5 Things You Need to Know About SSL For Your Business Website
For the past year, we’ve been talking to our clients about SSL connections, hoping to persuade them to upgrade their web hosting packages to include secure connections. Many have made the small and relatively-painless switch. A few, however, have decided to hold off.
In our conversations with other Houston web designers, we’ve learned our colleagues are going through some of the same things. A lot of business owners and executives simply don’t see the value in SSL security. They don’t want to pay for something they don’t quite understand.
We can relate, but this is one of those web design and online marketing trends that is definitely worth participating in. To help you understand why, let’s look at five things you need to know about SSL connections for your business website…
#1 What SSL Means and Does
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers. That might not mean a lot to you, but it really comes down to encryption. When an SSL connection is in place, any transfer of data (for instance one involving addresses, emails, or bank account numbers) is encrypted for everyone’s protection. That makes it almost impossible for hackers or thieves to snoop in or steal data.
Whether you realize it or not, you undoubtedly use lots of SSL enabled websites on a daily basis. Anytime you log into a bank or an online store it’s through a secure connection. Additionally, many small businesses have already upgraded to SSL in the recent months.
There are two easy ways to tell whenever you are using SSL connectivity as a customer. One is to simply look in your web browser’s address bar. If it starts with “https:” then the connection is encrypted (that’s what the “s” means. Also, some web browsers will know that a connection is “secure” with special tabs or colors.
The big takeaway you have to understand, though, is that SSL is all about data security. When it’s in place, both marketers and customers have fewer things to worry about.
#2 How SSL Helps Your Business
There are a lot of very straightforward benefits that come with adding SSL functionality to your business website. The most obvious has to do with safety.
When information transfers are encrypted, you don’t have to worry about thieves stealing your company’s data or information on your customers. That’s not a small concern in the digital age. Just one hack or cybercrime could cost your business tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, it could wreck your public profile or image in the market or industry where you work. No one wants to work with a company that is sloppy with sensitive information.
Just as importantly, customers like to work with businesses using SSL on their websites. They are becoming more and more concerned about the security of their information and may take their money elsewhere if they perceive a risk in buying from you or submitting their contact information. Even if they aren’t aware of SSL, they can see various safety indications that show up on their web browser tabs (more on this in a moment).
Finally, there are marketing considerations that have to be taken into account. Essentially, having SSL connections on your website makes your business more visible on the internet. That’s because of the way the world’s most popular search engine ranks potential search results.
#3 Why Adding SSL Can Help Your Search Engine Positioning
In 2017, the programmers at Google announced they would be using secure connectivity as a search signal. That meant, in essence, that websites with SSL functionality would get a boost in the search rankings, making them more visible to billions of users every day. Conversely, companies that went without SSL hosting upgrades would see a decline in their search visibility.
Over the subsequent months, we have seen these changes start to take effect. Indeed, you’ll notice that companies that rank in the top three for any competitive Google query will almost always have SSL-enabled websites. Of course, it can be difficult to discern just how much of an effect this particular feature has, since the business owners using SSL also tend to be the ones who are paying attention to their content, page titles, etc.
Whether the effect is small or large, however, every search engine optimization (SEO) advantage you can get over your competitors is an important one. Google processes roughly 5 billion searches every day. Your best potential customers are looking for companies like yours online, so making them safer while boosting your own profile makes perfect business sense.
Google has already added a layer of urgency to installing SSL connections with its search algorithm, but as it turns out there is an even bigger reason to act now.
#4 The Reason Adding SSL is More Urgent Than Ever
Google’s announcement that it would prefer SSL-enabled websites as search results was enough to push a lot of businesses to upgrade their hosting packages. However, they’ve decided to up the stakes further through their popular Chrome browser, currently used by more than a billion people worldwide.
Starting later this summer, Chrome will use bright, colored indications to let users know when they are on a website that is secure. And, they’ll also use bright colors and notations to warn users when a website is “not secure.”
It’s a good bet that the general public won’t necessarily be able to discern the various differences between SSL connectivity on a website that gathers leads and has ecommerce features versus another that doesn’t perform these functions. All they are going to notice are the tabs that tell them whether they are safe or not. So, even if you don’t have a strict business need for SSL capability, it’s probably a good investment.
Smart business owners only have a few months to make this change and get re-indexed by Google’s search spiders. That means there’s no time to waste if you want buyers to feel safe and comfortable on your pages.
#5 How Easy it is to Get SSL For Your Website
So far, we’ve given you a few good reasons to upgrade to SSL connectivity on your business website. Now, let’s take away the one notion that might be holding you back: adding SSL capability to your web hosting package won’t cost you much.
Installing encryption software that protects you and your customers only costs a few dollars a month as part of a premium web hosting package. In fact, if you sign up for services like dedicated server space, you might be able to get SSL for free.
As we are going to highlight in a different post, good web hosting is always worth the money. That’s certainly true when you’re looking at making information transfers safer and improving your marketing reach. By simply opting for a better plan, you can probably get SSL along with faster page loading, more online security, and access to advanced web statistics.
You don’t have to spend a lot in terms of time or money to add it SSL to your website, but you’ll get a lot in return. We hope you’ll decide to make the switch today.
Want to Learn More About SSL or Business-Friendly Web Design?
Now is the time to add SSL connectivity to your business website if you haven’t done so already. With one call to our office, we can help you understand how easy and affordable it is to make the switch.
To get a free consultation for your business – including a website review and customized online marketing advice – simply contact WebWize in Houston today. You might be amazed at what we can do for your company!
About Glenn Brooks
Glenn Brooks is the founder of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has provided web design, development, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art and worked in the advertising, marketing, and printing industries for 18 years before starting WebWize.