10 tips to prepare ecommerce site for holiday shopping
(Last Updated On: December 2, 2019)

All it takes is one security breach to send your customers skittering away, credit card in hand. And there are lots of ways for hackers to attack your ecommerce site: form jacking, crypto-jacking, ransomware…. Every day, someone, somewhere comes up with a new way to get their sticky little hands on your customers’ data.

Here are ten things you can do to secure your website, so your customers feel safe enough to buy from you:

1. Choose the right web hosting UK service for your ecommerce site.

Security is important for any website, but it’s crucial when you have a site that collects sensitive data. And your ecommerce site may need to collect your customers’ credit card information and even their address.

Your web hosting service needs to have great monitoring tools to help you keep track of your website’s security.

You also need a web hosting company with 24/7 customer support, so you can talk to someone the second you think something might be wrong.

2. Back up your website frequently.

In case something does get past your website’s defences, your hosting company needs to have a great website backup service so your website can get up and running again with as little disruption as possible. (A good website backup is kind of like a duplicate of your website. Having a copy of your website means you won’t lost all your data if your “real” website is compromised.)

If you think a website backup seems inessential, it’s because nobody ever expects a security breach to happen to them. But when you’re collecting customer data, you can’t afford to leave it unsecured. Everybody needs to back up their website, but when you have an ecommerce site, you need to back up your website even more frequently than other people; you need to back up your website every day.

3. Choose VPS hosting instead of shared hosting

When you use shared hosting, the trade-off for the money you save is that you share the server with another user.

A user who misuses your server could get the server – and your website – blacklisted. A blacklisted website scares away your customers.

Sure, shared hosting is usually secure, and most webmasters aren’t making mischief just for the fun of it. But why risk it?

VPS hosting gives you more control over what happens on your server, because when you get VPS hosting, you’re the only one with access to your server.

Because VPS hosting frees up more resources than shared hosting, your website also loads more quickly when you choose VPS hosting. And a website that loads more quickly gives customers fewer reasons to click away from your website before they can make a purchase. Considering a VPS Hosting Service? Check out this one.

4. Keep your browser updated

When developers notice vulnerabilities in their software, they release new updates. If you don’t update your website, you’ll be open to attacks.

As a first step, make sure you have Chrome browser update 78/79. According to Google, Chrome browser update 78/79 will notify you if your credentials are part of a known data breach. This update will come in handy to alert you if hackers do get at your data, so you can fix the breach as soon as possible.

5. Don’t ask your customers to enter any more information than needed

Giving your customers special perks on their birthday might seem like a nice gesture. But for your more skittish customers, having a requirement that they enter their birthdate will just scare them off. So, don’t go overboard.

You can give customers the option to enter their birthdate, but you’ll see an increase in customer confidence (and conversions!) if you don’t ask them to reveal too much information that hackers can use against them.

6. Help your customers keep their passwords secure

Once hackers have access to a user’s login information, they can wreak a surprising amount of damage. When your customers are logging in for the first time, make sure they see a message telling them to choose a unique password. (Best practice is to make sure passwords consist of at least 8 characters, which must be a number, an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, and a symbol.)

Sometimes, even with the best of reminders, your customers might still lose their passwords. In case this happens, you need to make sure you have several layers of authentication before they can get their passwords back (or change them altogether). This way, you can make sure your customer is actually the one trying to get into their account.

But be careful not to cross the line between being cautious and being irritating. Your customer shouldn’t need to write a dissertation to regain access their account. But, something as simple as a security question and email verification will help prevent your customers from accidentally having their accounts accessed by hackers.

7. Use HTTPS

Your best bet to secure your website against online fraud is to move it to HTTPS. To make the switch to HTTPS, you’ll first need to buy an SSL certificate. Once you’ve bought your certificate, you’ll need to install it and change the settings on your website.

Getting HTTPS also helps you attract new customers. Google uses HTTPS to give your website a higher SERP ranking, which makes your website show up higher on the search results page. This makes you look more trustworthy to customers and also increases your chances of having them see your URL.

8. Keep your SSL certificate up to date

Do you know what happens when your SSL certificate expires? Your customer gets a big, scary-looking message telling them that if they type their credit card information into your website, they could be putting their security at risk.

People feel vulnerable when they put their credit card information on the internet, especially if it’s a newly created website or a website they’re using for the first time.

Keeping your SSL certificate updated helps you avoid unnecessarily repelling your customers.

9. Make sure your website is PCI compliant.

Before your ecommerce site can accept credit cards, you need to pass PCI compliance testing. Getting Payment Card Industry compliance tells your customers you’ve taken every precaution to keep their credit card information safe. This assures customers that they can trust you with their information and that it’s okay to buy from you.

10. Want customers to know it’s safe to buy from you? Tell them!

Everybody knows how common data breaches are, so there’s no point in pretending they don’t exist. When you’ve already done everything to make your customers feel safe buying from your ecommerce website, let them know they’re safe with you.

You don’t have to drone on for pages and pages about your safety practices – just briefly let them know how seriously you take their online safety and tell them some of the steps you’ve taken to secure their data.

Wrap-up

No matter how well you market your ecommerce site, customers won’t buy from you unless they feel safe. Make sure every aspect of your website, from your password creation process to your web hosting UK plan, works together to reassure your customers that it’s okay to spend their money with you.