SSL, or secure sockets layer, is an added layer of security which all websites should have in this day and age. Because of the number of benefits of SSL, hundreds of companies have popped up which offer this encryption based security service to websites along with the corresponding certificates which browsers read to ensure that a site (and consequently its users) is protected.
What it essentially does is encrypt any data passed between website user and visitor.
Initially it was recommended for webmasters who did just that; websites where any kind of data/information transfer occurred between a website and its visitors. Nowadays it just makes sense for everyone given the ease and cost free nature of making the switch.
But many webmasters are still holding out because of the perceived cost and technical difficulty associated with it, neither of which are an issue anymore. In the past I documented in video how to make your WordPress site SSL compliant for free and without nearly any technical learning curve.
If you’re still on the fence about this, consider these 3 benefits of SSL and making the switch to your own website.
3 Benefits of SSL
SSL Benefit #1 – Security
Let’s get most obvious benefit of SSL out of the way. The sole purpose of SSL is to make website transactions more secure. This doesn’t have to be something as important as inputting credit card data. Any kind of form information is protected, so if you even have an email signup form on your website or any kind of form where you collect information from your visitors, SSL will protect that information from being intercepted.
Online security has never been more paramount than it is today, and SSL helps to create a tunnel to encrypt safeguard that transfer of information between user and website or vice versa. This makes it significantly more difficult for a third party to intercept and steal that information. Different levels of encryption exist, so while the free option is fine for the lion’s share of webmasters, websites which handle a lot of data transfers of especially sensitive data may benefit from a higher level of encryption (typically a premium option from certain SSL certificate vendors).
SSL Benefit #2 – Visitor Peace of Mind
Anyone can relate to this benefit of SSL. Look up at the navigation bar in your web browser. Next to the URL of the site which you are visiting, you’ll likely see some sort of green padlock. It’s the symbol of online security, evidence of SSL compliance for the website you’re on. This will show for websites with a valid SSL certificate and helps to deliver peace of mind to your website’s visitors that their activity on your site is secure.
What is worrisome is the opposite.
If you are not SSL compliant, web browsers are getting increasingly less sympathetic as they continue to show progressively more serious warning signs to visitors of your website. It’s gotten to the point where, depending on the browser showing your website, it can give the impression to your visitors that they are not safe simply being on your site.
This conjures up connotations of viruses, malware, and information hacks whether it’s applicable or not. This is especially true among less technically savvy web users who don’t know any better and will likely exit your website outright at seeing this warning.
In short, you don’t want your website to be associated with any of this, so get on the side of green and get your website SSL compliant to surround your site with good connotations in your visitors’ minds.
SSL Benefit #3 – SEO
Google has explicitly come out and said that it rewards websites which are SSL compliant with a slight rankings boost. The other way to read that is that websites which aren’t SSL compliant will get the stick.
This makes sense considering Google always wants to deliver the best results to its users. Rewarding potentially unsafe websites with highly visible rankings doesn’t make for good business as far as Google is concerned.
As such, with everything else being equal, the website which is SSL compliant will outrank its competitor. Therefore it’s best to ensure that your site is SSL friendly sooner than later. Remember it’s free and only takes a couple of minutes, particularly with WordPress and most hosts.
In the past, SSL compliance all felt a bit like a stickup, holding webmasters to significant additional costs if they wanted to stay ahead of their competitors in the SERPs (all things being equal), regardless of whether or not encryption was especially relevant to the site.
Nowadays it’s a one or two step process and completely free.