Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a means of protecting, via encryption, any information that is sent from one website to another.
You can tell SSL is in use when you see the padlock icon at the top of your internet browser, and when the address of the website being viewed starts with https rather than just http.
SSL is vital when personal information is being exchanged over the internet. You will for example never see a bank or building society website without the secure padlock icon, neither will the majority of online shoppers be inclined to enter any payment information on a site that isn’t secured in this way.
The internet users of today tend to be clued up about SSL and will be regularly warned by their banks to check for security identifiers. This has led to a widespread awareness of website security, and the overall feeling of trust that is brought about by the padlock and https well and truly flows beyond the finance and retail sectors, with internet users seeking out SSL security identifiers even when they are not sharing personal information. This is one of the reasons smaller businesses as well as major brands are flocking to upgrade their website security. However, there are further benefits of switching to SSL.
SSL reassures visitors that the website they are on is bona fide rather than one that has been created in order to mine information. Phishing is a major widespread issue, and unfortunately there are literally thousands of websites that have been set up to look like those of household names and famous brands, when in fact they are actually operated by criminals who are stealing personal data and payment information.
If you are serious about creating a feeling of trust and reassurance for your visitors so that they stay on your website and transact with your business rather than navigate away, you really should be using SSL.
Positive User Experience
For any business, offering customers both potential and existing a straightforward way to verify security can only act to enhance confidence, which will lead to a positive user experience on your website. SSL websites are thought of as more professional and have the effect of boosting the loyalty of visitors.
Boosted Search Engine Rankings
Good search engine positions are the holy grail of any website owner, so if there is anything that can be done to improve them that doesn’t involve the proverbial rocket science, it has to be worth it.
SSL certificated websites are rewarded by Google with a rankings boost. On the Google Webmaster Central Blog, it is stated that ‘security is a top priority for Google’ and that, as well as ensuring its own services use industry-leading security such as strong HTTPS encryption, the search engine is working to make the internet safer in more general terms. As they quote, ‘A big part of that is making sure that websites people access from Google are secure’. Google has even gone as far as calling for ‘HTTPS everywhere’ on the web and, after running tests that take into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in its search ranking algorithms, has started to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.
It is clear that the use of SSL certificates on a website makes a great deal of sense, for many reasons. At Figment, we are in the process of moving all of our managed websites onto this system, and all new websites are SSL certificated. If you are looking for a website designer that secures your site as standard, why not talk to Figment?