It’s Time for You to Get Your SSL Certificate

If you have logged into your website lately, you might have seen an alert about your SSL certificate, or not.  Some website CMSs are starting to warn users that the time is coming.  Really, you have until March of 2019 until the cut-off date with Google, but you might just as well get it done now.

What is an SSL Certificate?

Have you ever noticed that some websites use http:// and others have an “s” for https://?  The SSL certificate is an added step of security and it shows up in that extra “s” in the https at the front of your website address.  Since most of you reading this are not big website tech people, that’s general all you need to know.  In the past, I’ve only worried about SSL certificates with clients that had eCommerce sites or gathered any sort of sensitive information on their websites (think HIPPA compliance, credit cards, etc.).

SSL Certificates https

Why do I need an SSL Certificate?

If you do not gather sensitive data with your website, you might be wondering why you suddenly need an SSL Certificate.  One word: Google.  Google judges website architecture and infrastructure as part of its SEO (search engine optimization) score.  Google wants everyone to have SSL Certificates, so everyone will have SSL certificates.  If you want to rank well in search, you might want to get that certificate now rather than wait until February or March of next year.


How do I get an SSL Certificate?

Your web hosting company will either sell you a certificate or it is included with your hosting already (which means they will tell you it’s “free” but really you are already paying for it in your hosting fees).  All web hosting companies have different SSL Certificate protocols, so you have to go to their support page and search “SSL Certificate” and see what they say.  Typically, it’s a button to install it to the server with all-in-one hosting.  Some sites will have you download it to your computer and go to your website to install it there.  But whichever way you go, do a backup first!!!


SSL Certificates are not done there!

You still need to make other updates after you install the certificate.  First, go to your website via https:// and see if it works.  Yes?  Good.  If not, you may need a plugin.  Now go to your Google Analytics, Google Webmaster, and Search Console tools and add all new versions of your URL (https:// and https://www.) as new sites.  This will be helpful in the future to reduce the number of “unavailable” results you get in your data.  You’ll also want to test all of your other website forms and Google Analytics funnels to make sure everything is still working.  Often times, you’ll need to duplicate everything into the https:// format and make the https:// the primary page.  It’s pretty time consuming and tedious, but you’ll only need to do it once.

Until you have to upgrade your PHP.  *sigh*  By the end of 2018 it sounds like everyone will have to be off of all versions of 5.x PHP.  Face-palm.


The Many Colors of Facebook

I’ve been receiving questions about the colored text posts on Facebook by business owners looking to increase their Facebook engagement score.  They started out on a few specific mobile platforms and were eventually released to iOS and desktop browsers to give everyone access.  This is the view from a desktop now when you post using text only from your personal profile:

increase facebook engagement through text graphics

You can select a colored background for your text to give it some pop.  This does not work if you are using a link or a photo.  It can only be a text only post. However, hashtags do work as do emojis.  Here is what the posts can look like:

increase facebook engagement with text posts

increase facebook engagement with text posts

If you’ve been to one of my live workshops, you’ll know my joke behind #awesome.  I do not suggest you actually use this hashtag.  Anyway, these graphic-driven text posts are another ploy by Facebook to kill the engagement scores of business pages.  When individuals (aka real friends) can post such magical looking posts from their phones, your carefully crafted graphics are going to be even more lost among the crowd.  Business pages were surviving after so many algorithm cuts by turning to graphics to punch through the social media noise and keep engagement up.  Individuals simply did not take them time to use professional images, so businesses had the advantage on visual spectatorship.  These colorized text posts are a game changer to the engagement scores of business pages on Facebook.

But don’t despair!  These colored backgrounds on the status updates between friends (however narcissistic they might seem) can be in the hands of the business owner, too!  How?  Go to your personal profile, create your post – DON’T POST IT, just SNIP IT!  Using the same tool I used to take the screen shots above, I use the “snipping tool” on my computer to capture images but capture a smaller frame so it looks like a post.

snip for facebook engagement

Now, it is an image post an not a true text post, so it only mimics the game Faceook is playing with our engagement scores, but it allows you to compete at some level.  If I wanted to use something similar to what I had above and promote my blog about the hashtag #awesome, I might do this:


And with the image, I’ll include the text post “Why I don’t suggest you use the #awesome:” so that I get in the true hashtag and my URL.  I would likely use a URL shortening tool like with it, too.

It isn’t ideal, but since Facebook likes to put businesses in the penalty box for engagement for no good reason, it’s a ninja tactic to get back in the game.  Enjoy!

LinkedIn Workshop

After the news was well received at my general social media workshop yesterday, I’ve decided to move forward on a LinkedIn-only workshop.  I did most of the design during a course for my Master’s of Instructional Design degree program, though it will need several updates as the platform is constantly making updates (like all social media platforms).  But LinkedIn is my favorite platform and I’m excited that others were interested to learn more about how to leverage its powerful networking tools.

If you are interested, please answer this one-question poll (no email address is required) to help me establish a time to schedule the workshop.  It will likely be a three-hour session and learners will be required to bring their own laptops.  There will be live editing to LinkedIn profiles and we will practice using the advanced search filters with clear objectives in mind.  Remember, LinkedIn is not just some glorified resume board for finding a job, it is the social media platform with access to C-level (chief-level) executives and decision makers who are interested in networking with other businesses (B-to-B communications).  We will cover LinkedIn’s rules of engagement, SEO-rich profiles in LinkedIn (SEO = search engine optimization), how to identify industry leaders, and so much more.  I’m so excited!

I’m also planning on having a beginners track and an advanced track within the one workshop – that was actually my school project.  🙂


Celebrating 3 Years of Marketing Workshops with SCORE San Luis Obispo

This month I celebrated 3 years of presenting social media and website marketing workshops as a guest of the San Luis Obispo Chapter of SCORE (the Service Corps. Of Retired Executives Association).  To celebrate, I brought doughnuts for my students.  Here, I’m pictured eating the lone survivor (not for long!!).  Read the rest of this entry

Navigating Social Presence In Social Media (on LinkedIn Pulse)

Social media channels are in every niche and new ones seem to pop-up overnight, which is dizzying for even the most nimble of small business owners. Like many, you probably did not go into business because you enjoy running the operations side of things – you went into business for yourself to do what you love. I hear this from all business owners: from doctors who just want to treat people to crafters selling hand-knit socks on Etsy. But it’s important to earn a living while doing what you love, right? And so you may find yourself wearing the hat of your own marketing agent trying to navigate the rough seas of social media. Not to worry – I’m here to help you with a compass and map.   Read the rest of this entry

An F.A.Q. on Twitter Best Practices in a Social Media Marketing Strategy

Twitter FAQEvery social media workshop I present at, I get the same few questions from new and wide-eyed students eager to unravel the mysteries of social media marketing.  But what has always struck me as interesting is the order in which I hear the platform names inquired about.  Twitter is often in the first two platforms mentioned despite the fact that at my Social Media for Small Business Owners workshops I rarely have a student who actually needs to implement Twitter in their marketing strategy.

The following F.A.Q. is going to address the questions I get asked most often.  These may not necessarily be the best questions to ask about Twitter and implementing it in your social media marketing strategy, but that really isn’t the point of an F.A.Q., is it?  Majority rules.  Read the rest of this entry

Meet the Social Media Platforms and Share a Cookie

This infographic is to help you understand what makes Twitter different than LinkedIn and also show you how to create content that is appropriate for each one.  The example here is how to share a cookie on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Houzz.


It’s hard to understand how a post on Facebook is different from Google+, or how a pin on Pinterest is going to elicit a different response than a photo on Instagram, but each social media platform has a unique audience and fills a niche in a different way.  After all, if they were all the same, we wouldn’t have a need for so many!  This infographic is to help you understand what makes Twitter different than LinkedIn and also show you how to create content that is appropriate for each one.  The example here is how to share a cookie on Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Houzz.


Email Marketing Around Spammers

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Do You Have What it Takes to Market on LinkedIn?

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Operation Happiness by Kristi Ling

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