So, you own a small business, and by all accounts, you’re doing reasonably well. You’re getting a steady stream of new customers, and your current customers seem to like both the products you sell and the customer service you provide. You’re on a roll, in other words. Then, one morning, all that changes.
You get a call from one of your loyal customers, but he’s not asking about your latest sale or whether your store is open on Sundays. He’s asking about your website. He wants to know why he just pulled it up on Google Chrome and got this message in the URL bar (in big, scary red type, no less): “Not secure.” Making matters worse, that message comes with a warning, one that says he shouldn’t enter any “sensitive information” (like credit card numbers or passwords) on your website. So, what do you do?
Hopefully, the first thing you do is reassure him that you’ll look into the problem. The second thing you need to do is find out why this message is appearing, and how you can make sure it doesn’t appear again in the future.
What Is SSL, and Why Does Your Website Need It?
SSL stands for “secure socket layer.” Having SSL means that your website is protected against potential hackers with a special method of encryption. It’s a way to show your customers you care about the security of their sensitive financial and personal data, and to avoid potentially costly problems down the road.
Here’s how GoDaddy defines SSL:
“[SSL is] a mechanism that works between a user’s browser and the website the user is connecting to. In its software, the website has an SSL certificate issued by a trustworthy authority. Web browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer®, Firefox® and Chrome™) recognize these certificates. When confidential info needs to be exchanged, SSL is used to encrypt the information before it is sent, and then to decrypt it at the other end, when it has been received.”
What Are the Main Benefits of SSL?
Let’s begin with a caveat: SSL isn’t a security panacea. Hackers are smart, and some could find a way around your SSL protection, especially if you don’t take other measures to protect your customer’s sensitive data (for example, implementing a two-factor authentication process). SSL will, however, make your site a lot safer than it is now—and communicate that added level of security to every site visitor. That said, here are 4 important benefits of having SSL for your website:
- You’ll build trust in your business: nothing will destroy trust in your business quicker than the message that it’s not safe for your customers to use. When, on the other hand, customers and prospective customers see that “HTTPS” at the front of your site URL, they’ll know that you cared enough about them and the safety of their personal information to make your site secure. That makes acquiring SSL a sound investment for the future of your business.
- You’ll be more attractive to web browsers: although website browsers don’t currently require websites to have SSL, most are moving closer to that position. Google Chrome, as noted above, now marks any sites that don’t have SSL with that off-putting “not secure” warning, and other browsers are rapidly moving in the same direction. Said differently, the writing is on the wall. It’s only a matter of time before all browsers will either require SSL, or substantially penalize sites that don’t have it.
- You’ll boost online sales: why would a prospective customer for your online store risk his credit card or other sensitive information on an unsecured website? Think about this: according to Shopify, customer concerns about site security are one of the top 4 reasons online shoppers abandon shopping carts. Not have SSL means you’ll be turning off a substantial portion of potential buyers, driving down sales and hurting your-long term profits.
- You’ll rank higher in organic searches: research shows that sites with SSL do better in organic searches than those without it. According to Web Ascender, for example, Google rewards sites that have SSL with higher search engine rankings. It’s important to do everything possible to enhance your site’s search engine optimization (SEO)—having SSL is one smart way to do that.
You’ve worked hard to build your business and gain your customers’ loyalty and trust. Why would you do anything which could negatively impact all that hard work? Said differently, when it comes to the relationship you have with your customers and the viability of your business, why would you take chances? Ensuring you have SSL on your site will reassure your customers that you care about their business and substantially enhance the odds that your business will continue to thrive and grow.
All BrandCo hosting accounts are eligible for a FREE SSL. Please contact your account manager today about getting your website secure with SSL.