In a grocery store parking lot a couple years ago, I accidentally locked myself out of my little Toyota. I needed a locksmith. So I pulled out my phone and quickly narrowed my Google search down to two local locksmiths.
One had a sketchy feel, appearing to operate under two different company names. The other had a shiny badge sitting right there on their site that read:
Real Locksmith Network- No Scammers, No Mocksmiths
It even had a bright green checkmark in the middle. Can you guess which one I went with?
People Want to Feel Secure
Keeping that in mind, have you noticed the little green padlock at the top of your browser? That icon is there because the site administrator has acquired a website security certificate or SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. Put simply, an SSL certificate provides a secure, encrypted connection on your site and lets visitors know you are who you say you are. That’s why you see HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) instead of the old HTTP. You might be asking:
- What does this have to do with me?
- Do I need an SSL certificate for my site?
- What are the benefits of switching to SSL?
- What does an SSL certificate cost?
I spoke with Jacob Barr of iRapture.com to break things down for us. Jake alerted me to three important reasons that Christian businesses need an SSL certificate now. At the end of our conversation, he also gave a simple step you can take today to get an SSL certificate ASAP.
Reason # 1: All Sites Will Eventually Need to Be Secure
Jake stated that Google believes websites should be secure all the time and is moving in that direction. As of the end of 2017, the majority of page one organic Google results are secure HTTPS sites. He believes it would be wise to heed the advice of the search engine giant.
Reason # 2: It’s a Marketing Boost
“By getting an SSL certificate you’ll get more traffic, and that’s the most desirable benefit,” Jake said. Google first indicated that they would be giving a search results boost to secure sites back in 2014. At the time, this was considered a minor factor. While it is still just one out of hundreds of ranking factors, the impact is certainly felt more today. According to Jake, “SSL is not required on most of these sites if no payments are required but the real benefit is the marketing side… it’s a search engine ranking algorithm factor.”
Reason # 3: It Levels the Playing Field
There’s a good chance your competition has already gotten an SSL certificate. Jake stated, “being secure and looking secure are two different things.” If you don’t plan on getting an SSL certificate, your site may have a warning displayed, turning away potential visitors. The appearance of being unsecured leads to a bounce rate that will affect your rankings on Google. You need to level the playing field with your competitors.
How to Get Your SSL Certificate ASAP
An SSL certification can be added to an existing site, so you won’t be starting from scratch. And since the HTTPS is not part of the site’s address, you won’t have to worry about changing domain names.
What does an SSL certificate cost? It’s only $100 per year to obtain certification and install HTTPS. Once installed, SSL works by default to redirect to the secure version of your site. There’s no downside!
Christian businesses, ministries, and pregnancy centers who need an SSL certificate should call toll-free (877) 488-7999 for a free website checkup. You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any of your Christian web hosting needs.