Be safe, and don’t scare visitors away

Secure Website

Does your website have an SSL Certificate? Although this isn’t a new requirement, a lot of people are still completely unaware of the importance of it.

It’s very important to have now. If you don’t have one, your website visitors will see an alert about the site being insecure. Both Chrome and Firefox browsers alert you when you are on a non-secure web page which may collect some form of personal information.

This will make some visitors weary about using your website – and even make some people run away fast!

Also, (not to scare you to death, but it’s a possibility) not having an SSL Certificate leaves your website vulnerable to hackers. For example: malicious software being hacked into your site, so that Google closes access to the site (without warning to you) and puts a nasty ‘danger/unsecure’ message in place of your website if someone visits. This can be difficult and expensive to have fixed.

Just because a site lacks an SSL Certificate doesn’t mean it is a bad site, but it can, understandably, cause people to pause before inputting any personal information into your site.

Some people aren’t aware that a lack of an SSL Certificate isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and are scared away from even browsing a site if they see the alert in their browser…

How to check if your website is secure or not

A website is secure when the browser address bar shows a padlock icon/image.

Another way to check if a website is secure is to see if the website URL (address in the address bar) starts with https rather than http.

The ‘s’ at the end of https stands for Secure. This means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

What is SSL and HTTPS, and what makes them secure?

SSL stands for “secure sockets layer” and is a form of security for sites that handle sensitive information such as visitors’ personal information and credit card numbers. It creates a secure connection between a visitor’s web browser and the server/host of the business they’re interacting with.

HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. Using HTTPS, the computers agree on a “code” between them, and then they scramble the messages using that “code” so that no one in between can read them. This keeps your information safe from hackers.

The benefits of a secure website

  • It increases the credibility and trust of a website and your business.
  • It makes your site safe from hackers and malware attacks.
  • It protects your visitors’ information.
  • Google ranks secured sites higher in search results compared to an unsecured site.

How to make your site secure with an SSL Certificate

The first step is to purchase and install an SSL certificate on the hosting server. Your website hosting provider can help.

After you’ve completed the verification process and installation of the SSL on the server, you then need to update your website’s code to use HTTPS. That includes updating all pages to use HTTPS by default, generally by using a 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS. You’ll also need to comb each page for any links to other pages on your site and update those links to HTTPS.

Next, you’ll need to update the settings in any content management system, such as WordPress. Then, you’ll need to review any add-ons, plugins, or other third-party services for compatibility issues and ensure they all work properly.

Finally, you’ll need to update your information in your Google Analytics profile to ensure you are properly tracking the website visitors.

In this day and age, every website should have an SSL certificate. With people more concerned about security and privacy than ever before, you can’t afford to not have an SSL certificate.

Get a boost in Google rankings

Typically used to encrypt data on websites that handle personal information and credit card information, recently Google listed having an SSL Certificate on your website as a positive search signal (meaning sites that have an SSL Certificate can perform better in rankings) and will now receive a boost in rankings as a direct result.

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