Currently, only 0.1% of all websites use SSL. Consequently, it doesn’t seem like technology is essential to run a successful web presence. However, there are still convincing reasons to become part of the minority.
Your Site Handles Sensitive Information
First of all, if you have an online shop that handles credit card information or similarly sensitive data, moving your site to HTTPS is an absolute must. Clients want to trust your site and they should be able to. It is your responsibility to make that happen.
For example, if someone uses a public wifi spot to access an unsecured site, others are able to steal their payment details. If they use that information to steal from your client, how likely do you think that person is to come back to your site? Not very.
Without HTTPS it is also possible to alter the data your visitors receive. That way, a third party could add ads, malware or other things you definitely don’t want others to see on your web presence.
In fact, a while ago AT&T was caught doing that (add ads, not malware). However, you can be sure that visitors won’t really care who did the deed. All they will remember that it happened on your site.
However, even if you “only” deal with normal login information, it’s not a bad idea to offer an extra layer of security and keep it safe. Your users will certainly appreciate it.
HTTPS is a Sign of Trustworthiness and Authenticity
Speaking of visitors: because of the general push for HTTPS adaptation on the web, encryption has become something that consumers increasingly expect. In fact, by now 28.9% look at the green address bar in their browser a number that will likely increase with time.
study on consumer expectations with https
Why do they care? Because the little padlock doesn’t only mean that their traffic is protected but also that the website is authentic and who it claims to be, not some fake. After all, the same study shows that 77% of end-users are concerned about their data being intercepted and misused.
So, if they have the choice between your site without HTTPS and a competitor who has implemented it, chances are good they will decide against you. Especially since major browsers (Chrome, Firefox) now mark sites, which have forms on pages without HTTPS, as insecure.
In the future, they might generally warn you of any site that doesn’t have encryption in place. And you really don’t want to be among those.
Benefits for SEO
Not only do consumers expect you to make the move over to HTTPS, but search engines also do. Google officially announced that having an SSL certificate in place is now a ranking factor. What’s more – while weak at the moment, the importance of HTTPS will increase over time.
In addition to that, referral data from HTTPS to HTTP is blocked in Google Analytics. So, if you have a website running on the old protocol and get a lot of referrals from sites running on HTTPS, you won’t see it correctly in your web analytics. That way, you might not be aware of platforms that send you lots of traffic and lose out on amplifying your marketing channels.
Faster Loading Times
Staying on the topic of SEO, HTTPS is also significantly faster. Don’t believe us? Try it here (use a private window to prevent image caching). When we ran the test, HTTPS was a whopping 83% faster!
http vs https speed comparison
Not bad, right? Especially since page loading speed is also a ranking factor.
Not only that but visitors care about it. In fact, a large chunk will leave your site if it doesn’t load within three seconds. For that and other reasons, check out our guide on how to speed up WordPress.
HTTPS Troubleshooting Tips
Unfortunately, moving your site to HTTPS is not all sunshine and rainbows. Some stuff might come up that needs dealing with.
Mixed Content Warnings
The most common problems that arise after you move your website to HTTPS are mixed content warnings. This happens when the browser finds non-secure links on an otherwise secure page. This is usually a matter of updating links to jQuery libraries, custom fonts or similar to their HTTPS version.
You should usually take care of this while scanning your site before publishing it. However, if you find a warning like this, make sure to check what is causing it.
Aside from the aforementioned tools, you can also use Why No Padlock? for single pages. Then, correct whatever is the issue.
Decreased Search Rankings
Making the switch from HTTP to HTTPS can influence your rankings negatively. What?! Didn’t we say earlier that this is good for SEO? Why would your rankings go down then?
Before you go back and kick HTTPS to the curb, hear us out first. If your SEO is affected negatively, this is usually only temporary.
You see, Google treats https:// and http:// URLs as two different entities. Even if you set up 301 redirects (as we have done above), those only transfer 90-99% of the link juice. That’s why your rankings might go down in the beginning.
However, after the initial dip, they should actually increase over time. As mentioned, Google considers the use of SSL a positive ranking factor, so if you move your website to HTTPS, you actually make it more attractive in their eyes. This will benefit you in the long run.