We all know it; Google is taking over the world! To-date, Google manufacture software in phones, tablets, laptops, browsers, payment systems, smart home devices, and mapping – to list just a few strings to their bow, not to mention the search engine that started the company in 1998. Because of their colossal reach, if you truly want to be found online, you need to do things the Google way.   

Let’s turn back the clocks a couple of years… it is 2018 and Google have just taken the decision to start flagging websites without an SSL/TLS Certificate as being insecure. Like it or not, this has massive consequences. Not only are sites that are being served without a valid certificate now quickly falling in page ranking with Google, but also any of your customers who are using Google Chrome (or any of the Chrome engine browsers; Edge, Firefox, and Safari to name a few) are being blocked from accessing your website. Visitors are being forced to acknowledge the security risk in visiting your website, and as a direct result visits to your website will have nose-dived. 

It sounds as though we are against this decision. The truth is, we are not. The issuing of SSL/TLS Certificates is now standard practice for hosting companies, and that’s a good thing – it makes the web a better place for everyone. For too long companies have used antiquated or insecure email systems and hosting partners. 

But what is an SSL/TLS Certificate? Essentially, it’s a virtual lock and key mechanism that means any data transferred through your online services is encrypted with an automatically generated key. As an end-user, you will never know this exists, but it’s always there in the background, packaging up and protecting data that is transmitted. 

The server where your online services are hosted, be that email, website, app, or database, hold the ‘key’. This means that when the server receives a packet of information, the content is not humanly readable. It has been converted into a string of random nonsense that only the servers key can decode. 

Imagine all the times you have sent across a password by email (you should never do this by the way!) or made a payment online without a valid certificate. That password or your payment details are being transmitted around the globe in plain text. Imagine logging into an unprotected website with that password you use for everything (we know you do it!). Well, that password is now compromised… If someone intercepts that packet of data, they can read everything you have sent. With a certificate installed however, the interceptor still needs that key, the key that only your server holds to decipher the code – Think back to the days of the Enigma machine, an early iteration of what these protocols are doing today.

This is not to say that simply installing an SSL/TLS Certificate is your one-stop security solution. Far from it. But it’s a good start. 

It is however for these reasons that Google took the decision to start making the web safer for all its users. However, being the world’s most popular search engine meant that other companies quickly followed suit, and now search engines are penalising websites that do not secure their site over SSL, knocking you down the rankings and making it nearly impossible to be found for any useful or local search terms.

Because of this, a lot of browsers began to prominently display a green padlock icon when the site you are visiting has installed an SSL/TLS Certificate, or a whole page red banner if it does not. First impressions are key, and we know how we’d rather be seen… 

In summary 

  1. Yes, SSL/TLS Certificates are essentially mandatory – and that is ok. 
  2. Server encryption is here to stay, albeit in many different guises. 
  3. A certificate will help keep yours and your customers private information safe by encrypting all traffic sent through emails, web forms, logins – but should not be considered your sole security procedure. 
  4. Websites without an SSL/TLS certificate will be considerably harder to find online. 
  5. No, you do not need to be paying your hosting company hundreds of £ to have one. In fact, any reputable hosting company should offer an entry tier of SSL out of the box, and free of charge! 

If you are looking for a web partner who will support your business with online tools and enhanced security features, as well as SSL/TLS certificates as standard, then contact Doddle. We’ll get you online in no time.

The most famous brass band in the world, Black Dyke Band have an extraordinary musical pedigree and tradition, and have played with musicians as notable as Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Peter Gabriel, and The Beautiful South.

During the 2020 Lockdown, the band secured funding to roll-out a new eLearning facility to their international audience.

After an initial consultation phase Doddle were engaged, through project manager and copywriter Chris Tarry, to combine Black Dyke’s 3 existing websites into a single new design, adding the new eLearning facility, and reinvigorating existing content. The overall objective was to make the new site easier to navigate and, crucially, to enhance online revenue sales for the band. Coexisting with this complete overhaul in design and functionality, was the requirement to preserve the band’s brand heritage, which had previously been confused across the existing sites.

Doddle engaged with the band and their trustees to completely understand their desired approach. We took great lengths to understand the musical detail and heritage of the 1855 established band.

After assessing content across the existing sites, we started work designing. We created thoughtful designs that recognised the heritage of the band and their desired positioning for the future. We took existing menu structures and simplified the navigation, whilst importantly retaining content previously displayed.

For the build phase, we decided on WordPress as the CMS of choice, enabling integration of a WooCommerce element for their shop, eLearning, and ticket sales. This solution neatly combined all three sales streams into one combined checkout solution. Additionally, we implemented a comprehensive shipping policy based on the Post Office’s world shipping zones, and cart weight.

Developing a custom theme with a number of bespoke blocks, allows the band to easily manage the site in the future, without the need of a developer. They now have branded block areas so they can add their own content without risk of causing problems to the front-end view of the site.

Chris Tarry as copywriter, made sure the brands identity and overall message stayed consistent.

Since going live, the band have received glowing feedback on their new website from around the world. The sites new functionality is evidenced through increased shop takings which have seen an incredible 9 fold improvement on average monthly sales through their previous sites.

Since going live, the band have received glowing feedback on their new website from around the world. The sites new functionality is evidenced through increased shop takings which have seen an incredible 9 fold improvement on average monthly sales through their previous sites.