If you believe that having a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate or a digital certificate is not a necessity for every website, think again. The reality is, you have far more to gain from having an SSL certificate installed onto your site, than by not having one.

When it comes to digital marketing, small tweaks like having an SSL installed make all the difference. Before we move on, let’s look at what the certificate actually is.

What is an SSL certificate and why do you need one?

SSL is used to secure data transfers whenever a website visitor enters their credit card details or other sensitive data (think log-ins, financial information or any other personal details). In terms of ecommerce websites, you can already see how vital having an SSL is to ensure you’re protecting your customers as best you can.

How does an SSL work?

Once an SSL certificate is installed, public and private keys work together to establish and maintain encrypted connections. When data is sent between a browser and a web server as plain text, it can leave internet users vulnerable to hackers. SSL works to prevent this.

How can I tell if an SSL is installed on my website?

If you’re unsure as to whether your website already has an SSL certificate installed, it’s as simple as looking at your URL. If you see ‘https’ at the front of your URL as opposed to ‘http,’ your website is secure as SSL has already been installed.

In return for a small cost, an SSL:

– Encrypts sensitive information

– Provides authentication

– Increases your customer’s trust and provides them with peace of mind while shopping on your site

Are all SSL certificates equal?

The short answer to this question is no and which SSL you require depends on your site’s specific security needs. DigiCert offer the following options:

Standard SSL: this single domain SSL establishes a secure connection between your website browser and a server.

Extended Validation SSL: this option is a step-up security wise from the standard SSL, offering the highest degree of authentication and protection.

Multi-Domain SSL: as the name suggests, these certificates are ideal when multiple names across different domains and sub domains need to be secured.

Wildcard SSL: this is the most common certificate used by organisations managing multiple sites that are hosted across many different subdomains.

How do I choose the SSL that is right for my needs?

It’s important that if you’re unsure about which SSL option is ideal for you and your business, that you speak with a provider who has the necessary expertise in the digital marketing field. At Pronto Woven, we guide our clients towards which certificate best suits their needs after ensuring we understand what their business looks like today and what its future needs are likely to be. We’ve partnered with DigiCert as it’s a renowned and cost effective solution used by over 115,000 customers across more than 120 countries. 

Other important factors to keep in mind

In terms of ecommerce websites, an SSL certificate is required for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance. In other words: if you’re operating an ecommerce website without an SSL certificate, you need to organise one as soon as possible.

Another added benefit of having an SSL installed is that Google rewards sites using ‘https’ encryption with a boost in search results. These search engine ranking benefits assist with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Google’s stance on SSL certificates

In recent times, Google went as far as announcing that installing an SSL certificate is actually the easiest thing website owners can do to quickly boost their site’s SEO ranking. They have also encouraged all websites to secure visitor information. So regardless of whether your website collects personal information or not, Google will reward your site for having an SSL certificate installed by boosting your search engine ranking. Anyone who’s had any exposure to SEO, understands that building backlinks and testing on-page content to boost SEO, takes time. Getting an SSL certificate is fast, easy and the SEO results are immediate.

At the end of the day, internet users trust secured sites far more so having an SSL benefits your site and your bottom line greatly. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your trusted advisor for advice or guidance when installing SSL on your website.