This article will explain what HTTPS is and how it can help your website or online store.
Anyone who’s done some surfing recently – on the internet, not gnarly waves – will probably recognise those five letters. HTTPS can be found at the beginning of most URLs (the website’s address), and we say ‘most’ because not every site has met the requirements.
While you may see HTTPS every day, not everyone knows what it means. So, what does it actually mean? HTTPS is the ‘secure’ version of HTTP. This is the system that sends information between the internet browser and the website like login IDs, credit card details, home addresses, and all kinds of private stuff.
The ‘S’ after HTTP stands for ‘secure’. This means this sensitive data is encrypted, making it almost impossible for internet thieves to steal. This type of protection also called an SSL Security certificate.
As you can see, making the switch to HTTPS is important for security. If you’re running an ecommerce store, you want both your information, and, most importantly, your customer’s data kept safe.
Just think, if you owned a brick and mortar shop, you would want your customers to feel as safe as possible, right? HTTPS is the online equivalent of security guards, cameras, and highly protected credit card readers.
However, making your website HTTPS does more than keep numbers safe. Let’s take a look at the overall benefits which can really make a difference to your site…
Why is HTTPS important?
Firstly, we’ll quickly sum things up for those of you in a rush. HTTPS is important for your website for three reasons:
- It helps your site rank higher on search engines
- Builds customer trust
- Protects sensitive data
Intrigued? You should be. We’ll cover these in more detail below.
As you know, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is important for any website to be successful. You can have the most beautiful site in the world, but if people can’t find it, it’s worthless.
Improving your website’s ranking can be done in many ways. The most common method is using keywords (words or phrases people are searching for), using online tools like Google Analytics. You add these words to your title, paragraphs, images, and more.
But how does HTTPS affect SEO? Well, Google has recently started to place more importance on website protection, and if they say it’s worth doing, it probably is. Essentially, Google wanted secure websites to be found more easily.
How did Google bring this into action? The search engine giants thought HTTPS was a big enough issue to make it a ranking factor in 2014. This meant, if your website was protected with HTTPS, it would become more visible on search engines.
It’s worth noting, too, that Google announced HTTPS would be a ‘tie breaker’. Let’s say your website is almost identical to a rival in every way, but you have HTTPS and they don’t. Guess which one ranks higher…yep, you guessed it: safety comes first, literally.
Now, while the influence of HTTPS on your site’s rankings is relatively small, it does still have an effect. And it’s definitely worth the switch.
For any brand or business to be successful in the long term, the customers need to feel like they’re being looked after. For example, If you owned a brick and mortar shop, you would want people to feel safe, welcome and comfortable, right? The same goes for websites.
Google Chrome has begun to label non HTTPS websites as ‘not secure’ in red font. And, like anything in life, first impressions count. That’s why, when Chrome introduced this ‘warning’, non secure websites saw a huge increase in bounce rates (when visitors leave a website).
Would you want to spend money on a website like that? We doubt it. So, when choosing a website builder, you should take some time to read about their security offerings.
Keep Information Safe
You should now have an idea of how HTTPS keeps information safe, but we will go over the main points.
As we’ve mentioned, HTTPS keeps the data sent between a web browser and website secure by encrypting it. This is particularly important for ecommerce stores, with all those credit card details and delivery addresses being used.
HTTPS also makes it much harder for hackers to build impostor websites. Like identity fraud, this is when someone builds a fake website in order to steal customer data.
The moral of the story is: better safe than sorry.
Website builders and HTTPS
You now know why HTTPS is important – it keeps online visitors’ data safe, builds trust, and helps your website rank higher on Google. But how do you actually get it? In other words, what should you be looking out for? The answer is three letters: SSL.
Most website builders come with a free SSL certificate, these include::
However, it’s worth noting that the SSL Certificate may depend on the price plan you choose. With Wix, Squarespace, Site123, and 1&1 Ionos, you get free SSL certificates across all price plans.
But, SSL certificates are only available on Weebly’s Business and Performance plans, and on GoDaddy’s Business, Business Plus and Online Store plans.
Like to know more about what you can get with each builder?
Ecommerce platforms and HTTPS
For online stores, SSL certificates are a must-have, and it comes free with these platforms:
- Big Cartel
It’s worth noting that Weebly requires you to manually turn on the security function.
However, while GoDaddy supports SSL Certificates, these are a paid function. Protecting your GoDaddy store costs $54.99 – $229, depending on the amount of websites you have.
With 3dcart, all their stores come with a shared SSL certificate as part of their base offering. However, to install a dedicated SSL certificate, it costs $99 – $999, depending on the amount of features you need or websites you have.
Why your site needs HTTPS: Conclusion
You should now have a good understanding of how HTTPS can help your website or online store. We’ve covered the positive impacts, and how you actually go about protecting your site.
Let’s quickly recap the three main functions of HTTPS:
- Improves your site’s ranking on Google
- Builds trust
- Protects data
Switching to HTTPS, which is done by purchasing an SSL Certificate, has become more important in Google’s eyes recently. If you make your website secure, Google will help it appear higher on the results page. This is crucial for any website to succeed, given than most visitors only click on the top 5 pages.
HTTPS is important for improving trust. Customers will feel more safe if the website they’re on is secure. Don’t forget, Chrome has begun labelling websites as ‘Not Secure’ if they are not HTTPS. While it’s not certain customers will bounce back, it’s surely not worth the risk.
Finally, HTTPS, keeps data safe. By encrypting the information such as credit card details, home addresses, and login IDs, it’s nearly impossible for hackers to take it. This is particularly important for ecommerce websites to do so, with all those monetary transactions.
Security is definitely something to think about when choosing a website builder. Most platforms offer SSL certificates for free, but some do provide them at a cost. But, surely, it’s worth every cent.