Why Do You Need A Secure Website?
Your website is your brand, your storefront, and mostly your first contact with customers. If it’s not secure and safe, those critical business relationships can be jeopardized.
Having a secure site used to mainly be important for e-commerce and dealing with credit cards - like Amazon, eBay, or all other websites where you can buy products from. It was essentially critical that they were SSL secured.
Now, in the past year, even if your website is primarily an informational site (and you’re not selling services or products directly from your site), it’s still recommended to use HTTPS. If your website is not secured, you run the risk of losing your clients confidence - a secure connection gives your customers peace of mind that your website can be trusted and their information is safe. Also, over 40% of the sites on the first page of Google are HTTPS, which is not surprising since Google has confirmed that they favor HTTPS sites more. Google wants to ensure that their customers get the best user experience, that’s the reason why they don’t want to send searchers to insecure sites. This also explains why their ranking algorithm favors HTTPS sites. If your site isn’t secured, it could be getting outranked by similar sites that are secured.
How To Know If Your Website Is Secure Or Not?
You know your website is secure when you can see a green padlock in the upper left corner of your address bar. Browsers also show warning signs when the connection is NOT secured – like a red padlock, a padlock that is not closed, or a line going through the website’s address.
Website security means that the website utilizes SSL certificate, which stands for Secure Socket Layer, a standard security technology that establishes an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser, with the URL being prefixed with "HTTPS" rather than the standard and unsecured "HTTP" (with that extra "S" standing for "Secure").
How To Install HTTPS On Your Site
It’s not terribly expensive or difficult to convert your site to HTTPS, but there’s more to it than just flipping a switch. As they say, some assembly is required.
If your website is not secure, you’ll need to purchase an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate or install a free SSL certificate depending on what server you’re on, what setup you have for your website, or your hosting.
If you’re using a hosting provider like Squarespace or Weebly, it’s very likely that your website is probably secure already. However if this is not the case, there should be an option to turn that on. If you have a Wordpress website for example, or any other sort of website using a platform like Magento or all those sorts of things, you will need to install the SSL certificate yourself, and again you need to purchase one of those or consult your hosting provider to see if you can set one of those up.
There’s also a free option called Let's Encrypt - it is a free, automated, and open source certificate authority brought to you by the nonprofit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). This is a great option if you don’t have much of a budget, that means you don’t have to pay for a certificate. Buying a certificate outright will cost around $15 NZD to several hundred NZD per year. In most cases a basic SSl certificate is fine, nothing too fancy is required.
Once you’ve installed the SSL certificate, make sure there’s no errors - if there is, it’s usually because there are links that are “hard-coded” into your website that are still using HTTP. All of these links need to be updated. Starting with all of your images and other assets, theyshould refer to HTTPS rather than HTTP. Because if you have what is called mixed content and anf have both HTTP and HTTPS, your site is not going to be fully secure so you will still have a little error by the padlock.
But, overall, thebest option is for you to hire a web developer like RAZOR Web Design or pay your hosting company to install the SSL certificate on your web server and configure your website. Under normal circumstances, it should only cost more or less $300 NZD. Even if you have access to your web server, it’s not really a good idea for you to try to do this yourself - you could possibly damage the code causing parts of your website to break, which is not worth your time at all. It’s best to hire a professional and let them handle this for you.
So, what are you waiting for? Get on with securing your site not only to make your potential customers feel confident, but also to make sure that you keep ranking in Google searches and any other search engines.