SSL Certificates: Why You Need to Get Yours Sorted

Mike Taylor | 18 March 2019
Do you know how important SSL certificates are?

Your website is now the hub of your business. It is often the first place potential customers find you and it is the place where the majority of your leads are generated.

While a website is a business’ new shop front, what happens when your business’ shop front can’t be found or looks dodgy? The short answer is you lose out on a whole bunch of traffic and potential customers. In a time when customers have more options available than ever before, losing out on that traffic is not sustainable.

A lot will play into how visible and trustworthy your website is. Everything from a straightforward and rememberable URL, functional and attractive UI/UX design, relevant blogs and articles, and even links to your social media platforms all make an impact. However, what many businesses fail to recognise, is there is another vitally important part of your website, an SSL certificate.

Whenever we are looking to build a new website or make updates, or even simply review their current performance, one of the first things we look at is whether or not the SSL certificate is current. When we talk to new clients about this aspect of their website, we are still surprised at how often many of them ask ‘what is that?’

 

Basically, an SSL certificate is the equivalent of the blue tick on Facebook and Instagram which verifies a person or businesses identity and legitimacy. And in today’s environment, getting this certificate can no longer be an afterthought.

But what does an SSL certificate look like? It is not a physical certificate that you put next to your degree from university. It is a lot more discrete and less show-offie! It is a simple, padlock that appears in the URL bar at the top of your browser. Here, check out ours…

 

What may seem like a fairly inconspicuous feature, could actually be the root cause of an underperforming website. In fact, we have seen an 80% decrease in website traffic as a result of some websites not having a current SSL certificate.

For a fairly small upfront fee, you could put your website in a position to be seen by a large portion of people interested in your industry and offerings. But, there are also countless other benefits of ensuring your business has all its ducks in a row. They include.

Protects data

Protecting the data and information your visitors generate as they navigate the internet, needs to be a top priority for your business.

The way SSL certificates do this is by encrypting the data, such as credit card details, passwords and geotags, that is shared between servers and recipients. By encrypting the data, the server is essentially bundling all this data up and locking it, and only opening itself once it reaches its intended target.

This makes it incredibly hard for those pesky hackers who tirelessly try to access and steal valuable data, to get in.

Reinforces your identity

Now, remember how we said an SSL certificate is like those blue ticks that let you know Donald Trumps Twitter account is actually his, this is the same with an SSL certificate.

In a world where data security is a massive talking point for all businesses, and where people are more cynical than ever, having an SSL gives you that added layer of legitimacy.

In order to get an SSL certificate, websites have to go through a fairly rigorous validation process set by an independent authority. Completing this process ensures that no other party can set up a fake website under your name/ domain or access your customers’ data.

The search engines require them  

We all know how important search engine rankings are for businesses today. With search engines the most common way for potential customers to find businesses, the higher you are in these search results, the more likely you’ll be chosen.

Google in their pursuit of a faster, safer and more accurate internet have made two clear points that businesses who don’t have an SSL certificate are not welcome on their platform. The first in 2014, when they changed their algorithm to give websites that have an SSL certificate favour over those that don’t. Secondly, in 2018 they decided to flag all websites that don’t have an SSL certificate and to notify the user when they are about to enter a noncompliant website. We have all seen this flag pop-up, in the form of ‘Not secure’ in the URL bar. Check out one we prepared earlier…

A websiet that doesn't have an SSL certificate

There is no telling what the next step in the punishment of sites will be. Maybe they’ll be completely undiscoverable in the near future.

Every eCommerce site needs it

All eCommerce website, whether you sell clothes out of your house as a side-hustle or your business has a 10,000 strong catalogue, an SSL certificate is a must have.

That’s because if you receive any form of online payments, regardless of how large or often, you must be Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI/ DSS for short. And, one of the 12 steps to becoming compliant is to have an up to date SSL certificate.

You’re more trustworthy

Installing an SSL certificate on your website will do wonders for increasing the trust customers and potential customers will have in your business.

At a simple level, even if people aren’t aware of what an SSL certificate is, imagine what they think if they visit your website and see a ‘Not secure’ button in the URL. What would you do? We’d say bye-bye. Thus not having that button, basically signals to the customer that your website is trustworthy and backed by Google.

On the other hand, the majority of people select a website on the first page of a search result. And these search engines are the most trusted platforms in the world. If your website is on page six because Google has punished you for not having an SSL certificate, you won’t be generating much traffic. And, at the end of the day, unless they’re a returning customer, most people will trust Google over your business.

 

 

For those that aren’t aware, SSL certificates may seem like another tedious task that may not seem that important. But, we are here to say that is simply not true. An SSL certificate is the most important part of your business’ website and something that could drastically impact your business’ ability to generate traffic.

If you are unsure if your website has one or not, or needs to renew their SSL certificate, let’s have a yarn and work through getting you an up to date SSL.