SSL Certificates – Are They Really Necessary

SSL Certificates – Are They Really Necessary

What is SSL?

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer” and is a way to encrypt data a user inputs into your websites so that it can securely travel from their browser to your web server. You can easily find whether your website has an SSL certificate by whether the URL of the site starts with HTTP or HTTPS. If it’s loaded in your browser with HTTPS at the start, then you have an SSL on your website.

Why do I need one?

SSL certificates are more than just a “nice to have” feature for your website. The reality is, they have become a necessity if you are going to run a successful website that is safe for your users. It may not be compulsory to use an SSL certificate, but the rate at which unencrypted web traffic is intercepted, and the frequency that user computers and web servers are becoming compromised, is alarming to say the least.

So, where does this leave you, the average web page owner? Well, there are options to help mitigate the risk of running an insecure webpage, chief among which is the implementation of SSL certificates. It is only through this implementation that you will be able to reap both the rewards of higher search visibility through Google and enhanced security through encryption.  

The end result is that your website will, by all appearances, be a more secure and official looking platform for your users to connect to. This helps to build your brand and lets your users know you take security seriously.

This ultimately reflects positively on you and your business, and helps you to stay ahead of the competition if they have not yet adopted SSL certificates for their websites.


SSL and Search Engine Optimisation

We already know Google has started rewarding websites that have implemented SSL with better search visibility, but how else does having an SSL certificate benefit your website’s search engine capabilities? Well, it might not be an obvious advantage when we first look at the way Google treats SSL-Certified websites versus standard ones.

When Google generates almost identical search results in terms of relevance, the SSL status of each website will then act as a tiebreaker in the most secure website’s favour. This means that SSL is not a magic bullet to fix your search rankings, but is instead an enhancement that needs to work together with all of your other SEO measures.

If your website shows up in Google searches more often, you will receive a bump in network traffic. That increase in traffic has the potential to bring in more customers, giving you a competitive edge over your rivals. This is an excellent perk, and by the looks of things, Google will not be changing this any time soon.

What’s this about Cookies?

What’s this about Cookies?

Firstly what is a cookie?

They are simple ’text files’ which you can read using the Notebook program on your own computer. Typically, they contain two pieces of information: a site name and unique user ID.

To find out the Cookies used on a website you can click the padlock in the URL box in Chrome.

First of all use the dropdown arrows to open all the information and highlight each cookie and click remove. Once all these have been removed, close the dialogue box and refresh the page. Then open up the cookie window again. This will flush out any old unused cookie information and then show you the real time cookies used.

How do they work?

When you visit a site that uses cookies for the first time, a cookie is downloaded onto your computer. The next time you visit that site, your computer checks to see if it has a cookie that is relevant (that is, one containing the site name) and sends the information contained in that cookie back to the site.

The site then ’knows’ that you have been there before, and in some cases, tailors what pops up on screen to take account of that fact. For instance, it can be helpful to vary content according to whether this is your first ever visit to a site – or your 71st.

The Good thing about cookies

Some cookies are more sophisticated. They might record how long you spend on each page on a site, what links you click, even your preferences for page layouts and colour schemes. They can also be used to store data on what is in your ‘shopping cart’, adding items as you click.

The possibilities are endless, and generally the role of cookies is beneficial, making your interaction with frequently-visited sites smoother – for no extra effort on your part. Without cookies, online shopping would be much harder.

…and the bad

so why the paranoia? The answer probably depends on how you feel about organisations – both big business and government – storing information about you. There is nothing especially secret or exceptional about the information gathered by cookies, but you may just dislike the idea of your name being added to marketing lists, or your information being used to target you for special offers. That is your right, just as others are entitled to go along with the process.

When cookies first started to appear, there was controversy. Some people regarded them as inherently sneaky – your computer was being used (without warning) to store personal information about you, which could then be used to build a picture of your browsing habits.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Create a Sense of Urgency

Using urgency in sales is not a new thing.

It works because it forces people to take action. Usually by employing scarcity. So, making something (like, the discounted price) only available within a limited time period (like, ‘this bank holiday weekend only‘).

This plays on our irrational fears. Forget spiders, we’re talking about the Fear Of Missing Out. Removing the time available to make the buying decision forces us to make a split decision based on our emotions.

You can create a sense of urgency all year round. How?

Countdown clocks.

Adding a simple countdown clock or timer to a product page has been proven to increase conversions by as much as 300%.

They push a consumer to make the buying decision now before time runs out. You can literally feel the time slipping away, which breeds FOMO, leading to anxiety.

It doesn’t have to always be about the price. Countdown timers for next day delivery can be just as effective, Badgering you to order in the next 1hrs 15m to get the item tomorrow. tick, tock, tick, tock!

Same goes with last order date for Christmas deliveries. Or stock countdown (Only one remaining!), which creates scarcity. This tiny little line of code can have dramatic effects on your bottom line.

Countdown to Christmas 2019