We are going to cover everything you need to know about an SSL certificate, why it is important for your business and how to install one.
You will find out that it isn’t that difficult to get an SSL certificate installed on your website and it won’t cost you much or in most cases, anything. Operating a business takes a lot of time, effort, and know-how. There are so many aspects of the company that needs your utmost attention on a daily basis; this includes your company website. Many business owners think that once they have a website built, they can publish it and then leave it alone. If your company is building a new website or its first-ever website, it will need an SSL certificate.
An SSL(Secure Sockets Layer)/https certificate is the backbone of our secure Internet and it protects your sensitive information as it travels across the world’s computer networks. SSL is essential for protecting your website, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive information like credit cards. It provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your websites and your users’ personal information.
Google has started to mark websites that don’t have an SSL/https as “not secure”. Chrome has approximately 47% browser market share, so when this update is rolled-out a significant number of websites will be affected almost immediately.
According to recent HubSpot Research, up to 85% of people will not continue browsing if a site is not secure. In January 2017, Google rolled out a similar update that only applied to sites collecting sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers. With that in mind, users are now familiar with seeing this “not secure” warning, and per the research below will often leave a site because of it.
Reasons for an SSL Certificate
Aside from the Google Chrome web browser labeling your site as not secure, another reason to acquire one is that it helps build credibility with customers. When the customers log onto your website, they will see a locked padlock icon in the URL bar and know the site is secure. This feature will grant you the trust of your customers.
In addition, if your business website has subdomains, the Wildcard SSL certificate will be able to secure the primary domain and all the subdomains. So, if you operate a blog, an online store, a photo album, or some other type of subdomain, you will be able to protect all of them with the same SSL certificate that protects your primary domain.
Another critical advantage of having your site secured with an SSL certificate is in the way it prevents the theft of information. Information submitted via a website goes through multiple channels before hitting its destination, which means it has a miniscule chance of being stolen when there is an SSL certificate present.
Websites that accept online payments using encryption of 128-bit are required to have an SSL certificate. This means that if your business is an eCommerce website, you must have the certificate to accept credit card payments.
It is good to know that SSL certificates are now required in 2018. Google flagged every single website that didn’t have such a certificate before 2017 came to a close. This change affects all websites operating, not just ones that are labeled as eCommerce sites. That means if you are a doctor, lawyer, contractor, plumber, school district, or any other entity, your website needs to have an SSL certificate for protection of customer information.
Acquiring an SSL Certificate
In the absence of an SSL certificate, website visitors may either be bounced, or given the option to continue to access a website without an SSL certificate. They will receive a warning that states that the unsecured site could compromise their information.
The easiest way to acquire an SSL certificate is to contact your website hosting provider to find out if they offer this service. Just a few years ago, this feature was a paid one. Nowadays, more and more companies are offering the certificates as part of their basic package; free of charge. In these cases, those companies could offer added protection for a premium.
It would be beneficial to your company to upgrade and pay for an SSL certificate. The paid versions offer more features that present the company as more trustworthy to customers. Identifiers of this upgrade including a green bar, the abbreviation of the country in which you are located, and the name of your company in the URL bar.
Having an SSL certificate is crucial to any company that has a website. The benefits of having one outweighs the risks of not having one. Without an SSL certificate, traffic to your site could be bounced, your clients’ information can be at risk, and you are losing credibility in the already competitive market. With one you will have the trust of your customers for years to come.
If you have an interest in learning more about building websites or learning how to add an SSL certificate to your website, check out the Business Website Blueprint online course.
Marketing Consultant. Minneapolis. I've worked in digital marketing for several years, mainly working with businesses on overall digital strategy, including building and ranking their websites on the first page in search engines. Businesses want to invest in a successful website that ranks well on Google and is easy to add features, content and can be scaled. The problem is that the average hourly rate for a digital marketing consultant is $150. Many businesses don't have a budget to hire a consultant but could do much of the work themselves or by one of their employees if they knew how. That's why I created the Business Website Blueprint course. An easy, step-by-step guide to empower businesses to build their own, successful website.