Why do you need a secure website?

January 2, 2018 by Kamila Fitchett in Analytics, SEO, Web Development

There was a time when businesses didn’t really need to worry about applying a website security certificate unless it was an e-commerce site or a website that collected sensitive data such as banking information or medical records. 

Now it becomes the obligated requirement for each site that wants to provide a good and trusted browsing experience for users. It will also help to perform better in Google ranking and be optimised for search engines. Additionally, the website security becomes a part of new data protection legal regulations (GDPR), which put more emphasis on individuals’ data protection. This new legal update might have an impact on the online user behaviour in the future, who is going to expect SSL certificate on each site he/she is browsing. That means that if you want to provide your online credibility, applying a secure site is a good way to inform your web visitors that you care about their data and your business provide a good trusted online connection.  

What is SSL certificate? 

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it is a technology that uses the encrypted connection between server and web browser. In order to use SSL, businesses have to get an SSL certificate, which they need to install on their server. When this is done, every connection between a web server and browser is encrypted, which means that every data sent via the submitted form is only visible to the web owner. This helps to protect online users against hackers, who try to steal users’ information. 

However, there is one drawback that prevents some web owners from using SSL certificate and it is a financial reason. Applying SSL cost developer work to do the task and also the certificate needs to be purchased. The price usually is associated with the cost of technology that needs to be set up by SSL certificate providers and the validation system. Although recently there is a basic free SSL certificate available that can be used for small websites or bloggers, it is not recommended if you are a commercial online business. Then you would probably want to apply a higher level of trust and warranty by a paid certificate.

SEO benefits 

HTTPS websites will perform better in Google ranking over the sites that are not secure. If you want your website to be optimised for a search engine, applying a secure certificate is one of the factors that will affect your SERP (Search Engine Result Page) position. Many companies still ignore this requirement or just are not aware of the problem. If you put a lot of effort in performing keywords research and optimising your pages for your targeted key phrases but your website is not secure, then you might not see the benefit of your hard work and you might be losing the opportunity of getting traffic from users because they don’t trust your site. 

Secure website and GDPR 

GDPR is a new EU Regulation, which was introduced to strengthen current rules for data protection, especially in the digital world. GDRP stands for General Data Protection Regulation and it is going to be applied in May 2018 for all EU members including the UK.

New data protection rules put more emphasis on online security. One of the ways to protect users data sent via the Internet is HTTPS. It is because the SSL certificate encrypts data transferred via the connection between the browser and the server, reducing the risk of data breach.

If you apply SSL on your website, you are on the right way to have your online business complied with GDPR. However, SSL secures the connection and you will need to implement additional security for your database itself.

User experience 

If the website is using an SSL certificate, a user usually can recognise it by looking at the lock icon or a green bar in the web browser location bar. The website URL will be also prefixed with HTTPS element instead of insecure HTTP, where s’ stands for secure. 

It means that a user will trust these websites more and will be more likely to make a purchase if it is the e-commerce site or submit their CV with personal details on the recruitment website, etc. It’s because https websites reassure visitors that contact details they send through are more protected.

For a while, Google tried to encourage web owners to implement SSL certificate on their sites. Some of them were described here such as an SEO ranking factor. The other example is by influencing a user experience with updating their Chrome browser that now shows a message to users whether the website is secure or not.

Whatever the goal of your website is, you should take a step to get your site secure and install https on to improve your online presence and get the most from the investment in your website.