Website Security Isn't Just for E-Commerce Anymore

It used to be that only e-commerce websites needed an SSL certificate to keep credit card information secure. It's not so anymore, and all sites need an SSL certificate according to Google.

Why Everyone Needs an https:// Secure Website

In 2017, you may have missed it, the announcement that Google was making https://-based website SSL security even more important and “dinging” websites that don’t have the proper tools in place. If you think that might be you, read on for how to fix it.

This may feel like a toothache, and you may approach it the same way: “If I ignore it, it just might go away.  Unfortunately, just like a toothache, this problem will get worse if ignored. As of the end of January 2017, if your visitors use Google Chrome (and as of 2015, over 1 Billion people were) to find your website, and you don’t have the proper website SSL security in place, it is quite possible that your visitors will be confused and scared away by the big red warnings that Google has started implementing. What might be even worse, website SSL security is now being used as a ranking signal by Google.

website security wordfence
Image from an article by WordFence Security 01/17/2017. Full article here 

Here’s What You Should Do

Test Your Website

First, test your site. Do you see a padlock icon in the location bar letting you know that your visitors are secure like the image below?  If you do, you’re all set. If you see an “i” icon in a circle or a warning sign like the image above from WordFence, you have some work to do. Did you know that without this level of protection that your WordPress login credentials are at risk of being stolen?

website security
website security

How Do I Secure My Site?

Security, for this application, is about getting an SSL certificate (learn more about SSL certificates here) and applying it to the website server where your website’s files are hosted. This will add the “https://” and the padlock to the location bar of your website. An SSL certificate can cost, depending on where you purchase it, from $10-$100. SSL certificates renew each year. Or, depending on your provider, it is part of monthly/yearly hosting fees.

Your hosting service or website developer partner can install the certificate on your website. If you do not see the padlock image and “secure” after installation there are several adjustments that need to be made on an off site to 1) ensure that the certificate is implemented properly, 2) to eliminate any non-secure images / files that are called on those pages, 3) and to alert Google of your new SSL enabled site and encourage them to index your shiny new pages.

Should I Secure My Site?

Securing your site with an SSL certificate is not like securing your home with ADT. ADT won’t come by your home with a big sign for your yard that tells everyone that you’re not protected. Additionally, they won’t tell your neighbors they think less of you. However, Google is taking website SSL security to that level. They will alert everyone that sees your website that your website is not secure. Also, they will rank you differently in search engines if you don’t comply with the new website security protocols. We strongly advise this website update. Especially if your website is an important part of your business for driving traffic. Google will reward you for your efforts. Even more, visitors will feel that you are trustworthy, which can instantly build your credibility with potential customers.

Who Can Help Me With This Update

If you are working with a website developer partner, they should be able to help you with this. Check their site to ensure their site is secure. If not, choose a partner whose website is secure and is also familiar with the update process. The process can involve some additional behind the scenes work including cached files and redirects.

The Wrap Up

Finally, only you can decide whether or not to pursue this higher level of website SSL security for your visitors. Keep in mind that Google has already decided that it’s important, and we tend to believe that Google blazes many trails where the internet and online policy is concerned. All websites built by Studio Barn Creative come with an auto-renewing SSL certificate installed.

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