Do you have a secure website, with a URL that starts with an HTTPS (note the “s”) rather than just an HTTP? If you answered no, a lot of visitors may decide not to visit your site.
Blame it on Google.
In the past, you needed a secure website, with an SSL certificate (and hence an HTTPS) if you accepted credit card information and stored it in a database. That SSL certificate also helped make sure that no one could clone your site.
SSL Certificates, small data files that secure a website’s encryption and authentication, are important because the information that gets sent on the Internet passes through several computers on the way to the destination server. Hypothetically, one of those in-between computers could see credit card numbers—along with sensitive information like usernames, passwords, etc… —that get typed in on a website that hasn’t been encrypted with an SSL certificate.
That’s all still true. These days, however, any website that doesn’t have an SSL certificate will be flagged by Chrome’s latest browser as Not Secure. Firefox and Mozilla are working on similar warnings.
Google’s ultimate goal? To eliminate HTTP websites altogether.
While that may take a while, you’ll want hop on the HTTPS bandwagon now for another reason.
In its effort to make the Internet more secure by encouraging the adoption of SSL certificates, Google is dangling a pretty sizeable carrot. At the end of 2015, the mega announced that “we are adjusting our indexing system to look for more HTTPS pages.” That means that HTTPS pages are now shown to users by default. Talk about a search engine boost!
In fact, some say that having an SSL certificate is essential if you want to get on the first page of Google’s search results. I don’t know how true that is, since this website routinely comes up on page 1 when Googling “writing coach” even though it’s still an HTTP site. But it won’t be for long. I’ve already started the process of getting that SSL certificate for lindengross.com, along with all the other websites I have (including writingcoach.com).
Yup. I like being ahead of the curve. And I sure like coming up toward the top of the search engine heap.