What is an SSL Certificate? 5 Frequently Asked SSL Questions

Websites can be a tricky thing. There’s a lot more that goes into them besides a great design and user functionality. The ‘backend’ or technical side of your website has hoops to jump through and ways to make your website perform better. One topic that often surfaces during website work are SSL certificates. What are they, how do they work, why do I need one … the list can go on and on.

I sat down and broke down the five most frequently asked questions about SSL certificates to help provide more education and understanding around the topic. Technical aspects of a website can be a bit confusing, but we tried to break it down in a way that’s a bit easier to understand.

What is an SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. According to ssl.com, this “is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private.” In other words, an SSL make your website safe for you, your visitors, and the information stored there. Without an SSL the information exchanged or shared on your website is susceptible to hackers and internet bots. Think of it as your website’s personal bodyguard.

Information is sent from one computer to another, one server to another… it’s a little intangible, right? The internet feels that way, too. But the good news is, SSLs can help.

When you fill out forms or visits a website, you’re exchanging information from your computer and server, with another. Adding an SSL certificate is one way that the internet is made a bit safer with our information. Think of the online information you might share – your first and last name, email address, phone number, mailing address, even your password or credit card information – you want to know that it is in good hands and isn’t available to just anyone. When there is an SSL certificate, your information is secured in a way that makes it unreadable to anyone outside who it’s intended for.

According to ClickSSL, the main benefits of having an SSL certificate include:

  • Safeguarding sensitive data being transferred between browser and server
  • Preventing criminals or any intruder from reading the information transferred
  • Avoiding misuse of vital information like credit card numbers, financial information, addresses and names
  • Safeguarding the information transferred from unwanted modification.

 

Is it OK to have a Website Without an SSL?

You’re not breaking any laws if you don’t have an SSL certificate. Well, that’s half true. If you take credit card payments or information over your website, then it is required by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards to have an SSL.

An SSL provides a layer of authentication and trust to your visitors. Many internet browsers will warn users when a site they’re visiting does not have proper security functionality. And it matters; research found that up to 85% of internet users will leave a website and discontinue browsing if they see the site is not secure.

Aside from the added layer of trust, not having an SSL can also impact where you show up in Google’s search ranking. According to Google Webmaster Trends analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji, a site with an SSL will outperform one without. Google publicly shared that between two otherwise equal websites, the one with an enabled SSL certificate will have a slightly boosted rank and will outperform the one without the SSL.
How Much does an SSL Certificate Cost?

An SSL Certificate typically ranges between $50 and $200. Most certificates are good for one to two years after they’re purchased and installed, but there are longer term options and advanced certificates, depending on what you’re looking for.

Although there are some certificates that are less expensive, making sure you have the type of SSL certificate you need for the information you gather and functionality of your website is key. If you’re not sure what type of SSL certificate you have or should have, ask your website partner or IT staff.
Does an SSL Cover All Website Security Issues?

SSL’s are an important part of web security, but not a catch-all. Just because your site has an SSL does not mean it is 100% secure! SSL’s only secure information that is in transit. Once your SSL certificate is installed on your site, you will likely need to invest a bit more time and resources into keeping your website safe and secure through routine updates, security checks, and more.  

If you have questions about the security or technical aspects of your website, we’re happy to help. Contact us and we’ll make sure you’re passing SSL certificate tests with flying colors.

June 2019

Would you face a customer without washing your hair? Or without putting on professional clothes? Of course not! You probably know that your website will be the online face of your company. It represents you, and that means you need a Toronto SEO (search engine optimization) partner to help you greet your customers according to Internet best practices. This article will help you to make good SEO choices even before you jump into a web design project.

Aspects of Building a Website

Good businesses implement planning stages before every project. In order to get the most from SEO, it helps to start your website right. These suggestions will make the planning process easier:

Choose a domain.

Deciding on a domain name (the URL users type into the navigation bar), is perhaps the most important decision you make about your website. The design and content can always be changed or updated; your domain is more permanent. Most companies have already decided on a domain name by the time the get to the web design stage, but if you haven’t, here are some tips:

1. Don’t cram key words into your URL. One key word is fine if it’s part of your business name or it gives users an idea of what your site is about.

2. Do pick a name that won’t be confused with another company. A look-alike domain will not help you grab some of their success—it will only confuse your users and end up sending them to the wrong place.

3. Do choose a name that is relatively short and easy to remember. A short name is easier for users to remember and type. Also, it will fit better on your marketing materials (and you will want the URL on your business cards and brochures).

Determine your purpose. 
Your website can do a lot of things for your business, but you know the old adage—just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Before you start designing your website, figure out what you want it to do. Is it an ecommerce site? An informational site? An online description of your services?

Browse designs. 
You can find many great sites that list web design trends and link to examples. oDesk has an article with some ideas. However, you can also just pay attention to the websites you use regularly. What are they doing? Is their site easy to use? Do you like the way it looks? Take some time looking at other business’s websites to see what you like about the site instead of focusing on the services.

Look for help. 
Once you know what you want, you’ll need a professional web designer, preferably one who understands SEO, to bring those plans to life. You can’t do better than the best Toronto web designcompany, TenPoint Solutions.

Impressing Prospects

Creating a website for your business is all about making an online marketing tool that gets prospects converted to leads and customers, and gets them talking to other prospective leads. So, what should you be looking for when designing your website? Here are a few tips to consider:

Usability— There’s a reason why this is mentioned first. Above all other design elements, the most important is that your users can easily load and navigate your page. If a design bogs down your load time, you will lose users. If people get to your site and can’t find the navigation menu, you will lose users. Being creative is great, but don’t forget that your website has a purpose other than looking awesome!

Whitespace— This ties right in with usability. Clutter is your enemy. If your website has too much going on, users will have trouble navigating it and get annoyed. This means they won’t be clicking through to contact you or purchase your services. Good design means knowing what not to include, just as much as what to include. Leaving strategic blank space is easy on users’ eyes.

Content— Some people forget that content is a part of website design. You want to put as much effort into what your website says as how it looks. In fact, content can be one of the biggest difference-makers in SEO. If you’re working with a professional web design firm, check that they can help you with optimizing your content and its presentation.

Whether you’re building a new site from scratch or you just need to revamp your current domain, these suggestions should get you started. The key is to plan ahead and make sure you know what you want and what you need. You can always count on TenPoint Solutions in Toronto for the most up-to-date advice on Toronto SEO and web design.

New Year… New LOOK!

January 2017

You have all heard the Idiom: The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot?  Well being a web designer, I can relate!! My web site was in dire need to get redone,  but just like this idiom, my site has been pushed to the back burner.  So as the new year started my goal was to get a new web site.  I started it in November and again pushed it aside for the holidays.  2017 started and I felt a determination that it HAD TO GET DONE.  So I pushed through, and BAM, it is completed!

My old web site was designed in 2007!  Yes, that is 10 years OLD!  As I tell my customers, and average life span of a web site is 3-4 years because technology has changed so much.  I looked at my old web site prior to pulling the plug.  It had some flash elements across the top, an animated GIF on the home page, it was super small in width due to smaller monitors and it wasn’t mobile friendly!  Now my new web site is responsive, full width, simple, yet very professional!

So please don’t judge me because my site was old and I am a web designer, just remember, I was working hard for my clients to reach their deadlines, and maintain their web sites!!  I kept saying to myself “I need to get a new web site for me after I am done with this next project”  Thanks to my customers, I have been kept busy with lots of projects!!

Thank YOU so much for the years of support, loyalty, and new friends through the journey!  I am looking forward to a great 2017.