Why Every Website Now Needs SSL
Chrome & SSL Certficates
Google's Chrome web browser is stepping up alerts when you use sites that don't have HTTPS (generally signified by the security padlock shown below).
In short: Google is moving the goalposts in a major way and all website owners need to take heed or your ranking, and your site conversion, will suffer.
If your site is already under Secure Socket Layer (aka SSL - it starts with a "https" instead of "http") you can rest easy.
If not, here's what what's happening and what we need to do for you.
Some time ago, Google started detecting if websites were under SSL and started actively promoting them higher in its rankings. Think about it. Spammy sites won't bother paying the costs of SSL, so it's one way to weed out a bunch of rubbish and only leave legitimate sites in the rankings.
It is now taking that a step further, and within the Chrome browser, actively marking any site not under SSL as 'not secure' in search engine results. Sometimes is just has a little exclamation mark, sometimes it actually has the words "not secure" as well.
This will be followed in future by message pop-ups to alert users that any input fields on the page (e.g. a login, or a newsletter signup) is not secure. It doesn't matter even if there are no critical details like credit card details required, Google has decreed this data must now be under SSL. So, even for a normal, information or brochure website, this is going to have a massive impact on the conversion rate of your site. Your visitors won't have too much confidence in you if your site has a pop-up screen that says "Warning, the website you are trying to access is not secure". They'll probably click back to Google. And that's if Google gave you equal ranking in the first place with competitors already under SSL.
So, long story short, every site needs SSL. This requires an IP address and the correct (301) redirects done so your site doesn't lose rank.
The cost? Well it's going to work out to about $100 per year extra, if you pay upfront for an SSL certificate for 5 years. If it's by the year, it will be more like $250 per year to administer.
Larger or more complex sites will need additional work done to ensure the pages listed in Google are redirected in the correct manner from http: to https: so we will need to quote on a case-by-case basis.
Please get in touch if you'd like to get underway with this change.