Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Many people think securing a website with SSL (SSL encryption) is necessary only if they’re selling products or services via their website and collecting credit card or payment information. What many website owners do not realize is that SSL encryption has other very important benefits for small business owners.

To understand the benefits of having an SSL certificate installed for your website, it helps to understand what SSL is and actually does.

What exactly is SSL encryption?


SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is an encryption technology that creates a secure connection between your website’s server and your website visitor’s web browser. This allows for information to be protected during transmission between the two.

Without SSL encryption any computer could intercept the transmission from your browser to the server.
This includes the transmission of credit card numbers, usernames and passwords, and other sensitive information.

Do you need SSL encryption if you don’t sell anything on your website?

When your site is secured you’ll see that little green lock in the left corner of your browser’s location bar, followed by the website URL beginning with HTTPS. Data that is sent using HTTPS provides three key layers of protection:

Authentication: Confirms visitors are on the right website, yours, and builds trust.

Data integrity: Customer data cannot be corrupted or modified.

Encryption: Visitor activity cannot be intercepted while browsing your website.

Certificate Authorities, Standard & Wildcard SSLs

SSLs are issued by Certificate Authorities (CA). CAs are responsible for following predefined procedures for the issuance of SSL certificates. They are audited regularly and are responsible for keeping detailed records about the certificates that are issued.

A standard SSL certificate will secure only one primary domain (known as the common name) For example, you could use a standard SSL to secure www.yourwebsite.com.

If you want to secure one primary domain and all its subdomains — such as forums.yourwebsite.com, store.yourwebsite.com and members.yourwebsite.com — you will need what is called a Wildcard SSL.

Now that we have all that techno-mumbo-jumbo out of the way, it’s easy to see why you would want SSL encryption if you have an eCommerce website to protect your customer’s sensitive data. That just makes sense.

But what if you are not doing any eCommerce on your website?

SSL benefit for your website visitors


“Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest."
Do you need SSL encryption if you don’t sell anything on your website?

Onliners are more sophisticated than they used to be — and more informed. They now know to look for the telltale signs that a website is secured. SSL encryption does just that.

Having an SSL certificate installed on your website not only encrypts your customer’s data transmission on your site, your SSL certificate also confirms you are the legitimate and verified owner of your website.

Your SSL certificate is a confirmed credential that you are who you say you are. That builds trust!
 To obtain an SSL you will have to verify your identity, business and website ownership (depending on the validation level of your SSL):

1. You must show that you own the domain name you want to secure. Make sure your domain records are up-to-date and that they match the visible information on your website.
2. Documentation (bank statement, sales & use tax permit or utility bill, for example) is required that shows your company name and physical address.(For Extended Validation SSLs).
3. Items No. 1 and No. 2 should be an exact match.

SSL benefit to search rankings


We all know want to achieve strong rankings in the SERPS (search engine results pages) — but it isn’t easy. With literally hundreds of different and evolving criteria used in Google’s algorithm, you want to use every available tool to your advantage.

SSL encryption can help your website rank higher in search results.
It’s true. In August 2014 Google confirmed that it would start to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. That first article noted that “for now it’s only a very lightweight signal,” but over time Google “may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Do you need SSL encryption if you don’t sell anything on your website?“Beginning in January 2017 (Chrome 56), we’ll mark HTTP sites that transmit passwords or credit cards as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure.”


When Google says jump …

SSL benefit to membership sites 


Do you need SSL encryption if you don’t sell anything on your website?
Encrypting your members’ data will enhance the trustworthiness of your website. Adding SSL encryption will encourage members to join, share and participate more because they will feel safer doing so. And it’s not just about protecting their login credentials — securing your membership site with an SSL certificate will protect the personal data that they may add to their membership profiles.

You may not “do eCom,” but think about the sensitive information you might request from site members. Medical history? Specific personal contact or geographically precise information?

With identity fraud now a realistic concern, installing an SSL certificate reflects that protecting your site visitors’ and customers’ data transfer is important to you.


SSL benefit to encourage contact


As with membership sites, having an SSL certificate in place to ensure that your contact form transmission is encrypted will encourage site visitors to reach out. This is especially true if you are asking for more detailed, personally identifiable information.

Seeing that HTTPS and green padlock will add to the trust perception and let potential contacts know their submission is protected and that you are not a fly-by-night operation. Certificate Authorities also offer Trust Seals that you can display on your site. In addition to the padlock and HTTPS in your browser location bar, these graphics give website visitors an additional visual indication that you have SSL encryption in place.

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