Before we delve into the reasons why your website needs an SSL certificate, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to understanding what an SSL certificate actually is. An SSL certificate is two-fold: it’s code and it’s also a mark of a website’s trustworthiness, indicated by a domain name change from HTTP to HTTPS. It’s the “S” at the end that indicates to web browsers that your website has an SSL certificate installed. So, how does an SSL certificate make your website more secure? And, at that, secure from what? The code portion of an SSL certificate works to encrypt a user’s information entered on your website (say in a contact registration, log in, or check out form) as it’s being communicated between the user’s browser and your servers, keeping third parties from accessing your audience’s personal information as it’s being transferred.  


While it used to be the working assumption that SSL certificates were only needed for websites that accepted payments, that is no longer the case. In fact, as user’s personal data becomes even more valuable to a growing number of interested parties, unless your entire website is secure, your visitor’s information is a sitting duck that’s waiting to be targeted by internet thieves. But here’s the truth, that internet thief isn’t some creepy guy in a basement going from website to website looking for data vulnerabilities. Instead, it’s automated code that the creepy basement guy has made which goes around indiscriminately seeking out vulnerable pieces of personal information. Yikes.  


Still need more convincing? Here are three other reasons why your website needs an SSL certificate: 


  1. An SSL certificate protects your customers and builds trust between you and your audience. Installing a SSL certificate on your website is an easy way to let your audience know that you care about them and their data. And, as businesses that use the inbound marketing approach, building and establishing trust is the name of the game. The symbolic nature of an SSL certificate is its ability to verify to your audience that you are who you say who are by third-party verification (i.e. the company that who provided the SSL certificate) and that you’ve taken steps to ensure the safety of their personal information. If a customer sees evidence that you’ have their best interest at heart, especially when it comes to their information, it communicates how you value them, which works to gain increased credibility in their eyes. Which brings me to my second point… 


  1. An SSL certificate boosts your Google search results ranking. Like we said earlier, information is becoming increasingly valuable, as evidenced in entire digital economies being built around the acquisition of personal data. So, as a company that has a vested interest in protecting its users’ data and ensuring that it serves secure website suggestions, Google is now rewarding websites that have upped their security game with an SSL certificate by ranking them higher than websites that don’t. Not only that, but Google’s browser, Chrome, now alerts users when they’re accessing a site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate, saying the website isn’t secure.  


  1. An SSL certificate protects your business. People tend to not value security until their security is perceived to be threatened. It’s like when people are swimming in the ocean, unaware of what’s sharing the nearby water. Everyone’s danger indicator is relatively low until someone spots a grey fin sticking out of the water, at which point panic ensues. Website security can work the same way. Though it might seem like your website might not have enough data to catch the attention of hackers, the problem with that line of thinking is it assumes that it’s a person making the decision about who gets hacked and who doesn’t. Remember the creepy guy we discussed earlier? That’s right. It doesn’t matter the size of your company’s website or the amount of data you have or don’t have. If there’s a vulnerability in your user’s information, it’s probably only a matter of time until that vulnerability is exposed. And as soon as your users’ information has been compromised, their trust in you is also compromised.  


So, what does this all mean? Your website needs an SSL certificate, but an SSL certificate is only part of the security needs your website has. Give our experts a Wingman a call today at (855) 390-8570 to see how we can help provide security to your entire website!