Securing Your Website: It’s Time To Lock Things Up
I’m sure you pay a lot of attention to security. You lock up your materials, tools, vehicles, and job sites. Your office probably has an alarm. And your phone undoubtedly requires a password, a secret pattern, or your face to unlock it.
But what I’m not sure about is whether or not you’ve thought much about securing your online presence.
If not…it’s time.
Google’s latest update to its Chrome browser displays website URLs differently according to SSL certification status. Secure sites start with “https” rather than the non-secured “http.”
In Sept. 2018, sites without SSL are marked “Not secure” in the address bar, while https sites get a lock icon in green. By October, the “not secure” message will turn red with an exclamation point, drawing users’ attention.
If your site doesn’t have SSL certification, you’ll get the red warning sign. Google hopes it will act like a stop sign for people looking at unsecured sites.
What’s an SSL certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which creates an encrypted link between the server a site lives on and the browser someone’s using to interact with it — it makes sure any data passing between the server and browser remains private.
The certification says SSL is there and working.
Why is it important?
While it’s obviously important for businesses to encrypt data like credit card numbers when selling over the web, the security setting carries implications for any business site.
Your website is your front door online. As a remodeler, trust is a huge part of why you get, and keep, clients. Even if you’re not taking payment information online, you probably have a page for prospects to contact you, and landing pages for offers or events.
But you’re not taking or storing anything like credit cards or social security numbers on your site — why do you need that extra layer of security? Users will get used to seeing green or red messages, and Google’s teaching them to inherently distrust red sites.
Even if you don’t think it will affect your brand image, people may see the red and hesitate to even enter basic contact information. If web leads are important to you, showing your site is secure should be too.
You don’t need any red flags about not being trustworthy on your own website.
It affects your Google rank
Google has been using https as part of its ranking algorithm for a while now, but industry watchers predict it will become even more important. Think of the time and effort that went into making sure your site is SEO-optimized, or the money spent on Google Ads for keywords. You want your site to come up first in a user’s search. Adding the SSL certification could help raise your site’s profile online.
Google has been working on elevating https over http for a few years now. With the latest changes, Google’s taking steps to make the web more transparent and safe for users — and users learn to trust those safeguards. Now may be the time to get your site SSL secure.