**ARTICLE UPDATE - POSTED 02.01.2017**
SSL. A three letter acronym that is incredibly important to Google, and anyone who makes a living off their website. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer which basically means that it is safe, and your data on this website won’t be hacked.
Back in September of 2016, the almighty Google warned us that any website that takes login information or credit card info, that doesn't have an SSL certificate, will be showing in search results with a flag, warning users that this website isn’t safe.
Now that might not sound like a big deal to some people, because their site will still show up! But to the end user who doesn’t know what this level of alert means, let me translate for you. To them, Google saying your site isn't safe. Be afraid user, be very afraid.
Now when Google takes a stance on something, it usually signals that the rest of the internet will play Simon Says and follow along. This particular announcement started a snowball effect, getting all my favorite [and not so favorite] SEO bloggers posting warnings about how terrible insecure sites are.
WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH WIX
Wix payment processing is secure, but any websites build on Wix still use standard HTTP, not HTTPS. That little S represents that three letter acronym, SSL. This means that my favorite drag-and-drop editor, the website platform I tell all my new-to-computing business babes to build their dreams on, is just not as solid of a foundation as we need.
Wix was my go to for years because they are so easy to use. I like to empower my clients, and most of them don’t know how to code, or have the time to learn, so Wix was the perfect and simple solution. Edit it like it's PowerPoint. Double click, Wix will tell you what to do.
Sadly, these glory days are coming to an end because if your site won't look amazing on Google, it just won’t do. So it was time to look for another solution.
WHAT ABOUT WORDPRESS
Oh Wordpress. If you are a dot-com-er or a dot-org-er, Wordpress fans are not hard to find. People love their system... Once you get past the learning curve it’s amazing! You can find a plugin for anything! You host it yourself - isn’t that awesome!? Yes, yes, and yes, Wordpress can be the amazing for all the web developers of the world. They have a huge fan base that is enthusiastic, and sometimes even downright pushy.
But I like to work with the visionaries who aren’t tech savvy. I prefer to work with clients who have a dream, just need some help getting it going in the right direction. Learning to code, playing with widgets, understanding basic CSS... These options are not always the right answer for busy entrepreneurs who have WAY more on their plate.
I honestly believe that if I want to teach someone how to do something, I need to have experience doing it myself. So if I plan to teach entrepreneurs a thing or two about making their own website, Wordpress is not the best option for their work load.
THEN CAME SQUARESPACE
There are quite a few other options out there for website creation besides Wix and Wordpress, but Squarespace kept coming up over and over. Their editor is kinda drag and drop, but in more of a grid system than a free-for-all like Wix. You can code and program some of the back-end of your site, including fancy plugins and widgets, like Wordpress, but you don’t have to. If you need something up and running yesterday, you can grab a template, add a few tweaks and BAM - new site complete. So I weighed all of these options and decided that Squarespace was the right place to go.
After all, all their sites are secure and come with an SSL certificate,and isn’t that where this all started anyway?
BUT OMG - WTH ABOUT UR SEO?!
I have been studying SEO since I got started online back in 2007. Yup, that is so close to a decade I can finally feel old about it. It seems like there are a TON of experts out there, but my rule number one is to never trust anyone who promises you first rank on page one of Google search results.
Red flag warning people - even Google can’t promise what the first search result will be. Their algorithm changes and refreshes all the time. New content is posted every minute. Scratch that - every freaking second. Websites like Buzzfeed change their tagging systems, Facebook makes new indexing policies for articles... there is no certainty in search engine rank. But there are best practices.
Yes, I will lose some of this historical value my site had, which can be pretty dang important in SEO. Yes, Wordpress has a thousand plug ins to help me improve it. But in the long run, Squarespace still won. Oh, and to quote one of my fav SEO experts, the awesome Rand Fishkin from Moz:
If I have learned anything in my near-decade of experience in SEO it’s that quality content is always the best idea. From there, you need to have a good functional mobile friendly site, and the right kind of tags on your page. All of those things, Squarespace can handle. After that, there are 5,000+ options for improving your SEO, and 10,000+ experts who will tell you why their ideas are the best ones.
However, that's not my style. I won’t tell you that my way is the only way to guarantee awesome rank for your website. But I will say I have a few tried and true techniques I want to share. Because after all is said and done - isn’t Google really about getting the right results to the right people? If it weren’t, it never would have gotten this big in the first place.
Well, that was a fun rant!! Check out my checklist for improving SEO for your Squarespace blog if you want some of my advice. If you don’t use Squarespace, or you want to learn more, get excited...
I am working on my new workbook, Strategies for Search Engines, and you’re invited to beta test it for me. It will be 3 lessons long, short and sweet, giving you the lowdown on SEO best practices for your own website. If you want to be in on the beta test, sign up here. Beta tester means you will get free access in exchange for feedback, so bring your A game and be ready to keep it 100.
WELCOME TO MY LAUNCH PARTY
Well here it is, live and pumping in all its secure site glory. SEO optimized, and launched for the new year, Dual Arrow Marketing al á Squarespace. So... what do you think?
**ARTICLE UPDATE 02.01.2017*
After all that work, all that research, and all those requests put into the Wix support center, I am pleased to announce they are finally on the SSL bandwagon!! 😀 Good news to all my Wix fans out there. Here is an article about how to turn on your SSL certificate for an existing Wix site. At this point in my experience I am still pretty happy with the squarespace platform, and I put a LOT of work into this migration, so I plan to keep using it for my site. Well, at least one of them anyway ;) If you are interested in working with me on a website on Wix or Squarespace, I am happy to answer any questions in a free consultation call. Request a chat with me today by clicking here.