For years Google has been trying to advocate for a more secure web. They have encouraged site owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS in order to provide a safer, more secure experience for website visitors. In the past they have hinted at the fact that it can improve your search engine ranking and in July of 2018 they are going to take it a step further by officially marking all HTTP sites as Not Secure in Google Chrome. Now I know you’re asking “why should I care? How will this affect me?” Well, my opinion this is going to cause all non compliant site owners problems. At the very least you’re going to see a drop in your search rankings and site traffic, as well as a probable drop in leads through your website. You may be asking how one little change can affect you this dramatically, well it all comes down to trust.
Website Security Helps To Build Visitor’s Trust
When you’re selling any product or service, whether in the digital or real world, you’re really selling trust. For a customer to be willing to eat food that you cook for him, they have to be willing to trust you to correctly prepare the food. If you’re trying to convince a client to allow you help set up his Google Adwords account, they trust you to properly setup the account and not waste the money that they budget for digital advertising. So your number one goal when you establish your digital presence should be to convey trust to your visitors. Reviews and testimonials by clients woven through your site can certainly help, as well as well constructed content. However, if the first thing a visitors sees when they visit your site is the words “Not Secure” site in the browser bar, then they may not even make it on to your site to view any of your content, no matter how carefully constructed. Due to the rise of high profile malware attacks, visitors are extremely careful about the sites they visit. If an industry leader like Google marks your site as not secure, a large drop in traffic and leads should be expected.
What is HTTPS?
When you look at your website address you’ll notice that it starts with “HTTP”. When you visit a website with normal HTTP, your browser looks for the corresponding IP address and connects to it. The data to and from the site is then sent in clear text. The problem with that is that your Internet Service Provider, an eaves dropper on a WIFI network, government agencies or hackers can easily see the website you are viewing and worse yet, all the data that is flowing back and forth. This includes data that your clients put into webforms such as mailing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and in some cases credit card numbers. Credit Card information and passwords should never been sent over an unsecured connection.
HTTPS is the solution to these problems. It provides an encrypted connection between your visitor and the website. When your browser accesses your website it looks for the security certificate and checks to see if it’s a valid certificate issued by a certificate authority. Once confirmed you’ll see the lock symbol and HTTPS before the web address, ensuring that your website is your real website and that the data is encrypted. Data that is transferred over an HTTPS connection cannot be viewed or eavesdropped on. So you can see how it should fall under your responsibility as a website owner to provide your clients with the safest, most secure experience possible. Providing a safe, secure environment for your clients’ data is also a great way to build up trust.
The way to switch your site from HTTP to HTTPS is by obtaining an SSL certificate. In the past obtaining a certificate was a confusing process but fortunately with Google push towards a more secure internet, the process has gotten easier and more affordable for small business owners.
SND Designs now offers SSL Certificates for all of our hosting clients. These certificates cost $66 per year for our hosting clients. If you have hosting with another client we can also help but the cost may vary. Contact us today and get the peace of mind that not only is your site going to be compliant with Google’s new rules but you will also be protecting your clients’ data and building their trust in your brand.