I’m sure you can agree, that it’s hard to convert website visitors into customers.
Or, is it?
Well, it turns out that you can significantly boost your sales and conversions by simply adding one feature to your website.
In this post I’m going to show you exactly what this feature is and how you can easily include it into your site.
Secured Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates
Nowadays, savvy online consumers look for security when they browse. Increasingly, they search for an official identifier showing that the website is secured via a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
If you are looking to incorporate e-commerce or asking for people to hand over sensitive information on your website, you need to secure your website via an appropriate SSL.
But what about the rest of us?
Everyone stands to benefit from an Extended Validation SSL
Anyone can benefit from an Extended Validation (EV) SSL.
An EV SSL both authenticates you and your website. It proves you are who you say you are and secures the connection between your website and a visitor. It also ensures that the connection between a browser and your site is secured (encrypted).
For e-commerce websites SSL certificates provide assurance of ~$500,000+. This is in addition to the credit card fraud insurance which the banks provide to their users at no additional cost to you. Like other forms of insurance this is something that most people never use, nor want to use, but it’s good to have.
For the rest of us, the primary purpose is that browsers know they are on an authentic and secure website.
What Form of Security do I Really Need for My Website?
SSLs have varying levels of validation/protection and thus price. Generally, the more you pay the more you get.
If you are serious about getting people to hand over their credit card details over your website, then you should get an Extended Validation (EV) SSL (if your budget allows it).
Whilst this is about security, it’s also about vanity. This is about how consumers view you and your site. An EV SSL will give your website the green bar in the top-left hand corner of the url bar.
Is the green bar necessary?
Short answer, no.
But… (and this is a big but)
Websites that use an EV SSL are the ones that you see with the green bar in the url (see image above). A good article explaining the pros-and cons of implementing these can be found here.
I’m mainly in favour of EV SSLs because it builds the trust that a lot of consumers are looking for when making an online purchase.
Typically, businesses that use EV SSLs see higher conversions and ultimately more sales. The same is true for lead generation websites.
An EV SSL Builds trust
The greatest benefit from an EV SSL can be seen when running campaigns to new customers that don’t know you all that well. An example here would be targeting new prospects through Facebook paid advertising campaign.
Most hosting providers will host any EV SSL. After looking around the most affordable EV SSL I could find was $270 year (22.50/month) here. (There were cheaper ones, but they had horrible reviews).
However, I recommend Panthur. They offer EV SSLs for $25 per month. For the extra $2.50 a month you’re going to ensure reliability and good customer service.
But an EV SSL is too much…
If an EV is too much, there are alternatives.
In their bid to make the internet a safer place, Certbot and Lets Encrypt have teamed up to provide free automated Rapid SSLs. This is the lower end of the security spectrum. It won’t give you the green bar, but it will give you the https and encrypt your site.
Lets Encrypt Rapid SSLs are free, for life. However, unless you are technically savvy, it is rather difficult to implement. That is unless your web host has an integrated app to install them.
Unfortunately, cPanel does not yet have an official Lets Encrypt app. When it comes to hosting interface, it’s number one being used by around 90% of web hosting companies.
Increasingly hosting companies are integrating Lets Encrypt into their hosting plans, but this is a case-by-case basis. cPanel says they will have Lets Encrypt integration within the next three months.
Rapid SSL Certificate
A Rapid SSL starts at around $30 per year. This is an entry-level certificate and would give you all that you needed in terms of basic security for conducting light e-commerce.
Being much cheaper (and potentially free) is an obvious benefit. However, you don’t get the consumer confidence of the green bar. Instead, it will most likely appear like the below:
Mid-Range SSL Certificates
There are mid-range ones as well, such as True Business ID SSL certificates. These cost around $150. In my opinion they currently don’t offer enough to make it worthwhile because they don’t give you the green bar.
These will make your site’s url appear with a simple padlock, like the image above. Being no different aesthetically from Rapid SSLs, there’s little to gain with this option.
Future Proof Your Website
An EV SSL also prepare you and your business for the future.
Increasingly the internet is moving toward https over http. Acknowledging this, Google explicitly states that they reward secure websites with higher rankings.
Soon the minimum standard for a website will be a Rapid SSL.
Summing Up: to Upgrade to SSL or Not?
I must admit I’m a bit of a hypocrite here, as I don’t currently use an SSL myself. I couldn’t justify the cost of an EV SSL when setting up my website because I wasn’t asking customers for particularly sensitive information like credit card details. And unfortunately, my hosting provider doesn’t have Lets Encrypt integration (it should by next month though!).
It’s something I’m definitely going to use moving forward.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
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