One simple letter and a green icon make all the difference in the world. Without this, your website is:
- Not trusted by customers
- Downgraded by Google no matter how good or relevant your content
- Easy to hack
You might not even notice or think about it, but that “s” at the end of HTTP://www. yourwebsite.com and that little green padlock that you may be the difference between a successful and failed website.
Customers might not notice it at first – but sophisticated customers will eventually, especially when you ask them for information, not just financial information, but any information. That is, IF they can find you. Because even if your customers aren’t paying attention, Google is.
Without that https:// on your site you fall to the bottom of Google Search results
As a business, you want your site to be found on the internet. For many companies, the majority of website traffic and ultimately the business comes via Google searches.
In the past year, Google’s top secret algorithm has placed a higher weighting on secure sites. Even with great work on search engine optimization, even with great content, the Google algorithm that ranks your site in their search results can drop you like a stone without that https://
In simple terms, HTTPS is the green word “Secure” or the lock icon in your browser address bar. It means the site you are currently on is encrypting any data it shows you, and any data you show it.
HTTPS is important for a few reasons, but let’s look at what impacts you directly.
Customers may not trust your site
Visitors to websites are becoming more and more aware of potential threats. Even the largest companies find their websites can be “spoofed” by look-alike sites that seem credible but are not trusted. So before they will interact with your site, more and more customers are looking more closely and for them, that https:// and the world Secure given them confidence that this is a real business that they can trust.
For more sophisticated customers and companies, not having a secure site is a black mark. They know for instance, that their data is at risk if it’s not encrypted. They have read that famous hacks like the Target breach last year were made possible by small suppliers who were compromised by hackers. They will stay far away from companies that look like they don’t know or don’t care about security.
The risks are real
Why is it important to encrypt data people send to you, and you send to them? It really does make compromising your site much more difficult. Without HTTPS:// your site is an easy target for a classic hacking exploit called a “Man in the Middle” attacks. A Man in the Middle attack is when someone eavesdrops on your computer’s network connection and sees what you are sending back and forth. Think of it like a person in the room, eavesdropping while you are talking to someone else. With the internet, any information you share on a network or on wireless connections can be easily intercepted and read if not encrypted with the HTTPS:// protocols.
Where? In public spaces , t’s easy to spoof an internet connections. Do you really check to see that you are on the actually Starbucks wireless? Even if you are on public wifi, if it doesn’t have a password or it’s easily guessed, hackers can read your traffic. Encrypted data can still be seen, but it can’t be read.
Not only do you need HTTPS, you should caution your employees to ensure that anytime they are engaging with a site that is collecting a person’s name, a password, or they are entering financial information/payment information – it must be on a secure, encrypted HTTPS page.
How do I get HTTPS on my website?
Whoever built your website or provides your hosting service should have mentioned this. They should also be able to provide you with the certificates necessary to change your site. If they are competent they should be able to do it with relative ease.
You should be prepared to ask questions about the process. Some providers charge far too much for the certificates which must be renewed annually. While there are high priced offerings, there are alternatives that are equally secure at low and sometimes no cost.
Anyone who is converting your site should have a good knowledge of what to look for when they make the conversion. While it’s relatively simple for those who know what they are doing, there can be errors created and functionality can be broken if you don’t know what you are doing. Anyone providing this service should be able to tell you “what can go wrong?” and pros will examine your site and ask questions before they do anything.
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