So, you’ve registered your domain name and got your website up and running. Everything’s looking great, and your business is off to a good start – and then a contact asks if your website will be secured with an SSL certificate… Don’t panic, and don’t be ashamed if you don’t know what one is – it’s more common than you think! And we’ve made a handy little guide for you, so get ready to become an SSL expert.
In preparation for Safer Internet Day we sat down with one of our technical experts at Mosaic Digital Media, Liam Wright, so he could talk about his experience with SSL Certificates and what he knows about the subject. Please feel fee to take a listen below:
What is an SSL Certificate?
First, let’s start with the basics… SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a type of security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.
In simple terms, for small businesses, it’s a great way to show their customers that they can browse, purchase products and share information with you safely via an online connection.
The SSL is effectively a safety net that catches all the digital ‘bugs’ and keeps them away from site visitors and potential customers, so to speak. It’s a protective barrier for you, your customers and your website.
Keep in mind that over 50% of crime is made digitally… So it’s better to be safe than sorry.
So, does your site need an SSL Certificate?
To answer this first you’ll need to ask yourself a few important questions.
Firstly, do you plan to accept major credit cards online? If yes, you’ll probably need a merchant account, and most of these already require an SSL certificate regardless. An SSL certificate is usually needed before accepting major credit cards, and you’ll probably want one anyway if you want to reassure your customers that your connection is secure. Why would they want to risk their credit card information being stolen? Having that SSL certificate gives them peace of mind and pretty much guarantees repeat visits to your site. On the other hand, some online store programs offer build-in secure payment systems, so in this case, you might not need an SSL certificate for your small business website.
There are other reasons you could need an SSL certificate, however – not only does it protect your customer’s credit card information, but it will also protect password logins. If any of your pages required a password to gain access, and they aren’t properly protected, it provides a hacker with an easy opportunity to get into your website. This also applies for WordPress websites with a login page for the administrator, not just customer login pages.
Some websites collect information instead of money – for example, a website involving questionnaires. Having an SSL certificate on these types of websites secures all the information that these online forms take in, as some types of form mail can be easily intercepted by hackers. Do you really want to risk information like names, addresses and phone numbers? Probably not.
Can SSL help with SEO?
This is a more straight forward answer… YES. Google, in its quest to give every user the best experience, pushes websites that have SSL certificates further up the ranking because it can be seen as a trusted source and users aren’t going to have any security issues.