Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, refers to the security technology that creates an encrypted link between a website’s server and your browser. This encryption is what keeps information passed between the server and browser private, reducing the risk of it being stolen by other parties. Websites that are utilizing this technology have a URL that starts with HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Security), where nonsecure sites begin with HTTP.
When you don’t have a secure site, the information being sent across the internet can be seen by other computers as it passes from your browser to the server. And because these sites are significantly easier to steal private information from, they become a target for cyber criminals.
We’re constantly hearing about data breaches and other cyber attacks in the news, and it’s even happening to companies with security measures in place. If you expect customer to enter their personal information on a website, you owe it to them to do everything you can to help keep that information secure.
SSL Helps Establish Trust by Keeping User Information Secure
Establishing trust is one of the primary things that keeps visitors coming back to your site. They not only feel more comfortable visiting your site, but having an SSL also shows that you care about site visitors and their privacy. SSL offers three levels of security by encrypting user information, preventing files from being corrupted and building trust through authentication.
When someone visits a secure site, they see a small, green padlock in the left of the URL bar and the word “Secure” to indicate that the website is protected through encryption and authentication. This lets users know that their information is safe and helps them feel more confident about using your site, especially if they plan to enter their credit card number or checking account information.
Having a secure site is a top priority for anyone who sells products and collects credit card information on their website and at minimum, the following pages on your website should be secure:
- Pages where you collect credit card information, including checkout pages and donation pages
- Contact forms or other pages where visitors are required to enter personal information
Site Security Warnings Can Impact Site Traffic
In July of this year, Google started flagging unsecure pages by placing the words “Not Secure” in the URL bar. This serves as a warning to potential visitors that any personal information they enter on the site could be stolen and can increase the risk of people leaving your website.
Put yourself in the shoes of your site visitors: they visit your site, find exactly what they need, then head to the shopping cart for checkout. As they prepare to enter their credit card information, they suddenly notice the words “Not Secure” in the URL bar and when they click on it, see a warning telling them not to enter any sensitive data.
Instead of finalizing the purchase, they leave your website to do their shopping on a secure site. Not only have you lost that sale, you’ve also frustrated someone who spent valuable time on your site, only to have to start all over again somewhere else. This can impact your conversion rates and may even prevent people from referring others to your website.
Having a Secure Site is Important for SEO
Having an unsecure website not only results in lost conversions but has an impact on the way your site performs in search engine rankings. Google has been using HTTPS as a ranking factor since 2014 and if you look at the top-ranking results next time you do a search, you’ll notice that most, if not all, are secure websites.
HTTPS sites can also have faster download times, which is another factor in how your site ranks with Google. Higher rankings lead to more site traffic, which can potentially increase conversions and build your customer base. Implementing an SSL certificate on your company website might not seem like a big deal, but it’s extremely important if you want to increase visibility and provide a safer experience for current and potential customers.
To recap, here are the reasons why you should have a secure website for your business:
- Establish trust with site visitors
- Protect site visitors from having their private information stolen
- Reduce the risk of lost conversions
- Increase the page load speed for your website
- Improve your Google search ranking
Read How Website Design Affects UX and Content Marketing to learn about other ways to improve your site for search rankings and user experience.
Contact us to learn more about our industrial web design and B2B web design services, including converting your site from HTTP to HTTPS.