Up until recently, unless your company operated an e-commerce website, it wasn’t necessary for you to upgrade your site with an SSL certificate. It was thought that only sites dealing with monetary transactions required the HTTPS. All others were spared the investment – up until now that is.
Times they are a changing (or have already changed), and it’s a wise idea for all businesses to secure their websites with HTTPS whether you are a large conglomerate promoting B2B software services or a small mom and pop shop featuring little more than a contact us or lead form on your website.
What is HTTPS?
Ever look at the web address bar and see either an “http” or “https” preceding the address? If you see “https”, then the website is secure. This type of website has had an SSL certificate, or Secure Sockets Layer, installed. This means that the data you send or receive from the website is encrypted. In other words, it keeps your information private and safe. In Chrome, you should also see a green padlock, along with the word “secure”, in the address bar next to your web address.
If you use a website with a URL that begins with “http”, then that website is not secure. There is no encryption used. In years past, it was only ever necessary to secure a website if it was an e-commerce site and users needed to enter their credit card information. But now, with data privacy concerns, even a “Contact Us” form can be placed at-risk. It is recommended that you move your website over to HTTPS.
While that reasoning alone is enough to secure a site, here are the top 6 reasons why you should upgrade your website to HTTPS:
Top 6 Reasons to Upgrade Your Website to HTTPS:
Google is Going to Flag You in Chrome
Starting in 2018, Google is going to flag your website as unsecure within the Chrome browser if it doesn’t have an SSL certificate. They will do this by displaying text that says “Not Secure” in the URL bar to the left of your web address. It will say that “your connection to this site is not secure, and that you should not enter any sensitive information on this site (for example, passwords or credit cards) because it could be stolen by attackers.”
So which types of websites need to worry about being flagged in Chrome? Google and Chrome will not discriminate. No matter what type of business or industry you are in, if you are gathering user information on the site, you will be flagged. For example, if your website is on HTTP and requires any text to be input into any fields, like logins, contact forms, or search bars, then you will be flagged within Chrome.
Encryption of Sensitive Information
Are HTTPS sites safe? As we touched on above, one of the biggest reasons HTTPS is so crucial is that it encrypts sensitive information. This includes credit card information, usernames, passwords, and other personally identifiable information (PII). If a cybercriminal were to get between you and the server you are sending your information, they would have access to it, unencrypted. In other words, nothing written would be private or protected.
Protection from Cyber-Attacks
Data breaches are on the rise. Year after year, we have a record number of cyber-attacks. An SSL certificate will offer you protection from these cyber criminals. Don’t make it easy for them to steal your customers’ data. Or worse, use your website to attack other websites. In addition to protecting from cybercriminals, HTTPS also protects the integrity of your website and gives you the ability to prevent tampering. This includes legitimate but intrusive companies that want to inject scripts, images, or ad content onto the page so that it looks like you put it there. HTTPS prevents all of this.
Maintain Lead Generation
Google Chrome’s “not secure” warning will appear on unsecure business websites whose main function is to acquire leads for new customers. This includes filling out a “Contact Us” form or search field. If you depend on your website to generate new leads or conversions, you better get upgraded to an SSL certificate before it impacts your bottom line. You don’t want potential customers to abandon filling out a contact form due to the uneasiness that they feel from “not secure” warnings in their browser.
Improve Search Engine Rankings
Google has acknowledged that HTTPS is a ranking factor in their search algorithm. There’s no indication just how big of a role this plays in the algorithm. But, it could very well increase in importance soon. With the recent change to the way that unsecure websites appear in Google Chrome’s browser, you can see that the security of websites has an increased importance in their eyes. HTTPS, at the very least, can serve as a tiebreaker between two websites offering similar pieces of content or information.
Build Trust & Brand Perception
With HTTPS and an SSL certificate, your users will see visuals like the padlock and green address bar. This indicates that well-trusted encryption is in effect. A lot of savvy customers understand what these visuals mean. It builds trust and perception in your company and brand. On the other hand, without those visuals, your customers may lose trust and faith in your website’s ability to keep their data private. This could lose you a transaction or a customer lead.
We live in a time where data breaches occur daily. So, any confidence or comfort you can provide your users will only increase your brand’s perception.
Need Assistance with Securing Your Website? 190west Can Help!
190west is a full-service digital marketing agency. We specialize in all aspects of online optimization including SEO, technical audits, keyword research, content marketing, and on-page optimization. Our comprehensive online campaigns are designed to encompass a broad range of strategies that work collaboratively to produce results.
Maximize your online investment. Generate more qualified leads. Increase closed sales. Get a free site audit and evaluation. Learn how a partnership with 190west integrates seamlessly with current marketing efforts to improve outcomes.