GOOGLE’S CRACKDOWN ON WEBSITES WITHOUT SSL CERTIFICATES

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and SSL Certificates make your website a safer place by doing background checks and encrypting data entered on your website. Having an SSL Certificate means that a background check was done on your website and it ensures the business is attached to that particular domain name. Having an SSL Certificate also means when a user enters data onto your website, the data is jumbled up so hackers cannot understand the information the user just entered and then the information is unjumbled when it gets to its destination (you). In the past, it was recommended your website have an SSL Certificate only if your website had forms that accepted personal information such as credit card information, social security number, etc. and now Google has been cracking down because hackers can now cross check information entered over a number of sites and voila they have everything they need to steal your identity. A user can enter their email address on one site without an SSL Certificate, enter their address on another, and maybe their birthday on another and the user can unknowingly be susceptive to having their information hacked.

Google is now saying that all data entry should be encrypted and frankly RPS agrees. Google feels so strongly about this that Chrome users will see an error/warning when entering a site that has any type of form and does not have an SSL Certificate.

Google used to reward those who had an SSL Certificate, but now those who don’t have it are actually being penalized. It turns out that Google Chrome has about 57% of the market share. That means that Chrome is the most popular browser and it is going to give all users a warning when trying to reach your website if you have any forms on your website and do not have an SSL Certificate. Many of these users will be weary of your site and probably not visit your site at all (we definitely do not want this).

On a positive note, having an SSL Certificate is indicated to help your SEO rankings, but now it’s so much more than that. It’s more of a usability requirement rather than just a ranking advantage. Users will feel safe when seeing that you have an SSL Certificate and many people will not put their information on a site if it is not secure. To be honest, no one at RPS would enter their information on a site without an SSL Certificate and neither should you. Heck, we recommend your website have an SSL Certificate even if you don’t collect any information because it will help boost the confidence of your site’s visitors and there will be SEO ranking benefits.

There are easy ways to check and see if your website or the website you’re visiting has an SSL Certificate. The most common way is checking to see if the URL says “https://” and not “http://” and many times you’ll see a padlock icon in the URL bar. You can actually click on the padlock icon to display more information.

One thing you should look out for is certificates do expire and need to be renewed every year. If you pay for your SSL Certificate there will be annual fees involved, but there are many free options available. When working with RPS, we will automatically make sure your certificates are renewed each year because we want to make sure your website stays AWESOME. Since we now recommend all websites have an SSL certificate, RPS is making it a policy effective October 1st, 2017 to include an SSL Certificate on all clients’ websites because we think it’s that important. We highly recommend anyone who does not have an SSL Certificate get one as soon as possible to ensure your users are not getting any errors and are able to trust your website.

Not sure how to go about setting an SSL Certificate up for your website? RPS can help! We just ask you cover a one-time one hour of labor cost of $100 and you’ll be ready to go (and so will your website’s users).

We’d love to hear your questions/concerns about SSL Certificates, feel free to reach out!

THE GALACTIC FUNDRAISER!

Join us at the Galactic Fundraiser: Star Wars Premier Party to benefit The Children’s Hunger Project.

This amazing night of Star Wars, entertainment, food, fun, prizes, community support and of course the new Star Wars movie begins at The Courtyard at the Oaks at 6:30pm.

The VIP party will include excellent heavy hors d’oeuvres (BBQ Shrimp and Grits, Louisiana Style Jambalaya with chicken, smoked sausage & spinach, cheese & garlic pastry, and the like!), a cash bar, door prizes, silent auction, games, cosplayers dressed as your favorite Star Wars characters and so much more! We will even have Rogue One playing in the background!

At 9:30, we will be at the theater for the main event, a private showing of The Last Jedi!

Friday December 15th, 2017
Pre-Party begins at 6:30pm @ The Courtyard at the Oaks
Movie at 9:30pm @ The Oaks Movie Theatre
(We will head over to the theater at 9:00pm)

$50/ticket includes the movie, food, entertainment, prizes and of course the pride of supporting your community.

Check out the website our team put together here: https://galacticfundraiser.com/

And the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/725673064298733/

THE 4 KEYS TO A MARKETABLE BRAND [VIDEO]

Your brand is the foundation of your messaging and marketing. Without a strong message and set of visuals to represent that message, your marketing can fall flat. Our team has developed a proprietary system and process for creating a brand that is marketable and speaks the right message to the right audience. The 4 Keys to a Marketable Brand is the methodology we created to ensure we create marketable brands for every client. Joshua and Scott give us a brief overview of those 4 Keys in this video…

THE 7 STEPS TO A MARKETING-FOCUSED WEBSITE [VIDEO]

When we founded Rock Paper Simple, we decided we wanted to approach websites differently… from a standpoint of treating them like web-based marketing platforms and to ensure we provided something uniquely powerful to every client, we developed our own unique methodology, The 7 Steps to a Marketing-Focused Website. Watch Scott and Joshua go over these 7 steps in a quick overview.

7 Steps

WordPress Basics

Welcome to WordPress Basics with Rock Paper Simple! We thought you’d like a short rundown of what’s what on the backend of your WordPress site. There’s a lot that goes on back here, so this is just a brief overview of the dashboard and some sections that our clients often ask about. Even if you choose to have an agency like Rock Paper Simple assist you with setting up and maintaining a WordPress website, it’s always good to be familiar with the following areas!

A Blurb About Wordpress
WordPress was originally developed for bloggers, but it has since grown into a versatile platform for building websites. WordPress (which we dub WP in this post from now on) is open-source, meaning there is an entire community of people who freely contribute and continue to evolve the software. WP is dynamic and robust, making possibilities endless for users with varying needs!

Quick Look at the Dashboard
Here’s a look at our Dashboard. Here there’s a “at a glance” menu across the top, and the full menu along the left side. We have a lot of extra stuff going on, and you might too, but don’t be intimidated. Most of you might like to handle your own content (so you’ll only want to pay attention to Posts and Media) and let your web agency deal with the rest!

Dashboard

Posts Section
Remember that Posts is the section for blog entries. This section shows in chronological order, and it can be coded to show on other pages on your website and/or have its own page. You can create Categories to help organize and label your posts, making them easier to find in the post archive, and use Tags for more specific or fun labeling. We’ve included a labeled picture below, but the process is similar when you create content for Pages too!
Tip: When you add links to your copy, have that link open in a new window.

wordpress 101: Posts

Pages Section
Opposite of Posts, Pages are individual areas for static content. These can be pulled into your site’s navigational menus, become landing pages for marketing campaigns, or even be “hidden” pages that require people to know the exact url to get to.

Media Library
This is where you can upload images, videos, PDFs, and other media. It’s a good idea to edit each upload with a keyword related Title, Caption, and other useful information that helps you organize and boost your SEO.
Warning: Deleting media from the library will remove it across the website, so be careful!

Comments Section
Here you can take action on any feedback that’s left on your posts. You can approve, deny, delete, and reply to comments.

Appearance and Settings
Appearance is where you can toggle what your website looks like, download widgets, create your website menus, and fine tune webpage elements. Settings gets into some more technical stuff that relates to your website’s outward interaction with the web, like Redirects and letting Search Engines “crawl” your site for indexing. Unless you are managing your own website, you typically do not want to play around with these areas without the help of your agency.

 

We hope this quick little overview gives you a better idea of how friendly WordPress can be to any type of website owner. Still don’t want to poke around without some help? Drop us a line!

Q&A with the Simple Team -Isa!

Isa - Graphic DesignerYou might have met us at Headquarters, skimmed through our Team Pages, or you might already be our amazing and awesome friend, but do you know how we’ll answer these questions? Get to know the Rock Paper Simple Team a little better, and follow our Q&A series!

This time we’re having a quick chat with Isa.

 

What were some of the impressions you got from walking into RPS for the very first time? 
“Wow!” and “That’s a lot of orange!”

Why were you interested in working for RPS?
It seemed like a fun and creative place to work.

Tell us about something that you are proud of, outside of work.
I’m very proud of my talented friends. I push them to keep moving forward!

If you could master one skill, what would it be?
To have my eyeliner match on both eyelids one day.

If you could be any animal on a carousel, what would you chose to be? 
The elephant.

How do you define, or measure, success? 
Success is a slow process, but eventually through hard work you will get to your dream goals!

Choose between an actual working lightsaber and pokeball with your favorite pokemon inside.

Pokeball, and Mew would be in it.

You have a 2-week, all expenses paid vacation. Where do you go?
Japan!

Who will win the battle, Stormtroopers or Red Shirts? 
Stormtroopers!

 

Isa is one of the newest members of the RPS Team. Check out her bio over here.

3 Digital Consumer Habits You Should Know

With last minute shoppers flooding Amazon, Etsy, and other small businesses with holiday orders, we thought it might be appropriate to share these 3 statistics on current Digital Consumer habits. Take a look at these numbers based on early 2016 trends, and think about how you can improve your website to capture more leads and convert customers!

 

data1

 

With the world at their fingertips, shoppers can immediately compare businesses and prices; ultimately driving marketing and brand competition. Therefore it’s wise to keep up with consumer analysis and adapt your business practices to support the change in purchasing habits, and it has become crucial that business owners have a strong first impression. This includes updating your website for a better overall user experience, creating content to support brand personality and outreach, and having a good marketing team to convey to the world what makes your business awesome and unique. 

 

 

data2

Honesty and responsibility are values that have shown increasing meaning to consumers, especially since Millennials (who care more about brand experience than previous consumer groups) are becoming the largest purchasing power. Data is also showing that the consumers of 2016 were not just comparing prices, but also judged how “professional” a business is by their product descriptions! Clear but fun language that appeals to the lifestyle associated with the item does very well; as does providing more technical information, how/where the product is made, and what the benefit of purchasing is. The importance of language goes hand in hand with the importance of consistent Branding and Brand Personality… proving it’s a key factor that influences customer conversion and drives company growth.

 

 

data3

 

Just in case you haven’t noticed, convenience is key, and alternative payment methods are showing their value by becoming better at driving home customer conversion. PayPal has become a popular option for online businesses because it’s simple, secure, and creates a more streamlined checkout process. It’s worth doing some research (or asking your team to) on various payment options and think about what best suits your ideal customer.

 

 

 

So just in case you’re thinking about giving your website or business a makeover in 2017, remember these statistics about current consumer practices and digital purchases made in 2016! Feeling a little overwhelmed? Rock Paper Simple is here to help!

 

Welcome to the Team, Isa and Tom!

Rock Paper Simple has two new additions to the team, helping us kick off the new year the right way- with growth and talent that means even more awesomeness in store for 2017!

Tom is a Brevard native who, after meeting the love of his life during a brief exploration of the cold weather and mountains in Wisconsin, returned to sunny Florida with a wife in 2004. With a broad range of experience from graphic design, IT, web marketing, print, and web development, Tom is a total asset and makes a great addition to the Rock Paper Simple Team!

 

Isa’s love for art always lead her to pick up projects that involved artistic expression, often including charity work and projects for friends. She has a degree in Network Technology, and has worked various jobs since graduating, but everything paled in comparison to her passion for design. She is currently perusing another degree in Graphic Design, and her commitment to community and creativity make her a fantastic addition to the Simple Team!

Marketing Podcast – Joshua Adams on the Robert Plank Show

Our Head Honcho recently recorded a marketing Podcast! Joshua is the 195th Feature on the Robert Plank Show, and is now a resource on Plank’s marketing-centric online hub for business success seekers.

The podcast discusses Rock Paper Simple’s 7 Steps to a Marketing-Focused Website, and Joshua’s candor helps break it down into plain english- so you can immediately start implementing strategy and seeing results.

Give it a listen, and follow along with this fun printable graphic!

 

Google Chrome Version 55 – Another Push for HTML5

The new Google Chrome Version 55 release marks another benchmark in the HTML5 migration. With this Version 55 update (besides Google’s pre-determined Top 10 Sites) most of the websites you visit while using Chrome will default to using HTML5. Even then, the following sites are only exempt from Google’s limit for one year…in the hopes that by then, they too will have switched from Flash to HTML5:

YouTube.com
Facebook.com
Yahoo.com
VK.com
Live.com
Yandex.ru
OK.ru
Twitch.tv
Amazon.com
Mail.ru

It’s important to note that the websites you visit can still utilize and offer Flash content, but as a Chrome user you will be prompted to give permission.

The reasoning behind the pushing out Flash is based in cyber security fears and the desire for better loading times, and HTML5 has proven to be better in both of these ares. Companies like Mozilla, Microsoft, and Google have endorsed the migration of HTML5 to be the new standard, and others starting to agree with the switch. We’ve already seen HTML5 pushing out Flash as the default format for videos and ads….it’s only a matter of time before HTML5 completes it’s takeover!

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