Does Your Site Need an SSL Certificate?
There are many details to consider when building and managing a website for your company. And although some of them may seem minor – especially if you’re in a hurry to launch the site – there’s no room to cut corners on your company’s online home.
This is especially true in the case of SSL certificates. If you plan to gather any data from your site visitors, you absolutely need to have one.
With SSL, all data sent to your server (like passwords and credit card information) is encrypted. This means that any information your customers submit is completely unreadable without your server’s unique decryption key.
Call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about your company's site, or keep reading to learn more about what an SSL certificate is and how to determine whether your site needs one.
What is an SSL certificate?
SSL stands for “secure sockets layer.” SSL certificates are small files that authenticate the identity of your website. When you visit a site with SSL, you’ll see a closed padlock icon next to its URL and “https” in the URL itself.
SSL certificates are issued by certificate authorities, and there are many different providers to choose from. Each one will verify the identity of a person or company before issuing a certificate, and they all provide similar protections to your site visitors.
Essentially, having an SSL certificate protects sensitive information processed by your site and ensures that customer information can’t be hacked or stolen.
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Why do SSL certificates matter?
Without SSL certificates, it would not be safe to send any sensitive information online. Anyone would be able to access your visitors’ information, including credit card information, passwords, and personal information.
This could lead to issues like identity and credit card theft, not to mention a complete less of trust in your brand.
Now that SSL certificates have been in use for over a decade, customers have come to expect the padlock icon when making purchases online. This means that having one can show customers that your site is trustworthy.
Many companies expect visitors to trust their sites simply because of their brand name, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Even a great brand with quality products could make the mistake of not having an SSL certificate, meaning that their customers’ personal information could be compromised.
In addition to safety and trust, having an SSL certificate could potentially help your site’s SEO. In 2014, Google announced that it was making security a ranking signal.
This means that if you and a competitor are offering the same product and have similar domain authorities, they could outrank you simply because they have an SSL certificate and you don’t.
Of course, from Google’s perspective, this makes sense. Their job is to provide the best possible results for their users, and a site that’s secure is a better option than one that isn’t.
So, why do SSL certificates matter? In short, because they protect your customers, show that your site is trustworthy, and give you a boost in search engines.
That being said, not every site needs one.
Does your site need an SSL certificate?
SSL certificates protect customer information. But if your site doesn’t collect any information from your visitors, you don’t necessarily need SSL.
If you have an ecommerce store or allow visitors to create accounts, having an SSL certificate is mandatory. But if your site is primarily informational and doesn’t require visitors to submit information about themselves, you may decide that you don’t need one.
So if you ever decide to add ecommerce functionality or allow potential customers to send sensitive information through your site, adding SSL should be your first priority.
Want to learn more about improving your site’s security?
As a company, you need to make your customers’ security a priority. You need to protect their personal information and eliminate any risk that their personal details are accessible online.
At WebFX, we have years of experience creating secure sites for our clients, and we can do the same for you. Contact us today to speak with a strategist about whether your company needs an SSL certificate, and how we can help you get one for your site.