Close-up of a browser window showing lock icon during SSL connection

A couple of years ago Google decided that they were going to use site encryption as a ranking factor. At the time, it was a pretty small factor and many people didn’t pay it much attention. Since I always do what my Google Overlords tell me to do, I went ahead and encrypted our site. This worked out well because not long after that we decided to start accepting invoice payments on our website, so that worked out well.

First, what is encryption?

When you go to an encrypted site, the web address will start with https:// instead of http:// and it will be green and have a padlock next to it.

SSL Example

What it means is that the connection between your computer or device and the web server is being encrypted, which prevents attacks while data is being transferred between the two.

Why do you need to encrypt?

The Google team announced last week that starting in January 2017, Chrome will begin to mark non-secured sites as “Not secure” in the address bar. What does this mean for site owners? Well, a few things. It means that your customers who use Chrome will get a notice that your site is not secure. If you don’t sell anything, and you don’t process transactions, then there’s no NEED to secure your site. But your customers might not know that. They may see that notice and think something is wrong with your site and leave.

Google already started using encryption as a ranking factor, so adding it in will help your Google spot. Of course, once everyone does it (which many likely will) you won’t be getting that edge anymore. But it’s nice to be ahead of the curve.

It also means that your customers will be more  likely to submit your forms. People like to know the site they are on is secure, even if they don’t totally understand what that means.

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Amy Masson, Web Developer

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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