SSL Certificate: Do I need one?
Secure Socket Layers, a feature that is often overlooked or not understood but would be doing most websites the ultimate favour. If you’ve not heard of SSL certification or you have and you still haven’t the faintest idea why you may need it, here are the basics…
HTTPS & SSL in a nutshell
Yes, the world of technology loves a good acronym or two, and in this case we’re talking about Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and Secure Sockets Layer, the two work in tandem to tell the browser that the site being viewed has been deemed secure. In the words of Squarespace:
“Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is a technology that secures the connection between your browser and the website you’re visiting” Squarespace 2019 (1)
HTTPS has evolved from HTTP which shows that the website has an encrypted connection. You’ll see this in action in your browser search bar where you would hope to find a padlock displayed along with the website address beginning with ‘https’ as shown in the image below.
Why should I have SSL certification?
1.Google SEO ranking
Now don’t get too excited, your website is not going to rank first page simply because you have SSL certification, but back in 2014 Google announced that they would give minor ranking boosts to sites with SSL.
“…we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.” Google 2014 (2)
Let’s face it, we’re all about pleasing Google and their myriad of algorithms and ranking systems, if this is one very simple way of doing it then tick it off the long SEO checklist, before getting to the next task.
2.Selling securely Online
If you want to sell products physical or digital online then you want to indicate to your potential customers that your website is a secure environment to place transactions. With more and more customers spending online, site visitors are actively looking for that hallowed padlock and grow more wary of sites that don’t display it.
3.search engine & browser displays
If you’ve ever searched online and been faced with a warning from your browser that the website may be insecure, you’ll understand that feeling of not wanting to be targeted/phished/scammed/hacked.
An insecure website is not the message that any business wants to send to their potential customers, especially if you’re expecting them to hand over their credit card details. Depending on a computers security settings some browsers will simply not display the site and that’s a potential lead and sale lost.
How do you get SSL certified?
Firstly, I know what you’re thinking - aren’t SSL certificates just another way of companies making more money from website owners? Depending on your hosting provider or platform you may have to pay for one, or you may get one completely free - either way, your website will benefit from it.
If you use all-in-one platforms such as Squarespace, Showit, Webflow or Shopify then the great news is that you don’t have to pay for a certificate! You just need to activate the settings. It’s very simple and you can find the full instructions for all these platforms in the reference links below.
Depending on your host you can buy one but there are some fantastic hosts that issue them freely. GoDaddy offers SSL from £3.99, Siteground provide a free version or optional paid ones. 123-reg offers one year of free SSL for new customers and paid after that period (correct as of 09/19).
I hope that this post has given you a brief understanding of what your business stands to gain through transferring to https, if you want to know more check out the further reading section.
In order to show customers that you are serious about their cyber-security as well as your own, the small cost of SSL could benefit your business in the long term as well as your website.
About the author…
Sophie is the website designer behind White Blossom Creative Co. Craft enthusiast, lover of colour, avid learner and html/CSS addict. You’ll often find her tweaking code, drinking tea and trying to find a creative solution to a dull problem.
Squarespace “Getting started with SSL” 05.08.19 read here.
Google Webmaster Central Blog “HTTPS as a ranking signal” 06.08.14 read here.
ssl free as standard
Showit “Can I add an SSL Certificate to my Showit website?” 2019 read here.
Shopify Help Center “SSL” 2019 read here.
Webflow “SSL for everyone” 19.12.16 read here.
Neil Patel “Do SSL Certificates Affect Search Rankings?” 2016 read here.
How “HTTPS Works “Why do we need HTTPS?” read here.
Backlinko “Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2019)” 28.12.18 read here.
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