The TL;DR Version…
- As of May 2018 Google Chrome is being used by 61% of users worldwide.
- Beginning in July 2018 Google Chrome 68 labeled HTTP websites without an SSL certificate as “Not secure” in the address bar.
- Brands are encouraged to migrate their sites from HTTP to HTTPS by adding an SSL certificate to retain trust with their users and avoid conversion rate decrease.
The Whole Story…
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL certificates are small data files which work to secure connections between an end user’s browser and a website’s server. Using encryption, information is thus protected as it’s handed off during financial transactions, website logins, form submissions and content publishing.
What’s that got to do with me?
In the last couple months we’ve advised our clients that don’t yet have HTTPS encryption on their site to promptly add an SSL certificate. HTTP websites are inherently not secure and for the last several years Google has been a vocal advocate for standardizing HTTPS encryption across the web.
This month marks a key milestone when Google’s newest Chrome release, version 68, will display a “Not secure” message in the address bar, potentially prompting pause at best and complete user drop-off at worst across brand sites. Other leading browsers like Safari and Firefox are likely to follow Chrome’s lead, more prominently warning users that their connection to your site is insecure.
Why do SSL certificates matter?
Privacy and security are critical for doing business in the digital world. Consumers more than ever want to ensure their data is protected and only used for its intended purpose.
A secure browsing experience will help protect user information, in turn building trust in your site and brand, thus boosting conversion rates. Google also favorably weighs sites with SSL certificates in search results based on users signaling trustworthiness as they engage. SEO happens to be one of the best reasons to make the move to HTTPS since it was officially acknowledged as a ranking signal as early as 2014 and could improve your SERP rankings.
If your site serves content from multiple or 3rd party servers, it’s important that all these locations are secured with a certificate so that the entire browsing experience remains protected and the trusty lock icon is always displayed.
How do I get one?
An SSL certificate typically carries a nominal monthly or yearly subscription fee and can be purchased and installed either from your hosting provider or domain name registrar. Some CMS providers may also include an SSL certificate as part of their subscription.
If you need any support getting set up, drop me a line and we’ll connect you with one of our developers to have your site secured in no time.