Nothing will drive potential customers away from your website faster than a “Not Secure” warning. The ominous red triangle punctuated with an exclamation point evokes the Dark Web and shady dealings, not something you want associated with your business. These warnings have become more common as Google seeks to make internet browsing more secure by alerting users when a site is not secured with an SSL certificate.
Benjamin Cohen of Chicago-based Benjamin Cohen Creative is a web developer and consultant with the technical chops to build secure, user-friendly websites. We asked him to explain this security feature and its importance for small business websites.
Last fall, Google launched a Chrome update that began showing “Not Secure” warnings on sites that do not have an SSL certificate. What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate is an extra layer of security added to your website that privatizes any information you submit on it and encrypts it until it gets into the rights hands. It acts like a padlock on the website, and only the website’s owner has the key. It protects your information, including names, emails, credit card numbers, and any other sensitive information you may be submitting on a website. Look for a padlock symbol and a domain that begins with “https” — the s is for secure — when browsing the web to be sure you are using a secure site.
Do owners of websites that do not have online stores and do not take credit card information need to add an SSL Certificate?
Absolutely! If you have a website that is collecting any type of personal information, your website needs an SSL, and now, with the recent warning message from Google Chrome, which is a web browser used by millions around the world, it’s more important than ever to have an SSL. This affects any website that asks for any type of information, even if it is just a simple contact form or an email signup. If you are asking for names, phone numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, you should be encrypting your website.
How do you buy and add an SSL certificate to a website?
You can contact your web hosting company, or for more options, you can use a website like Cheap SSL Security. You may also use a web consultant like me to purchase and install it for you.
Will websites that change from HTTP to HTTPS lose their current ranking in search engine results?
Not at all. In fact, having HTTPS will help your SEO results, according to Google. In short, having a secure website does help SEO with search engines favoring more secure content, but it’s important to do this step correctly, or you could have duplicated content on the search engines with HTTP and HTTPS versions showing. Your web hosting company or a web consultant can help.
This article was written by Gillian Burdett for Small Business Pulse