With data breaches plaguing corporate and retail giants like Target and Equifax over the past few years, small business owners need to realize that they also face a risk with a crucial aspect of their company: their brand website.
As of this month (October 2017), you will notice an unexpected screen on certain sites. If your company’s website does not have an “S” after the beginning HTTP (HTTPS), Google Chrome will began labeling the site as “NOT SECURE” for any visitors.
While your loyal and regular customers may contact you through phone or email to let you know they are interested in a certain product or service, any new visitors may just give up on your company entirely because they do not want to take the risk of getting any personal or financial information stolen.
And just like that, you’ve lost a revenue opportunity.
Wait, what is HTTPS?
HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) creates a thorough and secure encryption of vital data like someone’s credit card when they make a purchase on your website. “Confidential and secure” is a phrase any customer loves to hear, especially as online shopping becomes more prevalent and people spend less time at their desktops and more time on their smartphones (occasionally in places with 4G and not wifi).
HTTPS and Your SEO Rankings
For most people on a mobile device, Google Chrome has become their default browser with more Gmail accounts being registered and the phrase “just Google it” becoming a normal part of our conversations. Google recognizes their prevalence in our lives. The search engine wants to make sure all of its users (and customers) are safe, and frankly, the company wants to be less liable for any data security issues.
Just as Google now prioritizes mobile-friendly websites in their search rankings, soon HTTPS sites will rise above in the algorithm. For those aforementioned potential new customers, seeing your secure website on the front page will increase the likelihood they will make a purchase and give you a chance to deepen that relationship.
What can I do?
By this point, you have probably opened a new tab in Chrome and checked out your company’s site. If you see the HTTPS in front of your domain, you can breathe a sigh of relief. If not, you still have time to get the issue resolved to provide the utmost security for your current and future customers by asking your website hosting provider to add encryption through an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate. This certificate helps provide security for exchanged data and authentication for any user visit.