If you’ve been holding off on getting SSL certificates because you think only massive businesses need to encrypt their website, you could be making a very expensive mistake. You need SSL certificates for your small business website for the same reason that you need to lock your car even if it’s not a luxury sportscar: Thieves rarely discriminate.
And it’s not just identity thieves and hackers you need to worry about when you don’t have an SSL certificate, either. When you don’t have SSL certificates, you could scare away your customers.
Even though SSL certificates are so crucial to the security of small business websites, a surprising number of website owners haven’t yet installed their SSL certificate. If you’re one of the holdouts on SSL certificates, keep reading this guide to see why you absolutely need an SSL certificate if you want to secure your website, retain your customers, and get your customers to buy more often.
First things first:
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What is an SSL certificate?
“SSL” stands for “Secure Sockets Layer”. An SSL certificate encrypts data that’s passed between websites and the devices that are used to access them. SSL certificates also authenticate a website. (More on this particular function later!)
SSL certificates are important, and, over the years, lots of companies have cropped up, offering free SSL certificates. But those are a very bad idea.
Why free SSL certificates are a terrible idea:
- Free SSL certificates are inappropriate for businesses that collect customers’ credit card information, because they provide only the most basic functions of SSL certificates. This is inadequate for proper cybersecurity.
- Free SSL certificates are typically only offered in three-month instalments. This gives you one more thing to keep track of while also trying to run your business. Not good.
- Most companies that offer free SSL certificates don’t offer stellar customer support, which means they leave you to handle complicated technical issues on your own when something inevitably goes wrong.
- Companies that exclusively offer free SSL certificates have less incentive to ensure that they give you a high-quality product. The security of your website is too important to be entrusted to a company that has nothing to lose if the product they offer you turns out to be sub-par.
How do you get an SSL certificate?
That’s easy! You can buy an SSL certificate from most reputable web hosting companies. We even tell you everything you need to know about installing your SSL certificate!
Why your small business website needs an SSL certificate
There are seven main reasons why your small business website needs an SSL certificate:
1. SSL certificates show customers that your small business website is trustworthy
When you have a small business website, you have to work a bit harder to generate customer trust. An SSL certificate is an easy way to show your customers that they can trust your website. At the very least, SSL certificates tell the customer that you’ve demonstrated to the Certificate Authority that you are, in fact, the person who owns your domain. Your business looks more trustworthy when you’ve been authenticated by a creditable third party.
2. Websites with SSL certificates rank higher in search engines
Google gives a small ranking boost to websites that are secure, which means your website will rank slightly higher in search engines when you have an SSL certificate than when you don’t.
3. Your small business website converts better when you have an SSL certificate
“Cart abandonment” is what we call it when customers go through all the motions of making a purchase, then change their minds at the last possible second – just before purchase. That usually happens when customers like your products but don’t trust your checkout process.
An SSL certificate is the best way to reduce cart abandonment in a short period of time.
SSL encryption prevents hackers from stealing credit card numbers, addresses and banking information. When your customers see that their sensitive data is protected on your website, they feel more comfortable completing the checkout process.
4. You can’t collect customers’ credit card information without an SSL certificate
An SSL certificate isn’t just “nice to have” when you want your customers to be able to make their purchases using credit cards. If you want your customers to be able to make purchases with their credit cards, an SSL certificate is mandatory.
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) is in charge of deciding which websites can legitimately ask customers for their credit card information. And you can’t be PCI-compliant if your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate.
5. SSL certificates are great for branding
When you have an SSL certificate, you’re telling your customers that you care so much about their security that you’re willing to spend money to protect it. (SSL certificates don’t exactly break the bank, but your customers don’t need to know that.) When your customers see how seriously you take their security, this makes them trust your brand. Even if your brand is light-hearted and flippant, the extra step of installing an SSL certificate goes a long way towards making your brand also seem responsible where it counts.
6. SSL certificates help protect your users’ login information
Hackers who gain access to your users’ login information can easily use this information to breach your website, especially if their get access to the login information of your website admins. For the safety of your customers and your own website, you need to ensure that if your customers use login information, this can’t be accessed by third parties. Activating an SSL certificate (even if it’s just on the pages that collect sensitive information) is an easy way to protect your customers and your website.
7. No website is too small to be hacked
Most people who run a small business website hesitate to take basic security precautions because they think that nobody would bother hacking their website anyway. But that’s not true.
Small business websites are a favourite target of hackers because they’re usually so poorly protected.
Installing an SSL certificate on your small business website is a great way to boost your search engine rankings, increase sales, and decrease cart abandonment. It’s also a great way to show your customers that your brand is reliable and trustworthy.
Install your SSL certificate today, and join the thousands of small business owners who take their investment too seriously to leave their website unprotected.