Do I really need an SSL for my website is a common question posed to digital marketers and web developers alike. SSL certificates and Https vs. Http can be confusing to business owners without a dedicated marketing or IT department, so in this article, we’ll attempt to shed light on what SSL certificates are, why you need one, and the easiest, pain-free manner of obtaining an SSL certificate for your website.
What is an SSL?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and is essentially a technology that safeguards communications between the web server your website resides on and your customers’ browsers. We don’t have to get into the technical aspects here, but the key takeaway is that SSL Certificates, tell your customer that all your business/personal data has been verified and that your website is encrypted. Obtaining an SSL for your website protects your customer data from being pilfered by internet thieves. SSL certificates work by making a browser on a computer and the server displaying a website “shake hands” to ensure they both know exactly who they are dealing with before proceeding. If you’ve never noticed, try visiting some of your favorite websites and look to the left of the URL. If the site has an SSL certificate, you’ll see a padlock by the company URL. You can also tell by the first 3-4 letters in the URL HTTP is not secured and HTTPS is secured (the s on the end of https stands for secure).
Why Do I Need an SSL for My Website?
There are several advantages to obtaining an SSL for your website, with the main being that your website’s search engine rankings could be hurt by not having an SSL. Google updates their search algorithms often and one of the latest changes is that higher weight is now given for secure sites that begin with https. If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate, it could be affecting your ability to obtain organic traffic via Google. This point should be especially important to those website owners who have spent time and money on enhancing their site’s SEO (search engine optimization).
Because hackers can easily find and read traffic flowing between a customer’s browser and website’s server, any business that sells anything online should have an SSL Certificate. This will safeguard your customer’s personal and credit card/debit card information when they make purchases on your e-commerce website.
Generally speaking, anyone who wants to increase new and returning traffic to their websites, sell online, protect customer data, and/or inspire trust from visitors, needs to have an SSL certificate. Google has already started penalizing websites without the extra layer of security.
How Can I Set Up an SSL for My Website?
In order to set up an SSL on your website you need to obtain an SSL certificate, activate and install the SSL Certificate in your website, and finally, switch your URL from HTTP to https . SSL certificates come at an additional cost, which can range from a few dollars to several hundred. Vendors who sell SSL certificates are known as Certificate Authorities (CAs) and include all the major domain name registrars such as GoDaddy and HostGator. Most hosting companies also include SSL purchase and installation among their services. The cost and complexity of setting up an SSL for your website is directly relational to how much security you need and extras such as, level of support, languages, audits, and warranties.
The technical complexity of establishing an SSL certificate on a website you own lies somewhere in the intermediate to complicated range. For small business owners without a dedicated IT or marketing department, the easiest and often the cheapest SSL solution is to have your hosting company handle the process. If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate yet, contact Smarketing LLC to discuss how to secure your website and ensure your rankings don’t fall due to recent Google changes.