As a small business owner, it is extremely important to understand and capitalize on a wide range of tools available to you to help maximize your online success – an important but lesser-utilized one of these is SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
Some of the primary benefits of having a SSL certificate on your small business website are:
- Your website and online brand will appear more professional to visitors.
- It can help increase your website ranking for your target keywords.
- Your client’s login data will be kept safe and secure.
- Your visitors will be more likely to purchase something online from you or share sensitive data through a form.
- Search engines like Google, which are trying to push websites into upgrading to SSL as part of a goal to increase overall online security, will likely reward sites that have SSL with bigger benefits in the fairly near future.
You see, in today’s day and age, safety and security are a big topic throughout the world, and the online world is no different. Due to an ever-growing list of online hacking activities, regular users nowadays are much more cautious when entering private or sensitive information online such as their credit card numbers. A large part of this increase in online security can come in the form of an SSL certificate, which stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”. This is an online security protocol that establishes an encrypted link between the user’s browser and your web server, which is receiving their information. Basically installing an SSL certificate on your website can help greatly increase the security of any information being sent from the user’s browser to your server, which reduces the opportunity for the information to be compromised along the way. This ensures the safety of the sensitive information throughout the entire process. A user can then easily see whether a website is secured by SSL by looking at the address bar in the browser they are using, which will show a green lock beside the URL and will have https:// instead of http:// at the beginning. This means the connection is secure.
Because of this growing trend of increased online security, here are a few reasons why it might be a good idea for you to install an SSL certificate on your small business website.
1. Reduce liability – By installing an SSL certificate on your small business website, you can ensure that all of your users’ sensitive information being submitted to your site is protected. This means anything from credit card info, to usernames and passwords, contact info submitted through a form, and more. As a small business owner, it is important that you do all you can to ensure this sensitive user information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, and the added security of a SSL certificate can do just that.
2. Increase customer safety – Having an SSL certificate installed on your website will give your users a higher level of perceived safety, making them more likely to fill in sensitive information on your website, instead of feeling unsafe and possibly just hitting the back button instead. In general, the safer your visitors feel, the more likely they are to create an account, contact you through your online forms, or purchase something from your online shop.
3. Improve website ranking – The debate is still out as to how much of a ranking impact adding an SSL certificate actually has on a website, but the data seems to be pointing to a slight improvement in overall rankings of a website after adding SSL to a site. That being said, right now the benefit seems to be somewhat minimal overall, but that is almost certainly going to change over time, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in the fairly near future, increased website security measures such as SSL become a much stronger ranking signal than they currently are. This is further accentuated by the fact that Google, for a number of years now, has been subtly trying to push websites towards having mandatory SSL, and since then, many of the big players online have taken the hint and installed an SSL certificate on their websites. Wikipedia.org, for example, was one of the first big players to implement SSL on their website, and many other big-name companies have followed suit and also had SSL installed on all their online websites (Walmart, YouTube, Twitter, and many others).
In the end, our position on SSL for local business websites is that it isn’t necessarily a mandatory thing yet, but if you desire to stay ahead of the curve, it is a wise investment to add SSL to your small business website now, rather than rushing to do it later on. Overall, the benefits of having SSL on your website are only going to grow over time, especially as more and more search engines put added weight on safety and security of users.