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Black Friday Bootcamp

  • Marketing and PR

5 Tweaks To Your Facebook Page That Can Increase Black Friday Sales

Yesterday, we learned how to create buzz for your black Friday sale.

If you missed that article, you can read it here:
Creating Buzz For Your Black Friday Sale

Today’s article on upgrading your Facebook page for Black Friday shouldn’t take you more than 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

The next step is to setup Facebook so we can generate even more buzz through social media channels.

Let’s start with sprucing up our Facebook cover image…

#1 – Create a custom Facebook cover image

According to recent research conducted by EyeTrackShop for Mashable.com, participants spent less time looking at your Facebook Wall posts and more time looking at the cover photo on timelines than the old Facebook Walls.

The new Facebook Timeline restricts branding space, and the cover image needs to be well designed.

Example of a great cover page:
facebook-tweaks-9

In fact, if you don’t want to hire a designer, click here to buy the above template for $2.

Key points to this cover image are:

  • Black Friday is dead center, easy to read, and • the date is clear
  • The images are inviting and represent the brand
  • 50% off is at the top of the cover, so it’s clearly visible

Once you have you cover image setup, it’s time to setup a ‘Call to Action’ button.

#2 – Create a Post and Pin It

You can now ‘pin’ a post to the top of your timeline. This will ensure the post is read first.

In fact, pinning a post results in higher views.

The folks over at Buffer reported that, “For pinned updates on Facebook, we noticed 30 extra views, three extra likes, and three extra shares in a 24-hour period. This would mean an extra 150 views, 15 likes, and 15 shares were a post to be pinned throughout the workweek.” – Buffer

TIP: Add a Picture to Your Post

Make sure you include an image on your pinned post. Hubspot discovered that posts containing an image resulted in:

• 104% more comments
• 54% more likes
• 84% higher click-through rates

In addition, mention the specifics of your sale in the post, such as:

• Date of the sale
• Percent Discount
• List of item or items
• Picture of Item or Items

Once you have created the post, you can now pin it, here’s how:

facebook-tweaks-5

Next, let’s add a ‘Call to Action’ on your Facebook Page…

#3 – Create Your Call to Action Button

Facebook has created a new Call to Action feature you can implement on your Facebook page.

This is great because it allows you to employ a few lead generation tactics like:

• Book Now
• Contact Us
• Use App
• Play Game
• Shop Now
• Sign Up
• Watch Video

In fact, Facebook uses the Dollar Shave Club as an example. Here’s a screenshot of the Call to Action at work:

facebook-tweaks-10

As you can see, the ‘Sign Up’ box is highlighted above.

Dollar Shave Club is a big fan too, here’s their Director of Acquisition praising it:

“Over the course of a three-week test, the Sign Up call-to-action button delivered a 2.5x higher conversion rate versus other comparable social placements aimed to drive new user acquisition.” —Brian Kim, Director of Acquisition, Dollar Shave Club

Here’s how you can implement the Call to Action:

facebook-tweaks-4

Next, you need to make sure people can reach out to you for questions they may have…

#4 – Activate Your Messenger

Facebook has even made it easier for shoppers to contact you to ask questions.

This is important because it gives you an extra channel to reach out and complete a sale.

But first, you must turn on the Messenger feature inside of your Facebook Page.
That’s easy…

facebook-tweaks-3

The faster you respond, the better your rating on Facebook. Here’s an example of badge that Facebook will post on your Page if you respond quickly:

facebook-tweaks-1

Pretty cool!

You can achieve this rating by:

• A response rate of at least 90%
• A response time of 15 minutes or less

The next item is more of a tip, but it’s an important one you should consider…

#5 – Cover Images with faces get more attention

Make sure your cover image has people and faces. Here’s a few examples of highly rated Facebook pages:

Example 1:
facebook-tweaks-8

Example 2:
facebook-tweaks-7

You’ll notice the Dollar Shave Club we used as an example above doesn’t use an image with a face… maybe they should show a man shaving and that would help boost their views?

I hope you take just a few minutes and implement one or all of these tweaks. They are easy and shouldn’t take very long at all.

Quincy Solano
Marketing Manager
Superb Internet Corp.

P.S. Tomorrow’s article will cover “Turning the old to new again – using pixels on your site to bring back old traffic and customers for cheap”…

References:
https://creativemarket.com/cooledition/102757-Black-Friday-Facebook-Cover-1

https://blog.bufferapp.com/best-practices-how-to-pin-tweet-facebook

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33800/Photos-on-Facebook-Generate-53-More-Likes-Than-the-Average-Post-NEW-DATA.aspx#sm.00000rbjg10r26dzbqye72t3bu86d

https://www.facebook.com/business/news/call-to-action-button

https://www.facebook.com/business/help/312169205649942

How to Make It Rain – Creating Buzz For Your Black Friday Sale

  • Marketing and PR

People love a deal… and they EXPECT a deal on Black Friday.

One big retailer, in particular, is a master of Black Friday sales… and sales in general. In fact, they created their own holiday sale! This retailer offers amazing deals to shoppers, but more than that, they utilize superior marketing tactics.

Mirroring marketing tactics used by a big retailer like this can result in a nice boost in sales if done properly.

The retailer I’m writing about is Amazon.com. One of the best marketers on the planet, if not the best.

Amazon.com knows how to sell… and they know how to promote a sale by generating tons of buzz.

Today, I will break down some of the tactics used by Amazon that you can use for your own Black Friday sale… or any sale for that matter and create ‘buzz’ in advance.

Amazon even created its own shopping holiday called Amazon Prime Day… as a way to reward their Prime members. This makes me chuckle because you have to pay to be a Prime member.

Amazon sold over $2.5 billion worth of goods during Prime Day 2016!

It just makes good sense that we should mirror what Amazon does to create a buzz in advance of our Black Friday event.

Let’s break down Prime Day.

Not everything was on sale.

And Amazon utilized several ‘scarcity’ tactics during the Prime Day sale:

  1. Countdown Timers When Certain Products Would Be Available
  2. Advanced Notice This Is a 24 Hour Sale
  3. Limited Availability For Each Product On Sale
  4. Countdown Timers When An Item Would Expire
  5. Amazing Price Cuts Guaranteed Certain Items Would Sell Out (by design)

Further, this was an event geared at BUILDING THEIR PRIME MEMBERSHIP numbers (currently $99/year). By requiring you to have an Amazon Prime membership, they virtually guaranteed they would grow their membership for their 2017 event.

Absolutely genius!

Suffice it to say… Amazon knows what they are doing.

Here’s a look at their homepage during the sale (click to expand the full image so you can scroll):

amazonprimeday

As you can see, countdown timers are being used at the very top. Below that, Amazon is placing items most likely related to your past browsing history. I will be shocked if they are not.

The promotions would begin and end in certain timed intervals, with new timed promotions appearing after one expired.

Shoppers could plan ahead by seeing what was coming up.

Buyers could add items to their shopping cart that were coming up. Shoppers just had to wait until that promotion began to get the discount.

Amazon even changed their homepage so that it is more of a ‘Landing Page’ than their regular store page.

Brilliant.

You most likely do not have the resources or technical abilities that Amazon does, but that’s ok. We can still prep our website and our shoppers for the big day.

To accomplish awareness and boost sales on Black Friday, we will borrow a few of Amazon’s tactics.

Prepping Your Website

Promote the sale in ADVANCE.

Letting people know in advance is crucial to your success on Black Friday.

Consumers will have countless options to make purchases. It is our job to get shoppers to visit you first and even place items in their shopping carts in advance.

There are many ways of preparing shoppers for Black Friday, and you should be employing as many of the following tactics as possible.

Here’re a few ideas for you…

Tip #1 – Place a Ribbon On Your Website 7 Days In Advance

Here’s an example:

amazonprimecountdown

The entire top bar announces the Prime Day sale.

Each day, have the day decrease. If you can, have the actual amount of hours drop like a stopwatch.

Here’s an affordable countdown timer:
http://countdownmonkey.com

And here’s a free one that allows embedding but isn’t as nice as the Countdown Monkey:
https://www.tickcounter.com

If possible, link your countdown timer to a particular landing page…

Tip #2 – Create a Landing Page

If you only have a few items to promote you can have a web designer create a unique landing page. I would suggest just copying the layout of the Amazon Prime day page.

You’ll need at least three compelling offers.

If you don’t know what to offer, I suggest reviewing your sales figures. Determine the top 20% of products you sell.

The idea here isn’t to get rid of old inventory… it’s to sell.

You want to offer what you have the best chance of selling. This offer ensures you profit the most from Black Friday.

Sticking your old inventory that hasn’t moved in years won’t cut it. Your sale will flop. Those items are not selling for a reason.

Further, place ‘Add to Cart’ buttons under each item. Make it clear they can put these items in their shopping cart now… and that you will notify them immediately when the sale begins.

This allow’s buyers to secure the offers and reduce the risk of losing out if there is minimal inventory. Don’t drop the price though until the minute the sale begins.

And don’t forget to place your countdown timer on this landing page. Countdown timers are critical as you wish to create a sense of urgency on this page.

Further, if you have an email system, place a ‘Notify Me When The Sale Begins’ form on this landing page.

Capturing emails from prospective customers will allow us to build up the buzz in advance. We can then also remind shoppers who have added items to their shopping cart the day the sale begins.

In short, your landing page should have:

  1. Countdown timer
  2. Email capture form
  3. Your best selling products with discounts for each
  4. ‘Add to Cart’ ability so shoppers can save the items for faster checkout
  5. Refer a Friend and Social Sharing buttons
  6. Easily readable and clear with what actions you wish them to take

Once you have all of this in place, it’s time to generate a little buzz…

Tip #3 – Grow the Buzz

Amazon.com utilizes emails, their website, and ads to grow buzz before their big event.

You should run your Black Friday event no differently.

My advice is to promote at least seven days in advance of Black Friday to announce your specials.

Promote via a combination of Facebook posts, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (whichever you use) along with your email list.

Seven days isn’t too close, and it’s not too far off.

  1. Tell shoppers what you will be selling.
  2. Tell buyers what the discount will be.
  3. Show buyers the landing page URL so that they can visit it.
  4. Ask shoppers to add their email address to your opt-in form.

Don’t be shy. Black Friday is the time to promote.

If you are going to stand any chance of cutting through the clutter… you need to promote.

Promote early and promote often.

Now that you have that done… what can you offer as an upsell?

Tip #4 – Have Upsells Ready

If possible, follow up every purchase with an upsell item. This will allow you to maximize revenue inside of the shopping cart.

I would recommend making the upsell item a Black Friday special as well.

Tip #5 – PROMOTE. PROMOTE. PROMOTE.

When Black Friday hits, shoppers will be up EARLY. I recommend sending your email announcing yourself at the stroke of MIDNIGHT.

Also, I would send another email at 5 AM and another around 2 PM.

Finally, send another email reminding shoppers the sale is going to end around 8 PM.

Buyers want to see your offers; they want to know if they can save money.

Don’t be shy.…you are helping them if your specials are indeed money savers. Money is tight for many shoppers, and Black Friday is a way shoppers use to save money.

Quincy

P.S. I’ll be back tomorrow with 5 Tweaks To Your Facebook Page That Can Increase Black Friday Sales

 

Don’t let 33% of customers fall through the cracks

  • Marketing and PR

superb-wordpress-header

Today we continue our Black Friday Bootcamp to show you how to make sure your website is mobile-friendly and fast.

The reason we want a mobile-friendly website is because mobile devices accounted for over one-third of ALL sales transactions in 2015.

The name of the game for Black Friday and holiday shopping is to maximize every single visitor. This means we need to ensure our website is optimized for mobile devices.

In addition, Google reports that 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present. And I think it’s safe to assume that people will be shopping from the office for this holiday season.

If you’ve not updated your website in a few years, my guess is that you could use a few tweaks to be mobile friendly.

Step 1 – Check Your Existing Site(s)

The first thing we need to do is head over to Google and run a check on your existing website.

You can do that here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

With any luck, your website will already be mobile-friendly and you’ll see the following message per screenshot below. If so, I’ll see you in our next Black Friday Bootcamp article!

superb-awesome

If by any chance you were hit with the following message, there’s a few things we can do to make it mobile friendly.

superb-not-friendly

Assuming that your website is not mobile – think we can remove this line entirely.

Step 2 – How Did You Create Your Site(s)?

In order for us to fix the mobile-friendly problem, we need to know how your website was built.

How was your website built?

  • Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla!, or Drupal
  • Someone else built the website
  • I built the website myself and understand coding

I’ll go over a plan of action for each of the above.

Assuming you used WordPress (the most popular CMS), your road to becoming mobile-friendly is rather easy.

WordPress Mobile Websites

First thing you need to do is make sure your WordPress installation is fully up to date. Contact the Superb Internet’s support guru’s if you need help updating WordPress.

If you wish to update WordPress on your own, login to WordPress for the website you wish to make mobile-friendly.

Once logged in, look under the “Home” link for “Updates.” This will be in the top left corner of your WordPress dashboard.

Once you have located the “Updates” link, click it.

superb-wp-dashboard

You will then be taken to a new page where you will be told what updates you need.

superb-wp-update

Once you are up-to-date, your website should be mobile-friendly.

You can re-check your website using the Google Mobile check:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly

If you still don’t pass, we can install plugins that will fix everything for us.

Generally, updating WordPress should resolve it. But if your website is still not mobile-friendly then your theme is most likely causing the problem. We can perform a work around by installing the following plugins:

And most current theme’s (if not all) are mobile-friendly for WordPress.

Now, if you are using an alternate CMS, you can visit the following links for more help:

You may ask, “What if someone else has built my website?

Website(s) Built By A Web Designer Or Programmer

You’ll need to contact your web designer to see if they are capable of making your existing site mobile-friendly. With that said, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when choosing a web developer for this project:

  1. Make it easy for customers. Show them what they want and make it easy for them to take action.
  2. Design for all devices using responsive design. Tablets, phones, desktops.
  3. Use the same domain, don’t place your mobile site on a sub-domain. This just increases work and confusion.
  4. Ask for references and a portfolio of mobile websites.
  5. Make sure your mobile site loads quickly. 4 seconds or less is the general rule of thumb given to us by Google.

But what if you built the site yourself?

I Built The Website Myself

If you understand HTML coding, congrats! You’ll be able to knock this all out on your own.

The good thing is, Google has a checklist you can go over when designing your website here.

I’ll be back in a day or two and we’ll start doing the fun stuff and I’ll give you a few idea’s so you can organize a plan for Black Friday so your sales don’t evaporate.

Is Your Website Ready for Holiday Traffic?

  • General

superb-blackfriday-bootcamp

Today’s Black Friday Bootcamp Checklist is all about speed.

Slow pages =  lower conversions (lost $$).

Is your website built for speed this shopping season?

If not, it’s OK.

We’ll get your hosting ready with today’s checklist item.

You’ll learn what you can do to welcome traffic surges and prevent high-latency and bottlenecks.

High amounts of traffic can cause the “Shark Tank Effect” resulting in slow downs, bottlenecks and outages… and pages that won’t load.

An Aberdeen Group study showed that a 1 second delay in page load time equals 11% drop in page views and a 7% loss in conversions.

Internet retailers discovered when load time is reduced from 8 seconds to 2 seconds, conversions went up by a staggering 74%.

Outages can occur when your hosting plan has limitations on traffic or processing power.

Luckily, you can easily do a few things to reduce the “load” on your server… ensuring that it will work fast and deliver your web pages, even when your site is busy.

Check #1: Content Delivery Network

The first thing you need to do is setup a Content Delivery Network… or CDN for short.

A CDN is a collection of servers placed in diverse locations around the World. The CDN works by storing images, large files, videos, and audio files.

When a visitor hits your website, the CDN decides which location is closest to the site visitor and then sends the files for download from that location. The closer the server sending the images and data, the faster the end user experience.

Here’s some research on how site speed affects user experience:

  • Conversion rate increases 74% when load time decreases from 8 to 2 seconds (real-user monitoring data from 33 major retailers)
  • Aberdeen Group study showed that a one second delay in page load time equals 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.
  • One marketer got an 8.47% conversion rate improvement by moving his landing page onto a faster host.
  • Shopzilla sped up their site by 5 seconds and increased the conversion rate 7-12%.
  • Shaving 2.2 seconds off Mozilla’s landing pages increased download conversions by 15.4%, which they estimate will result in 60 million more Firefox downloads per year.
  • Amazon reported way back in 2006 that they got 1% revenue increase for every 100ms of improvement.

The faster your website loads, the higher your conversions.

=> Click Here to Try the Superb Internet CDN for FREE

A CDN is easy to use and easy to setup. In fact, you can be up and running in just minutes.

The Superb Internet CDN has 172 Points of Presence in 113 cities across 43 countries. Your content will be delivered fast – no matter where your website visitors are located.

Next up: Check #2: Choosing the right hosting plan.

We’ll dig deeper next week to get you ready for the 2016 holiday shopping season.

Black Friday Bootcamp (Are You Ready?)

  • Marketing and PR

superb-blackfriday-series

For the next two weeks, I will show you how to prepare for Black Friday so you can increase your traffic and conversions.

I’ll also show you how to create an annual marketing plan, enabling you to increase your revenue throughout the year.

We’ll release articles every few days with actionable steps so you aren’t overwhelmed. This will make it quick and easy for you to prepare for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

But first, let’s look at some numbers before we dive into this “Black Friday Bootcamp” series.

Online shoppers spent a record $4.45 BILLION dollars during Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales last year.

And according to IBM statistics, consumers cashed in on Black Friday deals:

The average order value for the mobile and desktop shopper combined for Black Friday 2015 was $127.84, down slightly from 2014($129.37)

That’s a lot of money, and you can grab your chunk of it with the proper preparation.

Interestingly, over one-third of ALL sales transactions were completed using mobile devices. Smartphones accounted for 44.7% of all online traffic, 3 and a half times that of tablets at 12.5%.

In addition, I was surprised to learn 40% of customers begin researching their holiday shopping before Halloween (according to the National Retail Federation).

The NRF expects retail sales in November and December to increase 3.6% (to $655.8 BILLION). Online sales are forecasted to grow between 7 and 10% over 2015, by as much as $117 billion dollars.

The good thing is, you have plenty of time to prepare for the holiday sales season.

My sincere hope is that you implement all that you can to improve your sales process. This alone will ensure more profitability throughout the year.

By the end of this series, you will be prepared and ready to maximize revenue this holiday season and throughout the year.

Here’s your Black Friday Bootcamp Checklist:

  • Get your hosting ready. How to welcome traffic surges and prevent high-latency and bottlenecks
  • How to make it rain – steps to plan and organize sales for Black Friday so your sales don’t evaporate
  • Change their mind and increase your profits – the best methods for reducing abandoned shopping carts
  • Copywriting basics you can use to create stunning and convincing banners and text ads for Black Friday
  • Borrow Amazon’s ‘teaser method’ to create buzz in advance for any marketplace
  • Turning the old to new again – using pixels on your site to bring back old traffic and customers for cheap
  • 5 tweaks to your Facebook page that will boost Black Friday sales immediately
  • This method drove 27% of last year’s holiday sales and it can work for you too
  • Do this now and you’ll turn one-time shoppers into year-round customers
  • Watch your competition closely with this technique to remain ahead of the game
  • Surefire way to create a blazing email campaign for Black Friday that’ll lure anyone

I’m really excited about this new marketing series.

As you can see above, we will cover a lot of topics. Don’t worry though, each lesson on our checklist will be easily actionable… taking only a few minutes out of your day.

The end result will be a streamlined process for boosting sales not just for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but year-round.

Be sure to check tomorrow for the first check to perform so you can be ready for Black Friday.

Source(s):
National Retail Federation: https://nrf.com/sites/default/files/Documents/NRF%202014%20Holiday%20Survival%20Kit%20REV.pdf
https://nrf.com/resources/consumer-data/holiday-headquarters
IBM: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/marketing-solutions/benchmark-reports/black-friday-2015.html

A Crash Course on SSL Certificates – A MUST Read for Every Website Owner

  • General
  • Secured Sockets Layer (SSL)
  • Security

At Superb Internet, we’re always looking out for you. That’s why we want to take the time to give you a crash course on one of the most important elements to keeping your website safe, secured, and compliant – SSL certificates.

Giving You the Lowdown on SSL Certificates

SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and an SSL certificate is a critical component to keeping your website safe, secured, and compliant.

Any ecommerce website must have an SSL certificate to ensure the safe handling of sensitive information, such as a customer’s personal and credit card information. By adding an SSL certificate, you not only protect your business but also increase customer confidence by safely encrypting your customers’ most sensitive data.

For online transactions, an SSL certificate turns sensitive data into encrypted secure code. The web browser then checks the SSL certificate to make sure that the website is legitimate. Once verified, the web browser and server processes the encoded information.

SSL Certificate 1

This helps to ensure that the sensitive data delivered between the web browser and server is handled safely, securely, and that the website is PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant.

Why Picking the Right Certificate Authority (CA) Matters

Picking the right Certificate Authorities (CA) is integral in the entire SSL process because they’re the ones issuing these digital certificates. In essence, digital certificates, such as an SSL, are small verifiable data files containing identity credentials that help authenticate the online identity of people, websites, and devices.

Each digital certificate includes valuable information like the expiration date of the certificate, the owner’s name and other important information, along with a public key – a value provided by some designated authority as an encryption key.

ssl-5

As a trusted entity issuing these digital certificates, the CA must meet strict and detailed criteria before being accepted as a member. Once accepted, the CA is authorized to distribute SSL certificates.

The longer the CA has been operational, the more browsers and devices will trust the certificates issued by the CA. One important thing to note is that for certificates to be transparently trusted, it must have “ubiquity” where it’s capable of being backwards compatible with older browsers, including mobile devices.

Overall, CAs play a vital role in how the Internet operates today by protecting information, encrypting billions of online transactions, and enabling secure communication. Without CAs, the Internet would not be as transparent and trustworthy as it is and online transactions would be more susceptible to hacks, data breaches, and phishing.

Get the Perfect SSL Certificate(s) to Meet Your Needs

Of course, not all SSL certificates are created equal. To ensure that you pick the right SSL certificate(s) for your needs, it’s important to understand the main differences in regard to its validation level:

Server Gated Cryptography (SGC) SSL Certificates

To begin, let’s start with one of the original secured digital certificates – the Server Gated Cryptography (SGC) SSL certificate. SGC SSL certificates were made available from the mid 1990’s as a means to increase the cryptographic strength of the SSL connection from 40, or 56 bits, to 128 bits.

At that time, the goal was to force weakly encrypted browsers to use the stronger 128-bit encryption method for online financial transactions. Of course, times have changed and SGC browsers, such as Netscape, are obsolete. The once reliable, and unbreakable 128-bit encryption, is now susceptible to new vulnerabilities and are unable to support the ongoing revisions of SSL protocols.

Today, the standard SSL encryption is 256-bit and we recommend anyone with an SGC SSL certificate to replace it immediately with one of the other types of SSL certificates below based on their validation level and security requirements.

ssl-4

 

Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificates

Organization Validated (OV) SSL certificates are more trusted because the validation process not only requires for the domain to be authenticated but also additional information and documentation to certify the company’s identity.

The CA must authenticate the company against the business registry databases held by the local government to confirm information, such as the entity’s name, city, state, and country to ensure that it’s a legitimate business. Because of this, the entire process can take anywhere from a few hours, to a few days to complete depending on the CA’s validation process.

OV certificates are considered the standard type of certificate for any commercial website because it contains all the necessary information for company validation. By giving people more visibility into who is actually behind the site when they click on the Secure Site Seal (lock icon) located on the address bar, visitors feel more comfortable sharing their personal information with the site.

Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificates

Domain Validated (DV) SSL certificates are used on public websites and are one of the cheapest certificates to get. The validation process is very simple and is typically performed via email or DNS to confirm that the domain is registered and that someone with admin rights is aware of, and approves, the certificate request.

Since no company information is vetted, the entire process can be complete almost immediately. If the certificate is valid and signed by a trusted authority, the browsers would indicate a successfully secured “Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)” connection in the address bar.

DV certificates are ideal only to those wanting a quick and low cost SSL where organization validation is not a concern. With this in mind, an informed user may acknowledge that DV certificates do provide encryption and security as other certificates but they may still not trust the site with their personal information because no company information has been vetted as part of the validation process.

Extended Validated (EV) SSL Certificates

If you’re looking to go the extra mile in keeping your website(s) safe, secured, and compliant, then Extended Validated (EV) SSL certificates is the perfect solution for you. Unlike the validation process for DV and OV certificates, getting an EV certificate is more difficult because of its strict and stringent authentication procedure that requires domain ownership and additional company documentation, along with other steps and checks. Overall, there are two main phases to the authentication process.

The first phase requires the CA to conduct thorough research to identify the legal entity that controls the website. This is done by verifying the legal, physical, and operational existence of the company. In addition to verifying that the organization’s identity matches official records, the CA must also ensure that the organization has exclusive rights to use the domain specified in the EV certificate and that it has properly authorized the issuance of the EV certificate. Typically, the CA will also obtain an attorney’s legal opinion on the validity of not only the business but also the information provided to obtain the EV certificate.

The second phase assist with enabling encrypted communication of information over the Internet between the website and the user of an Internet browser. By having processes for facilitating the exchange of encryption keys to prevent hacking, phishing and malware, organizations with EV certificates have a vehicle in place to properly address online identity fraud.

Since the validation process for EV certificates are much more in-depth, the entire process can take a few days, to even a few weeks to complete. Plus, CA’s issuing EV certificates must undergo recurring audits to ensure the integrity of the SSL certificate issued.

EV certificates are an ideal solution for businesses that wish to assert the highest levels of authenticity and security. By adhering to the strictest authentication process, any company with an EV certificate is rewarded with a visible “Green Bar” that’s clearly noticeable on any modern browser. This gives visitors and customers the utmost confidence that the site is extremely secured and compliant.

Wildcard (*) SSL Certificates

Wildcard SSL certificates secures your website similar to standard SSL certificates and the requests are processed using the same validation method. These types of SSL certificates are available for most of the validation levels (DV, OV, EV) mentioned above and can help protect an unlimited number of subdomains for a single domain.

One of the key differences is that Wildcard SSL certificates uses “Subject Alternative Names (SANs)” to secure a domain and all of its first-level subdomains. Whereas, a standard SSL certificate will only secure the domain that you bought the SSL certificate for and any subdomains will be left unprotected unless you purchase a Wildcard SSL certificate or additional SSL certificates for each subdomain.

For instance, let’s take www.SSL.com as an example. By purchasing a Wildcard SSL certificate for this domain, all you would have to do is add an asterisk (*) in the subdomain area located left to the common domain name and you can secure an unlimited number of subdomains for *.SSL.com, such as the following:

  • protection.SSL.com
  • safeguard.SSL.com
  • security.SSL.com
  • browsers.SSL.com
  • internet.SSL.com

Overall, Wildcard SSL certificates is a great solution for those with multiple subdomains who want to save time, money, and to make the SSL administration process easier for securing their site. However, the drawback with Wildcard SSL certificates is that each subdomain is not individually protected. So if a certificate is revoked on one subdomain, other subdomains will be compromised and revoked as well.

Always be on the Lookout and Manage Your SSL Certificates

Having an SSL certificate is an essential part in protecting sensitive data in transit. And while SSL certificates provide additional layers of security, it can still be vulnerable and susceptible to attacks. This is where SSL certificate management comes in. You always have to be on the lookout to ensure that the SSL certificates are managed properly.

Proper SSL certificate management requires knowing the status of each certificate across sites, browsers, and networks. Through careful monitoring of these certificates, website owners can prevent major incidents from occurring, such as phishing and data breaches, which can not only be expensive to resolve but also cause long-term damage to your reputation with customers.

Now is the Time to Protect Yourself, Your Business, and Your Customers

Thinking about getting an SSL certificate for your website? Let us help keep your website safe, secured, and compliant. Whether you’re thinking about getting an SSL certificate to encrypt sensitive information, authentication, PCI compliance, to gain your customers trust, or to prevent phishing and data breaches, we have a wide-array of trusted brands to choose from.

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Start now and easily compare SSL certificates from major global CA’s like GeoTrust, Comodo, and Symantec. See our latest line of secured, reliable, and affordable SSL certificates below. Get trusted, be protected, and stay compliant today!

Certificate Authority Certificate Name Validation Level(s) 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year
Comodo EssentialSSL DV $11 $20 $28
GeoTrust RapidSSL DV $18 $26 $38
Comodo InstantSSL OV $39 $79 $99
GeoTrust True Business ID OV $119 $199 $289
Comodo EV SSL EV $179 $359 N/A
GeoTrust True Business ID with EV OV/EV $299 $469 N/A
Comodo EssentialSSL Wildcard DV/WC $179 $289 $399
GeoTrust RapidSSL Wildcard DV/WC $129 $249 $369
Comodo PremiumSSL Wildcard OV/WC $199 $398 $597
GeoTrust True Business ID Wildcard OV/WC $499 $998 $1,497

Recommended Validation Level(s):

Domain Validated (DV) SSL Certificates:

DV certificates are ideal only to those wanting a quick and low cost SSL where organization validation is not a concern.

Organization Validated (OV) SSL Certificates:

OV certificates are the standard type of certificate and contains all the necessary information for company validation.

Extended Validated (EV) SSL Certificates:

EV certificates are an ideal solution for businesses that wish to assert the highest levels of authenticity and security.

Wildcard (WC) SSL Certificates:

WC certificates are a great solution for those with multiple sub-domains who want to save time and money.