If you want to be able to accept credit or debit cards directly from your customers, you must have an SSL certificate. The credit card companies and processors require it.
Sure... you can use PayPal because your customers have to log onto their secure site. But that doesn't make your site look very professional compared to sites that do have an SSL certificate and can accept credit and debit card directly.
So... What Is It and Why Is It?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. Basically it's a security protocol which creates a secure and encrypted connection between a person's browser and the site they're interacting with.
SSL certificates used to be just for sites that took credit card information. But nowadays when it's been proven that even personal information has value to hackers, smart businesses and web-surfers know they need to protect any and all personal information (e.g. names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses, etc.) on the web. Google thinks so too.
Note: 'No', you aren't legally required to have an SSL certificate for your site. But Google thinks it's very important and penalizes you in ranking if you don't have one. More on that below.
But Why Does Google Want Sites To Have An SSL Certificates?
That's a fair question but the answer is simple and makes sense. Google wants to ensure the accuracy of the information they list in their search engine. Plus, they want to ensure the data security and accuracy of any transactions between internet uses and sites listed on Google.
So... the SSL certificate is a major part of the system to do that.
What Does An SSL Certificate Look Like?
When your website has an SSL Certificate, your visitors will see a small padlock in front of your URL. Your URL will also start with HTTPS instead of HTTP. The S on the end stands for Secure. Depending on the internet browser they are using, there may also be a green bar and the word Secure in front of your domain name.
All of the major browsers now can tell whether or not your site has an SSL certificate or not. If it doesn't, Google Chrome is already marking sites with "Not Secure" in the address bar. Firefox does something similar. So do all the others.
In short, your site looks really scary to the consumer if it doesn't have an SSL certificate. It's painfully obvious.
What are some of the Benefits of SSL?
Encryption (Data Security)
Protects Sensitive Information
Helps prevent identity theft, fraud, data tampering, and phishing
Minimizes risk to you and to your visitors and customers
Your visitors can be confident that any information or data that they send or receive is exactly what was sent. They can rest assured that no one is able to hijack the information en route and modify it before it arrives.
Enables Your Mobile Site to Load Lightning Fast
Your mobile pages will load almost instantly via AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) technology. AMP technology is dependent on having an SSL Certificate.
Since load time is an important ranking factor for Google, blazing fast load times will give your mobile site a big boost in ranking.
Because your SSL Certificate is specific to your domain and contains information associated directly with your domain, your visitors can be confident that you are who you say you are, and not an impostor pretending to be you in order to steal their confidential information.
Look More Professional
Most professional websites have already implemented SSL on their website. Adding an SSL Certificate to your website automatically associates you with business professionals and gives you much more credibility as a business.
Allows You to Take Payments
SSL allows you to take payments and accept credit card information. In fact, credit card companies require it. Websites which have an SSL certificate have a big advantage over competitors who do not have one.
Empower your website with an SSL certificate today.... sign up here.