Even if you don’t know what SSL is, you’ve probably heard about encryption. Maybe it was a spy movie or industry experts talking about the need for security when doing business online.
If you’re a savvy online shopper you probably also keep an eye out for SSL on any website you use by looking for the padlock that appears beside the website address. That padlock tells you that the website you’re on is secured (that’s the Secure part of Secure Sockets Layer – SSL) and more importantly that any information you send that website – your name, your credit card details or your home address – is not under threat from an anonymous third party.
Without SSL, third parties (we’ll refer to them as the bad guys) can intercept data you send to a website using what is called a ‘man in the middle’ attack. We won’t bore you with the details but it can trick your computer into passing your confidential information to the bad guys, before it goes to the website you were on.
Now while these man in the middle attacks are not overly common, they are still a danger and, if you’ve ever been the victim of identity theft or having your credit card misused, you’ll know it’s worth protecting yourself from any risk of that happening again.
So while SSL was a recommended option for website owners (and visitors) the cost often made it out of reach for the average business. The average certificate alone could easily cost around $150, or more, a year. That doesn’t include the cost of getting your IT team or website provider to install the certificate, monitor its renewal and make sure everything on your website was served in a secure environment.
Fortunately, things have improved since then and SSL security certificates are now more attainable for small businesses. We now include them free with every Premium hosting package and they’re available as a low-cost option for other PogoStick website clients.
Let’s recap the benefits of upgrading your site to SSL.
Why get an SSL security certificate for your website?
Here are five good reasons to upgrade your website with an SSL certificate.
- Peace of mind for your visitors – This is probably one of the key benefits. It’s a visible reminder to your visitors that you are care about the security of any information they share with you, whether it’s just a contact form or a shopping cart. It sets you apart as being a more trustworthy website and if this encourages more visitors then often Google will take note and reward you with a higher ranking in the search results.
- Improved SEO – This benefit has been overstated by some but from what Google are saying it only offers a minor improvement in rankings. That said any improvement is better than none and combined with a potentially higher click through rate (as searchers see you as potentially more trusted than non-SSL sites) it could push your website higher in the search rankings.
- Protect data submitted – You might not be asking customers for credit card details but even phone numbers and email addresses should be handled securely to prevent their information getting in the wrong hands. Some businesses use this as a marketing opportunity to remind customers about the efforts they go to in protecting their privacy and keeping their details secure.
- Improved referrer data – If you use Google Analytics then website traffic that is currently showing as Direct could well be coming from a secure HTTPS site. Upgrade your site to HTTPS and you’ll start seeing this direct traffic as referrer traffic instead (with details of the secure website sending you traffic).
- Required for payment gateways – If you’re not using a 3rd party payment gateway (such as PayPal) and take customer credit card details on your own site then having an SSL certificate is an absolute must. Even if your website sends shoppers to a separate page for payment details it’s a good idea that the other pages that are part of the shopping process are also secure.
There are a growing number of big businesses that are already familiar with these benefits (or their company charter requires better website security) but with more affordable options now available, even small businesses, and businesses that aren’t selling online, are seeing value in switching to a secure HTTPS domain.
Affordable SSL certificates for all business websites
PogoStick Web Services are pleased to offer clients a very affordable option to get a secure website. Instead of paying anywhere from $150 to $300 annually for an SSL certificate, we are offering it to our Premium Hosted clients for free. It’s made possible by the Let’s Encrypt project – a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) – and backed by many of the world’s big internet players – Facebook, Shopify, Cisco and Google Chrome.
If you’re not yet a Premium Hosted client talk to us about upgrading, or enquire about the cost of adding it to your Standard Hosting package. We’d love to help you get your website more secure – for you and your customers.