Hacking. Identity theft. Let’s face it… These words are enough to make even the most active of online shoppers close their browsers and power down! If you’re an online business owner, or even a blogger, the last thing you want is visitors who are afraid to submit information on your website.
Visitors want to feel secure when they submit payment information or even contact information on a site. And as a website owner, it’s important for you to protect them. This is the primary reason Google is now requiring every website to update their “secure sockets layer” (or SSL certificate) and switch to a hyper text transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) connection. If this sounds confusing, don’t worry. Below you’ll find everything you need to know!
What is an SSL Certificate?
The truth is that there’s a lot of bad stuff floating out there on the web. An SSL certificate protects your visitors from it. How? Well, an SSL certificate is basically a data file from a trusted provider. It encrypts all of the information used and provided on your website, so that everything being exchanged between your visitors’ web browsers and your website’s server is secured. An SSL certificate also authenticates your website’s identity. When visitors see the little padlock icon on your site, they’ll feel peace of mind to browse, shop and share information. It’s a win-win for both site owners and visitors!
What are the advantages of having an SSL certificate?
Now that you understand a bit more about what an SSL certificate is, you’re probably wondering how important it is for your business. Does your website need an SSL certificate? After all, it’s a small site and does anyone really want to hack it? Is it worth it for you to go through the hassle of updating your website from HTTP to HTTPS?
The answer to all of these questions is yes.
Let’s just say you’re a realtor and you have a website. You’re spending tons of time lately promoting it through your social media accounts and through email marketing. You’ve also invested some money to try Facebook ads and Google AdWords. You’re doing everything you can drum up business, and it’s paying off because you see more traffic coming to your website. But once your visitors get there, they’re finding that your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate. Depending on what browser they’re using, they’ll either see an icon in the search bar telling them that the site isn’t secure or an actual warning that your website is ‘Not Secure’.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that your website is bad or fraudulent, your visitors won’t know that. At this point, they can do one of two things. They can choose to proceed to browsing your site and possibly be at risk, or they can look elsewhere for what they need. Even if they do end up proceeding, they’ll most likely think twice before providing their personal information. This is especially true when a visitor must do transactions directly on your website. An SSL certificate will encrypt the credit card data or payment information that visitors provide before forwarding it to the credit card processor. Think of an SSL certificate as a guarantee to your visitors that their financial information will not be utilized by those who don’t have access to it.
What about blogs and non-commerce sites?
There’s often a misconception that only e-commerce websites need SSL certificates. However, it’s not only financial information that gets stolen online. Personal information like names, home addresses, email addresses and phone numbers can also be stolen and used by identity thieves.
If your site has a contact form, login form, or any type of form that will require visitors to provide their personal information, it should be encrypted as well. This is an important measure you can take to help visitors avoid identity theft, which is sadly a common occurrence on the internet.
When it comes to your website, make sure that you protect your visitors and your investment. You’ll be thankful you did, and your visitors will thank you as well!
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