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What is SSL and why is it important?

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You might have seen the term online or noticed your fellow small business owners talking about it at the last networking meeting, but what is SSL? Why is it important? and should you be worried if your website doesn’t have it? We’re here to answer these questions and explain how this techy term can help your business to succeed online.

What is SSL?

In technical terms:

Secure Sockets Layer (also known as SSL, SSL Cert or SSL Certificate) is a digital certificate. It authenticates a website and encrypts information passed through an online connection.

To you and me:

It provides a secure, private connection when browsing the internet! It keeps your website protected and provides a safe experience for your customers. 

SSL has become the foundation of internet security, keeping you and your customers safe from hackers as your valuable data travels through the world wide web. Every day we are reminded about the imminent online security threat and how important it is to protect our data. This doesn’t just mean financial data, but any data. We already know that we should purchase some kind of malware protection and create complex passwords, but we should also be ensuring that we’re buying from and browsing trusted websites. SSL provides that level of security and we should all be aware of its greatness! 

How do I check if a website is safe?

It’s easy to spot if a website is being actively protected by SSL. All you need to look out for is the https:// at the start of the website’s URL and a closed padlock icon next to it. It might look something like this:

A website and domain being actively protected by SSL

Chances are, your customers will be looking out for this too – so make sure your site is protected!

If a website isn’t protected, you might see something like this:

An example of an un-secure website and domain not being protected by SSL

You might even be faced with one of these scary messages:

A browser security warning

This is all the more reason to make sure your website is protected. If you’re trying to sell products, the last thing you want is your customer’s browser warning them off!

Why is SSL so important?

Okay, so we’ve covered the main points of securing data and protection from online hackers. However, SSL provides more than just that, especially if you’re running a business. SSL can also:

  • Boost your Google rankings (who doesn’t want that?!): Google now considers SSL important for ALL websites, not just for those with checkouts or password-protected areas. With more activity online than ever before, Google and other major search engines are dedicated to countering security threats. As part of this, they’re using https as a ranking signal, encouraging people to be safe online and rewarding those who already are 
  • Provide credibility and build customer trust: Seeing ‘https’ or the closed padlock next to your website’s domain name instantly tells your website visitors that you are a legitimate business. This means that it’s safe to not only browse your website, but also to purchase from it.

What happens if I don’t have an SSL cert?

Your business probably won’t thrive online – and might not even survive. If you’re selling anything online or asking visitors to provide any data, such as credit card credentials or information via a contact form, you need to have an SSL cert in place. Even if you aren’t collecting this information, SSL will improve your SEO and your customers will know you care about their online security – it’s a win-win situation! If your customers don’t trust your website, you could miss out on valuable business. They might even be blocked from accessing your website completely if their browser deems it too unsafe to visit. 

While it’s always good to think about your website’s security, our advice would be to go one step further than this, and to invest in an SSL certificate today. There are lots of helpful guides out there to help you to choose the right SSL for you. If you’re using a website builder like ours, you might already have an SSL certificate included in your package; or perhaps your provider can supply one at an extra cost.

We know how important online security is for any business, so we’ve included SSL with every premium Go Sitebuilder package, completely free of charge; all you need to do is enable it! If you have a Go Sitebuilder website, here’s how:

If you don’t have a website or you’re looking to create a new responsive website that you can update from anywhere (plus a FREE SSL cert), sign up for a free trial with Go Sitebuilder.

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