SSL: The Key to Secure Online Transactions
Most of the work that we provide for our clients helps generate traffic to their websites. This includes, among others, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Google Adwords campaigns and other paid advertising.
However, as many of my clients know, one of my ongoing concerns in today’s online marketing mix is that, while all this effort is made to generate site traffic, not enough effort is made, in my opinion, to help that traffic convert into enquiries, sales and business.
There are a number of key methodologies that I employ to help my clients massage more sales out of their web traffic, ranging from improving salesmanship, to adding reviews, to navigation strategy, calls to action and more.
However, today I would like to talk more about one of the easiest conversion-booster to implement: SSL Certificates.
Simply put, an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology.Don't overlook the power of the #SSL Certificate as a means of increasing conversion rates. #SiteConversion Click To Tweet
SSL Makes your Customers Feel Safe
The argument for SSL is really simple: no matter how appealing your product or service is, if customers don’t feel safe on your site, they will shy away from giving you their personal and credit card details to make an online purchase with you.
The result will be that all the time, effort and budgets you allocate to generating good traffic to your site and all your efforts to create compelling salesmanship will not result in the desired sale.
This is the primary reason for using SSL on your website: to facilitate the shopping process by making your customers feel safe.
The Two Faces of SSL
While the SSLs give the important impression and perception of safety to customers, most people don’t really know the two important aspects of these certificates that give reality to that perception.Frank Orman talks about the two main safety aspects that #SSL Certificates can provide. Click To Tweet
Keeping Customer Details Safe
The first is to ensure the confidentiality of the information that your customers input into your website. For example, if you ask them for personal details, their credit card details, or any other information that they may deem confidential, SSL will encrypt that information in a way that keeps it safe from information hijacking during the transaction.
Verifying the Integrity of your Organisation
Moreover, there is another important aspect of SSL that is crucial to the safety net that it offers to your customers: it verifies the integrity of the company or organisation behind the website.
Typically, an SSL Certificate will contain your domain name, your company name, your address, city, state and country. These company or organisation details are all verified and certified by official and vetted Certification Authorities (CAs) to ensure the integrity of the information provided to the online public.
It is this double safety net that makes online shopping and online data collection a much more secure enterprise. It also provides your customers with a safe environment that generally enhances a shopping culture – and facilitates more sales and profits online.
How Do Web Visitors Know that a Site has an SSL Certificate?
Whenever a browser connects to a secure site, it will check the details of the site’s SSL Certificate.
Depending on the certificate you’ve purchased, your web visitors’ browser may display a padlock icon, a thumbs up, a green browser bar or another reassuring symbol when security is in place. Furthermore, secure web addresses start with “https://” instead of just “http://”.
If a website fails on any one of the certification checks, the browser will display a warning, letting web visitors know that the site is not secure.How will your web visitors know your website and checkout process are secure? Find out here. #SSL Click To Tweet
SSL for Non E-Commerce Websites
While it is crucial for e-commerce sites to have a SSL Certificate, I am often asked by my clients who do not have an online shop if they should get one.
It is true that SSL is perfect for the encryption and transmission of shopping details; however, what many of my clients forget, is that even for online enquiry forms, brochure request forms or newsletter signup forms, customers are being asked for certain information that they might feel is confidential and that they would prefer to protect.
While, in my experience, this is a lot less of an issue for B2B websites, when it comes to the B2C environment, private customers are generally far more protective of their personal information. In these cases, I would certainly recommend SSL for non e-commerce sites.
Another consideration that I have found useful for some of my clients is that of deploying the SSL in order to communicate the “impression of security” and the “projection of brand integrity”. Some customers feel that just by looking at a website, they might be at risk in some way and, for these customers, just being able to display the “https” in the URL bar or the icon of the padlock at the bottom of their browser makes them feel protected and safe enough to continue to browse your website in the first place.
Purchasing an SSL Certificate
There are different kinds of SSL Certificate that you can apply for and purchase. Which one you require will depend on a number of factors, including how many domains or sub domains you wish to certify and if you are looking mainly for data transfer protection or brand integrity solutions.What type of #SSL Certificate is best for your corporate or #ecommerce website? Find out here. Click To Tweet
While, if you are more technically savvy, you can purchase SSL Certificates from independent third party providers and install them on your server yourself, in most cases I would recommend that your web hosting company be your first port of call. This is because they should already have a range of suitable certificates in place and they tend to know more about your current domains and the type of transactions you provide for your visitors.
Also, if anything goes wrong, you have one technical support team to help solve your problems, instead of being sent forwards and backwards ad-infinitum between your server support and your SSL provider, as is so often the case when it comes to technical issues.