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Back to the future

“We’re too late to do a full campaign this year, since Thanksgiving is next week,” the Boss said. “But next year, we’ll definitely start earlier and have a killer setup for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.”

Question: Do you think that a year from now the Boss will:
A — have an awesome campaign in place, prepared well in advance and no last minute panic
B — repeat the line above, while promising to really, really have a killer setup for the next year

If you picked B, congratulations, you have keen insight into the Boss’ mind.

I’ve worked in a too many places over the years where last minute seemed to reign (and lost opportunities were abundant).

Wish I’d thought of that sooner

There was the summer job in print shop waaay back in High School. A festival rolled into town and the print shop owner, Lars, had the brilliant idea to sell T-shirts there. Because everyone wants a T-shirt. Never mind that the festival was already going.

Of course, now we were buying the T-shirts (plain, white) at full retail, wherever we could find them in town.

Next we printed those T-shirts and then Lars was off to the festival with his buddies to hawk them. It went well at first. Then not so well.

You have to know your audience demographics to predict sizing quantities. We didn’t.

So the festival ended, Lars was stuck with a bunch of unsold T-shirts in odd sizes and I still wonder if he actually made any money at all.

How different it could have been if he had planned ahead and started several months earlier. T-shirts could have been purchased wholesale at much lower cost and in a proper range of sizes. Arrangements could have been made to make the selling easier and so on.

Broadcast deadlines or the show must go on

When I worked at Iowa State University, I produced an annual TV series that aired on Public TV in Iowa. 4 programs in a series, air dates set in stone months ahead. No fudging. If I didn’t deliver the tape to the TV station by deadline, it didn’t go on. So I had to be sure to set a realistic schedule for how long it would take to write, edit and finish each program. (Research, travel and recording all happened earlier in the year.)

In script writing, I’d send drafts to the content specialists for their input. If none came by the deadline, I moved on and they lost their chance to give input.

In video editing, I had clear goals of how much finished video needed to be created in each hour of editing. Scripts were color coded to show their state of completion so I could tell how much work was left at any given moment

Finally, I’d drive the finished tape over to Iowa Public TV, always with a just a little time to spare.

Most of us in business exist somewhere between those 2 extremes. We hit some deadlines or milestone dates right on and others, well, we’ll try better next time.

Saving Mary

Many businesses function in a cycle. It may be the seasons of the year or events that happen at the same time every year or holidays during the year. For some the cycle mirrors the academic calendar.

Very few businesses/organizations have no cycle at all. (If you think you fit in this category, think again about your customers/constituents. What cycles are their lives governed by that might affect how they connect with your business/organization?

Last year I sat down with a small business owner, Mary, who was struggling to have the right message/promotion out to her customers at the right times of the year. I asked her how much it would be worth to her not to worry about that and have it all just happen. “A lot,” she said with no hesitation.

So we pulled out a calendar and an hour later had a rough plan for the next year. Things became much clearer when we looked at a whole year on one sheet of paper.

It didn’t take long to pinpoint the key events and holidays during the year that needed special messaging. Then we could fill in around that with suitable messaging and promotions based on the month or season.

Planning wasn’t that hard. Execution is another matter and Mary was happy to let me worry about that part.

The secret sauce is backtiming (aka starting at the end)

The master calendar has the overview of the year. From there, each event, holiday message, piece of content can be backtimed to when prep needs to start, based on when it’s happening.

Project calendar showing backtiming at work, starting with project due date and including all componentsLet’s do an example
If Thanksgiving is on November 23, and the Thanksgiving message should be on your website for 2 weeks prior, that means it has to be live on 11/9. But we don’t want to get materials delivered “just in time”, because things happen. So allow 2 days for a buffer. Then we know that writing needs 2 days and graphics 2 days. That takes us to 11/3, but that’s if we work through the weekend (we don’t), so really need to start 11/1. Prior to that someone has to figure out what the content of the message should be. Figure the muse needs 2 days, so that has to start on 10/30.

And there you have it. Start on 10/30, everyone does their part and sticks to the milestone dates – life will be good and content published right on schedule.

Here’s the process again:

  • Consider every step that goes into producing the product, post or message.
  • Assign realistic time to each step.
  • Add in a bit of a buffer at the end or between milestones if it’s a long project. Because Murphy.
  • You know when it has to be done and live/in use.
  • From that count backwards and assign real dates to when each step needs to be started.

As a bonus, the end result will be so much better than the rushed product that happens with no pre-planning.

Rinse and repeat

Yes, it’s a pain to do all that the first time around. Fortunately processes repeat. Events during the year will have similar/same steps and time requirements. Same is true for writing content for your website or holiday messages. It’s getting easier already.

You now have a detailed master calendar that includes important steps along the way. You can look at any given day and see what needs to be done next to keep everything on schedule.

Just one more ingredient: Discipline to actually do these items when they pop up on the calendar. Yes, we built in a little fudge time, but too much fudge, well, it’s not good for the waistline or the deadline.

One more thing

Once the launch date/publication date is past, take a moment right then to review the process. Make notes of what worked well and what didn’t. Adjust the plan for next time. Because in a year when this rolls around again, you will have forgotten these lessons. And then it will be relearning all over.

Questions:
Does your business have a masterplan for product, content and promotions for the year? How could you improve that plan?
Do you find yourself repeatedly starting out late to prep for the next upcoming thing? What can you do today towards changing that?

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Set a goal to finish

I was somewhere halfway through the process of raising support to become a missionary. As I started that process, goals were set. Make calls, meet with people, get new donors on your team, raise X $ of new support each week and complete the process in 2 years. Sounded easy enough. Should be doable.

But now it was almost 2 years into the process and I was only about halfway there. The perfectionist in me was not happy with the progress. Then one late night, a missionary friend, Jerry, called and asked how I was doing. I told him. What he said next, surprised me.

I expected him to reiterate the goal and tell me that I needed to work harder. Instead he simply said: “Claes, you may need to adjust the goal a bit.” After I picked up the phone from dropping it, I felt a weight lifted. Here was a man I admired, who had been through the same process, with the same expectations, who told me that maybe the goal was unrealistic for how life was playing out and needed to be adjusted. What he did not say was that I was a loser and fired.

With his encouragement (and others), I went on to finish the support raising (yes, it took longer than planned) and served as a missionary for over 10 years, with many faithful supporters who stood by me and my family the whole time.

Goals are a very elusive thing. Did you know that 90+% of New Year’s resolutions fail? Before the end of January!

And over time we tend to remember those FAILURES even more than the goals we did accomplish.

There’s even a name for remembering interrupted or incomplete tasks: The Zeigarnik Effect (No, this is not going to turn into an episode of the Big Bang Theory — this will stay very plain, for regular folks like you and me.)

The Zeigarnik Effect describes a phenomenon where for instance a waiter has better recollection of incomplete orders than of completed ones. After the order is complete and paid, he might not be able to recall the details of that order.

So what does that have to do with goals for life or work? Glad you asked. The idea is that when we set goals and then don’t complete them (for whatever reason), we’ll recall those goals more vividly than goals we did accomplish.

I talked with James who had just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary. For the celebration, his kids had put together a big photo and video montage showing 50 years of marriage playing out. I commented on how many trips and events were included in that program. James’ response: “Yes, I guess we did do a lot.” To him the years all blended together and he wasn’t seeing all the accomplishments along the way.

That happens for me too. There are evenings when I write my journal and I have to mentally stretch to recall what took place during the day. Because the tasks were completed and I moved on.

But the goal from last year I didn’t reach, I remember most vividly.

If we’re not careful, that becomes our narrative: “I don’t get anything done. I set goals and then don’t complete them. Failure is my middle name.”

The solution?

I’ve worked with people who love the idea of BHAG, Big Hairy, Audacious Goal. The bigger the better. After all, that sounds really awesome in a meeting with the leadership team. Trouble is, it’s easy to proclaim and a lot more difficult to deliver. While some BHAGs are completed (think John F Kennedy’s goal in 1961 of putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade), all too many are great proclamations that fizzle and get swept under the carpet, never to be heard from again.

Instead, consider author and leadership mentor Michael Hyatt’s favorite: AACTION goals:

  • Actionable — begins with a verb
  • Aligned — with season of life, values and other goals
  • Challenging — set high enough to demand your best efforts
  • Time-bound — actual dates to accomplish the goal by (but not the same date for all)
  • Inspiring — exciting, motivating, definitely not boring
  • Objective — includes internal criteria by which progress can be evaluated
  • Narrow — focused, specific, not general

Okay, that makes sense. It’s a bit of work to write out goals in this format, but the process makes you think it all through. You now have a good roadmap for the journey ahead.

Business coach and brand strategist Marisa Murgatroyd encourages 3 level goals:

  • Minimum goal — what I really absolutely have to get done
  • Target goal — what should get done and is possible given time and resources
  • Stretch goal — what would be really nice to accomplish and would provide a surplus effect

The idea is that the Minimum Goal is a worthy goal, although on the safe side. Likelihood of reaching it is quite good, assuming I do the work.

The Target goal is in the realm of possible, but will require some serious effort to reach.

The Stretch goal is when the stars align and things go really well. Out there, but still in the same galaxy. It could happen.

Reaching any of the goal levels equals accomplishing the goal. The celebration will be bigger or smaller depending on which level you reached. I like this approach.

Just one more tweak.

Recently at the Tribe Conference, bestselling author Jon Acuff was one of the speakers. If you have a room full of writers and creatives, the thing to definitely do is bring in the guy who wrote the book on finishing (in case you didn’t know, creative types are notorious for not finishing things).*

Jon focuses on getting the size of the goal right. We think we can get more done in the available time than we really can. But if we cut the goal in half, we’re 63% more likely to succeed.

So it’s important to dream right from the start.

He also stresses the importance of FUN. Make the goal fun if you want it done.

When we ignore the above, we’re really planning to fail.

Equally important is to understand our motivation for accomplishing the goal. Is it to gain a reward or because we fear a consequence?

At the end of the day, where would you rather be at the end of the year?

With 3 awesome, huge, stupendous goals unaccomplished (but thanks for playing and trying, better luck next time, your mileage may vary, batteries not included) or with 3 right-sized goals accomplished? Which will make you feel better and put you in a good position for the next set of goals? And which outcome will involve a celebration?

Okay, one more thing.

My friend Jerry helped me see when a goal had become unrealistic and make adjustments. Having a trusted friend or two we can share goals with and who ask how we are really doing is worth its weight in gold.

As I write this, October is right around the corner. Time to review how this year has gone and make a good finish, while also thinking about next year. Definitely time for right-sized goals.

*Jon Acuff did write the book on finishing. It’s called Finish. Get it on Amazon and become a finisher.

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I’m on social media — I don’t need a website, do I?

“In a couple years, websites are going to be history. It’ll all be about apps.” My friend was very convinced as he spoke those words.

In another conversation, a store owner told me how the sales rep for (insert one of several big online advertising/search companies here) told her that she needed to pay them to showcase all her store’s vital info, because “nobody goes to your actual website anymore”. Presumably they all go to his company’s curating solution instead.

Let’s be honest: Life hasn’t gotten any easier if you are a small business owner or non-profit trying to connect with your tribe (customers, constituents — those interested in what you have to offer).

Once upon a time you hung up your shingle in front of a physical store on Main Street and you put an ad in the yellow pages of a physical phone book.

Done. People heard about you and knew how to find you.

Oh, you might also put an ad in the local newspaper from time to time.

Now you were really done. Just relax and wait for customers to show up.

Then the world changed.

This internet thing came about.

So now you need a website, Facebook, Yellow Pages (online, does anybody actually use the paper version any more?), Google, Bing, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and a bunch of other social media. (Many of them insist that they are the only one you really need.)

Oh, let’s not forget your very own app. Because what could be better than an app where your customers will connect directly with you?

First things first

It really helps if you know where your customers are online and in the real world. Because that’s where you should go to connect with them. Not where some account rep says you must spend money (HINT: Ask the rep how you will know if their solution works? What are the objective measurements? Be prepared for some squirming.)

The elephant in the room

What all too frequently gets ignored with all these ways of connecting with your customers is that they’re all rented space. Somebody else owns the platform and you are on there, subject to their terms (which are subject to change).

Google can (and does) change the search algorithms and what was in the page one results yesterday may be buried on page 89 tomorrow.

Facebook also frequently changes the rules or costs to reach your fans. So you may have a model that works awesomely for bringing in leads today. But tomorrow they change what shows up in people’s feeds and guess what, your stuff is not included nearly as often as it used to be!

These are real examples that can very much affect your bottom line.

Old world example: Mike was a successful insurance agent for Big Insurance Company (not their actual names). Lots of clients, doing well. Until the day when the BIC pulled the plug. All of a sudden his customers were being assigned to other insurance agents and since the entire contact list was in the BIC database, Mike had no customers. Except the ones he could remember contact details for. It was not pretty. The good news is that Mike survived and rebuilt his agency as an independent agent.

If you rely on an online platform like Facebook, Google, Yellow Pages, etc to connect with your customers, you could find yourself in Mike’s position overnight: shut out from your contacts.

Let’s say you have 10,000 likes or 1,000 fans on Facebook. Awesome. Now, if Facebook went away tomorrow, how would you connect with those people? (Not picking on Facebook — it’s just realizing that you don’t actually own those relationships when you’re renting a platform.)

Own it

So what is a platform you actually own and can control 100%?

Your website. You own it. Your domain. You’re not fighting random advertising on there. You are not the product. Your website is about you. It’s your story and you choose how you invite your visitors to connect with you.

Sure, you say. That’s all good and well if the customers ever get there.

Good point. That’s where all the other platforms come in. When you know your customers, you know where they spend time. So you show up there (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), but the conversation doesn’t end there. Those services are used to attract visitors to your website.

Hub and spoke

Hub and spoke — website is the hub and social media and search engines are the spokesIt’s a hub and spoke concept. Your website is the hub and everything else is spokes that lead back to your website. Once a visitor is there, you can connect with them and build trust in a way you won’t be able to in a casual visit on Facebook or Yelp.

And when the online world changes again tomorrow, your website is still there.

In this strategy, your messaging on the spokes (all the various social media and search directories you’ve chosen to be part of) gives visitors a taste and invites them to your website to learn more or shop. It’s at your website that the deal is closed or the contact information is collected so you can keep in touch. Once somebody gives you their email address, phone number or physical address there, you can follow up and connect further, building a relationship.

The future

So what about the prediction that in a few years we won’t need websites, because it will all be about having an app?

None of us know the future. We can only guess, based on trends we see.

Consider this: An app can be a great solution for an engaged audience.

They have already connected well enough to give you shelf space on their mobile device by downloading your app. And when the time comes that they want to engage or look up something related to your organization or business, they may very well go first to your app.

But what about the person who just heard about you? How do they get the app they need to connect with you when they don’t know you exist? Do you expect them to choose to download the app and install it on their device so they can find out something about you and decide if they want more info? That’s a lot of thresholds to cross (=rather high entry barrier).

Some businesses/organizations try to do it both ways, so when I go to their website, they take me to their fully functional website, but also give me a gentle reminder that there is indeed an app available. Would I like to download it? First-time visitor — probably not. Regular visitor — maybe the app will be a good idea.

Bottom line

Build an online platform to connect with your tribe. A website is central in that concept because that’s where you own the real estate and fully control the message. It’s your brand with no distractions.

Then use social media, search engines, directories and other tools to draw people to your website which is where you provide the real value for them. Make them want to come back, again and again.

When you have a website you’re proud of, you’ll find that there are many ways to get people there and get them to talk about it so their friends come check you out.

But it all starts with your very own website. Be the hub.

Questions:
Do you have a plan for how your website and social media integrate?
Are you intentional about what content you post where?
If I go to your website, is the content fresh and relevant, so I want to come back?

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Help, my website is gone!

I got the call at 9:03am. Bob called to tell me that his website was down. Couldn’t get to it. That’s a bad thing on any day. Even worse for Bob who relies on people submitting orders on the website all during the day. No website, no orders.

So even while talking to Bob on the phone, I got on my computer. We’d just done a server migration a few days earlier. Everything worked last night.

I typed the URL in my browser and in a couple seconds the website loaded just fine. So the website wasn’t down after all. But Bob couldn’t get to it. The plot thickened, as they say.

Fortunately on that day, I was only minutes away from Bob’s office, so I went over there. Sure enough, he and his staff were staring at blank screens. Not only could they not get their website backend up, their email wasn’t working. So no orders coming in to them.

I tried to reassure Bob that people out there in the sunny rest of the world could indeed get to his website and place orders. Orders that went through the system and were safe on the server in a far-away place. The bad news: Bob couldn’t get to them.

With not getting to the orders, he wouldn’t be able to fill them and soon customers would come asking for their orders that hadn’t been filled, because the office couldn’t get to them. You get the idea.

Funny thing was, we could get to some websites, so there was internet access, but only some random sites and others, equally random sites, didn’t load.

A few mobile phones were tried, with no luck. Then I tried my phone and could pull up Bob’s website just fine. Of course, I was on my mobile carrier’s network and the other phones on local wifi, going over the same network that the computers that couldn’t get to the website.

The quarter dropped. It was a network issue. Now the next quarter dropped. Bob went in the back and reset the modem. No change. Then he did something totally unexpected: He unplugged the modem from the ethernet switch and grabbed a cable that had just been hanging there, plugging it in instead.

And now the missing website showed up on the computer screens. Bob explained: “We had issues with our internet provider, so we also have service from another internet provider. I just switched to the other guys.” And with that, the immediate issue was solved.

The rest of the story involved the first internet provider sending their guy out a couple times to fix what turned out to be a bad modem. But that was another day. The immediate day was saved.

So when this happens to you: You try to load a website and nothing shows up on the screen, what to do? The first conclusion tends to be that the website must be down. But that may not be the case, as Bob learned the hard way.

A few things to help narrow down the problem:

  • Can you get to other websites?
  • Try another browser: Firefox, Chrome, Safari
  • Have another computer around, or a mobile phone or tablet? Try accessing the website you want on one of those.
  • Try another network. You can do that easily by grabbing a mobile phone and turning off wifi to force it to use the carrier data network.
  • All of these are easy tests that will help eliminate some possible fault sources and can help you get closer to what’s causing the problem.
  • You can also call a friend to see if they can get to the website. If they can, find out who their internet provider is. It could be that you’re experiencing a problem with your internet provider.

Some possible reasons for why you would not be able to get to a website:

  • Browser cache (clear the cache, run browser in safe mode, try another browser)
  • Computer sluggishness (turn off the computer, wait a minute and turn it back on. Maybe boot in safe mode to see if that fixes things.
  • Is there a wifi signal if you’re connecting to your network wirelessly?
  • Is the ethernet cable plugged in to your computer if you use wired service and are switch and modem powered on?
  • Modem issue (go ahead, reset the modem — you know after you call your internet provider’s support and are on hold for a small eternity, that’s the first thing they’ll insist you do and then when you do and the problem is solved, you’ve just wasted a half hour or so of your life, so go ahead, reset the modem)
  • It could be your DNS service, usually provided by your internet provider. That’s the translation service that turns web addresses (URL) into the numbers that computers understand. Your website connection may be lost in translation! If this happens a lot, consider using another DNS service.
  • Your internet provider has a connection issue somewhere on the trunk lines or in the last mile to your place
  • The website is actually down, in which case if it’s your website you call your web developer if he/she also maintains the site for you or your hosting company if you’re on your own. If it’s not your site, you hope they’ll be back up soon and find something else to do.

The internet is a complicated maze and honestly, it’s pretty amazing that it works as well as it does. But when things don’t work right, it helps to have a checklist to help eliminate some possible error sources.

Questions: If you own a website, do you have a plan for what to do if (when) it goes down? Do you know what the cost is to your business or organization if your website goes down?

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Is your website secure?

Would you put your bank account information on a postcard and drop it in the nearest mailbox? For that card to wind its way though local and regional sorting and handling to be delivered to the intended recipient on the other end of the country. Of course not. We all know that postal workers are not supposed to read mail or divulge anything they may see. But common sense tells you that putting sensitive information out there for anyone to see (and possibly copy or steal) is not a good idea.

Yet, that’s pretty much how regular websites work. Content going from the server to your browser and from your browser to the server travels unencrypted. That means anyone so inclined can peek in at that stream of data and see what is being sent. While that may not be a big deal for regular content on a web page that is already intended to be public information, what about when you submit a message on an online form? Or submit a password to log in somewhere? Or do online banking?

You’ll probably say that banks already use secure websites with encrypted communication and you’d be right. But today we send so much more information back and forth across the internet. And there are more attempts to steal that information than ever

That’s why having a secure connection from your browser to the far away web server is more important than ever. And not just when you do online banking. When I wrote the ebook “7 Deadly Website Mistakes” last winter, I put having a non-secure website as the #1 mistake. Almost nothing you do will drive away customers faster.

Chrome web browser displaying "not secure" warningGoogle agrees. Currently if you go to a regular, non-secure website using the Chrome browser and click on the info button in front of the URL in the address bar, you’ll see this warning about this being a “not secure” connection. Contrast that with how Chrome handles a secure connection. The Google wants you to get the difference.Chrome browser secure site

The stakes are getting higher. Google has told us for a while that whether a website is secure or not plays into its ranking in searches. (Along with a boatload of other things.) Now they are about to make that clear as day, by showing a “NOT SECURE” warning if you try to enter anything into a form on an HTTP page. If you use their Incognito mode, ALL HTTP pages will get “NOT SECURE” warnings. Will that scare away your visitors? You bet.

Wait a minute! What is a secure web page and what is a not secure page?

If you look at at full web address (URL), it will look like this: http://yourgreatsite.com HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s the foundation of data communication on the web. And it does its work in the open. So it’s easy to snoop or even interrupt the data flow. You may have heard of man-in-the-middle attacks. That’s when someone jumps into the communication between browser and server and diverts the traffic to another server to steal information or to make you think that you are connected to the intended server, but you are really giving all your information to somebody else. (Think of it as placing a call to your local Girl Scouts to order some cookies and instead it’s the Russian Mafia answering, but in their sweetest voice, so you don’t suspect a thing.)

To fix that problem, a secure protocol was developed: HTTPS. If you look at a full web address, it would be https://yourgreatsite.com. This protocol encrypts the traffic from your browser to the server and keeps prying eyes out. Instead of sending all your communication in big letters on postcards, you’re using thick envelopes that can’t be seen through.

SSL certificateIt definitely means getting a SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). This is the bit of magic that creates the encrypted connection from browser to server and establishes trust. Depending on where you get the SLL certificate it could be free or cost $30-$100 for a basic SSL certificate. All SSL certificates have an expiration date and must either be renewed manually (including payment) or be auto-renewing. If the SSL certificate is expired or invalid, the connection from browser to server is not encrypted.

For a website owner, changing from using HTTP to using HTTPS may mean needing to upgrade the hosting package:

Shared hosting
Many bloggers, small business and nonprofit websites use shared hosting, which is the cheapest form of hosting. Take one server and cram 1000s of websites on it (which is why it’s so cheap) and you have shared hosting. But just like stuffing 24 college kids into a VW Beetle may be possible, it’s not a good idea nor will the car actually drive (or at least drive safely).

Shared hosting means every website on that server shares the processor and memory of that server. If one site all of a sudden has a ton of visitors, or runs a process that uses more resources, there’s less for the other sites and service may crash. So it’s not a very robust system. The hosting company counts on most sites not having that much traffic!

Many hosting providers also either don’t provide the option to change your site on shared hosting to HTTPS without going to a more expensive plan or they sell you one type of SSL certificate only. Either way, you’re stuck with lower performance.

Your own VPS (Virtual Private Server)
VPS is the next step up. Instead of a thin slice of the pie that can get thinner at a moment’s notice, you get a designated portion of the resources of the server box. For instance, if the physical server has 8 processor cores and 400GB of disk space, you can get a VPS that uses 2 cores and 100GB of disk space and that will all be yours. A VPS costs more than shared hosting, but your site loads faster and the service is more reliable. Plus tech support should be much more responsive.

Most VPSs allow you to use Let’s Encrypt to secure your website. Let’s Encrypt was created by companies in the tech arena to bring free SSL certificates to folks like you and me, so that the web will be a safer place. Instead of paying extra $$ for a SSL certificate that has to be renewed, you can get a free, auto-renewing Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on your website with a few clicks.

Depending on the size and resources allocated to a VPS, it can safely run from 10 to 100 websites.

Buy space on your web designer’s VPS
For the small business or non-profit that only has one website, the resources of a VPS may be overkill. (Like getting a brand new computer with the latest graphics card just to do some email and word processing.) Maybe you really don’t need all that power and would be a good candidate for getting a portion of a VPS.

Like many other web designers and developers, I sell hosting on my VPS to my clients. You get all the benefits of a VPS (faster server, dedicated resources, safer environment, free SSL) at a fraction of the cost of your own VPS. I provide that option when you subscribe to Website Minder, my ongoing website monitoring and maintenance package.

The internet is ever changing. A year from now, we’ll probably wonder why anyone was ever silly enough to have their website send all information in the clear.

But as I write this, we’re in the middle of a transition. If you care about your website and your website visitors, you’ll get it moved over to use HTTPS for safer browsing. Sooner, rather than later.

Your website visitors may or may not verbally thank you, but more importantly, they will trust you when your site shows up with a padlock in their browser. And that, as the commercials go, is priceless.

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