SSL – Eight Reasons to Implement SSL Encryption Now

This is the logo for Hannah West Design, web designer to artists, logo designed by Hannah West © 2000-2016 Hannah WestSSL padlock icon

Hannah West Design Now Secure!

Hannah West Design is now secured with a brand new SSL certificate! On January 14, we migrated 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’ With that in mind, we decided to make the switch to SSL encryption at the same time. As a result, our updated address is 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.

Implementing SSL

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 ( and NOT the www version. Big problem for sites installed with 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:

  1. Receive payments through your ecommerce website – Most payment gateways now require SSL, even PayPal
  2. Give your visitors greater confidence in the security of their transactions, interactions with your site, and personal information
  3. Limit liability for identity theft
  4. Boost page load times
  5. Greater protection from hackers
  6. Prevent unknown people snooping on activity to and from your website
  7. Boost your SEO
  8. 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!

New Website Launch!

I am delighted to announce a new website launch for renowned fashion jewelry designer Wendy Gell at!

Wendy’s previous website was beautiful, but the infrastructure needed updating and she wanted a fresh new look that was unpretentious, yet highlighted her past accomplishments, with modern ecommerce features that would enable her to sell her incredibly sparkling and beautiful fashion jewelry designs. We began by streamlining her email newsletter and creating temporary pages with several new pieces of jewelry not previously seen on her website. Then, behind the scenes, we created a new site on the WordPress platform, using the flexible and responsive Divi theme by Elegant Themes so it would display nicely on mobile devices. Then we added a WooCommerce shopping cart with PayPal as the primary payment gateway. Optimized the site and products using the highly respected SEO for WordPress plugin by Yoast and added BulletProof Security to protect her investment in the site and to protect her visitors from malware. Once all the products were added to the shop and everything was ready to go, we migrated the development site to its permanent home at

What we wound up with is a beautiful site that highlights Wendy’s fashion, bridal, and holiday jewelry designs (along with some gorgeous tiaras for princesses big and little!) as well as her fabulous Gelastic Art, with a beautiful shop that displays subcategories nicely with the modestly priced Nested Categories extension by WooThemes. She made a sale almost immediately! We also included features that will help her continue to grow her following, with social follow and sharing tools by AddThis and a newsletter signup form.

We invite you to visit Wendy’s site and feast your eyes on glittering pop art fashion jewelry to your heart’s desire! Wendy plans to continue adding to her new online shop, so there will be new jewelry items and artwork to see on a regular basis, and there is much to learn about this talented designer whose jewelry has appeared on the Oprah show, been worn & collected by household name movie, television and pop art culture celebrities – even royalty! – and featured in fashion magazines around the world for decades. I am so honored to be working with this amazing woman and her enduring talent, and equally proud of her new website. See how beautifully we can display the items you want to offer for sale online and contact us to discuss what we can do to help you accomplish your own online business objectives.


Haven’t had time to post any further sites in my portfolio, and now I’m tying up loose ends to clear the way for work on two new sites. One is, a beautiful site I started in 2010 for a local photographer who had to stop work when a friend needed help when going through cancer therapy…then travel and other obligations kept her busy for quite some time. I met with her last week and she’s almost ready to begin the completion of her site. I can’t wait to show it to you! The other is a larger ecommerce site for a startup wine club. Can’t say too much about this one until we’re underway, but the target launch date is January 2012. It will keep me busy for a while…

A note on Hosting:

The web hosting provider I usually refer clients to is IPOWER, who I’ve hosted my own sites with since 2003. As part of the research I’ve done for the wine site, I just added another host to the list, DreamHost. If you’re looking for a place to host your website, either one of these is a good choice. Both have been around for 10 years or more, proudly feature green hosting (IPOWER’S is the best on this front, but both are earth-conscious) and provide a selection of hosting options. Take a look and see which one works best for you: