By July, if your website isn’t running HTTPS—making it safe in Google’s eyes—it will be hit with an ugly “not secure” warning that will scare off traffic and devastate conversions.
That’s right: Google, the massive market leader in search, is drawing a line in the sand in just a couple of months. If your site hasn’t been upgraded to modern security requirements come July, Google will take that sand and bury you in it.
That’s a big problem for some window and door (and window coverings) websites, because quite a few still use the comparatively primitive HTTP protocol.
The issue specifically affects sites viewed in the Google Chrome browser, although other browsers undoubtedly will follow soon.
And you can’t afford to lose traffic and conversions on Chrome. It’s by far the most popular web browser in America, used by more than 60 percent of searchers.
The next two browsers, Internet Explorer and Firefox, have less than 25 percent of the market share combined. Edge and Safari each own less than 5 percent of the market share.
If you’re unsure whether your site uses HTTPS, simply pull it up in the Google Chrome web browser and look at your URL in the address bar. If there’s an “https” at the front, you’re fine. If you only see a “www” at the front, you’re in trouble.
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Additionally, a website running HTTPS in Chrome will have a small padlock icon and the word “Secure” to the left of the URL. That means you’re all set.
Right now, non-secure sites simply display a little “i” icon (an “information” button) in the address bar. But in July, Google will make that status much more overt by displaying a “Not secure” message. That’s sure to scare off many visitors to your website right away.
The HTTPS protocol indicates that all communications between your browser and a particular website are encrypted, and thus much safer from hackers.
(A note on “HTTPS”: Most people used to use this term interchangeably with “SSL,” but “SSL” has evolved into another protocol called “TLS.” Long story short: Just make sure you have HTTPS.)
Even now, if your site isn’t HTTPS, your visitors can see a warning sign from Google. If they click on that information button, they get a message reading:
Your connection to this site is not secure. You should not enter any information on this site (for example, passwords or credit cards), because it could be stolen by hackers.
Does that sound like something you want to convey to potential customers? Me neither.
While it’s true that converting from HTTP to HTTPS is inexpensive and not very complicated, it’s still best handled by a seasoned IT professional. A major mistake in the transition process could impede your website’s functionality or even render it useless.
So be sure to get your website upgraded to HTTPS if it isn’t already. Google also typically ranks HTTPS sites higher than non-secure ones, so there’s every reason to get it upgraded right away.
(NOTE: All the traffic in the world doesn’t help if your website doesn’t efficiently convert visitors into clientele. Test your site with our free Website Analyzer now and learn how to improve conversion rates.)