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Your Webmaster: The Master of Some, Sometimes, When Possible

What do a VCR, a fax machine, a Walkman, and the term Webmaster have in common?

They’re all obsolete.

Yes, Webmaster is an outdated term.

It’s the year 2017; websites are interactive, dynamic, and imperative to business operations. They are the central command center for a robust, multi-faceted marketing approach.

In a way, a website is an organism. It is a complex system that only works well when various independent parts work together in harmony. If you look at your website under a microscope, what would you find?

Perhaps SEO and social media would serve as the respiratory system, breathing in new life…maybe passwords, firewalls, and encryption protocols are the skin, white blood cells, and spleen…the server could be the heart…the content management system could be the brain…with scripts and code transporting information and lifeblood like nerves and veins.

To look after and “maintain” these independent parts, many of us turn to a single web development company, a contractor, or look to hire someone in-house. Once on-boarded, briefed, and everyone is happy, we give our new “Webmaster” the keys to the city, and task them with the responsibility to:

“Look after all this, don’t let anything break, and build something that will make our company great. Oh, by the way–do all of this fast and on a limited budget.”

Ten years ago, you might have gotten away with this type of arrangement. Just like 200 years ago, the town had one doctor, who made his rounds on a horse and buggy, providing you with a one-size-fits-all treatment, regardless of whether or not you had syphilis, polio, or a broken arm from battle.

“Here’s a shot of bourbon, rub some dirt on it. I’ll notify the morgue, so they can free up a bed.”

I realized I wasn’t a Webmaster…

For a while, I considered myself, and all of Orpical Group, Webmasters. In my opinion, part of this misconceived notion comes from Google and Bing, who both subliminally knight us every time we claim and verify a client’s website for search engine optimization (SEO).

It wasn’t until June 2017 however, when I fully realized I wasn’t a Webmaster, nor did I want myself, or Orpical Group, to be perceived as one.

I always considered us a marketing agency and business consulting firm, but further verification (and understanding of what that meant) really took place once we made the conscious decision to focus a large portion of our time into developing a specialty web service under the growing web security spectrum. The productized-service: GOGET SECURE was born.

This post isn’t a sales pitch for GOGET SECURE, but I want to quickly share some background info on the brand, our motives behind it, and its initial reception to further emphasize how absurd our views of what a Webmaster is can be.

When I started cold prospecting…

At its core, GOGET SECURE is a 51-point proprietary process (it’s actually more now, but 51 still sounds cool) that we developed at Orpical Group to make websites more secure. The service safely, smartly, and thoroughly switches a website from HTTP to HTTPS. As far as we are aware, it’s the only branded SSL Installation and HTTPS Migration Service in the world.

In making the switch to HTTPS, businesses are able to encrypt the connection between their website and a user’s browser. This ultimately results in increased credibility and trust from prospects and customers, improved conversion rates, and higher search rankings.

When we decided to conduct our initial outreach, we aimed to first identify websites that weren’t on HTTPS. In addition, we looked for websites that had login forms or other areas on their website that collected sensitive information, like passwords or credit cards. We developed an app called Bandit that would find these types of websites, then generate a report and browser screenshot showing that the website was “Not Secure”.

Basically, we took this information and gave a courtesy heads-up to business owners and executives. Our message was simple. “Hey, your website is being shamed (flagged) by Google and other search engines and browsers. We have a specialty service, the only one of its kind, that can help you fix this to better secure your site.”

And prospects shut me down hard because they “have a guy” that handles their website already.

I quickly realized that most of my prospects were passing my report along to their existing Webmaster.

Thankfully, some kind souls did get back to me. Those that did agree to chat with me were hesitant and really put up their guard. But, I am immensely appreciative of those opportunities, mainly because they confirmed my suspicions that I wasn’t crazy.

“We already have a Webmaster.”

“Our website is managed currently by another company.”

I was thwarted like this over and over again. I’m not going to lie, it got frustrating.

So, I started to reply rather bluntly: “If you have a guy, why hasn’t this important security protocol been added to your website yet?”

As an agency, we understand the value of having a Webmaster on call to handle most of your website needs. It’s like having a family doctor when you get hit with a cold.

In fact, we provide clients with general web maintenance services, so we would be a giant hypocrite if we advocated totally against it. With that being said, we developed GOGET SECURE because many Webmasters are not fully dedicated to search engine optimization, server configuration, and encryption. In addition, many are simply unaware of the importance of HTTPS themselves, therefore they have not acquired the knowledge and skillset to encrypt your website. This did not happen overnight for us. We have invested tremendous resources (1000+ development hours) to be able to call ourselves experts in SSL Certificates and HTTPS.

So, is your Webmaster a bad guy? A crook? Digital Pirate? Con? No, we’re not saying that. Nor are we saying that they are incompetent. What it boils down to is this:

Webmasters are freaking busy and frankly a little overwhelmed.

When it comes to something hyper-focused like HTTP to HTTPS migrations, your Webmaster isn’t always going to have 100% understanding and laser-focus. Not a big deal. After all, I wouldn’t want my family doctor performing open-heart surgery.

More times than not, the person managing a website is running around week-to-week, day-to-day, switching gears to meet priorities and deadlines.

A “webmaster” is your modern-day chicken with a head chopped off, working on dozens of things to keep you happy: plug-in and theme updates, designing and developing new content, sometimes hosting your website, UI/UX testing, fixing bugs, analyzing data, pick your poison. Oh, and there is dealing with the marketing department…Good luck, Mr. Webmaster!

Working with multiple agencies and vendors is the way to go.

Doesn’t your family doctor refer you out-of-office for additional diagnosis and treatment when it’s out of their capabilities? Isn’t there a reason why doctors affiliate themselves with hospitals and medical centers?

In the web development industry, there is plenty of work to go around. As our clients, you are relying on us to deliver our expertise, creative services, and technical support. With the growing complexities of the web and digital marketing, it’s foolish to think that anyone of us can cover all bases.

So, I learned that we are a marketing agency and business consulting firm. What does that mean? To me, that means that we’re essentially a hub for your web, marketing, and business operations. There are days when I might look at you and say, “We need to bring someone else in here,” and then I’ll make an introduction to a partner, or vendor that I have personally vetted and trust. There are other days, when I will say, “Oh yea, that’s right in our wheel house.”

Finding the right balance and the right partnerships is key. Embodying the web via a lone webmaster is virtual suicide.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

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Why Secure Your Website With HTTPS

The green padlock and little Secure message you see in the URL bar on some websites (including ours) looks pretty snazzy, doesn’t it?

Per ColorPsychology.org, the impact that colors have on our brains is used to manipulate our decision making.

The color green is no exception. It is a color that carries a lot of weight.

The color green:

  • Provides a strong emotional correspondence with safety.
  • Suggests stability and endurance.
  • Symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, and truth.
  • Slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect and tranquility.

Those are pretty powerful and positive emotional responses, especially when your website users are the end recipient.

Securing your website with HTTPS, however, has benefits beyond what simply meets the end user’s eye, or a recognizable green notification in this case.

Secure HTTPS websites have proven results in conversion rates, rank higher in search results, and provide brand boosting capabilities. On top of all of that, it’s the responsible way of the web.

Data Encryption

Arguably the most important reason of having a secure HTTPS website is encryption.

The secure message you see in your URL bar comes from first obtaining an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) Certificate. From there, a number of changes are made to your web server and website to make it more secure.

Both SSL and TLS are cryptographic protocols that provide communications security over a computer network. When active on your website, they are what enable another protocol known as HTTPS: HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure.

For a web browser such as Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer to access a website it needs to be able to communicate with it in a language they can both understand.

Historically, HTTP, the “not secure” version of HTTPS has been fine for this type of communication, with the exception of websites with ecommerce capabilities, or forms that obtain data like credit cards or sensitive personal information.

Like most things with the web, HTTP has become outdated. And recently it has been hammered by key browsers and search engines.

As a whole, web security is a growing concern. In fact, a report from the TRUSTe/National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Consumer Privacy Index reveals that more Americans are worried about their data privacy than they are about losing their main source of income.

HTTP vs HTTPS

Having a not secure website (HTTP) is a lot like making out with your significant other in public: everyone can see your business.

On the contrary, a secure website (HTTPS) provides you with a space to safely conduct your business “behind closed doors”. In other words, a passerby cannot eavesdrop in on your session.

HTTPS is simply a more mature way for a browser and a website to communicate.

If your website is strictly on HTTP, let us be the first to tell you: PDA (public display of affection) isn’t cool. It’s time to “get a room”.

Improve Trust & Conversions

You are either building trust, or destroying it.

When it comes to relationships, trust can take years to build. But when it comes to your website, you don’t have years. You have seconds.

A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form a first impression.

So, with that being said, take a second and decide which website you would choose to interact with from the options below.

What Website Would You Trust?

Option A:

Option B:

Option C:

Why You Likely Chose Option B

The three options that you just glanced at are the current options (written August 15, 2017) for how a website will appear in the address bar of Google Chrome, which makes up roughly 60% of the desktop browser market share.

In January 2017, Google Chrome began to mark HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.

So, what does that mean exactly?

Simply, this means that even websites that display like Option A, which currently doesn’t look that bad, will begin to look like Option C, pending they are not converted to HTTPS.

Assuming that you prefer Option B, you confirmed a well-known web marketing truth. And a reason to switch to HTTPS beyond getting shamed by Google and other browsers:

Trust seals help convert.

It’s pretty obvious why most of us choose this option at a glance. Option B is green. It says “Secure” and even has a padlock symbol that we associate trust with.

Things become obvious after the fact though. And the fact here is this:

48% of online shoppers do not trust a website without a valid trust seal. In addition, an SSL Certificate can increase conversions up to 87%.

What you see in Option B is an opportunity to constantly reinforce trust. Migrating your website fully over to HTTPS provides a trust seal (in the address bar) with the opportunity to add a secondary trust seal (perhaps in the footer, sidebar, or other areas on your page).

As a user navigates a website on HTTPS, they will be reminded (over and over again) that the connection they are on is “Secure”. This promotes the confidence that is needed to ultimately convert a visitor to a lead or sale.

Increase Search Rankings

If protecting your user’s data and increasing your conversions aren’t enough for you, then this should do it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an accumulation of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the results page of a search engine (SERP) — such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

If you’re wondering why we simplify the above description to “strategies, techniques, and tactics”, it is because Google uses a BEASTLY algorithm that includes about 200 ranking factors.

And guess what?

Having an SSL Certificate and a website on HTTPS is part of the algorithm.

Don’t take this from us–take it directly from Google, who made this announcement first in 2014.

Since then, a lot has obviously changed. But one thing has remained the same, the importance of HTTPS in regards to search rankings is steadily growing.

Just check out this year’s progression of HTTPS websites that fill up Page 1 search results per Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz:

Another important consideration for SEO is site usability and bounce rate. As we explored in the previous section, sites that are secure are likely to have higher conversion rates.

As result, we should expect the average duration of users on secure HTTPS websites to be relatively higher than HTTP websites. Again, good for SEO.

What this further demonstrates is that we are in the Age of Encryption. Securing your website is not just a responsible web practice, it provides brand boosting capabilities that can positively impact your bottom line.

Make Your Website HTTPS

There are many things that need to be done to properly switch your website to HTTPS. Things like choosing the right SSL certificate, server configuration updates, and 301 redirects are some of the challenges that businesses face during migration.

GOGET SECURE by Orpical Group helps alleviate these challenges. As the only specialized, branded SSL Installation and HTTPS Conversion service in the world, GOGET SECURE helps businesses secure their website quickly and affordably with zero interruption.

Our HTTPS migration process and tools have been refined over countless website conversions. This in turn provides us with a unique capability to fully secure the connection of your website, while allowing time to make other optimizations that are often overlooked or negated.

Make the Switch to HTTPS

Contact us to learn more about SSL Certificates and for a free quote to convert your website from HTTP to HTTPS.

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What It Would Look Like If Your Online Marketing Agency Was a Zoo

Let’s face it, we’ve all got our quirks. We all have those unique traits that play into how we function in the working world. So what would it look like taking the kids to see the monkeys at the online marketing agency?

No two zoos are the same, and the same can be said for online marketing agencies. Yet the cast of characters is often liked by some undeniable (not to mention humorous) personalities.

If your online marketing agency was a zoo….

Creative Director

The Creative Director is the king of the jungle. They don’t do the hunting; that’s the account manager’s role. But when the finished product is ready to go, they feast and get the glory.

Copywriter

Copywriter: Deemed by most fans of all things aviary, copywriters are the parrots of the online marketing world. They are thought to be one of the most talkative members of the animal kingdom and are wordy by nature. The only catch is making sure they are able to wrap their clever minds around copyright law.

Web Designer

Web Designer: Don’t be fooled by their characteristically lovable demeanor. Much like koalas, web designers are clever, creative, charismatic and stubborn. They are resourceful, and make up for what they might lack in fashion (Hawaiian shirts, really?) with their design dexterity.

Web Developer

Web Developer: Self-awareness can take a web developer far in this day and age. These elephants of the online marketing agency realm dream big and live larger. They are responsible for making sure the visions of the creative director, web designer and copywriter align in a harmonious way capable of reaching the masses.

Account Manager

Account Manager: Most account managers carry an all-knowing air about them. No order is too tall. They oversee projects and approach things strategically, acting incredibly quickly when necessary.

Sales Director

Sales Director: They are suave, frosty and determined. An effective sales director innately knows the audience, entertains crowds gracefully with almost no effort, and just keeps swimming regardless of the circumstances (like global warming).

Public Relations Specialist

Public Relations Specialist: While it may be true that everyone has a different favorite animal at the zoo, scientifically speaking the otter is among the most social of the zoo animals. Much like public relations specialists, they are the “people people” in the marketing hierarchy, charged with managing the company’s image from the outside. Sometimes their approach may not make sense to the outside world until the final product has reached its audience and the message has infiltrated successfully.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) / Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Specialist

SEO/SEM Expert: Always ready to charge, the rhino’s horn symbolizes a passion for boosting search rankings and increasing profits. They may be a bit rough around the edges, but they are surprisingly agile despite their poor eyesight. These tech-savvy gurus are constantly looking at data and reports on everything from Google Analytics to Webmasters (another reason for fatigued eyes).

CFO

CFO: It is a job none too small nor too easy, and takes a certain kind of sloth to do it. Pouring over financials and reports is a necessary role played best by a person with the ability to stay focused and get the job done, no matter how slowly or how long it takes. Numbers are things that just can’t be rushed.

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Executive Assistant/Office Manager: Many office managers are good listeners with just the right amount of hop in their step. They could potentially get in a boxing match with you. And they may or may not also have a funny accent and drink (more than) the occasional Fosters. Regardless, the executive assistants are well often well loved and are essential to the team’s success.

Request Free Online Marketing Consultation

About Orpical Group

Orpical Group is a full-service online marketing agency. Based in New Jersey (NJ), we specialize in logo design, branding, web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM).

Since 2012, we have helped our clients realize and sustain high levels of individual and organizational performance. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all marketing approach. We believe in our clients. And our clients believe in us because we are invested in success.

It’s Not Personal, It’s Only Business

It is often heard in business during some of the most vital business transactions, financial conference calls, meetings, lay-offs, or terminations that, “It’s not personal it’s just business.” There are very successful individuals in this world that are extremely concerned about the wealth and wellness of his or her employees, vendors, contractors, etc.

On the other hand, there are extremely successful people that do not care at all about how their decisions affect other people’s lives. It is absolutely a person’s fiduciary responsibility as a business individual to maximize shareholder value. I personally, know of billionaires that are ruthless individuals however, they are still billionaires. I also know of bankrupt “nice guys”. Nonetheless, each individual must choose what path he or she wants to take.

As previously noted, success comes in all forms. There are those that abuse and take advantage of people and there are those that walk away from sure financial homeruns because others will be negatively affected. Then, there are most of us that walk the gray trapeze line of trying to provide a satisfactory balance. In my eyes, that is the final answer. An individual has to balance and weigh what actions his or her personal moral code will allow him or her to sleep at night. With that being said, it is completely naïve to think that business decisions can be segmented to only affect a business life.

The telecommuting generation of blackberries, Wi-Fi, and cell phones prove that anyone can be as productive working from home versus reporting to a Wall Street boardroom. This simple fact denotes that the barrier between what is business and what is personal is obsolete. Although an individual’s personal life indirectly affects one’s professional life. Bear in mind that one’s professional life does however, directly affect an individual’s personal life. As a human being and speaking as a man, it is my absolute responsibility to care and provide for my family. When I can begin a workday writing a document that is complete at 11:34 a.m. and then go play Nintendo with my son, how can I possibly distinguish between what’s business and what’s personal? I choose to honor people instead of judge them. I look towards working with people that agree with the same philosophies as myself and do not judge others for doing the opposite.

Ron Detinger stated: “There is a close correlation between getting up in the morning and getting up in the world.” To that end, it is my firm belief that the concept “Its Not Personal It’s Only Business” is actually a personal choice and has nothing to do with business.

Need more info on ORPICAL?

Send us an email to info@orpical.com, or give us a call at 856-242-1520.