If your company’s website doesn’t have a working SSL Certificate in place, it might be doing more harm than good.
SSL certificates help you gain customers, by making visitors feel safe when they visit your website. They’re more likely to trust you and, consequently, to do business with you. And thanks to Google, SSL certificates also have a huge impact on how high your site ranks in web searches.
You can easily tell whether a site has a valid SSL certificate. The address starts with “https” (rather than “http”). That’s what determines whether a padlock appears in the address bar before the address itself. This might not seem all that important. But that little padlock can spell the difference between landing a new customer, and losing them to your competitors.
Appearances matter. Safety even more.
Cybersecurity has become an increasingly important topic in recent months, as more of your potential customers work from home due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak. More business has moved online than ever before.
In this environment, what’s the greatest challenge companies face in attracting new customers? Safety. Ever discover that someone used your credit card number for purchases you didn’t authorize? Stolen credit card data and identity theft are still top-of-mind concerns. We’ve all become more suspicious when someone asks for personal data online. Is it any wonder that over the years the average user’s trust in internet security has decreased rather than increased?
Frankly, if your web site doesn’t have a functioning SSL certificate, it sends the message that a visit to your website just isn’t worth the risk.
Give a green light for surfing your site
Which web browser do you use? Hands down, Google Chrome has quickly become the most popular browser in the world:
Why does this matter? Because Chrome actively warns users when they visit any site that’s missing an SSL certificate. Most people—and I’m one of them—click away from a site that’s identified as unsafe. I’ll bet your prospective customers do, too. Appearances matter.
But are SSL certificates really worth the hassle and extra effort? After all, you and I both know that there’s no dangerous content on your site. You’re not trying to cheat or defraud anyone. But visitors don’t know that. Prospective buyers won’t stick around long enough to learn about your great products and services—unless your site has a working SSL cert in place.
How SSL protects visitor data
Remember back in grade school when you tried passing notes to your friend without getting caught by the teacher? Ever get caught, and then embarrassed by what you had written? What if you and your friend had used a secret code, so that even if someone did intercept your message, nobody could understand it? That’s the premise behind SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
When users press the Submit button on a site, any data they’ve entered passes through several computers before reaching its destination. You want to guarantee that the journey to and from your website is safe, no matter what. An SSL certificate makes this possible.
How does it do this? SSL uses a set of encryption keys—one on the web server, the other on your browser (the server sends a key to your browser when the first page loads).
Just as a safety deposit box requires two keys, so also with SSL traffic: both keys are required. Unless an eavesdropper has both encryption keys, they can’t access your valuable information. This makes sure that data encryption will shield the path between your computer and the website. So all messages exchanged with the server are secure. No one else can read them—not even those who are bent on stealing your data.
With a working SSL certificate in place, your web browser encrypts the data so that only the server can read it. This is especially important if your website collects personal data from your visitors, such as:
- e-mail addresses
- personal information
- payment details
- survey data
Thanks to SSL certificates, users can rest assured when visiting your website, submitting confidential information, answering personal questions and ultimately, buying your products and services.
SSL certificates are good for Search Engine Optimization
Taking care of your visitors’ data security will help your search engine ranking too. Google has taken a clear position about SSL certificates, advocating their wide scale adoption already back in 2017.
Today, Google assigns a higher SEO ranking to websites that have a SSL certificate. All things being equal, between two competing websites, the one with an SSL certificate will rank higher in web searches. Sites without an SSL cert won’t appear anywhere near the top of the search results.
Not all certificates are the same
Different websites need different certificates. For most sites, a standard SSL certificate will be enough. But if you have an enterprise-level site, or if your company operates in a regulated industry (finance, for example), check with someone who knows the difference. Since there are different types of SSL certificates, their cost may vary considerably.
There are different types of SSL certificates because each must meet specific requirements and has different authentication processes. Companies that issue them must go through a lengthy and complicated vetting process by a Certification Authority (CA). This vigilance extends all the way down to your web developer. Before your company can receive an SSL certificate, you (or your programmer) must verify your identity, and be able to prove that you really are who you say you are.
If you want to be sure of the type of certification that best suits your business, contact us. We’ll cover what you need to know and suggest the best solutions for you.
To sum it up
Here are just some of the benefits of installing an SSL certificate on your company website:
- No loss of visitors: users won’t click away when their browsers display frightening messages about the trustworthiness of your website
- Data encryption: visitor data is transferred securely
- Identity verification: no risk of phishing
- Higher SEO results.
- Keep up with the times: like the milk in your refrigerator, SSL certs expire. Keeping a certificate current demonstrates that your site hasn’t been neglected.
- Customer confidence: if visitors know they are safe, they are more likely to do business with you.
Running a successful business is challenging enough already. Don’t make things even more difficult by leaving the impression that your site is “unsafe”. An SSL certificate will go a long way toward instilling confidence that your company is one of the good ones.