The Importance of HTTPS:// for Your Author Website
Sometimes an author is successful enough that they don’t have to worry much about people finding them in search results and discovering their work, but more often than not, authors, especially new authors, are fighting to be seen, heard, and discovered in a sea of other authors and books. Much of your new audience will discover you via your marketing efforts, either on Amazon or social media, or by working with a publicist. But you also want to make sure your author website is as optimized as possible so that people can also easily find you through search (ie: SEO), and not only for your author name, but also your book title, and the types of books you write.
You don’t want to leave any potential fans behind — who knows if they’ll be the next person to tell all their friends about this great new book they just read! So I get discouraged when I see author websites that aren’t set up with an SSL certificate. This is what adds the “s” to “https://” in your website’s URL. That distinguishes your website as “secure” in a browser. It used to be that this was mostly only important if your site was transactional — meaning you have e-commerce enabled, or are gathering information from people and storing it in a database, etc.. But back in 2014 Google started factoring it into their search results ranking. And in 2018 the Chrome browser started showing sites that didn’t use SSL as “not secure.”
So not only is your website’s credibility at risk, but how easily you rank for searches related to your work as an author also at risk.
It’s an easy change to make through your web hosting company. Often, these days, it comes packaged for free with your hosting plan, but if it doesn’t you can purchase it separately. Then it’s just a matter of enabling it on your site, and that’s handled either automatically by your web host, or by using a WordPress plugin (if your site is built in WordPress).
Eventually, it won’t be possible to even have a “not secure” website, but we’re still at the point where it’s an option for your site. There’s a movement to standardize the whole internet on the more secure protocol, but it’s impossible to know when/if that will be successful. In the meantime, you don’t want to lose out on potential search traffic to your author website because of this simple option. If you work with a website designer on your site, ask them about enabling it for you. If you work on your site yourself, look into how you can add it to your site. Don’t be among the people left behind as “not secure!”
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