The Benefits of SSL: Adding a Layer of Security to Your WordPress Websites

Ok, ok – I know you are thinking… snooze, how boring – or maybe even, “huh?”. BUT, listen up folks – this one is actually worth your attention. SSL is the technology that keeps your website secure – it is easily recognized on any website by an https:// versus http://. This would most commonly be found on e-commerce and banking sites or on any website collecting sensitive, personal information. Next time you go to pay for something online, be sure you pay attention – do you see that https:// in the URL bar? If not, run away fast and buy your stuff elsewhere.

In August of 2014, Google announced that HTTPS adoption would play a role in their website ranking algorithm. Keep in mind there are many, many other factors in the algorithm – but still, many of these signals are a guess at best. High quality content will always be the obvious win, but the big G chose to make this one transparent – they WANT you to do it. No surprise, internet security affects everyone these days – you are all hack worthy.

Historically, implementing a security certificate on your website overall was a pain in the butt at best – complex and costly (between GoDaddy and your web host, often $100-200+/year. But with the technology mainstream catching up to Google, you can now get this service packaged with your web hosting for no additional cost in some cases (WordPress users, check out Flywheel – loving this!).

The Benefits

  1. Added security and privacy. HTTPS adds a layer of security – verifying web servers, preventing 3rd party attacks, and encrypting all communication.
  2. A Google rankings boost. But with over 200 factors in the Google ranking algorithm, the bump is likely a small one that could potentially grow in importance.
  3. More accurate analytics. With a secure site, Google Analytics will provide better referrer data. Without it, you’ll never see where some of your referral traffic actually comes from.

And Costs

  1. Details, details. Enabling SSL can cause some other things on your site to fail (such as your redirects and pages blocked to robots) if you don’t pay attention to the details. It can even result in nasty security warnings that scare folks away from the site in general. This is one for your webmaster to review. Most of you will not want to sweat this line item.
  2. Site speed. HTTPS requires more hops and extra server handshakes, it could slow down an already heavy site.

The Bottom Line: Whether or not you are ready to consider a security update, it’s something you’ll want to put on your radar. We are still at the early adopter stage, but this trend is becoming more and more important on myriad levels – it’s not going away.

Too busy to even think about SSL, let alone implement? We can help, connect with us today for a consult on your WordPress website.

Kristen Blizzard
Kristen is a self professed WordPress geek with a knack for a little bit of everything in the online marketing realm.
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