One of the trends that has been most evident in 2017 is that many B2B website owners are moving from HTTP to HTTPS. For those who are not tech savvy, this change is almost invisible unless you are paying attention. You can still search for websites at their original HTTP web address and smoothly be redirected to the HTTPS version without ever noticing. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is the safer version of HTTP.
Why are Websites Changing?
The real answer to this question is that Google has recommended this change. Since webmasters want to comply with Google’s recommendations to perform better in SERP (Search Engine Results Pages), sites are being upgraded to HTTPS. Google has made this recommendation because they want websites to be as secure as possible. As is clear through daily news reports, website hacking is getting more sophisticated every day. Therefore upgrading security can only endear you to your users and clients. Certainly, no one wants their private information to be displayed any more publicly than necessary. Adding layers of security will give your customers confidence to use your website without fear of privacy risk.
Do You Really Need to Change to HTTPS?
If you don’t have an e-commerce site or collect private customer information, you really don’t NEED HTTPS. However, this issue is a catch-22 for website operators: visitors to your site who read your posts and learn about products or services, and then don’t leave their data behind aren’t risking their security. But, even if the only information you collect is an email address, privacy becomes an issue. The truth is that it probably isn’t too hard to obtain a person’s email address in other ways. Customers may not realize that truth, though.
Perception vs. Reality
The appearance of security in the customer’s mind is the key factor in this discussion. If a customer feels safer with HTTPS, that fact in itself is a reason to change over. With news media posting articles about voter hacking and data breaches, you can understand why clients might be leery about privacy and security. Why should they trust you when it seems that anyone can hack into supposedly secure websites? Ultimately, your decision should be based on what is best for your customers and your company’s business growth. And that decision is clearly moving to HTTPS. Any marketer can tell you that perception is more important than reality. If your site appears to be more secure (even if it really doesn’t need that level of security), your visitors will feel more secure.
Technical Aspects of Moving to HTTPS
The most critical areas of your website to move to HTTPS are pages that involve e-commerce, payment, or collecting data. You may find the moving part of your website is more budget-friendly, and then you can delay the rest for next year’s budget.
Moving the entire site is not too complicated with a knowledgeable webmaster or web service. There are plugins for WordPress that will handle the change for you if you have a smaller site, or if your site is more complex, your website contractor can make the move for you. The change isn’t time-consuming and can be made without any interruption of service.
The primary reasons that you should move to HTTPS are that (1) Google wants you to, and (2) your customers will feel more secure. The procedure will not change your content or customer interactions, but will improve your relationships with Google and prospective and existing clients. Eventually, Google will require HTTPS for any sites that want to be competitive in their search engine, and they may require it to appear in SERP at all.