What is SSL?

You may have seen that Google’s Chrome browser will display a “Not Secure” warning next to the website in the address bar if the site is not secured by an SSL certificate. Those URLs that start with http://, instead of https://.

Maybe you noticed that extra “s” when you were browsing websites that require giving over sensitive information. Basically, it’s how website owners communicate with customers or visitors that they can browse, buy products or services, and share information safely with you online.

But where would that extra “s” come from, and what does it mean?

To put it simply, the extra “s” means your connection to that website is secure and encrypted; any data you enter is safely shared with that website. The technology that powers that little “s” is called SSL, short for “Secure Sockets Layer.”

For an in-depth explanation: they were primarily created with the aim to secure communication between a user’s web browser and a website’s server. SSL certificates come with a cryptographic key, which turns the delicate information sent by the users in the form of hypertext into an unreadable format. This is called encryption.

As a result, if you have an SSL certificate installed on your web server, data, such as credit card details, are out of reach from any attacker’s hand.

An SSL certificate protects your site — and its visitors — from many cyberattacks out there.

Before quickly brushing off your site as “too small to be hacked,” bear in mind that most interceptions are done electronically without a human deciding who is attacked. 

In fact, research shows that half of all cyber attacks target small businesses.

Why Do Businesses Need SSL Certificates?

Aside from security reasons mentioned above, it also affects the marketing value of your website.

Present a professional brand image

Certification Authorities have a responsibility to issue SSL Certificates to legitimate companies. They have strict validation processes in place to ensure that the company owns or has a legal right to use the domain name, and that it is a legally accountable entity. 

There’s already 363.5 million domain names in 2021 and it will keep growing. However, an SSL certificate will significantly make your website stand out from the majority of them.

Enhances visitor loyalty

If your customers are required to sign in to their account on your site, you definitely need an SSL certificate. Visitors who have the assurance that their information is safeguarded are more likely to keep coming back.

Membership sites with multiple logins also create more opportunities for black-hat hackers to attack. Remember, anything that needs to be secure online needs to operate under the safety net of an SSL certificate.

Attract more shoppers

Most of today’s internet-savvy buyers will easily abandon a shopping cart if they don’t trust a website. The SSL padlock symbol encourages them to browse your site and buy from you.

Besides, would you really want to put your customers at risk of having their credit card information stolen while shopping on your site? It’s not exactly a great way to attract returning customers.

Boost sales

In the retail industry, trust means everything, and it is a big driver of sales. You can appear trustworthy when you use a good web host to maximize website speed and uptime; use a reputable payments processor to effectively secure your customers’ data; and mandatorily use SSL as part of your website security arsenal. Though a top-quality online store provider will offer all the certifications that online shoppers usually look for, it is best to have your own SSL in place.

Keep everyone’s information secure

Not everyone collects money online. Some websites collect information. These could be leads for potential home buyers. Or questionnaires about your client’s employment history. Or anything. If you are collecting even the most basic information such as name, address, phone number and email address, chances are your clients would not want that information leaked.

SSL encrypts data when sending as well as receiving it. That means the information you send to website visitors, whether it is a voucher, promotional code, holiday message or newsletter, will be secure and uncompromised.

Helps with search engine optimization 

Google has confirmed that HTTPS is good for SEO. Google described HTTPS as having a “very lightweight” signal affecting very few searches. But over time, they may decide to strengthen it, because Google likes to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

You wouldn’t do business with someone who skipped the SSL certification. Don’t give anyone this as a reason not to do business with you.

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