This was definitely not my planned blog post for this month, but it’s one of the latest issues that has arised and I thought it was time for some discussion around the topic. I do encourage you to read through the whole post, because there is a lot of great information in this one!
Ready for it?
Website SSL Certificates & Google.
First of all, let’s face the fact that Google has a scary amount of power for a move like this to happen. However, for businesses who own and manage a website, Google and their SSL Certificate debacle have certainly caused a stir. While it’s definitely something that will help people feel safer on the web, it does put a bit of a damper on those who now have to spend the extra time and money to upgrade their websites (trust us, we had to do it too).
However, the extra money you spend one time a year is totally worth the investment when you know your customers are coming to your site and aren’t turned off or scared away because of a giant “NOT SECURE” marker in the URL bar. You will have start seeing it whenever you visit a site that isn’t secure. It’s also worth the investment when you know Google isn’t pushing your website down on search results. Do you really want your competitors showing up before you?
The reality is, Google is the king of the internet. As users of the magical world of the web, we are at their mercy when it comes to search results. If you currently have an http:// address, you’re at risk of having the minor (or even major) inconvenience of all of this.
The first big change has already come with build 66 of Chrome – which was released on April 17 – and the problem will get even bigger on October 23 when build 70 is released and all Symantec certificates will be listed as not being trustworthy.
Of course, not everyone uses Chrome and not everyone will instantly upgrade to the latest version, but it's safe to say that it will become a very big headache very quickly for those sites that haven't obtained new HTTPS certs from other authorities. Early beta testers of the new Chrome version have shown warnings about what will happen with the new changes.
How Does It Affect Your Business?
Don’t have https? Then it goes a little something like this:
Not sure it needs more explanation than that.
What Should You Do Now?
It really depends. How many visitors do you have to your website on a regular basis? Do they input any information? Are they visiting for location details, or to connect to some sort of payment portal? Anything having to do with your website should be asked and considered when deciding whether or not to add an SSL. All in all, regardless of any of that information, most web professionals would tell you do it anyway. Not just so they can earn your business in that area, but because it keeps you from losing business. There is the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Well, consider your non-secure site as broke.
There are tons of places you can get yourself an SSL Certificate on the web. Just Google it and you’ll find tons of results. Implementing it is another issue. Now, say you have a WordPress site, it’s much easier. However, if you have an antiquated site, this gets to be more complicated. It also depends if you have a web developer as your best friend or family member. If not, upgrading your site to something like a WordPress site is a much cheaper option.
There are a ton of website building options out there, we just happen to prefer WordPress over others because of how much you can do with it and build off of it. It’s not just a one stop shop where you have a template and that’s that. So whether you’re in Wix, or SquareSpace, Weebly, or WordPress, any one of these options can bring your website into the 21st century along with providing an SSL option for your business. Even if you don’t add SSL, upgrading can be beneficial for your business either way.
Why Upgrade If I Don’t Want SSL On My Site?
Here’s where things get really juicy. I get really excited about this kind of information!
Back in October of 2017, we launched a new website for one of our customers as a beta test to see if WordPress would be a good fit for customers going forward. Being the absolute genius that I am, I had put Google Analytics on their site several months previous to that. The beauty of analytics, is you can see all the traffic to your website, where it comes from, and use that information for AdWords if you ever wanted to go that far with your marketing.
So, looking at this specific customers website data, I can tell you that from the time the site was launched to this day, their site traffic has gone up in ridiculous numbers. You may be asking yourself, well why? Well, part of it is because they used our marketing services and upgraded their website to WordPress, and another part is because we placed some very minimal SEO on the site to help them gain more traffic.
Now, this doesn’t always translate to more sales, however for this particular customer I can look at their credit card and loyalty card data over certain time periods and say their sales went up 26% in that given time period compared to previous. TWENTY SIX PERCENT. To some that might not be a lot, but to others that could be a big chunk of change. Take note, that doesn’t include the cash they brought in either.
Imagine if this customer started using AdWords and putting a little bit of extra cash into marketing their business. New people could see them when they Google “car wash near me”. The potential to gain business they never had before is unlimited!
Now, back to the main topic of this whole post around SSL Certificates. Imagine if this customer didn’t get one. They decided they didn’t need one for their business. Well, in the long run instead of potentially gaining customers, they will drive them away. The decision is fully up to the owner (who has in fact decided to get an SSL Certificate) and what is best for them. But know, not having one will drive away business for you. So will having a website that’s older than the sun. In the world we live in today where everything is based off reviews, and website content, and being relevant, it’s important to not only stay in the loop, but stay in tune with your customers.
When life (or Google) gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Is this an easy cup of lemonade to swallow? Not necessarily. But in the long run, it’s a good one. Safety on the internet is crucial. With the amount of data hackers can access and take, it’s truly better to be safe, than sorry. I, as a marketing professional, certainly can’t tell you what to do with your business. I can’t force you to change your website. However, I can inform you that without the change, you may be facing some customer criticism and in that process, end up losing a few customers. It’s not always easy to take something sour and make it into something sweet, but it’s usually for the best.
Whatever your decision, know it’s always best to consult a web professional for discussions like these. They will be able to best guide you in your decision and what is best for your business when it comes to your website. WashCard is always available for discussion with our customers. If you do have questions or concerns about your website, feel free to give our marketing team a call or send us an email and have a chat.