Adding SSL

Traffic Experiment: Adding SSL and Increasing Content

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

One of the easiest ways to boost traffic to any website is by adding SSL to it. This means getting a certificate to verify that your site is secure. As so many jump on the HTTPS bandwagon, how much of an impact does adding the SSL really make?

For the longest time, Google has been pushing site owners to secure their domains. In fact, having HTTPS as a prefix to a domain name became a ranking signal in 2014. This means your sites appear higher in results if you have the SSL certificate attached.

And now with Chrome offering more info to human visitors in the form of security alerts in the address bar, HTTPS is even more of an important factor.

But how does this truly impact a small blog in today’s world?

Let’s run a small experiment, shall we?[adrotate banner=”8″]

An Experiment to Boost Site Traffic

The traffic of this website has been somewhat stagnant over the past six months. Of course, a lot of that has to do with a lack luster performance for creating content. Still, I am somewhat surprised that some of my articles don’t do as well.

After all, my gaming and health blogs are starting to flourish quite nicely.

So, why does this one have so many problems gaining traffic? Is it the content? The industry? Am I not as helpful as I thought I was?

I am thinking it’s a mixture of all these. But the major component that stands out the most is the lack of having SSL attached to the site.

In this experiment, I am going to focus on two aspects throughout the rest of the year: security and content.

Adding SSL

As of today, I added the SSL certificate and changed all of my tracking settings for HTTPS. It’s a bit of a process if you have several consoles, but worth the time to change everything over.

When I added the SSL to my health and fitness blog, the traffic nearly doubled. Since the primary method of revenue on that site is advertising, this meant my income pretty much doubled as well.

Even the new gaming blog experienced an increase in readers since adding security to the site.

The increase in traffic is due to the visibility and organic traffic I have from sites like Google. Essentially, it put me ahead of the competition.

With any luck, will have the same results…or at least a bit better than how it’s performing today.

Quite literally, the monthly traffic of this site has plateaued since February.

Increasing Monthly Content

Another aspect of increasing traffic is increasing content. Take July, for instance. I wrote two articles throughout that entire month.

That’s not exactly conducive to gaining traffic.

During this experiment, I am going to attempt to maintain a specific writing schedule. This means a new post every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the very least. This should at least double my average of seven articles per month.

But it takes more than just writing articles to attract readers. You also have to deliver content people will want to read.

And I think that’s where I fall a bit short on this site. The two that are doing really well are full of reviews, scientific studies and how-tos. I need to bring a bit of that over to this site and focus more on what it was designed for in the first place…

Helping others become freelance writers and bloggers.

Unfortunately for me, this means going through and fixing the entire database of content and organizing better. But that’s OK. I don’t mind as long as it contributes to improving the site.[template id=”2087″]

Adding SSL is Good Regardless

Look at the top results of any Google search today. Nearly every website is secured with SSL. So yes, Google does put a higher priority on HTTPS. This alone is worth the trouble of installing an SSL certificate on your site.

And it doesn’t just stop at search engines either. People are more likely to trust content coming from a secured site as well. In other words, you’ll improve your reputation among humans and search bots by adding SSL to the site.

But SSLs Cost $40 Per Month…

Some people avoid purchasing the SSL because it’s an extra cost. For example, it’s a $40 certificate if you go through most web hosting companies.

But like I said, my revenue doubled since adding the SSL. The site buys its own SSL certificate nowadays.

What about those who operate a simple small blog? Perhaps you don’t have the extra money to outright buy your certificate. In that case, you look at free alternatives such as Let’s Encrypt.

Using Let’s Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt is a wildcard SSL you can use to promote security on your site. Without spending a single dime, you can add the illustrious HTTPS to the front of your domain name.

There are two big drawbacks to using wildcard certificates, though:

  1. The wildcard covers the entire server. If one domain is compromised, they all become compromised. This can be exceptionally problematic in an open environment.
  2. Not all mobile devices recognize wildcard certs. This could diminish your site’s reputation if the majority of your users are on smartphones or tablets.

Let’s Encrypt isn’t the only wildcard server out there, but it’s currently one of the favorites among many web hosting companies.

For example, Hostgator recently added it to their servers. Which means anyone using a Linux server on Hostgator automatically has access to the SSL certificate. If you’re using WordPress, all you need to do is install Really Simple SSL and activate it.

The system will do the rest.

Keeping Data Secure

Adding SSL to your site is beneficial to drive traffic and engage the audience. It’s all about keeping data secure and a user’s information private. If you don’t have the money for an SSL, consider the free alternatives.

It’s better than wondering why your site isn’t getting visitors.

Or at least, that’s what I hope to prove in a couple of months.[template id=”2089″]

Michael Brockbank
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