As of September 2014, NetCraft confirmed that the Internet has reached a historical milestone. The Internet has finally surpassed 1 billion websites. Although there had been fluctuations in the amount, March 2016 indicated a rise back to the 1 billion markfor the Internet.
With the rapid increase in the number of websites, the issue of online security also continues to become a growing concern. Research shows that 11% of people who are consistently online have had their personal information compromised.
SSL is short for secure sockets layer. It functions as a digital certificate which authenticates the identity of the website and encrypts sensitive information.
The use of SSL changes the normal link for your blog from http:// to https://. SSL is often used for websites that collect personal information such as login details or credit card information. Paypal, Twitter and Facebook all use SSL to encrypt information.
With all this talk about how SSL can benefit large Internet corporations, how can the use of SSL benefit your blog? The following are reasons why your blog needs to consider having SSL.
SSL helps encrypt sensitive information
Once you have set up your SSL certificate on your web server properly, any data your website visitors send back and forth will only be visible in plain text to you. If your website collects any sensitive information such as credit card details, using SSL will keep any prying eyes away from trying to snag the information.
However, if your blog still uses http:// on your web server, any information transmitted will not only be available to you but to the public as well. Anyone who is watching the traffic to your website can obtain your visitor’s login information easily.
SSL boosts Google ranking
Google is usually tight-lipped about how they rank websites. Besides the usual SEO factors such as high quality content, links and having a mobile responsive website, Google has been protective on their algorithms about how they rank websites. The recent announcement Google made about them giving a slightly higher priority towards websites which implements SSL is a vital indication that Google wants a securewebsite experience for its users.
While you shouldn’t make the switch to https:// purely for SEO purposes, SSL is an important security layer for any blog owners that want to get serious about building their blog’s credibility. If you are a blog owner who only collects email from your subscribers, you are better off spending your budget allocation elsewhere.
SSL establishes trust
Perhaps what puts the cherry on top of the cake by installing SSL is that you establish trust among your blog visitors. Most of them will be searching for the ‘padlock’ when they send you any information through your blog. In fact, Google Chrome will publicly warn your visitors that your website is insecure if your website does not have a padlock in the URL search bar. Although the padlock may seem small, it comes off as a symbol of trust for your blog.
This visual cue will encourage your audience to trust your website more and they are more likely to interact with you. In fact, there are people who may also blatantly refuse to engage with a website if they do not see the padlock as a visual cue. By having the SSL certificate on your website, your audience has control over the information that they want to share to its intended recipient.
Should you make the switch to using SSL?
Our short answer to this is yes and no. SSL is a resource intensive process. To make the transition would require you having a real need to protect your visitors’ information. If you are collecting highly sensitive information such as credit card information, making the switch to SSL is imperative for safety.
However, if you are simply collecting email addresses and are not collecting any compromising personal information, not going for the SSL security layer is a financially sound decision. While the disadvantages of using SSL is very little compared to choosing to use SSL, the use of SSL will help you protect your visitors’ information, boost Google rankings and establish trust.