Google has recently announced that they will be taking further measures to alert users of unsecured web pages, particularly any that have a web form. This means that if your website isn’t secure then it is likely users will leave without contacting you, signing up to your mailing list or buying your product. Ultimately resulting in a loss of sales.
Trust is the biggest factor in online buying decisions and according to a study by GlobalSign almost 50% of online shoppers on average worry about their credit card information being stolen.
They also found that 84% would abandon a purchase if data was sent over an unsecured connection.
Not only is this relevant to e-commerce, but it has been shown that the use of a HTTPS security seal can improve lead generation by over 40 percent
What do I mean by secure?
When someone visits your website do they see this?:
Or do they see this?:
Apart from saying secure, there is a big difference between the two images and getting it wrong will cost you sales.
HTTP V’s HTTPS
‘HTTP’ and ‘HTTPS’ are the names of two protocols (computer rules) that control how web pages get transmitted to your screen from a webserver so you can view a particular web page.
Although there are a lot more protocols, these two a the ones most people are familiar with and the ones we see at the start of website URLs.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
HTTP is the most common and is for loading a regular hypertext page (web page).
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secured)
The second most common protocol we see is HTTPS, for hypertext pages that are secured against hackers.
So the obvious difference is that HTTP isn’t secure. By secure I mean the information isn’t encrypted as it is being transferred from the server to your screen.
For most web pages this isn’t a problem as the information being transferred isn’t sensitive, but if there is a web form or payment gateway on the page then there is a chance that your email address, password, credit card or other personal details could be intercepted by an unfavorable third party.
Most, but not all e-commerce sites and sites with login areas will load over HTTPS and entering your data into these sites isn’t secure. This is why Google is trying to highlight this issue to users to alert them before they enter sensitive information.
But all business website’s should switch to https as it will affect lead generation and sales.
What is Google changing?
HTTPS has been a ranking factor for search results since 2014, with Google preferring to display secure websites in results over non-secure, affecting the number of visitors that find your site. Now your website conversions are going to be affected too.
Google already displays a green lock and the word “Secure” on all secure pages, but they are rolling out a plan to highlight unsecured web pages. This started with adding the “i” inside a circle, but in January 2017 they added the words “Not secure” on pages that request credit cards or passwords over HTTP.
From October 2017 they will make a further change by adding animation to the address bar, whereby the words “Not Secure” will appear when someone goes to type data into an HTTP site.
This won’t just be for passwords and credit cards but any type of data. So if your website has a contact form or email sign up form then it will be affected.
Googles end goal
Eventually, google will mark all HTTP web pages as “Not Secure”. But waiting until then to secure your website will already be too late.
Advantages of securing your website
1. Protect your customer’s data
2. Increase trust
3. Improve search rankings
4. Increase conversions
So how do you change to https?
You can’t simply announce that your new web address is now https://www.mydomain.com as there is no protocol in place for the browser to follow. Instead, you need to purchase an SSL certificate from your web hosting company and then install and configure the certificate.
These cost less than €100 and you only need the most basic version. Most web hosts will allow you to do this with a few clicks of the mouse, but you will need to test your site and ensure that all internal links on your website are changed from HTTP to HTTPS.
You will also need to ensure any images and scripts that are linked to or displayed on your site are also updated too. Until you have all relevant links updated you won’t see the green secure badge on the address bar.
This can be tedious, even for the more techie among you, so it is advisable to contact a web developer to do this for you.
If you are serious about marketing your business online then you need to ensure that your website is designed to convert visitors.