Developing a good business website isn’t an easy task. You have to choose the right design, the right copy, even the right fonts. Then you have to think about adding a blog, or product descriptions and images, or various other elements that affect the performance of the website. And even when you finish it all and you think your website is nice and done, there will be some things hiding in your blind spot. Waiting to affect your website’s performance, and sending you on a time-consuming and sometimes even costly chase.
An SSL certificate is such a thing. You can build a website without it. Your website will not crash if it doesn’t have one — your users will be able to browse it all the same. But without you even knowing, some of them might decide not to do it. Why? Because of security issues, of course.
What Is an SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.” It’s a technical term you don’t have to be familiar with to understand what the certificate does. And what it does is keep your communication with the people visiting your website safe.
Depending on your website, people might be required to leave some information to be able to use it properly. For example, they might have to leave their email address in order to sign up for your newsletter. Users might also need to log into your website to access members-only content. Or they might need to log in to be able to purchase things from you. Not to mention that they need to enter their credit card information when purchasing. With an unsecured connection, this information can easily be stolen.
However, with an encrypted connection, only those who are part of the connection can see the communication. You might have noticed that some websites’ address starts with “https” — that “s” means that the connection is encrypted and secure. And one of the two most commonly used ways to get that extra “s” is by installing an SSL certificate.
How Are SSL Certificates Beneficial?
One of the major concerns for any website owner is how their website features stand with Google. When it comes to an SSL certificate, a feature that boosts security without any downsides, it’s obvious that Google will love it.
And it does. As of 2015, Google officially prefers the secure versions of websites over the non-secure ones. If your website has a version that has an SSL certificate installed and a version that doesn’t, Google will forward the people who visit your website from its search results to the secure version. A secure version might also affect your website’s rankings.
What About Your Users?
You can also expect that the people who visit your website will like it to be as secure as possible. But how will they know your website is not secure?
One of several ways, actually. In the address bar of their browsers, a secure website’s address will start with “https.” But the people who are using Chrome or Firefox to browse the Web will also see a “not secure” sign whenever they visit your website. So, it will be pretty obvious to them that a security feature on your website is missing.
Let that sink in for a moment. One of the core goals of creating a good business website is establishing a relationship based on trust with the customers or clients. That’s why people put contact information on websites, that’s why they include social proof, that’s why they put those certificates from anti-virus companies.
But if you fail to enable a secure connection between your website and your clients, all of those efforts might never pay off. Having a sign saying that your website is not secure and then plenty of other things trying to prove that it is isn’t the best way to inspire trust. A business that can’t have to secure a website in this day and age should have a website at all. And that’s the main reason why an SSL certificate is important for your website.