Is Your Website Secure?
More than half of website browsing is now done on secure (HTTPS) sites, and the volume of secure website traffic is rising consistently.
Similarly, privacy and security are persistent concerns for internet users. A Pew Research Center survey discovered that 86% of people have taken steps to remove or mask their digital footprints, and 68% of those surveyed believe that current laws are not good enough at protecting people’s privacy online.
It’s also clear that privacy and security are becoming more important to people over time. In 2009, 33% of survey participants indicated they were worried about the amount of personal information about them online. Four years later, 50% of people felt that way.
At LaFleur, we recognize that your audience expects privacy and safety while browsing your website. We also know that search engines like Google are encouraging increased security online. We provide all of our clients with an authenticated SSL certificate on their website, and you should have one too.
What Is SSL?
SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and is basically a type of security protocol that encrypts data being sent between a server (like the one hosting your website) and a user. You may have also heard of TLS, which stands for “Transport Layer Security.” It’s a newer, more secure protocol. Although there seem to be more acronyms associated with online security every day, most people simply refer to the latest in website security as “SSL” because it has been around since the 1990s.
In order to take advantage of these security protocols, you need an SSL certificate — a file housed in your website’s root directory. This file authenticates your identity and provides a unique key that is used for encrypting and decrypting transmitted information. Your certificate comes from a trusted outside party who verifies your identity in order to validate the certificate.
Right, But What Is SSL?
It’s easy to get lost in the nuts and bolts of protocols, certificates, and cryptographic keys. Luckily, there’s a very simple way to explain SSL. If a site has an SSL certificate, most major browsers will show you that it is secure with the icon of a padlock:
Similarly, secure sites will have “HTTPS” in front of their URL instead of “HTTP”; however, a site that begins with HTTPS can still be insecure if its certificate is not authenticated or it is using older versions of the protocols. Usually, browsers will indicate this with a different icon, such as red X over a padlock or an exclamation point:
Browsers may also provide more information about the security of a site if you click on one of those icons or a different “information” icon:
You Need an SSL Certificate for Your Website — Here’s Why
Because it’s obvious to users whether your site is secure or not, having an SSL certificate has become the expectation rather than a distinguishing factor for your brand. In fact, you will be at a distinct disadvantage if your site is not secure.
People want to know their information is secure and private, and a simple way to show people that you share their concerns is by securing your site with an SSL certificate. Of course, getting an SSL certificate also provides an important layer of security to your site:
- It protects user names and passwords.
- It encrypts sensitive information that users submit on forms, such as their name, email, phone number, and details about why they are contacting you.
- It protects credit card data.
In addition, securing your website has several hidden benefits that are not talked about as much. Below, we’ll discuss some of the major reasons to utilize a higher degree of online security.
HTTPS Sites Get a Boost to Search Engine Optimization
Back in 2014, Google made an official announcement that HTTPS is a ranking factor for search engine results placement. While it appears to currently function more like a tiebreaker in most search results, Google has indicated that “over time, we may decide to strengthen it because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
This is in line with other Google policies in the past that follow user trends, such as making mobile responsiveness a ranking factor. Since more than half of users are now actively browsing secure sites and clearly indicating their desire for increased privacy and security online, Google may make a stronger push to reward sites that are secure like they did around the time that mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic.
You Can Advertise Your SSL Certificate
Even though people are browsing secure sites, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand what it really means. Having an SSL certificate gives you additional leverage on important pages. In particular, dedicated landing pages will benefit from an added, explicit trust symbol.
For example, if you offer a free ebook in exchange for someone’s name and contact information, you can add a security symbol to increase conversions. Similarly, if you have a contact page that asks people for details that may be personal, you will want to clearly advertise that their submission is secure and private, which having an SSL certificate allows you to do.
You Protect Your Brand Using HTTPS
No matter how big or small your business, you could be a target for scammers, identity thieves, and other criminals. In fact, many smaller sites are ideal targets simply because they don’t have the time, budget, or inclination to keep their website up to date or implement an SSL certificate.
When you have an SSL certificate, your site visitors will know they are on the right site and engaging with you — not a scammer or imposter.
LaFleur Helps Build Implicit Trust with Secure Websites for All Our Clients
Beyond actual security, the central benefit of having an HTTPS site is that it instills trust. Having outdated or insufficient security on your site will draw people’s attention — thanks in part to browsers making it glaringly obvious when you are visiting an insecure site as well as users becoming more informed about their surfing habits.
Here at LaFleur, our website build, migration, and maintenance plan services include upgrading sites with an SSL certificate. Every site should be secure, and we know you are missing out on opportunities if you have not made the switch to HTTPS.
To talk to one of our experts about upgrading your site to be more secure, please call (888) 222-1512 or fill out our convenient — and secure — online contact form.
Https as a ranking signal. (2014, August 6). Google Security Blog. Retrieved from https://security.googleblog.com/2014/08/HTTPS-as-ranking-signal_6.html
Percentage of web pages loaded by Firefox using https. (2017, September 25). Let’s Encrypt. Retrieved from https://letsencrypt.org/stats/
Rainie, L., Kiesler, S., Kang, R., & Madden, M. (2013, September 5). Anonymity, privacy, and security online. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/09/05/anonymity-privacy-and-security-online/