Your business got a new website. Hooray! In this day and age are you even a business if you don’t have a website?
Oh, it’s beautiful. Oh, the copy is top notch (perhaps you had some help on that from some super brewers, nudge nudge). You type your URL into your browser bar to stare lovingly at your web baby.
But hang on! What’s this?
Traffic Light Psychology
Triangle of doom! What does it mean? Are hackers digging into the underworld of your website as we speak? Are phishers looting your business details?
Well, no. At least, probably not.
Take a breath. It looks worse than it is, we promise.
You’re probably aware – dimly or otherwise – that all website addresses begin with http, and that some begin with https. It’s that little ‘s’ suffix that denotes SSL certified status and comes with that benevolent looking padlock.
That green-for-go padlock immediately instils a feeling of trust in your site user, while the red hazard sign is bound to make them feel iffy about hanging out in your web-space. But actually, unless yours is an e-commerce site or collecting people’s details, it isn’t necessary.
SSL provides ‘encryption is transit’ which basically means that data moving between browser and server cannot be read or tampered with. This is for sure important if you’re collecting credit card details, for example – but doesn’t actually afford any protection to sites (or people using them) that are just providing information, not collecting data (like ours!).
And here’s the doozy: having an https site does not mean it is secure. It doesn’t protect the site against many other hacks and fake or damaging sites can get their hands on SSL certification anyway!
But your user might not know that. What they do know is green means go, red (especially in a triangle with an exclamation mark) means STOP FOR GOODNESS SAKE SOMETHING’S WRONG HERE!
Getting an SSL
If you google SSL certification, you’ll be presented with a number of options for buying yourself that special ‘s’ suffix and green padlock. These range from a few quid to hundreds of pounds. The more expensive type gets you an EV SSL certificate – see below
EV SSL certs are great for notching up the trust factor for bigger companies. Generally, a bog standard green padlock will do for SMEs. Either way, you have to shell out some more dough for this website lark? Sigh.
Well actually, no. There are technologies, such as Cloudflare, that get you a free SSL certificate.. but you do have to do some techy faffing, like changing nameservers. But don’t worry, they take you through it step-by-step.
My site doesn’t collect data. Is an SSL worth the bother?
On balance, the short answer is yes. Trust just can’t be underrated in marketing. The green padlock (and absence of the declaration that your site is ‘not secure’) just will make your audience feel more comfortable spending any time on your site. Which is what you want, OBVS.
Also, there’s an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation for the uninitiated) bonus for certified sites. And ranking highly on your key search terms isn’t to be sniffed at, folks. You need to be taking every opportunity to move on up.
So, there you have it. If your website’s more insecure than your new puppy, it’s time to pay that lip service and get yourself a padlock. Green means GO!