Why Your Website Needs an SSL Certificate Now

With Google’s continued push to convince all website owners that they need to secure their sites via SSL certificate, it’s time to make the switch even if you’re not gathering personally identifiable information from site visitors.

SSL Certificates secure websitesWith Google’s continued push to convince all website owners that they need to secure their sites via SSL certificate, it’s easy to view the change as another burden, especially if your site is simple enough that it does not gather personal information on your site visitors.

But there are reasons other than transaction processing and PII — personally identifiable information – to use SSL to secure your site.

You Look Bad – to Your Prospects

The top of the list is perception. If Google is going to display a not-secure message on sites without https, you’ll be sending a negative message to site visitors, even if they don’t really understand the underlying issues. Depending on the sophistication of your audience, and the nature of your business, this could be a minor distraction or it could have a large impact on site traffic and engagement. I would expect most people would avoid filling out a subscription form or other call to action on a site they had any doubts about.

You Look Good – to Hackers

You never want to be the only house on the block with an alarm company sign on your lawn – and you never want to be the only house without one.

Only a few years ago a site that used an SSL certificate without an obvious need for one might attract unwanted attention from hackers. (Though most hacking is not done anymore in a way that has actual human hackers looking at websites one by one.) You would have been that house with the alarm company sign when no one else had one.

We’re now getting to a point where operating without SSL puts you in the distinct minority. We’ve recently seen data that suggests that more than 70% of sites in the U.S. are now SSL protected. So you’re not quite the only house on the block without the sign, but it’s getting close.

You Want to Be Found

Another reason to install an SSL certificate and migrate your site to answer at https rather than http is to help your SEO efforts. Google is now including SSL protection as ranking factor. So all things being equal, a protected site will rank higher.

There are different kinds of SSL certificates and selecting the best one for your site is a conversation to be had by your webmaster and your hosting provider or IT manager in charge of your web server. As a digital marketer, you’ll want a seat at the table because, as you’ve seen above, SSL certificates are an area where technology can impact marketing.

Author: Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?

A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.

His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications. 

Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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