, and it might have more weight in the future. Traditionally, Https was used only when sensitive information was being transmitted, for example, when completing online transactions (it is commonly used by ecommerce sites like Amazon). However, Google is calling for Https everywhere, meaning that it will likely become a stronger ranking signal.

How It Works

URLs that begin with Https are secured using a technology called Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which encrypts data travelling between a web browser and a web server. In order for a website to use Https, they must first obtain an SSL Certificate, which can be purchased from most major web hosts. SSL Certificates serve to confirm identity and encrypt any data that flows to or from the website.

Once installed, the SSL Certificate ensures that a) the back-end server accepts only encrypted communications and b) that the back-end server has the correct certificates to ensure secure transfer of data.

When a web browser communicates with a web server, a secured connection (SSL) is established. The computer connects to the server hosting the website and checks the SSL Certificate to verify it is connecting to the correct source. If everything checks out, the computer and the server form a handshake where a data encryption method is decided upon. After that, the data that leaves one computer is scrambled using the agreed upon encryption and then descrambled once it reaches the other. This level of security means that any data shared between the two cant be seen, collected or misused by an outside party.

Do I Need Https?

Very rarely does Google come out and explicitly say this is a ranking signal. It is therefore a good idea to make the transition, as it is relatively inexpensive (averaging about $100 per year) and is not time or labour intensive to set up.

If you don’t have any higher priorities for your website — for example, getting a mobile site running or recovering from a penalty — obtaining and installing an SSL Certificate is recommended. There are a number of benefits to transitioning to Https, including:

  • Increased security for you and your customers
  • Authentication, so you can be ensure information is being sent to the right recipient
  • SSL is a trust signal which indicates that customers can trust their information to be safe when using your website
  • And of course, it is a ranking signal

How to Set up SSL on Your Website

  1. If your server doesn’t support Server Name Identification (SNI), make sure that you have a dedicated IP address.
  2. Obtain an SSL certificate. Most major web hosts can provide an SSL certificate — if yours does not, there are avariety of third party options. The average is around $100 per year, though it varies from provider to provider.
  3. Make sure that your back-end server can support the SSL Certificate, and then install it. This is not a DIY project — it should be implemented by your technical team. If you dont have an in-house technical resource, you can hire a third party to help you, or go through your web host (many web hosts will perform the installation for you at no additional cost if you purchase the certificate from them).
  4. Once the certificate is installed, you will need to do a bulk 301 redirect to account for the change in URLs from http to https. A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect indicating that a certain page has moved to a different URL (kind of like a change of address card). It is important because it a) ensures that all website visitors — and search engines “– are directed to the secure URL and b) ensures that all authority is given to the correct page. Again, you should get your technical team, a third party, or your web host to implement these changes (some web hosts may implement the redirects for you at an additional cost).
  5. In your Google Webmaster Tools, you will need to add the https site to account for the change. Google Analytics should not require any changes as it will track both http and https pages.
  6. After everything is set up, monitor performance to make sure there are no issues (for example, Google Analytics indicating a loss in traffic).

Ultimately, SSL brings a myriad of benefits to your website without costing you a ton of cash or eating up much time and resources. It is a Google ranking signal, helps beef up your website’s security, and instills trust in your customers ” which is especially important when they are providing you with private information. If you don’t have other serious issues with your website that take precedence, now is the perfect time to obtain your SSL Certificate.

By Daniel Kosir|September 15th, 2014|SEO|Comments Off on Yes, You Should Get An SSL Certificate for Your Website
-===========================
============================

Do I Need An SSL Certificate For My Website?

Do I need an SSL Certificate Shopping CartYou’ve probably heard of 128-bit encryption, or seen the green address bar of an EV SSL certificate, and you’re wondering “Do I need an SSL certificate on my site?” Most online shoppers are very careful and want to know that their information is safe. Using an SSL certificate provides two important things:

  • Encryption of sensitive data like credit card numbers and personal information
  • Some assurance to your customers that you are trustworthy (the process of getting an SSL certificate can’t guarantee this, but it can make it more likely which is part of the reason why visitors have this perception)

These are very important benefits and, while not all websites require an SSL certificate, it is essential for certain types of sites. To find out if you need an SSL certificate for your site, answer these questions:

Is my site an e-commerce site that collects credit card information?

For most e-commerce sites, you absolutely need an SSL certificate!  As an online merchant, it is your responsibility to make sure the information you collect from your customers is protected. This will shield you and your customers by making sure that no one can intercept and misuse their credit card information.

Your customers are providing you with very important and personal information that allows access to their hard earned money. If an identity thief gets access to your customer’s credit card information because you didn’t take the necessary precautions, it can be devastating to you and to your customer. Your customers need to know that you value their security and privacy and are serious about protecting their information. More and more customers are becoming savvy online shoppers and won’t buy from you if you don’t have an SSL certificate installed.

If you accept credit card information and store it in a database so you can process it using an offline POS machine or charge it manually on your merchant account’s website, then you definitely need an SSL certificate to secure the credit card data as it is transferred. You also need to be very careful with the data when it is stored on your servers. Learn more about PCI Compliance and SSL and the requirements of protecting stored credit card information.

Do I use a 3rd party payment processor?

If your e-commerce site forwards your visitors to a 3rd party payment processor (like PayPal) to enter the credit card information then you don’t need an SSL certificate because your website won’t touch the credit card information. Just make sure none of the credit card details get entered when the address bar still shows your domain name. Note that PayPal allows you to accept the credit card information on your site or forward visitors to their site. If you accept the credit card information on your site, you need an SSL certificate.

Do I have a login form?

If your users enter a username and password to login to your site without an SSL certificate, an attacker can easily see their username and password in clear text. This would allow someone else to impersonate your visitor, but it allows for a far more dangerous possibility: Because users often use the same password on many sites (including their bank accounts), an attacker can potentially compromise many other accounts. If you let people store a password with you, you must take responsibility for protecting it, even if the security of your own site isn’t critical.

It is true that most login forms don’t currently use SSL. This means that most login forms are vulnerable. With the number of cheap SSL certificates available, it is becoming more and more worthwhile to secure login forms. If you want to forego the SSL certificate without having to worry about securing the login information, you can also use OpenID, Facebook Connect, or another technology that lets users log in on a another site and return to your site. Learn more about creating a secure login form.

Do I need my own SSL certificate or can I use a shared SSL certificate?

Many hosting providers will include a shared SSL certificate that you can use instead of buying your own. As long as it doesn’t give any errors on your site, this will be great for securing login information or other sensitive information. However, a shared SSL certificate doesn’t provide as much assurance to your visitors because it doesn’t include your organization or website name in it and may display a warning.

In short, if your website is a collection of pictures of your goldfish Rudy with a small blog and doesn’t require visitors to log in, you probably don’t need SSL. If you have a login form or send or receive private customer information, then you need SSL. If you run an e-commerce website where people provide you with credit card information directly on your site, you absolutely need SSL.

Where do I purchase an SSL certificate?

Great! So you’re now sure that you need SSL for your e-commerce or other type of site. How do you know what type of certificate to purchase? Which SSL provider should you buy from? You can find the answers to all your questions about buying an SSL Certificate in the SSL FAQ or by using the SSL Wizard to compare SSL.

Originally posted on Sat Mar 6, 2010

====================

=====================

Google Will Punish You If You Don’t Have A Mobile-Friendly Website

You’ve experienced it for yourself…

You’re thumbing through Twitter or Facebook on your sweet looking smartphone and come across a post that you just have to read.

You stop dead in your tracks as those 140 characters sucked you right in. You quickly click the link with such excitement because this article is gonna blow your mind, you just feel it…

“The homepage? I didn’t want this, something must be wrong”. 

You quickly go back to Twitter to make sure you clicked the right link…

Same thing…The home page…

You’re uncomfortably pissed off and tell yourself you’ll just visit the site later but you never remember…

What if that content could have changed your life? As a business owner or content creator you cannot allow these things to happen.

Now, what if I told you that by not having a mobile-friendly website, Google would lower your site’s SEO ranking?

What if Google told you that not offering consumers a mobile-friendly version of your website or misconfiguring that site would result in a demotion within their search rankings?

Well, if you haven’t heard yet…Google just did that very thing.

That’s right…Google is trying to put mobile users first.

google-mobile-tools

If you’re site is misconfigured for smartphone users or you just simply don’t have a mobile-friendly option for consumers you may see a drop in your rankings if you’re not compliant with their Mobile Optimization Guidelines.

Let’s face it…keeping up with The Googs (Google if you were not hip to my lingo) is a challenge. Even when they try to take a stance like they did with their announcement of their preference for responsive design they leave people confused and asking a lot of questions due to some of the contradictory statements they’ve been making.

Sometimes it feels like even Google is trying to figure this “mobile” thing out.

Now, I’ve dedicated an entire podcast episode to explaining what responsive design is but ultimately there are some challenges with implementing responsive design and how it affects your site’s performance.

So let’s get something straight.

Google makes an announcement that you should use responsive design. Most websites using responsive design deal with slow load times which inherently have negative SEO consequences meaning your ranking is negatively impacted.

To make matters worse there is a site speed penalty for mobile in the works per an announcement last week by Google’s Matt Cutts. So, it seems like Google wants us to have a responsive site that loads fast.

Now, I do have to give it to Google in that they are trying to put the mobile user first as many businesses should be doing but as you’ve most likely experienced, we won’t tolerate slow loading sites.

What does this mean to your business? 

In an effort to help us all navigate these new waters and avoid slamming our heads into our desks, Google has shared their recommendations as well as some of the most common mistakes when building a mobile site. After reviewing the most common mistakes I wanted to highlight a few that I think will most likely affect you, the small business owner.

Page Speed

We know that 74% of consumers will 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile device before abondoning the site. We also know that 71% of mobile browsers expect web pages to load almost a quickly or faster as web pages on their desktop computes.

With these characteristics of the mobile user  in mind and the liklihood of users being on a 3G/4G network, performance is critical. Per Google you should:

Unplayable Videos

A lot of videos just aren’t playable on smartphones. Google recommends using HTML5 standard tags to include videos and avoid content formats such as Flash that are not supported by all mobile devices. Offering a transcript is also a highly effective solution to be safe.

Faulty Redirects

Google shares three common examples of this but the one that I see time and time again is when a desktop sites server is setup to redirect all smartphone visitors to the mobile websites homepage. This is obviously ok if the user was trying to get to the homepage but not when trying to access a link deeper within the site.

This even happens with sites that have a mobile equivalent of the desired page but the redirect was implemented incorrectly. You ideally want to make sure that there is a mobile equivalent to every URL if you’re not using responsive design. Also, if you don’t have a mobile equivalent just let them go to the page they were looking for on the full site from their mobile device.

App Download Interstitials

Many businesses try to promote their smartphone app to their mobile web visitors by showing them an interstitial page to drive downloads. I find this super annoying and it’s nice to know Google does too.

If you want to promote your app to mobile web visitors use a banner. They came to your mobile website for a reason. Don’t slow them down with stupid interstitials.

If you want to read more about the other common mistakes be sure to visit Google’s site.

Now what? 

I highly recommend you do an audit of your own site to identify if you’re making these common mistakes. Obviously if you don’t have a mobile website yet you should start there. ?

I even recorded a podcast about the 6 Ways To Make Your Website mobile-friendly. 

Now, you also have to remember that just having a mobile-friendly website is not a mobile strategy.

If you’re confused and not sure where to start, the Mobile Mixed team would be happy to perform an audit for YOUR business. Our audits offer a comprehensive review of your current business, your competition and we’ll provide a roadmap of ideas and recommendations on what to implement first. You can learn more about our audits here. 

Although some of Google’s announcements are contradictory and met with confusion, I hope that some of these new developments lead to more businesses becoming mobile-friendly. It’s what consumers want.

====================

=====================

oogle search has a newfound love for mobile-friendly sites

Changes in Google’s search machinery could ding websites that aren’t properly designed for smartphones.

google-mobile-friendly-websites.png

Is your website mobile-friendly? Google is setting some new standards you’ll have to meet.Google

Google is making changes to the machinery of its mobile searches that will reward websites deemed mobile-friendly and penalize those that are not.

As of Tuesday, Google is updating the way it looks at the design of mobile websites as a way to determine how a site ranks in its mobile search results. The more mobile-friendly the site, the higher it will likely appear in the search results on a mobile device, specifically on a smartphone.

“Today’s the day we begin globally rolling out our mobile-friendly update,” Google said in a blog post Tuesday. “Now searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”

The update affects only search rankings on mobile devices and applies to individual pages, rather than entire websites, Google said. That is, a site may not be mobile-friendly as a whole but still score high in search results because certain of its pages do. But other longstanding criteria could sway things the other way, such as how closely the information on the site matches the wording of your search.

“The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query,” Google said.

More often than before, people are searching and surfing the Web from mobile devices — around 60 percent of online traffic is now generated by mobile devices, according to a report published in mid-2014 by research firm ComScore. That report pointed specifically to digital media sites, not the Web as a whole. But it does provide a clue to the growing dominance of mobile Web browsing. During holiday shopping season at the end of 2014, meanwhile, nearly 60 percent of Amazon customers shopped using a mobile device.

As such, websites need to ensure that their content can be easily viewed and navigated by mobile users. Through its new search algorithm, Google is offering a wake-up call to website owners. Sites penalized by Google for not being mobile-friendly could find a dip in users and a potentially a dip in sales.

The changes are potentially significant enough for those running websites that they’ve earned the mock-apocalyptic nickname “mobilegeddon.”

“Come April 21, a lot of small businesses are going to be really surprised that the number of visitors to their websites has dropped significantly,” Itai Sadan, CEO of website builder Duda, told Business Insider. “This is going to affect millions of sites on the Web.”

Google has long been a powerhouse of Internet search on desktop and laptop computers — so much so that the European Union last week formally accused it of abusing its search engine dominancewhen it comes to online shopping services — but on mobile devices it has found the going much tougher. In the mobile realm, people tend to reach services through apps and app stores, rather than through an all-purpose search engine.

In 2014, Google’s chunk of mobile search revenue fell to 68 percent, down from 83 percent just two years earlier, according to eMarketer.

So the company is making a number of new efforts to boost its appeal to the millions of people wielding smartphones. Last week, for instance, Google tweaked its mobile search capabilities to prompt you todownload specific apps when content in those apps is relevant to your search..

With new mobile search algorithm going into effect Tuesday, Google gave a two-month warning to help website operators get ready. But some sites, especially smaller ones, may not be aware of the changes or may simply not yet have made mobile friendliness a high-enough priority.

“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results,” Google said in a February blog post announcing the changes.

The update does not address searches done on tablets or desktops, Google said in an FAQ about the mobile-focused changes.

To determine whether a webpage meets Google’s new criteria, you can enter its name at the company’s Mobile-Friendly Test page. Just type the name of the page, such as cnet.com, and Google will tell you if it’s up to par. If it’s not, Google will pinpoint any specific problems it finds and even suggest ways to make the site more mobile friendly.

Google did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.

 

=======================

=======================

Google Starts Giving A Ranking Boost To Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites

google-ssl-https-secure-1920

Google To Give Secure Sites A Ranking Boost

Google has announced that going HTTPS — adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site — will give you a minor ranking boost.

Google says this gives websites a small ranking benefit, only counting as a “very lightweight signal” within the overall ranking algorithm. In fact, Google said this carries “less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.” Based on their tests, Google says it has an impact on “fewer than 1% of global queries” but said they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Google also said based on their tests for the past few months, the HTTPS signal showed “positive results” in terms of relevancy and ranking in Google’s search results.

As you may remember, at SMX West, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, said he’d love to make SSL a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Well, less than five months after that announcement, and while he is on an extended leave, Google is making it a reality.

SEO Concerns With Going HTTPS

Should you be concerned when switching from your HTTP to HTTPS site for SEO purposes? Not so much. Google has been telling webmasters it is safe to do so for years. But you need to take the proper steps to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. That means make sure to communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google promises to release more documentation in the future, but for now has provided the following tips:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

Google has also updated Google Webmaster Tools to better handle HTTPS sites and the reporting on them.

One last thing: You will want to make sure to track your HTTP to HTTPS migration carefully in your analytics software and within Google Webmaster Tools.

Postscript: Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller is also answering some questions about the change here on Google+.

 

 

==================

===================

 




Portfolio > Web > Print > Flash > Logos, etc. > SEO