Switch to HTTPS: 3 Reasons Your Small Business Should Do It Now
Let’s Keep It Simple
Maybe you know what the difference is between an HTTPS website address and an HTTP website address, and maybe you don’t. If you don’t, this article will help. My objective is not to explain all the nitty-gritty details. This is a simple, brief overview to help busy small business owners or marketers.
If you’re still using an HTTP website for your business, my hope is that this overview will help you determine whether you should make the switch to HTTPS. So, here it goes.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS basically means that the traffic between the website user and the site server is encrypted and secure. (HTTPS stands for ‘hyper text transport protocol secure’) This prevents hackers from ‘listening’ in on or altering data exchanged between the user and the website server.
It does not mean that your website is secure from hackers, and will not prevent malware on your site. It ONLY secures the data in transit. Additional security measures are required to prevent attacks to your website or detect malware.
3 Reasons You Should Switch to HTTPS
HTTPS has always been important for sites that collect sensitive user information, such as credit cards or personal data.
But what if your site doesn’t collect this type of data? Concerns over privacy have increased in recent years, and more HTTPS websites help to build a more secure internet.
Even basic user information, such as name and email address, would be protected in transmission from an HTTPS site.
But what if your website doesn’t request ANY user information? Perhaps there is not even a contact form. Should you still be concerned about secure transmissions? Here are two more reasons why you should consider HTTPS.
As far back as 2014 Google had announced that HTTPS sites would receive a ranking boost over HTTP sites.
This is just one of possibly hundreds of factors that would influence how your site ranks on Google, but it is worth noting. Especially as more and more websites convert to HTTPS, you don’t want yours to get left behind.
3. Consumer Trust
I believe the biggest reason to switch to HTTPS is consumer trust.
Not everyone understands exactly what HTTPS means; they just know it has something to do with security.
Browsers such as Firefox and Chrome have begun marking HTTP websites as ‘Not Secure’. Chrome has announced that sometime in October 2018 a new version, Chrome 70, will be released. With this release, HTTP sites will be marked ‘Not Secure’ in bright red, accompanied by a red triangular icon with an exclamation point in it.
You can see a demo of this in the video at the top of this article.
It looks like a ‘DANGER’ icon to me. (NOTE: An estimated 60% of users browse the internet on Google Chrome.)
Do you think this will increase user confidence? Even if you don’t ask them for sensitive information, do you think they will feel safe browsing a website so prominently labeled as ‘not secure’?
How to Switch to HTTPS?
You may now be contemplating switching to HTTPS. But how does it work? Here is the simple version. It requires an SSL Certificate be installed on your website server. The certificate supplies two encryption keys: a public one encrypts the transmission and a private one decrypts the data.
You can contact your hosting company or your website administrator about these steps. Once the SSL Certificate is installed there are two more important steps.
First, you must ensure that all elements on your website are transmitted via HTTPS. For example, sometimes links or files may have been hard coded to a HTTP url. A website admin or SEO professional should be able to scan your site and find any non-HTTPS links or files and hopefully fix them.
Second, once you are sure there is no mixed content and everything on the site can be transmitted via HTTPS, you can force your website to only transmit data via HTTPS. This means even if someone goes to the HTTP version of your site, they will be redirected to the HTTPS version.
What Is Best For Your Business?
This is a general overview of the process. My purpose here was not to create a how-to article, but just to give you enough information to understand the process and decide if the switch is important for your business.
I believe it’s important for every business, regardless of size, and that the importance will only become greater. If you don’t want to get left behind, switch to HTTPS now.