You encounter an SSL certificate every time you shop online on reputable sites. However, they’re not just for e-commerce sites.
Your church should also have an SSL certificate if you want to build trust with your visitors. More and more, people expect every site they visit to have the recognizable lock in the address bar.
While you don’t absolutely need one unless your members and visitors are inputting personal details, it’s a good idea to understand what SSL actually means and how it could benefit your site.
What Are SSL Certificates?
SSL stands for secure socket layer. In layman’s terms, this means data is encrypted as it’s transmitted between computers. Otherwise, hackers could easily grab data as it’s transmitted over the Internet. SSL certificates are used to digitally encrypt personal data, such as credit cards, social security numbers, addresses, passwords and more. They can even encrypt basic information, such as searches and form data.
An SSL certificate is a tiny file that contains the encryption key for a specific site or business. Sites with a certificate installed have a padlock and/or HTTPS in the address bar. Users can easily check to see if a certificate is valid by clicking the padlock icon in most browsers.
Building Trust With Visitors
According to Wired, half of all websites are now encrypted. This is great news. However, it might not be so great if your church’s site isn’t part of that half. While HTTPS and SSL certificates aren’t perfect, they’re an extra layer of security.
Members and non-members visiting your website are beginning to realize the importance of a more secure online experience. Even when they’re just logging in to post to a forum or add a comment to a blog post, they want to know their information is safe. By being proactive and using an SSL certificate, you’re showing visitors that they can trust your site. This also encourages non-members to stay on your site longer, which could lead to them becoming members.
The most important reason your church needs an SSL certificate is to protect your visitors’ data. Think about when you’re shopping. You wouldn’t just read off your credit card number out loud in a crowded store. Without encryption, you’re basically doing the same thing online when you shop or enter any other personal details.
While SSL certificates don’t mean your site can’t be breached, it does mean the data itself is being encrypted in transit. Hackers won’t be able to snoop and grab your members’ credit cards as they digitally tithe. It’s all about keeping personal details private. Your church normally puts God first, but when it comes to your website, you also need to make online security a top priority too.
Boosting Your Site’s Rank
It might sound a little odd, but an SSL certificate has the potential to boost your site’s rank. When your church is trying to reach as many people as possible, a higher rank on Google and other search engines is important. After all, if someone’s looking for a new church, they’re probably not going to look past the first page of search results.
Google’s trying to make the Internet a safer place and has changed their search algorithms to include HTTPS. Sites that have valid certificates actually get a slight boost. With so much competition online, even a slight boost is a good thing. This change is one of the main reasons why so many websites have started using SSL certificates.
It’s important to keep in mind that you have to install an SSL certificate correctly for it to benefit you. Web certificate problems are all too common. This is why it’s important to ensure your certificate works so you and your site’s visitors get all the benefits.
Need help making your church’s site more secure? Contact Reach Right Studios today for a site that inspires trust and keeps your visitors’ data safer.