A secure (SSL) certificate is recognized by a single letter that appears in a web browser’s address bar: “s”. That “s” — which either appears or doesn’t appear at the end of “http” and before a specific website — certifies that the website is Secure. For example, if you glance up then you’ll see that the bnisarasota.com site is not secure.
Websites with a secure certificate use technology to encrypt data that is submitted by visitors, such as when they subscribe to a newsletter, download an ebook, make a purchase, register for a webinar, log into a forum, launch a chat, and so on. Essentially, this certificate tells visitors that the website owner is legitimate and safe to communicate with.
What if There is No SSL Certificate?
It’s important to point out that websites that don’t currently have an SSL certificate (e.g. http instead of https) aren’t necessarily fraudulent. As noted above, many businesses don’t yet have a secure certificate. This is especially likely among small businesses that didn’t accept credit card information and created their website years ago, or had their website created for them.
If Your Business Doesn’t Have a Secure Certificate…
You need one ASAP! It used to be that the primary reason for having a secure certificate was to encrypt and keep credit card numbers from being stolen when entered on a website. But Google has been pushing for all websites to utilize a secure certificate even if you are not taking credit card numbers online. There are two key ways Google has been influencing this change: a warning in the Chrome browser and SEO.
- Chrome browser warning: As of July 2018, Google’s Chrome web browser (version 68) is labeling all websites without a secure certificate as “Not Secure.” In the past, visitors were only told that a website (with a secure certificate) was secure.
- SEO: Experts believe that Google has tweaked its search engine algorithm to boost the ranking of websites with a secure certificate. Or, if one prefers the pessimistic glass half-empty version: Google is penalizing websites without a secure certificate.
We Can Help
If you don’t have a secure certificate, then don’t panic: getting one is easier, faster and less expensive than you think. As an example, we were able to help the Air & Water Center add a secure certificate to their site simply by requesting their hosting company to add one. Then we modified a few files to conform to the new secure status and it was in place for about $150. Contact us today, and we’ll tell you what needs to happen to go from insecure to secure (website-speaking, that is!). Your consultation with us is free.
Author: Daryl Schmucker, Noble Webworks - 941-752-711