Hannah West Design is now secured with a brand new SSL certificate! On January 14, we migrated www.hannahwestdesign.com to a new hosting service. This is NameCheap hosting, which we want to try out on behalf of our starving artist clients to find out if hosting service compares well to other hosts who don’t have the same affordable pricing.
In addition, Google is now promoting sites that are protected with SSL encryption and demoting those without it by placing an “Unsecured Site” flag (similar to the “This site might be hacked” flag we sometimes see) next to any website which does not have SSL. This is part of a widespread movement to encrypt the web (Learn more at Let’sEncrypt.org). With that in mind, we decided to make the switch to SSL encryption at the same time. As a result, our updated address is https://www.hannahwestdesign.com. We’re proud of that beautiful green padlock displaying in the address bar now!
What is SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. A correctly installed SSL certificate encrypts all information transmitted to and from your website. This protects your private information when visiting the site, from which pages you visit to sharing to submitting contact forms to purchasing online. Websites with contact forms, login pages, online shops, etc. can all benefit from the added security provided by this encryption. Visitors will feel more secure interacting with your site, which is a huge bonus. Importantly, each certificate comes with a guarantee, so if a malicious entity subjects you to liability for damage to a visitor, you will receive a settlement form the certificate issuer. This amount varies with the level of certificate used, but starts at $10,000.
There was a time when conventional wisdom said that applying SSL to an entire website would make its pages load more slowly. However, recent advice from numerous experts in the field now assures us that the opposite is now true. And we are seeing our website load with a bit more spring in its step today…the ultimate proof.
The process of implementing SSL can be simple and painless, but it can also be rather harrowing. For me it was somewhere in between those extremes. I have been through this before on client sites as well. While some need extra attention for various reasons, most of the time it’s complete—including all the content tweaks needed for that lovely green padlock to display—in 2–4 hours.
To increase your standing with the search engines, additional tasks are necessary. Once the SSL is in place, we need to make adjustments in Google Webmaster Tools so they can direct traffic to the secure version of your site. We also need to adjust your Google Analytics account so traffic stats will continue to be collected accurately.
Pricing and Other Requirements
Many things related to SSL certificates have changed in the last couple of years. For one thing, they used to be very expensive. While prices for certificates to protect sites that don’t involve e-commerce have become quite affordable, there are now free certificates available from Let’s Encrypt. The catch is that not all hosts have a quick and easy way to install them and the process of doing it manually can take a good deal of time. Furthermore, some hosts—like Ipower—refuse to allow third-party certificates to be installed on their servers. While we could have used Cloudflare on our site, we opted for a Comodo Positive SSL certificate, which NameCheap offers for only $1.99 the first year. Renewals are a very reasonable $9.00/year with discounts for advance purchase up to three years. That’s a big discount from the same certificate on Ipower ($31.99) and Bluehost’s for $4.17/month. What’s the catch? You have to have your website hosted with NameCheap too. Also very inexpensive, so definitely worth considering.
Previously you had to have a dedicated IP address (the numerical equivalent of your web address) for an SSL certificate. This meant you had to have private hosting (expensive) or pay a monthly fee of $4.99-6.99 PER MONTH to have a dedicated IP added to your otherwise reasonably-priced shared hosting. Because unique IP addresses have become more and more rare, this prerequisite has been lifted by many certificate issuers and hosts. Instead, they tie the certificate identity to the domain instead of the server IP. All this has made SSL encryption more affordable to the average website owner. The benefits are greater now too.
Benefits of SSL Encryption
Some hosts provide free SSL certificates, but most do not. These free certificates may have downsides you’d rather not deal with. We found that Bluehost’s free SSL, issued by Comodo, only covers the root domain (https://your-domain.com) and NOT the www version. Big problem for sites installed with www.your-domain.com addresses. We can avoid this with the use of Cloudflare. Though it’s a completely different setup, their free certificate will cover both the bare domain and the www version. Entry-level SSL certificates have become much more affordable than they once were, too.
I’m ready to begin helping others to make this important change as well. I’ve learned the ins and outs of what is possible and what is not on several hosts. I can inform you of your options and advise you on which is the best choice for the money.
If you’re not sure you even want to deal with this undertaking or not, please consider the benefits:
Receive payments through your ecommerce website – Most payment gateways now require SSL, even PayPal
Give your visitors greater confidence in the security of their transactions, interactions with your site, and personal information
Limit liability for identity theft
Boost page load times
Greater protection from hackers
Prevent unknown people snooping on activity to and from your website
Boost your SEO
Participate in the movement to encrypt the entire web
Are you ready to apply SSL to your own website and enjoy these benefits? Please contact me!
While working on an SEO update for one of my clients I realized that the new rules for the search engines doesn’t necessarily count more as better, and all the links to my clients’ websites being in the sidebar of my website wasn’t helping them as it once did. Therefore, this afternoon I am removing all my client links from the sidebar and placing them in this post until I can take the time to make a page for them. I hope this doesn’t inconvenience any visitors to my site! But the cost in search engine optimization for my clients makes it a worthwhile endeavor to me.
I’m very grateful to have been invited by the Southern Oregon Association of Artists (SOSA) to give a presentation at their February 2015 members meeting on Monday, February 23 at 7pm! I’m posting this presentation document, “Help Your Website Help You,” so those who attend can download it to their computers for reference.
The FCC will take its most important vote on internet on February 26. If you don’t want to be relegated to an internet slow lane while mega corporations get a fast lane reserved just for them and those who will pay extra for it, take action now!
It’s important to keep your copyright notice updated from year to year to protect your intellectual property and your reputation, and it’s that time of year. If you don’t know how to change the copyright notice on your website or just don’t have time to figure it out, please contact me at email@example.com or call 541.899.2012 to request this change. It’s quick and easy, so it’s inexpensive too. Happy New Year!!
The first is a revamp of a website that sells harp strings, converting it to the WordPress platform and making a beautiful, modern presentation that will make them shine at the convention they’re going to later this month! Short deadline…
The second is an artist website. We’ll be updating content as well as converting it to WordPress and redesigning the site to show off the artist’s work more effectively. First we’ll update her current home page, and when she returns from a 10 day trip we’ll get going on the conversion to the new platform and adding fresh content.
There are others winding down that I will be able to announce soon, and others in the queue. If you were thinking of contacting me about a new or revamped website, don’t worry. I can handle several projects at once, as there is usually quite a bit of “work then wait” that happens when developing a website.
Thanks to everyone for entrusting me with the hub of their online presence!
Well, there has been a lot happening at Hannah West Design this year, despite the fact that I haven’t been posting about it…I simply haven’t had time to keep my blog updated! But this volunteer project deserves to be first in line in my game of catch-up ball.
I met “Mother of Hope” Adah Mbah of Cameroon through WorldPulse.com, an incredibly warm and supportive global community of women founded by Jensine Larsen of Portland, Oregon. What a brainchild Jensine gave birth to! Many of these women are beautiful writers, activists working on behalf of women’s rights, ending gender-based violence, environmental causes and more. The site itself concentrates on digital empowerment for women and girls around the world, helping them to find their voice and broadcast it over the internet by providing digital empowerment resources, a venue for support and overwhelming encouragement, and opportunities of many types to women. Though I had been a member since 2010, I recently became active there to help my daughter Jennifer Faith to promote the book she wrote about her journey out of an abusive marriage and encourage women to visit her blog, jenniferfaith.org, for hope, encouragement, and the strength to begin their own journeys to freedom from violence and abuse.
Adah, the founder of Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM), found me through Jennifer, and seeing that I had computer literacy skills she immediately appealed to me for help in obtaining and delivering internet-enabled devices like cell phones, tablets and laptops for the 30 single mothers and girls entering their first year of University in Cameroon who will be attending her digital empowerment workshop next month. Our original thought was that there ought to be many used devices like these sitting dormant in desk drawers throughout the US. The idea of implementing a reduce-reuse-recycle approach to providing for these young African women really appealed to me and we went to work identifying others who could help us obtain donated devices. Unfortunately the rub came when trying to figure out how to actually get these devices to her, as Adah said the delivery system in Cameroon is very unreliable. Well, we couldn’t ask people to hand over their devices if we weren’t sure if they would get to Adah safely and in time, so a few days ago we decided to raise funds instead so she can purchase them in Cameroon in time for the workshop. You can help! A donation of only $10 will make a difference in Adah’s modest budget, which will cover the purchase of internet-enabled devices for the girls, transportation from their village to the internet cafe in a nearby city where the workshop will be held, and space rental fees. She is also offering modest but intriguing gifts for larger donations. If you’d like to help, you can jump straight to Adah’s Indiegogo campaign here: Virtual Learning tools for Young Women in Cameroon. Please share with anyone you think might also want to help these Cameroonian girls and young women!
This is what Adah & I wrote for her first appeal for device donations, published at WorldPulse.com:
Access to affordable and relevant health services and accurate, comprehensive health information are fundamental human rights. Yet gender-based discrimination, lack of access to education, poverty, and violence against women and girls can all prevent these rights from being realized. Single mums and girls face a lot of challenges when it comes to sexual reproductive health rights and safe motherhood.They lack accurate information about HIV transmission, the ability to choose whether and when to get pregnant, response to violence against women, and services for sexually transmitted infections and reproductive tract illnesses—all because they lack computer skills.
Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM), in her fight to educate single mums and girls, is organizing a three day digital empowerment workshop from the 28th-30th July 2014 to raise awareness on single mums and girl’s sexual reproductive health rights and basic computer skills. They will be given the chance to learn leadership skills, build self-confidence and better understand new marketable skills when using visual training tools.The programme is aimed at challenging prevalent gender stereotypes in communities, particularly those that reduce the aspirations of girls in rural communities, where traditions are firmest and patriarchal systems still remain very strong. For single mums and girls to fully participate in their communities and enjoy their rights, they need a life free from gender-based discrimination—a life with the opportunity to be educated, to work, to be healthy and to participate in all aspects of public life; however, millions women and girls are frequently beaten, raped, mutilated, killed, and subjected to gender-based violence which limits their opportunities.
Our ongoing campaign is working to connect rural and underprivileged single mums and girls to the world via the internet. Also some educated women are computer illiterate and can’t properly handle leadership positions. Computer literacy will open doors to share information and build networks with like-minded ventures. Most rural single mums and girls who are engaged in farming and petite trading will acquire computer skills which will enable them to market their products. They will be able meet with other women and mentors online, who will direct them in their activities and businesses. They will find online forums where they can showcase and gain global exposure for their work.
To enable these positive improvements in our communities, MOHCAMs training workshop will empower 30 single mums and girls from Mubang Ntsen Nkwen village and equip them with basic skills in information communication technology (computing), and also to educate them about women’s reproductive health to help them rise to meet the challenges they face daily. This workshop will take place in Foncha-street Nkwen-Bamenda from the 28th–30th of July 2014 at the Ets.ALMA Cybercafé opposite Providence Clinic.
We intend to extend this training to women and girls entering their freshman year in university. Due to the limited internet access, high school students entering universities in Cameroon are not familiar with the internet’s power to help them research and enhance their studies. Those who go online simply use it to send or read emails and chat. These women and girls lack the basic skills to access the vast learning materials available on-line that can help them break the cycle of poverty and abuse so they can find their voice, improve their own situations, and effect positive change in their communities.
When Cameroon’s women and girls succeed, Cameroon succeeds!
Women and girls in Cameroon make up more than half of the population. They are the breadwinners and the backbone of our economy, yet they face harsh treatment due to outdated customs and traditions which hinder them. They are still regarded as their husband’s property, with limited rights in most communities. This workshop will enable them to become local community reporters who can share information and advocate for women’s rights and positive change for everyone.
Equipped with basic computer skills, like-minded people can come together to improve their skills and share their experiences. This will increase productivity and encourage innovation in their businesses and workplace. Togetherness and love will be fostered in young minds, who will then be positioned for the mentoring and training which will enable them to create and contribute to a better economic system in Cameroon.
Computers are tools needed by all women and girls for a rapid change! You Can Help!
There are plenty of steps we can take to strengthen our future, but first we need to take action. We shall be grateful if you would donate your used Internet-capable phones, computers or electronic gadgets to help women learn and participate effectively in our computer literacy workshop. We also need assistance in getting these devices safely to us in time for the workshop and would appreciate any suggestions or offers of help to bring donated devices to Cameroon so that we can make them available to the workshop participants.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +23733051311
I sincerely hope this strategy for empowering the women and girls of Mubang Ntsen Nkwen village in Cameroon is reaching into your heart as it has mine. You simply would not believe how much hope some basic computer skills can bring to these aspiring but oppressed women! I appeal to you to take a moment to visit the Mother of Hope Cameroon Indiegogo campaign page and make a donation. Just $10 makes a difference (and your name will be added to the list of donors in all their promotional materials), $25 helps even more and gets you a bumper sticker about ending gender-based violence, $50 buys a digital device for one of the girls or pays for her transportation to the workshop, and those who donate $100-250 will receive a gift of handcrafted items made by the women of Bamenda, 250g of organic Cameroonian coffee produced without forced labor by the North West Cooperative Association (NWCA), or a 500g jar of native Cameroonian honey produced by the Bamendakwe Rural Women’s Development Organization (BARUWDO). Your donation must be received by July 17, 2014 in order to give Adah time to make the purchases and other financial arrangement she needs in time for the July 28-30 workshop.
For those to whom this kind of information is important, Adah Mbah is also a committed believer in Jesus and is counting on him to bring the help these young women need to change their lives for the better and bring hope to the future of Cameroon. “God will not fail me!” she says over and over, and your response to the tug in your heart that her words cause will make you God’s accomplice in doing something substantive to help 30 single mothers, young women and girls to overcome the very real challenges they face in Cameroon. Thank you so much for your donation in any amount before July 17, and for sharing with others who have the heart and a little cash to help! You can also show your support for the work Adah and her team are doing by liking the Mother of Hope page on Facebook.
Mother of Hope Cameroon’s Mission Statement:
MOHCAM is a non-profit organization of victims of gender based violence that provides security to the scared and unsure girls and women in communities in Cameroon. It’s aimed at fighting against the abuses faced daily by women and girls who become victims of gender based violence in communities. We ensure victims’ rights protection through advocacy and also aim at building future women’s rights leaders from victims. This in turns help to build a culture of empathy, justice, and peace from supported victim of violence. We also propagate a culture of peace building in homes and communities.
MOHCAM is based on implementing skills through local trainings on income generating activities for the empowerment and change towards acts of violence to secure girls and women victims of gender based violence. We work in partnership with schools and communities.
To establish a shelter home for victims of violence and to advocate for the implementation of family protection bill that can addresses domestic violence with prompt police response. And to establish a National Domestic Hotline for victims of gender based violence in communities.
MOHCAM is committed to ensure that all victims are able to regain and maintain a life of dignity and self-worthiness which will:
• Transform lives
• Motivate people to take action
• Promote social justice & human rights for girls and women
We value and believe:
• In an environment which enhances self-esteem and respect for all.
• That each individual is unique and of value.
• That we all have a responsibility to build a healthy community.
• In a holistic approach in working with individuals and community.
• In constant attention, sensitivity and flexibility throughout the ongoing process of relationship building.
• In ethical practices.
• In volunteerism.
• In innovation and creativity.
Lastly, if anyone reading this knows someone who will be traveling to Cameroon or a neighboring country between now and July 15 and would be willing to be a courier of digital devices, please contact me at email@example.com or Adah at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work out a plan to obtain and transfer devices for them to deliver.
I wanted to let people know about my Web Design Client Updates and additional news for January 2014. I’ve been busy and it looks like I’ll be getting busier as word continues to spread about my web design skills and work ethic.
New Web Design Client, Artist Joan Pechanec
First, it’s lovely to announce the completion of a new artist website for Joan Pechanec of Mt Shasta, California. The website is built on the WordPress platform, using the Emphaino theme with lots of custom modifications so the resulting site design would suit her aesthetics. She had a budget and a target completion date in mind, and we finished under budget and on time. She has art works in two categories on her site – assemblage/collage pieces and more recent oil paintings. As she and her husband, author Charlie Price, were on their way out of town for a 3 month writer’s residency at Fairhope on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, it was perfect that they were both able to come up and meet me in person before they left. Working with Joan by remote (a good bit of it while they were on the road to their destination) went smoothly and I’m delighted that both she and her husband are pleased with the results!
Joan wanted visitors to her website to be able to see all the works on her home page, so we chose a theme that’s designed with the masonry technique (like Pinterest), yet with a dark background that really makes the saturated colors in her paintings pop. The masonry style image blocks on the home page are each linked to a post with more details about the painting. Since she will be away for a while, we decided to post the paintings with just the most essential details for now. It was a joy working with Joan’s art! We’ll add text and artist’s comments when she returns home, along with the new paintings she is creating while on the Gulf Coast. I hope you will visit joanpechanec.com and have a look!
Website Update for Artist Christina Madden
Artist Christina Madden has been painting away since I last wrote, and these two pieces are among my favorites of the new works we have recently updated her website with. The two seem to bookend the range of her style; both are landscapes, but one is a bright and colorful mixed media painting in a more abstract style, the other an oil painting in an impressionist style, with colors a bit more subdued than we usually see from her hand. Christina is working hard to create a style that’s all her own, and it appears to me that she’s succeeding. She’s very excited because she will be going to ArtExpo in New York City this year! It’s been wonderful to watch her style grow and change since we began working together, and I know she will be successful at this prestigious New York show.
Bill Stanton’s Art Exhibit at the GoodBean Cafe
I’m sure I must have mentioned that among the things I do to have some regular in-person facetime with artists and their work is curating and managing the art exhibits at the GoodBean Cafe in my hometown of Jacksonville, Oregon. December was a group show with the theme of “Angels,” which drew great enthusiasm from the shop’s clientele, so much so that the owner decided she wants to do the same theme every December from now on! This month we’re featuring artist Bill Stanton, whose landscapes painted in deep impasto oils are in high demand in the area. Bill isn’t entirely reclusive, but he doesn’t do a lot of shows or promotion…it’s mostly locals who are in the know who support his work…so we’re fortunate to have him. We would love it if you could come in and see them for yourself – we just renovated the back wall to make more room for the art, and his large (some huge) paintings look terrific in the space! If you’re not in the area, take a look at this post about the show to learn more.
Web Design Projects in Development and Coming Soon
That’s all I have completed and ready for you to view right now…though I’m working on a bunch of other projects that will be ready soon:
Helping Stefan Baumann complete his artist website
Stefan started on his own, but became too busy to finish the project himself. In addition to a grueling art instruction schedul which involves a lot of travel, he’s painting like crazy to prepare for a big southern California show in September. Want to watch as Baumann’s website develops? Visit www.stefanbaumann.com
New concert posters, video editing and website updates for Christina Duane’s Romancing the West 2014 tour.
Community Works is the parent organization for the highly respected Dunn House in Medford, Oregon, which helps women, youth and families impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence. I am delighted to be working with Development Director Misha Levee Hernandez on this project. (Need help yourself? Visit their current website here. )
Updating artist Pegi Smith‘s existing website with new paintings.
As with Christina Madden, I did not design Pegi’s site, but her previous webmistress is stepping aside from website work and Pegi brought her maintenance work to me just yesterday! I can’t wait to work with her beautiful paintings! pegismith.com
In addition, I’m beside myself with glee that I’ve gotten two new web design projects to begin soon. One is an artist website. Just yesterday I went to visit this artist’s studio and nearly wept at the beautiful work I saw there! We should be getting underway soon. The other is a WordPress based wine club website. I will hear for sure on that one Friday, and we should be getting started around the 27th if it’s confirmed tomorrow that it’s a go.
I hope you’ll check back again to see my very erratic updates on how things are going with these web design and site maintenance projects, and more!
It’s so hard to keep this site updated when there are so many interesting (and challenging!) projects to tend to, so here’s a quick recap of a few of the things I’ve been working on.
Just after I finished the restoration of a site for Medford artist Boni de Laire, she referred another wonderful painter to me, Billye Woodford from Rogue River, Oregon. I have just finished her site, too. They’re both beautiful, and filled with lovely artwork – representational landscapes are Boni’s focus, and while Billye creates beautiful landscapes as well, she also ventures into florals, portraits and more. Please visit www.bonidelaire.net and www.billyewoodford.com today!
While I was finishing up Billye’s site, another interesting job came my way – a website for a contestant in the upcoming Miss Oregon pageant, Priyanka Samra. Born in Canada and raised in Medford Oregon, Priyanka is a college student in California majoring in pre-med. She’ll gradute at the end of the current school year. She’s also incredibly beautiful and has been modeling since she was 14 – with a special love for the runway. She’s going to be teaching runway lessons to other models to raise funds for her favorite charities – Unique Home for Girls in India, where girls who have been abandoned are given a home, education and a future under the loving guardianship of
their adopted mother Prakash Kaur, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), specifically for their important work on depression. Please visit www.priyankasamra.com to learn more and see the modeling shots in her portfolio gallery…and root for her to win Miss Oregon 2014! She wanted a site based on her friend Mabelynn’s. Mabelynn won the Miss California pageant in 2012 and her site is pretty sleek, so I went for it. As pretty as Mabelynn is, I think Priyanka’s exotic East Indian look, movie-star glamorous yet not excessively sexy, makes her site the winner. Follow her for news on the Miss Oregon pageant, which happens in November.
A couple of my artist clients have added new paintings to their websites recently.
Christina Madden paints in oil, acrylic and mixed media; her range of style and subject is quite broad, but recently she’s been refining her style to make it all her own. And is it ever! Her colorful abstract impressionist landscapes are so vibrant and full of life, like nothing else I’ve seen. We’ve also been working to improve the SEO value of her site and making progress. Help her gain better online visibility! Visit her website and feast your eyes on artist Christina Madden‘s colorful world! If you find yourself in Ashland, Oregon during October 2013, stop in at Art & Soul gallery to see a major show of her paintings. She sold ten paintings in recent months, so she had to work very hard to paint new pieces so she would have enough for her show, and they’re magnificent! Meet the artist at a reception on Friday, October 4 during the Ashland First Friday Art Walk.
Artist Eugenia Talbot is an amazing woman, and she just had two shows here in southern Oregon – one at the Berryman Gallery (above the Craterian Theater in Medford) in conjunction with the production of Tarzan there in early September. At the same time I had her work hanging at the GoodBean Cafe in Jacksonville for a one month exhibition that got huge numbers of compliments! I didn’t design her site, but she brought me on for maintenance and updates, as well as to upgrade its SEO value. Once again I appeal to what readers I may have to help increase her online visibility by visiting her Talbott Studios website and take some time to look around. You won’t be disappointed – African wildlife, horses and pet portraits, portraits of people and more await you there!
Oh, and you must see the art show card that Jacksonville artist Susan DeRosa had me make for her debut southern Oregon show (she moved here recently from Arkansas, where she lived for a time after retiring from her career as an art educator in California universities). She is such an amazing talent, I’m glad she now has time to continue refining her own work rather now that she’s done her time teaching others! Her show at South Stage Cellars was such a success, she sold a painting at the opening reception and so many people came that she started crying with gratitude when telling me how she felt about it.
This reminds me of the art show catalog I did recently, but I haven’t had a chance to scan it so I’ll have to post that later.
Apologies to the awesome folks at GMO Free Jackson County for not having time to have them with a project they contacted me about. Please visit their website and lend your support – they working hard to protect Oregon’s organic agriculture legacy. It’s like swimming upstream, there’s so much to do and so much resistance from the likes of Monsanto and Syngenta.
Well, there’s still more, but I’ve run out of time and have to get back to work, so please return another time to see if I’ve had a chance to write more about the fabulous projects I’m involved in now, and what my wonderful clients have for me next! Spoiler alert…looks like a new site and SEO help for Daljit Samra (Name sounds familiar? Yes, that’s Priyanka’s mom!) of the Rogue Valley Inn and possibly some modifications to a fantastic high end fashion site in New York, as well as adding video content to singer/songwriter Christina Duane’s nonprofit websites, Romancing the West and Oh Oregon Frontier Park when she returns from her current tour! Oh, right, I haven’t written about the pleasure of starting to work with Christina yet, have I? Well, we’ll have to tackle that next time…Thanks for stopping by and come back again soon!
Hannah is a proud member of the World Pulse Global Community of Women
DISCLOSURE: This is not a review site, but I do have affiliate relationships with companies whose products and services I and my clients use. If you make a purchase within a few days of using one of my links, I will receive a small commission for the sale. If you have any questions and want to learn more, please contact me through my Facebook page or send me a message using my contact form