Is your website showing as a security risk to consumers?

By: Dan Thornton, Yell Business

Date: 25 November 2019

An online shopper receives a site security warning and reconsiders making the purchase.

The ultimate aim for any business website is to attract and impress visitors. So imagine if your website was actually putting potential new customers off.

This could really happen if your site does not have HTTPS enabled. The time, effort and money you’ve invested in your online presence may be wasted if you overlook this small consideration.

Here we explain why your website needs to be HTTPS ASAP.

What is HTTPS, anyway?

HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol which sends data between a browser and a website. When you visit a site which has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) Certificate installed, you’ll see a padlock icon in the address bar at the top, and the URL will begin with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’.

This shows that the communication between your browser and the website will be encrypted, making it harder for anyone to intercept or steal your data.

Google originally started encouraging website owners to adopt the HTTPS standard back in 2014, by announcing it would become a ‘very lightweight’ ranking factor.

Now it’s become so important that it’s in the top 10 factors affecting your search ranking cited by major search industry publications and search tools.

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Why your site needs to adopt HTTPS

The key benefits of switching your website to HTTPS already include:

  • greater customer trust and sales;
  • better site speed ( the new HTTP/2 protocol increases website speeds and favours HTTPS websites);
  • improved analytics data - Google Analytics will remove referral data when a secure website sends traffic to a non-secure location;
  • better performance in search;
  • access to more tools - Google and others require a high level of security to list your site on services like Google Maps.

There’s an even more important reason, though. Since 2018, Chrome browser users have been shown a security warning when they visit ANY website not using HTTPS - even if it doesn’t handle personal data.

If you’re wondering how many of your potential customers this represents, the answer is: most of them. Google Chrome is used for an amazing 65% of internet browsing worldwide - so, of every ten people who come to your website, six or seven are likely to see a worrying warning. What’s more, other browsers likely to adopt similar practices before long.

Internet users are becoming more aware of security and privacy issues. Your business needs to reassure visitors that you’ll keep them and their data safe.

The good news about switching to HTTPS

Losing the confidence of your online customers sounds pretty scary. But the good news is that it’s a fairly easy problem to solve.

Reputable website providers, including Yell, offer SSL or TLS certificates and HTTPS as part of their standard website set-up. Most small and medium-sized business websites can easily be made secure in this way. If you have a relatively small number of web pages, and don’t have any complicated functionality, it can be achieved in a matter of days.

We recommend using a provider with experience of HTTPS set-ups or migrations if you haven’t performed one before. But that will still be a lot cheaper than the risk to your business if you either don’t switch your website to HTTPS, or make a mistake when attempting it.

The bottom line

There really isn’t a good reason to avoid switching to a HTTPS website as soon as possible. But there are an increasing number of problems which could seriously affect your business if you delay it any longer.

Copyright 2019 Dan Thornton, Yell Business. Get your free website checker report.

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