You might be considering switching your WordPress website to HTTPS.
If you’re not, reconsider because there are many benefits that will become apparent once you make this decision – moving your WordPress website to SSL is easier than you might think.
Dating back to 2014, Google began to favour HTTPS when determining search ranking. Their reason was simple. The search engine determined that HTTPS sites were safer compared to the alternative because the information was being encrypted.
Google is constantly evolving to ensure that their search engine users only see results with the highest level of quality when they search for a company, site or product.
As such, it made sense for them to push HTTPS websites to the top and they have been doing so ever since.
Arguably, this is the most obvious reason why you should switch your WordPress website to HTTPS.
Update: Google Search Console is sending email notifications to its users about near-term and longer-term changes coming to Chrome, Google’s web browser.
Starting in October, Google Chrome users will see a “NOT SECURE” notification on any data entry forms found on HTTP website pages.
This change is yet another signal from Google to get websites to migrate to HTTPS protocol for secure data transfer.
It follows a previous Chrome update (version 56) that added this “not secure” notification to any non-secure sign-in that has a password or any form with a credit card entry field.
Better search rankings for your site
It’s a little-known fact that SSL certificates are now free for site owners. We actually offer FREE SSL certificates via our hosting company, WP Engine.
As such, there is no reason businesses and site owners should avoid using them.
Despite this, recent studies have shown that only 6% of the top ten thousand websites online actually bother to get SSL certificates.
This might have been what prompted Google to push the support of these certificates by rewarding online website owners with HTTPS pages and a higher level of encryption.
So, when you switch your WordPress website to HTTPS, you will immediately gain a higher ranking. And, if the research is correct, a significant advantage over the competition.
Customer assurance building that all-important trust factor!
Of course, not everything is about search ranking. It’s a large part of the equation for business owners, but you also need to consider whether customers feel comfortable using your WordPress website.
If you record very little data from the users of your site, they may be completely oblivious to your site security. However, if you are asking them for data such as credit card details, you can bet they will be far more interested. In fact, some customers may stay away from sites they believe aren’t providing the best level of security.
This is the other of the story for Google. Site owners might be encouraged to move their WordPress website to HTTPS for search ranking possibilities but the main benefit for users is an added level of security.
If you think that customers won’t be aware that your website doesn’t have this level of security think again. As of January 2017, Google has been providing warnings to users visiting sites that do ask for credit card information and do not have an SSL certificate.
This warning shows up on the Chrome browser, a tool many customers now use. It’s not just credit card details either. Asking customers for passwords will also cause this warning to flash up.
You might think you’re safe as long as you don’t ask for any personal info. Perhaps you’re a blogger? However, Google has announced they will soon be marking all websites without HTTPS as unsafe.
So, the obvious benefit here is that by switching your WordPress website to HTTPS, you will gain an additional level of trust from customers. They will notice that you are one of the websites online that is taking the security of their data seriously. This might even allow you to win over a few customers away from your competition.
Stay fast and effective
HTTPS is essentially an upgrade for your site, and like all upgrades, it comes with performance benefits. You will be using the new protocol, and this will allow you to speed up your website, ensuring that the competition doesn’t leave you in the dust. Customers are constantly swayed to use sites that have faster speeds, and it could be exactly what you need to gain their interest. Don’t forget that recently Google has also been taking site speed into account when determining search ranking.
Gain all the latest features
There’s another advantage to changing your WordPress website to HTTPS. Did we mention it’s the latest software? This means that you’ll be able to use all the great features that Google offer effectively. For instance, you might want to show the location of your website, embedding Google Maps into a page on your site. Well, you can if you use HTTPS. These features are always going to improve and evolve. Eventually, they may no longer work, if you don’t make the switch and keep up to date.
You won’t be the only one considering making this change. A lot of other businesses and site owners will be. That’s why it’s important that you take action as soon as possible. Google is currently giving a real upper hand to HTTPS users. But it won’t last forever, and when virtually every business site has decided this is the right choice, that advantage will be cancelled out completely. As such, you need to take advantage while it’s still a relatively fresh idea. You’ll be able to dramatically increase your online reach by leaping over other sites on the SERPs that are not using HTTPS.
If you haven’t yet changed your WordPress website to HTTPS, there’s a good chance that you might be losing referral data from HTTPS websites when using Google Analytics. If that’s the case, you could be missing key information that may be the key to take your company to the next level.
It’s not a new idea anymore
You can still gain a distinct advantage by switching your WordPress website to HTTPS, but it’s important to realise that this isn’t a new idea anymore. Just like responsive design, this has become the standard for new website creation. If you are setting up a brand new site this year, you can bet HTTPS will be part of the package, and that’s the way it should be. This means that any older website owner must keep up to date and should have made this change yesterday.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to switch your site to HTTPS. It will give you a fantastic SEO advantage, strengthen the security of your site and provide you with numerous other advantages from Google indirectly.
If your current agency can’t install an SSL certificate for you (usually done under a maintenance contract), get in touch – we can help.