Having an SSL Certificate in 2020 has become a basic standard for every website on the world wide web. But when I visit most small business websites I still see websites without a valid SSL certificate. Every time I see this I am at a loss for words. Why? It’s so simple to install an SSL Certificate and the benefits clearly outweigh the time it takes to install one. But why are most small business websites not installing one?

It could be a lack of knowledge. Not knowing what an SSL Certificate is or what the benefits of installing one are. It could be that the web designer/developer hired was incompetent hence they did not teach or guide you, etc.

But as of right now, those reasons don’t matter anymore. What matters is correcting this problem as soon as possible.

What Is An SSL Certificate?

ssl certificate

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and, in short, it’s the standard technology for keeping an internet connection secure and safeguarding any sensitive data that is being sent between two systems, preventing criminals from reading and modifying any information transferred, including potential personal details.

The two systems can be a server and a client (for example, a shopping website and browser) or server to server (for example, an application with personally identifiable information or with payroll information).

It does this by making sure that any data transferred between users and websites, or between two systems remain impossible to read. It uses encryption algorithms to scramble data in transit, preventing hackers from reading it as it is sent over the connection. This information could be anything sensitive or personal which can include passwords, credit card numbers, and other financial information, names, and addresses.

Why Do I Need an SSL Certificate on My Website?

1. South Africans Are Cautious

Living in a country with a high crime rate, South Africans are often skeptical and cautious. As there is an ever-increasing number of attempted online scamming and digital theft/hacking. SSL is one way of mitigating that skepticism.

2. You Can Improve Your Google Ranking

While the real purpose of an SSL  certificate is securing information between the visitor and your website, there are other benefits, namely pleasing Google and the opportunity for a page rank boost. Google is serious about its browser security and has taken the stance that all data submitted to Google listed websites should be secured with SSL.

Google rewards websites that have an SSL certificate. And when it comes to ranking well on Google and generating traffic to your website, every small advantage helps. Adding an SSL certificate is just another factor to increase your Google ranking. You can read more about their announcement here.

3. Increases Conversions

People online want to work with businesses that they can trust. If you do not have an SSL certificate, people will clearly see “NOT SECURE” on the left side of your URL that your website is not secure. That is one of the factors that affect whether or not they should trust your business or not.

How Do I Install a Valid SSL Certificate?

Get your web developer to help you install a valid SSL certificate for you. Frankly, this should have been done the first time when your website was getting built but since it wasn’t, get your web developer to fix it. Here’s why you most likely won’t be able to just do it yourself?

1. SSL Certificate Integration Can Be Time Difficult

SSL integration into your existing non-SSL website can be a nightmare. Upgrading your website to an SSL secure website is not instantaneous and will require the content and data of your website to be updated accordingly.

2. There Are Phony Certificates Available

Where there is an opportunity someone will take it. This too is the case with SSL certificates. Scammers play on the lack of consumer knowledge.

3. You Need to Get the Appropriate SSL Certificate

Not all SSL certificates are the same and not every website needs the same level of SSL. A basic business website or blog for example doesn’t need the best hacker-proof encryption that costs R5 000 a year. It simply needs enough encryption that Google is happy and your website doesn’t drop in its ranking. A perfect example would be with the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.

A website that requires large online credit card purchases or hosts a large amount of sensitive information, on the other hand, does need advanced encryption. For example, a Comodo SSL Certificate.

It is not always easier to understand the difference between these certificates or the pros and cons of your specific website. Whereas, a professional web developer can advise you on what is appropriate for your website. In addition, because they deal with many hosts and websites, they can probably get you a better deal.

Conclusion

Get an SSL certificate installed on your website as soon as possible. There is absolutely no valid reason as to why your website should not have an SSL certificate right now.