This is the second article in the digital guide series: Website Development for Artists: A Simple & Relatable Guide to the Basics of Websites. a guide designed for the artist who is ready to bring their presence to the web.

When I meet an artist with a website, it conveys three things: I want to be taken seriously as a professional, I have a vision of reaching the world through my art and I have a business mindset. Despite the benefits of having a web presence, I have found that many artists are hesitant to make a website. I can assure you that the process is not as complicated as it seems. You can make a beautiful website at a low cost. I’ll show you how.

Once you have purchased a domain and hosting, it is almost time for the fun to begin. Before you begin developing your awesome website let’s make sure that your personal information, your website visitors information and your precious website content is safe out there. There are different ways that your information and your website can stay safe.

In this article, the second in this series, I will discuss two important ways to keep information on and connected to your website secure: privacy and SSL.

For the first article, Step 1. Domain & Hosting click here.

PRIVACY

Do you want people to know who owns your website? Privacy protection will keep your information private, reduce spam and keep your name out of the “internet Yellow Pages”.

First, let’s protect your personal information.  When you register a domain, the information that used submitted to the registrar to make the purchase becomes public information. This public information gives anyone the opportunity to email, call or mail you, using the information you have provided. Thus, when you purchase a domain, registrar’s offer you the option of purchasing privacy.

WHOIS.com

When I was little there was a book called the Yellow Pages. I don’t know if it still exists but you could actually look up the information of people and businesses all registered in this one large book. In the same way, once you register your website, your personal information will be available on the internet for anyone to look up on whois.com.

When you purchase privacy for your website, your registrar won’t make your information available to the public. If you search for the owners of elevatetheartist.com on whois.com you will see the page and information below. By purchasing privacy I have taken the first step to keep my personal information secure.

PRIVACY SOLUTIONS

Protect your personal information.

If you wish to keep this content separate you can purchase privacy. Using this link, you can get 30% off your privacy at GoDaddy.com.

SSL CERTIFICATE

Protect your information and keep your visitor’s secure when they visit your website.

In the first article, Step 1. Domain & Hosting, I discussed domain names. I told you that your domain name is like your street address. You researched your options and purchased a domain name. Your domain name will be accessed on the internet by its complete URL. 

A url is the address of a resource (such as a document or website) on the Internet that consists of a communications protocol followed by the name or address of a computer on the network and that often includes additional locating information.

HTTP vs. HTTPS:

What kind of street?

The only reason I mention this is because your website visitors will be checking out the full URL of your website to determine whether or not their information is safe on your website.

HTTP

HTTP means HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.

HTTPS

HTTPS means Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. Basically, it is the secure version of HTTP. Communications between the browser and website are encrypted by Transport Layer Security (TLS), or its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer . If you click on the green lock located next to elevatetheartist.com you will see the following text: “Your information (for example, passwords or credit card numbers) is private when it is sent to this site.”

If you want to allow your customers to make purchases then you will need to purchase an Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. This will allow you to securely accept payments and your display URL will have the prefix: HTTPS.

So, going back to the home analogy, if you invited guests to visit your home and they wanted to leave their belongings containing their personal information in the guestroom purchasing an SSL would be like purchasing a lock to keep all their data safe.

HOW TO GET YOUR SSL

If I purchase an SSL Certificate for a client, I personally use GoDaddy.com. With respect to SSL certificates, I find that GoDaddy’s SSL Certificates are reliable, user friendly and secure. Using this link you can purchase an SSL Certificate for only $69.99*/yr.

Some hosting providers like InMotion Hosting, which I personally use for more than 50% of my website development work, include an SSL certificate in the cost of their hosting plans. If you are building a business or product based website rather than a personal artist website, then I highly recommend InMotion Hosting for your business needs. I have been using InMotion since I started my first business and they have consistently provided the best customer service of any online retailer I have ever given my business. (A review of InMotion is coming soon.) InMotion offers the best customer service of any hosting provider I have ever worked with and they have access to a wide array of resources that you won’t find in other shared hosting plans.

CONCLUSION

Once you set up privacy and SSL, you have laid the foundation for your storefront on the web. Next up in this series is content management. See you there.

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