What is an SSL certificate and why get one?

Ross Collins - Wednesday 5th October 2016

HTTPS - SSL Certificate

It’s a well known fact that Marketers and Web Developers love their acronyms! From SEO and PPC to ROI and URL, the list goes on. But the following is definitely worth paying some attention to if you haven’t heard of it before, or don’t know what it does. It’s also one that you should 100% invest in as it guarantees your credibility online, boosts you higher on search engines and makes users more likely to provide their details to you. The acronym I’m talking about is SSL.

What is SSL?

Never hear of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) before? You’ve most likely come across it before without even realising. If you go onto any well known site (Wikipedia, BMW, Gov, The Guardian, Citizens advice, Ryan Air (Notice how these aren’t just E-commerce sites!)) you’ll see that ‘HTTP’ changes to ‘HTTPS’ and a small green lock at the top left of your browser. Seeing this lock means that you’re on a safe website, secured by SSL. This means, when a web browser contacts your secured website, the SSL certificate enables an encrypted connection. In layman’s terms it’s like sealing a letter in an envelope before sending it in the post.

Why is it important?

Your website is effectively your digital shop window, so it’s stands to reason you should make your customers feel like they’re in a safe place. That goes for both service based and product based businesses and is not just inclusive of e-commerce sites where transactions take place (a common misconception!). If you have a contact form on your site, your users should feel comfortable with passing on their details to you via a secure network. Additionally, having a SSL certificate positively affects your website’s performance, boosting your site higher up the SERP’s (search engine results page). Going back to our ‘shop window’ analogy – this will effectively put your site in a more highly searched area (so expect more users through to your site as a result of this!).

As announced by Google, “We’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”

In nutshell, SSL makes your users feel like they’re in a trustworthy environment which has the potential to increase their time and engagement on your site and the prospect of them returning again. With that in mind, it provides the opportunity to present more CTA (calls to action) to users, whether that’s making an enquiry, joining your mailing list or making a purchase.

How do I get it?

Depending on your hosting provider, standard yearly SSL renewal fees start from just £30 + an installation fee. It’s also worth remembering that older web applications can have issues with HTTPS URLs, so this may affect the cost of installation slightly.

If you are unsure about hosting or don’t want the hassle of renewals and installation we can provide a tailored quote to suit you. If you’d like more information about how to get an SSL certificate onto your site to boost your rankings and prove your credibility on the internet email: ross@fuel-communications.co.uk

 

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