In the current climate, ensuring the robustness of your business’ website security is essential. Due to highly-publicized data leaks, and the ever-present threat of identity theft, more and more customers are prioritizing website security when choosing to buy a product or service from a company.
Given these high expectations, you will likely have sought to implement a number of security measures in order to reassure customers that your site is safe to use. However, there is one measure in particular that tends to be a source of confusion: HTTP vs. HTTPS.
What is HTTP?
HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol, and it is essentially the conduit between the web as a whole and an individual browser. When you try to visit a website, your browser sends a message requesting that website’s information from the internet, which is then returned, and the website displays in the browser. HTTP is the transfer protocol used to facilitate this common process.
HTTP has been the gold standard for internet browsing for quite literally decades, but has slowly been replaced by HTTPS.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS performs the same data request and retrieval function as HTTP, but with one key difference: the data is encrypted. Essentially, this means that HTTPS essentially functions as a gatekeeper; preventing hackers, malware, and other security-disrupting influences from interfering in the communication between your site and your customers.
Why is HTTPS important for customers?
Your customers have reached a point where they are aware that HTTPS offers greater protection than standard HTTP, even if they are not necessarily aware of why this is the case. Any online guide to browsing safely will encourage customers to look for HTTPS rather than HTTP, and as of 2018, Google Chrome actually flags non-HTTPS websites to its users. As a result, if your site is not using HTTPS, your customers will be immediately suspicious – and, in most cases, will refuse to visit your website due to security concerns.
What are the other benefits of HTTPS?
As well as influencing customer impressions, HTTPS also impacts your search rankings, as search engines tend to downgrade websites not using HTTPS. This means that, without HTTPS, all of your essential content marketing efforts are doomed to fail, as you will always be outranked – and thus receive far less attention – than a competitor who is using HTTPS.
Should you use HTTPS on your business website?
If you have yet to embrace HTTPS, then it is highly advisable to make the change as soon as possible. Thankfully, the process of switching from the standard HTTP to HTTPS is relatively straightforward: you will need to purchase an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate and install the certificate on your website’s hosting account, then test to ensure your site and overall web design is functioning as it should.
HTTP has served the internet well, but all good things must come to an end. By embracing HTTPS, you can reassure your customers, boost your SEO performance, and ensure your content marketing efforts are all the more likely to succeed.