The Influence Of HTTPS/SSL And What It Means For Your Business
This month, I’ve decided to focus on your website rather than a social media platform.
It can’t have escaped your notice over the last 6 months that a lot of websites are being flagged by your browser as ‘Not secure’, but do you understand the implications of having a ‘Not secure’ website?
Prior to July 2018, unless you were a shop or larger organisation asking for confidential customer information (like credit card details), it was unlikely that your site was covered by an HTTPS/SSL certificate.
HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which is the secure version of HTTP, which is the encrypted protocol over which data is sent between a browser and a website (typically personal data or credit card information).
The ‘Not Secure’ label had previously been reserved for individual pages within a website containing form fields collecting confidential customer information – such as password logins, shopping cart checkouts, and site-search boxes.
Since July 2018, Google wanted to make it clearer to users if a website was safe to use and now places more importance on HTTPS websites (those with an SSL certificate) in search engine rankings.
This now means the whole site and isn’t just confined to pages with form fields. If you don’t have an SSL certificate and HTTPS prefix, not only are your customers notified that your site might not be secure, which in turn can have a negative effect on traffic to your site, (it’s a fact that people are more likely to visit a secure site than a non-secure one) with the eventual effect on a website without HTTPS/SSL in place is they’ll start to see a drop in search engine rankings.
So, how do you convert your site to HTTPS? You can do this by purchasing an appropriate level SSL certificate from your website’s hosting company – depending on who you’re hosted with some offer a free basic SSL certificate while others might charge you an annual fee of anything from £49 upwards. Then, unless you’re familiar with the intricacies of installing an SSL certificate, your web developer should be able to implement this on your website.
It’s important to ensure that you install the SSL certificate correctly. If you’re using WordPress, there’s a plugin called ‘Really Simple SSL’, which you can use to do this for you or speak to your web developer as there can be a number of factors that can cause the migration to not go smoothly.
Remember to ensure that you change the default preference from http to https in the relevant places in Google Analytics and Google Search Console and submit a new XML sitemap.
So, if you’ve noticed you’re getting less traffic or sales conversions and your website hasn’t switched over to HTTPS/SSL yet now might be the time to do so, before you find yourself losing customers to your competitor’s secure website!