Do You Use Google Analytics? Years ago I used it frequently, in fact daily I would be checking my Analytics account. However, for probably the last five years or so, I have made little to no use of it. I just kind of lost interest, even though I know it can be a valuable tool to monitor. Recently, on YouTube, I started following a channel called WPCrafter. The guy on that channel promotes himself as making videos about WordPress for nontechies. I would say that I am kind of a semi-techie, certainly not a full-fledged techie, but not a newbie either. Most everything I know in regards to tach has been self-taught over the last 30 years or so. I might even be a little higher than a semi-techie. LOL Well, WPCrafter recently came out with a video about integrating Google Analytics into your WordPress blog. In the past, I always connected Analytics in a Way That I Had to Go to the Analytics Website to check my statistics. Using a plug-in, I will have an analytics dashboard right in my WordPress site. This, I believe, will make it easier, and less of a hassle to check my analytics. So, I am installing it as I type this.
Well, last week I was telling you about how I recently hired a new Assistant to work for me. I was so excited about this and looking forward to freeing up some of my time to work on key things that I just did not have time for previously. Unfortunately, things did not work out with RC. The information that she told me about in regards to her knowledge and experience just did not pan out. I could see that a great deal of training would be needed. I decided to offer the job to somebody else, but that also did not work out. She did not accept my offer. I had talked to one of my closest friends about this over the weekend, and he offered me some advice. His advice was good, but I was unsure that what he suggested would ever work out, I thought it would be unlikely that anybody would be found for the type of arrangement that my friend suggested, although I liked his thought very much. Well, surprisingly, later the same day, I got an email from a person who suggested the exact same solution to me, and he wanted to do it! This person is very well qualified, and I think he is perfect. I have not pulled the trigger yet, I am considering several options and taking it slowly in deciding. I think that is the prudent thing to do. I know I have not really shared much hard information on this post, just giving you some general information. But.. if I pull the trigger and go for the deal that has been presented to07 me, you will be hearing about it soon!
This week, while we’ve been talking about SSL, I have told you just how easy it was to install SSL on all of my websites. It was quick, painless, and just the click of a few buttons. However, I found out that there were also pitfalls. Some of my sites started doing weird things. On one of my websites, a featured image on the front page was not showing, a broken image was there. I checked, and the image was there on the server, but it would not show. If I right clicked on the image and selected to show the image in a new tab, a message would appear saying “too many redirects”. I could not figure out what was going on. As I dug into it, though, I found the problem. I had to go into my Word press settings, and put HTTPS into the site URL. This fixed the problem. If you try this, one thing to be careful of, though, is to make sure that you clear the cache before you look at the website again. On another website, probably my most popular website, when I went to the Word press and media gallery, all of my images just showed a gray box. Again, it was the same exact thing, I had to add the “s” to the site URL, and once I did that, everything worked fine again. It took me several days to figure this out though! Really, all of the weird things involving SSL had to do with images, and other error messages saying “too many redirects”. In the end, every one of these problems was fixed by changing the URL in the Word press settings. Some of my sites worked fine with no changes, but about half of them required this settings update. If you are going to put SSL on a brand-new website, this should not ever be a problem. But if you have an existing website that you’re going to add SSL to, watch out for this kind of problems. I am sure that you will experience them something very similar. Good luck.
Well, over the last couple of days I have been telling you about the fact that I have now got SSL certificates for every one of my websites. I have had a few other webmasters tell me that it is stupid to have SSL for websites that are not e-commerce sites. On the other hand, I have had a couple of friends who own multiple websites tell me that because it is so cheap and so easy to do SSL these days, it would be stupid for any website owner not to have SSL. So, as you can see, there is a wide mixture of opinion. What I do know is that Google’s algorithm for ranking sites now includes whether or not the site is SSL. For several years, I kind of blew that off, didn’t think it was very important. As I told you the other day, though, I was switching to a new payment gateway on some of my e-commerce sites, and I needed to have SSL security in order to make the switch. When I found out how cheap (free) and easy it was to adapt SSL, I decided to go for it on every website I own.
Google rankingsSo, what kind of results did I see? Did I see any movement in my rankings? Well, yes, I did. I saw changes in my rankings and it happened very quickly. I have one site, in particular, which usually ranked number one on Google for the keyword of my choice, and had ranked in that high position for many years. The site is more than 12 years old. Over the last year or so, I had slept in my rankings for that website though. In fact, my highest-ranking for that website was on page 3 of the Google rankings. Not very good. It made me unhappy. Well, after installing SSL, I was very happy with my ranking. I was back at number one again, after about a year of not even being listed on the first page of Google. This change happened within 24 hours. The cost me nothing except for the work that I did to get everything set up. Big change, low cost, everything was great. As I check other websites that I own, I am also seeing better rankings on all of them. So, I would highly recommend making the move if you are website owner. I guess what I would say is that going with SSL may not always help your rankings, but I am quite sure that it will never hurt. I am also relatively sure that you will see a rankings increase when you start using SSL. So, those are my SSL results, and I couldn’t be happier. Give it a shot!
As I told you in my previous article, setting up SSL on my websites was quite easy. I expected it to be difficult, but it was not at all. It also was not costly. I can remember the days when an SSL certificate would cost you hundreds of dollars per year. Well, there are still some SSL certificates in that kind of price range, but you can also find very good prices on SSL as well. I found many SSL certificates available for five dollars per year. And, guess what… Even less. Yes indeed, even less than five dollars per year. Let me give you a rundown on who does my web hosting, other services I use, and where I got my SSL certificate.
HostingI do all of my web hosting with Digital Ocean. In the past, my favorite go-to host was ServInt, but honestly, they are expensive. Their service, however, is great, and they are always around to help you quickly. But, as I said, you do pay for that. A few years back, my hosting needs became a little bit less high-end than they used to be, and I switched all of my hosting over to HostGator. During December 2017, HostGator put one of my accounts on hold. They claimed that I was using too many resources of the server. However, when I went and looked at my server usage, it was less than 20%, which was within the terms of service. My websites were on hold for days, and I finally decided to switch companies. With the help of a good friend, Alexander, I moved my sites over to Digital Ocean. Digital Ocean offers VPS servers, but these are Lennix boxes, with just command-line access. There is no control panel or anything for a low-tech guy like me. However, Alexander helped me a lot, and I was up and running within the day. Thank you so much, Alexander, if you are reading this. You are a good friend. I owe you one, buddy.
Server PilotThere is another company called Server Pilot which will take care of all of the Lennix command line stuff for you through a sort of control panel type system. You can do this on your Digital Ocean server when you connect your server pilot account with them. It makes everything very easy. You can do almost anything you need to do for a regular set up with a free account on Server Pilot. I find Server Pilot to be an excellent resource.
Getting SSLSo, when I started researching about where to get an SSL certificate, and how to install it on my Digital Ocean server, or using Server Pilot to do it, I found out something very good. What I found out is that I can actually get a free SSL certificate for each of my sites through Server Pilot.
Let’s EncryptThere is a company called Let’s Encrypt which offers free SSL certificates. From what I can find, this is not a small company or anything on heard of, and certainly, nothing that is suspicious. Let’s Encrypt has gotten funding from big companies like Facebook and Google, and they really are a company that issues a lot of SSL certificates these days. Server Pilot offers a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt for any site that you have on your account with them. There is one catch though. You must have a paid account with Server Pilot to use this SSL service. Server Pilot will take care of everything, installation, everything you could think of. I decided this set up a paid account with them, it is only $10 per month, and you get other benefits as well. After setting up my paid account, I was able to install SSL on all of my websites (that is more than 30 websites) within 20 minutes or less. They made it easy, and it works great. So, as you can see getting SSL was both very easy, and very cheap. I can’t complain at all. On my next article, I’m going to tell you of some surprising results that I have seen after going with SSL.
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