By Lynn Lochlynn, Brighter Vision Content Marketing Strategist
As humans, it can be hard to motivate ourselves to prepare for disaster when it’s not staring us straight in the face. Insurance salesmen get a lot less convincing when we’re healthy, happy, and doing well.
Website security is no exception. Maybe it sounds tedious to think about getting an SSL certificate for your website, or maybe you simply can’t imagine your site being the target of data theft. Unfortunately if you haven’t secured your website, you’re at more of a disadvantage than ever.
In early 2018, Google announced that they’re going to start marking sites without SSL certificates with a “Not Secure” warning, increasing the already growing divide between how secure sites with an SSL certificate and unsecured ones are presented.¹
Nowadays the difference between “not secure” and “secure” and can be the difference between online failure and success.
What is a “secure website”?
A secure website is equipped with an SSL (“secure sockets layer”) certificate. Whether or not a site is secure is typically indicated to the visitor in the beginning of the URL – sites with an SSL certificate begin with “https,” not just “http.”²
When a visitor submits their information to your website, it has to “travel” a path through multiple computers before it reaches you. While it’s traveling, information is easier to intercept and steal, but an SSL certificate helps prevent this.²
An SSL certificate encodes the data traveling between you and your website visitor until it safely reaches its destination.³ So if anyone intercepts that data before it’s finished traveling, the thief can’t understand or use that encrypted data.
In other words, a secure website shields data being passed between the website visitor and the website host so that it can’t be stolen.
Why do you need a secure website?
Protect yourself and your customers
While it may surprise you to learn that this isn’t the only reason that you need a secure website, it’s still the most important.
Safeguarding your website information is essential to avoid a scandal and widespread customer outrage due to a data breach. Data breaches may be known as public relations nightmares for businesses, but they can also seriously ruin a customer’s life if the information stolen is particularly sensitive, like credit card and social security numbers.
Protecting the data going to and from your website also means protecting valuable business assets and confidential communications that you would not want your competition to have, let alone villainous data thieves.
Take credit card payments
If you are the type of business that plans on taking credit card payments through your website, you will be required to have a secure site.² So unless you plan on asking your customers to start mailing in checks or loose cash, acquiring an SSL certificate should be an immediate priority for you.
Avoid the dreaded “not secure” label
Like we mentioned previously, Google began placing “Not Secure” warning labels before the URL of unsecured sites in 2018 to warn visiting users.⁴ This is a significant change from the previous mild grey icon that required the user to hover over it with their mouse to read that the site they’re on was not secured.
However, it gets even more difficult for unsecured websites. When a visitor on a “Not Secure” website begins to enter personal information into the site like an email address – the kind of information that SSL certificates are designed to protect – the warning next to the site’s URL turns an angry red while the exclamation mark icon becomes more bolded.⁴
I’m sure you can imagine how seeing that sort of official security warning would make you feel if you were a customer inputting your personal information into an unsecured website. If right now you’re thinking that you don’t know if you’d continue to hand over your information, you’re not alone: 84% of users said they would abandon an online purchase if they became aware that the data was being sent over an unsecured connection.¹
Even if you don’t sell products or services directly through your website, it’s easy to see how that sort of trepidation could affect any site that asks for personal information such as an email address. People are being more careful than ever about how they hand out their personal information, so if you want to keep their business, you need to put their minds at ease.
Why do you want a secure website?
We’ve already discussed the pressing reasons that you need an SSL certificate to secure your website, but you should know there’s also a carrot to go along with those sticks. Many sites have yet to transfer to a secure connection, meaning that those who are jumping on the security bandwagon earlier are reaping the benefits of being one step ahead.
Everybody and their mother are always looking for a way to get a leg up when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). The fantastic news is that getting a little extra consideration from Google’s ranking algorithm can be as easy as having an SSL certificate.³
We’ve already seen evidence that Google prefers secure websites. Even though only about 1% of all websites are secure, 40% of Google’s page one organic search results are secure sites.¹ Securing your site with an SSL certificate can help to improve your Google ranking and website traffic over time, more than paying back your investment.
Here’s some more good news
All Brighter Vision customers already receive a free SSL certificate with every website. Sign up with this top website design company for healthcare professionals, and as long as you remain a customer, your site will be secured with an SSL certificate for free.
To learn more about Brighter Vision and getting your own beautiful, secure website, reach out to us here!
1. “Is HTTPS Good for SEO?” Blue Corona, 27 Mar 2018, https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/https-and-seo
2. “Website Security Is a Must for 2018 | SSL Certificate” Cloud9 Marketing, 24 May 2018, https://cloud9marketing.ca/blog/ssl-certificates-are-simply-a-must-for-2018/
3. “Why Is SSL Important for SEO in 2018?” Saba SEO, 23 Mar 2018, https://www.sabaseo.com/can-ssl-certificates-impact-seo/
4. Schechter, Emily. “A Milestone for Chrome Security: Marking HTTP as ‘Not Secure.’” Google, Google, 24 Jul 2018, https://www.blog.google/products/chrome/milestone-chrome-security-marking-http-not-secure/