Recently Google announced that websites without SSL certificates on login pages will display a ‘not secure’ warning in search results. This could affect your future traffic – and, as a result, your revenue will also suffer.
But what does it all mean?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. There’s a much more technical explanation, but in a nutshell, it encrypts the data your customers enter into your website. Login pages – such as those for membership sites and online shopping carts, not to mention the back end of your website – are the specific pages that need this kind of protection. SSL certificates make it harder for hackers to intercept your personal data, and that of your customers.
There’s an easy way to tell if your website has an SSL certificate installed. If the URL starts with https, then it’s encrypted. If it’s just http, then it’s not, and you need to set up SSL if you want to keep (or improve) your Google ranking.
You’ll want to get your SSL sorted out ASAP if you have any kind of login on your website. Even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to have it.
Your options with SSL certificates
For the entrepreneur on a shoestring budget, you can grab a certificate for free. That’s right – it’s no cost to you whatsoever, except for the time it takes to set it up.
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority. They offer you a certificate for three months, which you can set up to renew automatically. It’s what we’ve set up on our own family’s websites, and it’s working fairly well.
The downside, of course, is the three month term. Most paid SSL certificates are for a year or more.
Paid SSL certificates from a reputable source cost at least USD $99 a year. So many companies are doing this that I can’t even recommend one – it’s more about what your individual circumstances require. To find one that works for you, check out SSL Shopper.
Most web hosts offer SSL certificate services. These usually cost a fair bit, but it means you don’t have to think much about it yourself.
We can set up SSL certificates at Easily Sorted, too. Contact us to discuss it further. 🙂