An SSL could be one of the simplest and most under-rated options available when it comes to improving the performance and safety of your website. While it's certainly more valuable to use SSL on an eCommerce website where financial information is commonly shared, even the most basic blogs and websites can often benefit from implementing SSL certificates.
The simple reason that SSL certificates are so powerful, is that they provide your website with an extra layer of security that not only protects your brand but also gives your customers a better online experience. Many web browser providers, including Google, have already made the decision to rank websites with an SSL higher than their counterparts, and implementing one of these certificates could instantly give you an edge your competition.
What is an SSL Certificate?
In today's blog post, we'll be taking a look at some of the reasons why you should consider implementing an SSL certificate into your website. However, before we get started, let's look at a quick definition of SSL, and what it should mean to you.
SSL is a term that means "Secure Sockets Layer". It's simply a unique form of security originally intended for sites that commonly use sensitive information like phone numbers, customer names, addresses, and more. This certificate creates secure connections between your company server, and customer web browsers, making it essential for any business that plans to sell goods or handle private information online.
So, what are the benefits of SSL, and why should it be a component of every site, regardless of whether you're an eCommerce business or not?
1. SSL Encrypts Sensitive Information
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of an SSL certificate is that it's designed to encrypt sensitive information so that data can only be read and understood by the parties that are supposed to read it. The information that is submitted on an internet form can often pass through multiple computers before reaching its destination. The more stops a file has to make, the more chances there are for a third party to get access to that data.
An SSL certificate simply puts random characters into the original information that ensures it would be incomprehensible to anyone who doesn't have the right encryption key. In other words, if information gets into the wrong hands, the third party won't be able to read it.
2. It Gives Confidence to Customers
Although most customers don't know exactly what an SSL certificate does, they are savvy enough that they now recognize the little padlock symbol that appears on the location bar or browser as a sign of safety. If you don't have one of these little padlocks on your website, then you may find that customers don't feel comfortable enough to do business with you - even if that just means sharing their email address with your website so that they can sign up to a newsletter.
Online shoppers now know to look for the signs of an SSL certificate when they're shopping online, and whether you're selling physical products or not, having one of these certificates on your website could make you instantly more trustworthy.
3. SSL Certificates Provide Authentication
When you're running a business online, you'll need to make sure that all the information on your website, including the information provided by your customers, is directed to the right server without any interceptions. When you obtain an SSL certificate, another type of protection is issued. This certificate basically acts as a middleman between SSL servers and browsers to show that you can be trusted.
Customers can view the SSL documents to make sure that your certificate is up to date, and the page that they're going to give their information to is not an imitation or a scam. This can give people an extra layer of confidence when they're online.
4. It's Essential If You Want to Accept Payments
If you want to meet with international standards for card payment compliance, then you're going to need an SSL certificate with the right encryption (at least 128-bit). Payment Card Industry standards suggest that the SSL certificate is essential for businesses who want to present themselves as a trusted source of protected information.
Without a certificate that meets PCI standards, you will not be able to accept credit card payments from your customers. Even if you don't run an eCommerce site now, it's worth taking the steps to secure your site in case you decide to sell products later.
5. SSL Protects Against Phishing
Phishing emails frequently contain links that would send customers to a convincing replica of a site that they would otherwise consider to be reputable. Often, these emails are designed as shipping confirmations or advertisements, and they attempt to gather information from users for malicious use. However, the people who build these sites cannot get an authentic SSL certificate.
The good news is that when your customers don't see the signs of an SSL on a fake website, they're more likely to navigate away from the site without entering their information. This protects your brand's reputation.
6. It Future-Proofs Your Business
As the threats in the cybersecurity world continue to grow, businesses are constantly prompted to adopt more advanced measures for security. SSL certifications represent a step that should be widely deployed around the world to help tackle the risks that are present in eCommerce today. If you begin to implement SSL now, you could be taking an important step in future proofing your business.
Already, Google has begun to suggest that in the future, any website, whether it sells products or not, will be labeled as "not secure" on the search results pages if it does not have a valid SSL certificate.
Improving Consumer Trust with SSL Certificates
Ultimately, installing an SSL certificate on your website is a strategy for improving customer trust. By having one of these certificates present on your site, you give your customers the peace of mind they need to provide you with information that can be essential to the growth of your company.
Fortunately, SSL certificates can be very easy to get hold of. All you need to do is purchase your certificate from a reputable third-party source, or ask for a certificate to be included as part of your hosting package. Many hosting companies now offer SSL certification as an optional extra in their services.