Did you know that in January 2017, Google began the process of marking information-collecting HTTP webpages (ie: eCommerce shopping carts and checkout pages) as “Not Secure”?
It was their first step towards slowly requiring that every webpage on the internet be protected by HTTPS (note the “S” that distinguishes this requirement from HTTP).
In August 2017, Google sent out a final warning to webmasters – update every single page of your website to HTTPS, or be penalized with a “Not Secure” warning.
Here’s what all of this means:
If you currently have a website, and any single one of your pages is not secure, your entire site will experience a drop in search rankings.
That means every single keyword phrase that is generating traffic for you right now will no longer do so if that keyword points to an unsecure page on your site. The same goes for Google Image searches. If your image exists on a page that is not secure, it will also be penalized.
For those of you who have an art website right now, this means that any time and effort you have put into SEO recently, or over the years, will be compromised.
Site visitors will also be reminded that their connection to your website is not secure whenever they are interacting with a form (ie: trying to shop for your art):
As for longterm consequences for ignoring Google’s warning? It’s tough to say. They have not stated what will happen to a website if it has not achieved secure status by their deadline, but they are infamous for putting websites into long-term “penalty boxes”.
It is also unclear whether securing your website after the deadline will lead to an immediate reversal of your deflated rankings.
With that in mind, we’re confident that securing every page of your website should be a huge priority.
So, what’s so great about that extra “S”?
The “S” stands for “Secure”.
It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted, and therefor safe to the visitor to use.
In the past, it was important that key pages – like any page that accepts a credit card – were secure. But as technology has advanced, so has the need to protect users on ALL webpages.
HTTPS sites load fast. An unsecure page will load 300%+ slower than an HTTPS version of the same page.
Faster load times, better experience for the buyer.
Open the home page of your website, and look for both (1) “https://” in the address bar, and (2) a green lock icon or the word “Secure” in green.
You need both of these elements. Simply seeing “https” is not enough – you also need the “Secure” badge. For example:
If you see this, great. You’re good to go. If you don’t, you need to fix this ASAP.
Due to the seriousness of this matter, we have decided to issue SSL certificates site-wide to every single Art Storefronts customer at no extra cost.
This means every single page on your art gallery website is secure, and abides by the standards specified by Google. You’re set.
Furthermore, you will never have to buy your own SSL certificate – neither now nor in the future. Our team will re-issue them each year for you, and manage the entire process so you never ever have to worry about it.
So while everyone else in the art and photography industry is paying for their own SSL certificates, paying for the the installation costs each year, or are scrambling to resolve this problem before seeing an inevitable drop in their search rankings — you can continue focusing on creating more art and growing your business.
And while everyone else drops in the rankings, you will likely rise, simply because there will be a lot less competition. And, we are going to guess that the Google spider will remember that your website was ahead of the game, giving you further long-term credibility.
Pretty cool, eh?
Remember, we are a platform for artists and photographers to run their own art gallery business online. One aspect of this that is critical to success is having a proper art gallery website.
If we want to accomplish our goal of having the most successful artists in the world, then we need to constantly be ahead of aspects that might help or hurt you. This is our responsibility as a platform, and it’s why we’ve rolled out a platform-wide upgrade to HTTPS at no extra cost!
Now that this is out of the way, let’s get back to focusing on growing your art business!