Most likely this has happened to you as well, one minute you’re browsing along and next thing you know:
Warning! Your connection to this site is not secure.
If your experience with this error message was to freeze, and reconsider the site you were about to visit, that would be consistent with everyone else’s. And for good reason, this error message is absolutely meant to stop you in your tracks and let you know that you could be putting yourself and your data at risk.
End users don’t like it…
This message is an indication that the site you are about to visit is not secured by an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate (or Secure Sockets Layer) verifies that a website and the company managing the site are real and exist, and will keep your information secure. Those certificates are very important because they instantly legitimize a website and ensure that all information that is transferred back and forth (such as passwords, credit cards and forms) is encrypted and protected.
If your site is not currently under an SSL certificate or if your current certificate is expired, the appearance of this message which is at best a nuisance, can at worst damage your brand reputation and your customer’s trust in you.
… search engines don’t like it…
Google has always been clear – security is a top priority. One of the ways in which they ensure said security is by prioritizing sites with SSL certs (HTTPS) over sites that are not protected (HTTP). Using HTTPS as a ranking signal is something that search engines have been doing for a few years now and have been giving more and more weight to in their efforts to achieve HTTPS everywhere and create a safer web for all.
… and government agencies don’t either!
Recently the Department of Homeland Security in the US and the EU Commission have focused greatly and in some case put in place regulations relating to PII or Personally Identifiable Information gathered by websites. As of May 2018 in the EU, any and all websites collecting information from end users have to adhere to GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation. This is all part of a worldwide movement to ensure that the web is a safe as possible for everyone and having an SSL protected site is a good first step in that general direction.
What does that all mean for your business?
The two main things you should be concerned as a business with an online presence are:
- How are my customers going to view me?
- How are search engines going to rank me?
If you site is not protected under an SSL certificate, those two elements are deeply affected in a detrimental manner. Essentially your customers/visitors could lose faith in you and decide to stop visiting your site, using your service or buying your products. Search engines could decide to penalize your in the rankings and push you down the list therefore affecting your overall SEO strategy. A lose-lose situation.
The good news is, protecting your site with an SSL cert is very easy and inexpensive! Your web development team will be able to answer any questions you might have and get you set up. At the very least the company you are using to host your website will have a ‘Contact Us’ and will be able to guide you to ensure that your site looks safe to end users and search engines alike.
As always, we would be more than happy for you to contact us if you have any questions about your site and whether your current security and performance configuration is optimal to help you reach your business goals.