If you haven’t made the switch yet, or at the very least, thought about it at this point, you are way behind the eight ball. What are we talking about? SSL, otherwise known as, secure sockets layer. Whether you realize it or not, if you’ve used the Internet for more than two seconds in your life, you’ve experienced SSL. See that lock symbol in the url bar of this page? That is SSL, and it means this page, similar to our entire website, is secure.
So why is SSL important? Well, the answer is actually quite simple. In the past, the conventional wisdom was that the only websites that needed to have SSL were the ones that accepted sensitive information from its visitors. As one might expect, generally speaking, this primarily applied to e-commerce websites, on which companies would allow customers to purchase items using credit cards. Without SSL, credit card information and other sensitive data, can easily be intercepted/stolen, which is obviously bad for both businesses and customers. When no credit card or other sensitive data is involved, the need for SSL decreases significantly, but it certainly doesn’t completely vanish.
In fact, as businesses continue to expand their online presence and the Internet grows, the need for more secure connections and transfers of data will do the same, even on information based sites. For example, SSL, in our opinion, is extremely important for any website that has contact forms. Why? Because even if no credit card information is being transferred, the contents of a prospective client’s contact form submission may contain information that is confidential in nature; this especially applies to law firms, medical practices, and other professional service organizations with contact forms on their respective websites.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to implement SSL on your website, however, is that Google has recognized its importance, and has started factoring SSL in as a portion (albeit, currently very small) of their algorithm that determines search rankings. While Google has stated that the weight SSL is currently being given is small, they also made it clear that it will likely increase in importance and weight over time. Overall, there really is no down side to implementing SSL; your customers get a secure experience on your website, and you get more credibility in Google’s eyes, which is certainly never a bad thing for a business.
With that being said, as with many things in life, SSL comes in many different forms, with varying price points and levels of security. For information on the various levels of SSL and the benefits associated with each type, check back with us tomorrow.