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What Is an SSL Certificate and Why Your Website Needs One?

The internet now dominates every aspect of our lives. From the moment we open our eyes, we reach for our smartphone to clear a myriad of notifications that appeared on our screens while we slept. We carry our entire lives around with us on those same devices. Your visitors are ultimately trusting you to protect their private information.

Have you ever visited a website and noticed that next to the web address it displays the message 'Not Secure' in red text? Did it make you feel nervous, or did it alter your perception of the company behind the website?

Ensuring that your website is aesthetically pleasing and attracts visitors that stick around for more than three seconds remains crucial. But ensuring that they feel comfortable and confident when browsing your site is equally as important too.

Privacy, trust, and the safeguarding of sensitive data are increasingly important to customers, and there are many reasons why your business must have a secure website. But what exactly is an SSL certificate, and why does your business need one?

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What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate will change a web address from HTTP to HTTPS. The S stands for secure, and these certificates were traditionally only used by e-commerce websites and banks in the early days of the internet. Here in 2019, an SSL could determine who will find your website and how much they trust your brand.

SSL authentication can also help verify ownership of your website. Unfortunately, some cyber criminals make replicas of websites and attempt to divert your traffic to their fake sites. In simple terms, an SSL certificate is a data file that is stored inside your website's root directory.

This file will authenticate your website's identity and enable visitors can see you are you say you are. The green padlock next to your web address provides your business with both credibility and trust while also putting your business on the right side of Google's search algorithms.

HTTPS Everywhere, why Google wants all websites to be secure

The days where only websites that sell products, services, or memberships needed to worry about installing an SSL Certificate have gone. In case you missed it, Google announced last year that it would use the identifier to make visitors aware when their information is safe and secure when browsing online.

Google advised that HTTPS is a requirement for many new browser features and progressive web apps that come with cutting-edge new features. It will also prevent intruders from exploiting unprotected communications or inserting ads into websites that create further security vulnerabilities.

Anything that could potentially damage your search ranking and trust with your online audience must be taken seriously. An incredible 92% of UK web searches come from Google. Combine this with the undeniable truth that the higher your website appears in Google's rankings, the more visitors you will get.

It's not just the 'Not Secure' label that should incentivize you to ensure that your site is secure. It's also an easy way to improve your ranking in Google and help your brand stand out from your competitors.

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Why does my website need an SSL certificate?

Technically a blog or basic website does not officially require an SSL. But it's benefits cannot be ignored. It enables your site to have a respectable rank in Google. It also prevents your customers from closing the tab in their browser in a panic after seeing a scary warning message. For these reasons alone, it's a no brainer.

Many businesses will see this as an unnecessary hassle and ignore the warning. However, in an age where trust and transparency are essential to customers, nobody wants web browsers telling visitors that the online home of your company is unsafe or not to be trusted.

All of the data that we share online is passed from computer to computer on it's journey to the destination server. SSL encrypts everything and makes it unreadable to everyone except for the intended recipient. The encryption of information, such as credit card details, usernames, and passwords, is making the internet a safer place.

The good news is that applying an SSL is inexpensive and easy to apply to your website. Without too much effort, you can add a "Secure" tag to your website and also secure an SEO boost. So, what are you waiting for?

Does the prospect of exploring your options with SSL certificates and how it will affect the ranking of your website feel incredibly daunting? Remember you are not alone, and our team will happily advise you on the best way forward should you need any help or advice.

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Pelling have over 50 years combined experience designing and coding websites. We work with companies of all sizes, from one-man bands to multinational blue chip companies. We endeavour to provide high quality service, while maintaining a competitive price.

We pride ourselves in our level of customer service, which we believe is the main reason behind our high customer retention rates.