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Back in October, Cyber Security Month we posted about the importance of SSL certificates and why your eCommerce website should have one (if you haven’t read the post, please check it out here). An SSL certificate ensures that information handled on a website is being transmitted securely. With changes to the internet landscape coming in 2018, we want to talk about why it is important more than ever to get an SSL certificate on your website (eCommerce or not) if you do not have one already. If you do not take action soon, your website and your business could face problems on search engines.
1. Large percentage of websites use an SSL certificate
This graph above comes from W3techs.com (click on the graph to see it on their website) and shows that nearly half of the web has purchased an SSL certificate from one of the listed authorities above. These websites are taking security seriously to ensure that their users’ information is safe; nobody wants their phone numbers, addresses, social security and other personal information stolen by identity thieves. Additionally, securing the information your website’s visitors provide also protects you from a very costly lawsuit should any of that information is stolen by hackers.
2. SEO benefits: Google’s algorithm places websites using SSL at top priority
Back in 2014, Google announced changes to its algorithms that would cause websites using SSL certificates to rank higher over websites that do not use SSL to help make sure users are not visiting sites that could put their information risk. If your website is not using an SSL certificate, you should seriously consider using one whether or not you handle user information. Your website will rank higher if your website uses an SSL certificate as this tells Google that your website is safe for people to visit. Marketing expert Neil Patel writes about how SSL certificates can affect your standings on Google and even provides an example of how a company called Cloudtech’s website began to rank high in the top 10 results after implementing an SSL certificate on their website. You can contact your web hosting provider for instructions on purchasing an SSL certificate.
3. False Sense of Security: Don’t believe the lie that your website does not need an SSL certificate if you do not handle information on your website.
You may be running a simple 1-page website that only has text and photos with no area for people to submit personal information such as credit cards, e-mail addresses and similar types of information. Even if you only have a contact form, that should be secure as well because it is still sensitive information. With that being said, we will now discuss the main reason why your website should use an SSL certificate in 2018 and why you should act now. This next point is the most important part of this post, please make sure that you pay attention carefully.
4. Beginning with the July 2018 update of Google Chrome, any website that does not have an SSL certificate will be marked “Not Secure!”
That sounds scary, doesn’t it? You may have seen the big red message (like the one below) when pulling up a website that it could be dangerous at one time or another. Beginning with update 68 of Google Chrome which is to be released this July, any website that does not have an SSL certificate installed on it will be marked as insecure by Chrome and anyone who visits the website will be presented with the dreaded dangerous website message:
You may have a website that is 100% free from viruses, spyware, and other threats but if your website does not have an SSL certificate on it, anyone who visits it will be presented with that big red message.
Google Chrome is the world’s most popular internet browser, so you will want to make sure that your website is ready for Chrome’s July 2018 update. If you do not have an SSL certificate on your website by the time the update is released, then visitors to your website will think your website is dangerous. Aside from giving the wrong impression of your website, this could also affect your business’ image as well; if you run an online store having an SSL certificate is especially important due to the sensitive information your site would collect. Remember, visitors to your website will decide in 15 seconds or less if they want to stay and check it out; presenting them this red warning message will reduce their decision time greatly!
The time to secure your website is now; ensure that your website is secured with an SSL certificate before July. If you are in doubt over whether or not a website has an SSL certificate installed on it, look in the address bar of your browser. It will say “Not Secure” or “Secure” to the left of the URL (if using Chrome) or display a padlock to the left of the URL (when using Firefox or Safari). If you are on a website that displays “Not Secure” next to the URL, do not even consider filling out any forms especially if they ask for credit card numbers.
Further Reading: WordPress SSL: How to Switch From HTTP to HTTPS (13 Simple Steps)
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