An SSL certificate is a means of securing, via encryption, the information exchanged between your website and a users browser. As such an SSL certificate is particularly beneficial to businesses and websites which deal with data storage and financial transactions.
The benefits of having SSL encryption extend beyond data security, despite its obvious importance, and include improved customer trust, reputation and higher search engine rankings.
With entry level options starting from as little as £10 per year, an SSL certificate is a cost effective and valuable asset to your website and business in general.
An SSL certificate offers an immediate visual indication to visitors that your website is secure, that they don't have to worry about malicious online activity, and that your business, whether you as an individual or as a company, take security seriously. These are all strong selling points and can help you to gain the trust of potential customers.
When you purchase and install an SSL certificate your domain uses the secure https protocol (as opposed to http) and popular web browsers also display a green padlock symbol in the search bar. Some SSL certificates also include a verified trust seal which is further emphasis to a commitment to security.
Trust translates to sales
An important part of completing a sale, whatever the value, is to establish the trust of the potential customer. I don't think anybody would voluntarily do business with a person or company that they didn't trust, and this has particular relevance when payments are made or received online. Averting worries such as these can often times tip the scales in favour of a sale as it eliminates a source of hesitance/indecision.
There is always much speculation when it comes to search engine ranking and the composition of ranking algorithms, however, one of the criterion that Google have confirmed to be valid is SSL certification.
Simply, search engines favour sites which they deem to be secure and of course, this makes perfect sense. In order to return the best quality matches for a particular search term there needs to be an aspect of filtering out the serious from the unserious and the secure from the unsecured or malicious.
Having an SSL certificate can directly affect your websites visibility on search engines and therefore how much traffic it receives. If traffic volumes generally correlate with sales then SSL encryption is further proven to be a useful business asset.
As a web hosting provider we take steps to provide a secure hosting environment for our customers, however it is equally important that website owners take responsibility for providing additional layers of security.
As we've probably all seen in the news at some point or other, the potential ramifications from hacks or 'leaks' can be incredibly serious depending upon the size and nature of the business involved. This is why when it comes to security it is far better to take a preventative approach rather than reactionary as a single security leak can permanently damage reputation.