There are still many people who browse the internet to buy products or find information who do not notice whether the sites they visit are http or https.
And for website owners running personal blogs or other non-commercial sites, the differences between them may not matter much. But for businesses that need to collect personal data from customers or prospects there are some important benefits to using https.
What Are HTTP and HTTPS?
Http means “HyperText Transfer Protocol”. Https means “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure”. Both are ways in which computers are able to share information – in the form of html (Hypertext Markup Language) – over the internet.
But using https means that the information flowing from one computer to another is scrambled, that’s to say encrypted, using code on a digital certificate – known as Transport Layer Security (TLS) or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – sometimes also using a proxy server, so that it becomes much more difficult for third parties – ie hackers – to intercept and possibly misuse the data being transferred.
If your business uses a platform such as Shopify, or sells on Amazon, you already have the benefits of https …
..but if your site is managed in house you will need to get a certificate from a Trusted Certificate Authority such as Globalsign, Verisign, Symantec or domain name services such as GoDaddy.
These are recognized by major browsers and operating systems such as Microsoft, Mozilla and Google. An SSL or TSL certificate is in reality no more than a small data file inserted into a website’s coding; it should be simple and inexpensive to put in place, and if properly configured should not affect your site’s load speed.
There are different levels of security available and determining which one’s right for your business may require some research and advice, but there are reasons why this process makes commercial sense.
Why You Should Consider Using The HTTPS Designation For Your Business Website
Firstly and most importantly, website security is vital to customer confidence in your business.
Recent high profile hacks on well-known businesses such as Ashley Madison, Target and Anthem have highlighted the potentially disastrous financial and public relations consequences of poor security, and it seems likely that consumers are becoming ever more aware of this issue.
Trust is a crucial element of any online transaction. So if your business depends on individuals or other businesses submitting any kind of confidential data, such as physical addresses or e-mail addresses, and especially credit card or bank account details, you need to be certain that your website is as secure as possible.
Some authorities such as ahrefs.com suggest that switching to https can help by:
- providing authentication that the site is the one that the web server intended to visit
- preventing outside interference with data files
- encrypting communications, which can help protect browsing history and visitors’ financial details
Secondly, there’s some evidence that there may be significant ranking benefits to having your site obtain https certification.
Google never reveals the full details of its algorithm, but it has given clear indication that security is a ranking factor, and since its business model is based on providing the best possible user experience this should not be surprising.
But website security and search engine optimization (seo) are complex and rapidly changing fields making it more necessary than ever for businesses to seek expert advice and support.
On that note, Ballantine offers a comprehensive search engine optimization service which may include keyword research, advice on content marketing, and analytics according to your needs.
Contact us today for expert help with your specific requirements.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!