SSL – What It Is and Why It’s Important

With SSL on rise we’ve recently had an uptick in questions about it. What does SSL stand for? What is it? Do I need it on my website? How come my website doesn’t show a “locked” icon in Chrome browser but other websites do? In this blog post we’ll answer your most basic questions about SSL and explain why it’s important for you to have.

What is SSL?

SSL stands for “secure sockets layer”, and according to it is “the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser”. Have you ever wondered why some sites have http before them in the url bar and some have https? The s in httpstands for “secure” and to get it you need an SSL Certificate. So what does that actually mean? Here is a simple example:

When you’re sitting on the couch with your laptop and surfing products on, information is being passed between your computer and the server that amazon’s website is hosted on. When you click a product, amazon sends the info about that product to your computer’s browser (like Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer). When you fill out your credit card info to purchase, your browser sends info back to amazon’s servers.

Now, imagine if a “hacker” could see that information going back and forth. If someone with malicious intent was able to “listen in” on your network activity, it wouldn’t be too difficult to recognize the numbers coming across in sequence as a credit card number.

SSL is what prevents that from happening by providing a secure connection that allows the data to be encrypted before being transmitted over the internet. Still confused? Using our example – SSL allows your browser to scramble your credit card information before it gets passed on to amazon’s servers. That way any bad people who might be snooping only see a random jumble of indecipherable code instead of your credit card numbers! This is why SSL is a requirement for sites who sell goods and take credit card payments over the web.

Why is SSL important?

Adding SSL to your website is important because it adds a layer of security that keeps your data (and your customers’ data) private. It also gives your website viewers peace of mind, seeing the “lock” icon in your url bar (and the word “Secure” in certain browsers) always adds a bit more credibility to the browsing experience.

Though security is important, one of the biggest advantages is that Google is starting to give preference to sites with SSL in search results. They began lightly suggesting switching to https in late 2014 and some SEO experts predict that Google will actually begin penalizing sites without SSL in the near future as it becomes more important and accessible.

How can you get an SSL certificate for your website?

If you’re interested in switching to https, contact us today to chat with one of our web developers about getting set up! Or, if you’re interested in taking advantage of our current special, switch to Estland’s new and improved VPS hosting (starting at $14.99 a month) and get an SSL included for FREE – normally a $125 value!

6 Reasons You Should Be Using Google Adwords In Your Marketing

If you’re thinking about an online advertising campaign, Google Adwords is a great place to start. Adwords is a powerful product that allows businesses of all sizes to produce cost effective and data-driven advertising campaigns on the web. This article features Estland’s top 6 reasons to start using Google Adwords.

Is Your Website Safe From Hackers?

Imagine for a moment that you’ve had a perfect start to your day. The sun’s out, you hit all green lights on the drive in, and even got to listen to your favorite song on the radio. Then you get a call from the office manager. He says a customer called and she was having problems with the website.


Google Now Prioritizes Mobile-Friendly Sites

On April 21, 2015, Google released a mobile-friendly ranking designed to give preference to mobile-friendly sites in Google search results. This move has been nicknamed “Mobilegeddon” for its clear goal to displace sites that aren’t mobile friendly. A critical point for website owners to note is that Google ranks responsive websites that resize for all handheld and mobile devices with more priority than a site that relies on separate mobile and desktop versions of a website. Learn more about responsive websites.

Check To See If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Google provides a Mobile-Friendly Test Tool for you to test your site. The new algorithm could take 2-3 weeks to complete, but you will likely see gradual shifts in your search engine results over a period of 3-6 months, so the full devastation of the re-prioritization of mobile-friendly sites might not be recognized immediately.

60% – 80% Of Traffic To Estland Clients’ Websites Comes From Mobile Devices

Reported via Google Analytics, Estland clients have seen a significant increase in mobile visits steadily over the last 5 years. In 2010, we saw ranges of 10% – 20% of all site traffic coming from mobile devices. Today, between 60% – 80% of all site traffic visits are coming in from mobile devices, and that statistic continues to grow as more people surf the web on the go and at their convenience.

All Estland Website Builds Are Responsive Because Users Demand Performance

Since the responsive trend in websites began, all Estland websites have been and continue to be built to respond to mobile and handheld devices. We emphasize intelligent design to keep people on your site because that’s what gets you more business. Even if Mobilegeddon doesn’t impact your site immediately, without a responsive website 60% – 80% of traffic bounce off your site because customers searching on their devices no longer take the time to navigate an unresponsive site.

Our goal is to help make your business as efficient and profitable as possible. We will work with you to help solve your problems, while understanding that you have limited resources and budget. Upon completion, we will present to you a written assessment of your business and recommendations for improving inefficiencies and cost.

Responsive Web Design & Development: It’s a MUST!

Optimal Viewing On All Devices From Desktop to Mobile

Responsive Web Design is a way of building a site to create an optimal viewing experience on all screen sizes across all platforms from desktop computers to mobile phones and tablets. In our opinion, a responsive website development is a must! You may be thinking that your clients are baby boomers and they probably don’t surf the web on mobile devices or maybe you just don’t think that it’s common for the general public to search for businesses on their hand-held devices. Well unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. We have some clients who get as much as 80% of their website traffic from mobile devices also known as “hand-held” devices and across all target markets and all types of business you’ll see an average of 50% of your website traffic will come from hand-held devices. This means one thing, you need your site to look great and work well on mobile devices. Period. Nobody wants to zoom in and pan left to right to read your content, they want an easy to read, easy to navigate experience. Otherwise they’ll bounce off your site quicker than you can say “RESPONSIVE.”

Estland is the go-to web development company for responsive web designs in Harrisonburg. If you’d like an estimate for a responsive website design, fill out this Quick Estimate form and we’ll be in touch!

Quick Estimate

Better design = better marketing results

Studies show that as a nation we are consistently raising our standards of good design. We don’t settle for boring and out-dated; it doesn’t make us feel good. It doesn’t appeal to our emotions and if it’s not innovative, we don’t care as much about it.

Recently Adam Swan, advisor to Forbes and head of strategy at gyro New York, wrote an article for Forbes outlining the principles behind this new era of design. Please read it and consider your current business design. Is it up to snuff? If you aren’t proud of the quality of your product or service or if your corporate brand has an outdated look, chances are that’s what others are thinking too. Companies with poor design simply can’t compete. We don’t want to use a product if it doesn’t look good. How many times do you choose a bottle of wine based on the label? How many times do you go to Starbucks and spend $5 on a cup of coffee?

Bottom line: We buy products and services based on feelings. Good design and good brands make us feel good.

How Famous Brands Got Their Logos

So as I sift through my emails this morning, I have a LinkedIn newsletter referencing Design Taxi’s recent post about “How Famous Brands Got Their Logos.” This is really helpful for those of you who are currently thinking about a new logo or redesign.

How many of these ‘fun facts’ did you already know?

[via Bored Panda]

Want to see what 24 hours of creative awesomeness look like? Click here.

What is your client’s first impression?

You know that old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” Well, what if that’s all we have to go on?

In business, we have one chance to make that first impression and often the first impression could be a business card, a newspaper ad, or a 30 second radio spot. So how deep can we get? How far into the book do we go? The answer is simple. We almost always get our first impression from glancing at the “cover” of a business.

So when you sit back and look at your brand identity from your online marketing material, to the cleanliness of your desk or the carpet on your showroom floor. Take a moment and ask yourself, “is this making a good first impression?” or “Is this impression consistent with the view I have of my company?” And don’t be afraid to ask others. Take surveys. Get unbiased opinions on the effectiveness of your image. When the results are in, if your brand identity is flawless and portrays exactly what it is your company represents, then don’t change a thing! But, if you have weakness, inconsistencies, out-dated material, and overall confusion. Take action! Contact a graphic designer that specializes in brand identity, or an organizational specialist that helps with unwanted clutter, or call your local carpet company to get that old orange dingy stuff out to the dumpster where it belongs. Bottom line, a consistent brand identity will mean increased sales and growth for your company. Stay-tuned for more on what makes a great brand identity next week!

The Psychology of Color

Color plays a huge role in effective graphic design. Colors can mean different things depending on the culture. Research conducted in the U.S. sheds light on the various ways Americans tend to interpret color.

Black—implies authority and power, evil, or submission (for example, a priest’s black robe represents submission to God). In the fashion world, black is considered timeless and stylish.

White— provides reflection and light and implies innocence and purity. It’s used in medical uniforms to imply cleanliness and sterility.

Red—stimulates intense emotions, a faster heartbeat and breathing; should be avoided in negotiations or confrontations.

Pink—more tranquil than red; calming; tends to reduce energy.

Blue—one of the most popular colors; peaceful and tranquil; causes the body to produce calming chemicals; can be cold and depressing; implies loyalty; enhances productivity at work.

Green—the current favorite in decorating; symbolizes nature; easy on the eye; calming and refreshing; dark green implies masculinity, conservativeness and wealth.

Yellow—cheerful, attention-getting; optimistic; enhances concentration; known to cause babies to cry more; known to cause people to lose their tempers more; speeds up the metabolism.

Purple—implies royalty, luxury, wealth and sophistication; femininity and romance; can appear artificial, because it is rare in nature.

Brown—implies solidity, reliability or earthiness; light brown implies genuineness; can be sad or wistful; often a favorite color of men.

Good graphic design for marketing and advertising utilizes colors that send the right message to your customers and clients.