“HTTPS” (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), those first few letters that you see at the start of many Internet addresses, have gotten a lot of press lately. Recent statistics as of November 2017 indicate that nearly 70 percent of web pages are now using HTTPS.
So, what does this mean for you if your small business website is still HTTP rather than HTTPS? Let’s take a moment to explore what HTTPS is and how it might affect your business.
What does HTTPS do?
HTTPS websites provide more security for users than do HTTP websites. They have an SSL certificate that activates a secure connection from a web server to a browser. HTTPS is especially beneficial on pages where users will be sharing personal identity, credit card, or bank account information.
HTTPS provides multi-layered protection through encryption, authentication, and preservation of data integrity. It prevents users’ information from becoming stolen by hackers or compromised by scammers who try to steal info by tricking users into thinking they’re on your website.
How can switching to HTTPS help your company?
With concerns rampant about data breaches, gaining customer trust is a big deal. When website visitors see HTTPS in your web address, they will feel more confident that your site is a safe place to enter their information.
If your business sells products and services online, customers may be more inclined to buy through your site if it’s HTTPS. Conversely, customers may seek other options if they see your site is only HTTP. Most website browsers (including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer) readily identify HTTP sites as insecure with a symbol (an i with a circle around it) in front of the website’s address.
Going HTTPS may also give your website a small boost in its placement in online search results. Studies have shown a slight correlation between HTTPS and websites’ ranking in searches on Google.
How do you convert your website to HTTPS?
The process to migrate a website to HTTPS requires technical know-how, so you might need to enlist the help of a website development professional. As an overview, the steps involved include getting the required SSL/TLS certificates on your web server, deploying them correctly, generating a new sitemap, updating images and links on your site, testing, and fixing any issues.
If your website accepts payments from customers, you should (at a minimum) have HTTPS on the pages of your site that ask for that information.
You most likely won’t need HTTPS for security reasons if your website only collects email addresses to subscribe to your blog or email newsletters. But the trust factor and potential search engine placement benefits still make HTTPS a good idea even if you don’t ask for credit card information through your site.
For help in understanding HTTPS more thoroughly and what it will take to convert your website, contact SCORE for recommendations on expert resources who can assist you.