Savvy consumers know to only do business with a site that has a valid SSL certificate. While it’s not required, these certificates are vital if your site is requesting any personal or financial information from users. Once you understand what an SSL certificate does, it’s easy to see if it’s right for your business or not.
Defining an SSL Certificate
SSL stands for secure sockets layer. The certificate itself is a tiny data file that ties a business’s details to a unique cryptographic key. Data sent while the certificate is in place is encrypted, keeping data secure during website interactions. Each SSL certificate contains details, such as:
- Business name
- Domain name
- Business location
- Server name
These details are used to show visitors whether they’re on a legitimate site or a phishing site. Visitors are shown whether a valid SSL certificate is being used or not based on their browser.
No matter what type of SSL certificate is used, visitors see the normal “http” in their address bar turn to “https,” where the “s” stands for secure. For a standard certificate, a padlock symbol also appears. For extended validation certificates, the address bar turns green.
Using an SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is most commonly used any time encryption and additional online security is necessary. Some of the top uses include:
- Financial transactions
- Logging in to websites
- Entering personal information
- Using social media
Consumers want to feel secure when interacting with a website and a certificate of this type offers that security.
Benefiting From SSL Certificates
The most obvious benefit for a business is building trust with visitors. A certificate is a sign that your business has been verified by an authoritative certificate provider, making visitors more comfortable while using your site.
A website that asks for any type of personal information, but doesn’t have an SSL certificate isn’t going to impress anyone. In fact, most visitors will leave to protect themselves.
Even if you’re not an ecommerce site, you still want your business’s site to rank highly on Google. In order to make the Internet a safer place, Google added HTTPS encryption as a ranking factor. Adding an SSL certificate gives a business an edge when it comes to ranking, but as usual, Google doesn’t say how much of one.
A few other major benefits businesses get from installing an SSL certificate include:
- Increased conversions – Consumers feel safer entering credit card information when they see “https” during a checkout process.
- Appear more professional – Consumers see businesses with an a certificate as more legitimate.
- Encourage longer visits – Without a certificate, visitors may leave before even seeing what your business has to offer.
While SSL certificates aren’t free, the benefits make them worth it, especially for ecommerce sites.