If your website is not secure, this presents three major problems. First, it's terrible for SEO as Google penalizes sites that are not secure. Second, it's bad for users who see the warning in their browser as they immediately are notified that your website could not be safe. And third, it means that your site could be compromised by hackers, making it unsafe for your business.
However, it can be fixed — often quickly and cost-effectively — and, you will likely see a 10x return on this investment. This is a great project to undertake during a crisis; it can be addressed with limited resources and has a huge impact on your business.
There are two ways that you can fix this fast. First is to talk to your current webmaster, web development company, and/or your hosting provider and they can provide guidance. If you would prefer a more hands-off approach, we can help, all you need to do is reach out.
Below is more detail on why you need to fix it and how to do it.
Google and SEO Implications
Google now penalizes websites that are not secure using http:// and not https://. Yes, Google started doing this a few years ago, but recently they have made the penalties greater. This means that your website will not rank as well as it could in search results which is extremely important for any business.
Web Browser Warnings
Web browsers, including Google Chrome, display a “Not Secure” label in the URL address bar warning users when a website is not secure enough. This warning reduces website visitor confidence in that website — and ultimately the brand.
Google has pledged to make the internet more secure for all of its users and plans to continue rolling out new security indicators. What this means is that the warnings are going to become more obvious to your website visitors. All websites that are missing a properly-installed SSL certificate will be flagged with a red "Not Secure" warning in Chrome.
There are businesses that are OK with knowing their website that's not secure because they don’t sell products online and Google ranking is not important to them. However, trust is a major factor and your website needs to build trust and confidence in your brand and that's why conveying a safe website is important.
When a connection to your website site is not encrypted, there is a chance that sensitive information such as passwords or credit card details will not be private when users interact with your website. Without an SSL certificate, you're not giving your site visitors the best and most trustworthy experience with you.
You can fix this. The best way to ensure a secure and safe site is to enable HTTPS, also known as SSL (secure socket layers).
How to Set Up SSL and HTTPS
To set up an SSL certificate, you need to complete the following steps with your website hosting provider:
Login to your hosting provider account (for example, GoDaddy).
See what options are available for the self-service purchase of an SSL certificate. Many hosting providers have easy to access options and systems for installing an SSL certificate.
This will likely require re-configuring your website hosting so that you have a dedicated IP address as part of your plan. There is also likely an extra charge for this and your hosting costs may up nominally.
Buy an SSL certificate through your hosting provider. All web browsers (like Chrome or Safari) check for an SSL certificate when they first load your website for a visitor.
Activate the certificate within your web hosting control panel (for example, cPanel).
Install the certificate correctly from the SSL menu in your control panel.
Route visitors to your site to use HTTPS. This is the tricky part as there are many different ways to do this based on your website configuration. This could be an update in WordPress, a code snippet, or it could mean modifying your Apache configuration.
Again, this is something that we can help you with, both quickly and cost-effectively, get in touch today.
Chris Breikss, Founding Partner
Obstacles are like asteroids. Shoot 'em down and let's go to the moon.