What is "https" and why does it matter?

Having a secure website will help create trust and credibility for your brand, help ensure site visitors are not discouraged by privacy warning messages in their browser - and will also help your SEO rankings.

Some URLs start with "http://" while others start with "https://".
Generally, you might see https when you were browsing websites that require giving over sensitive information, like when you were paying bills online.

What does https mean?

The extra "s" in "https" means your connection to that website is secure and encrypted, and data you enter is encrypted when shared with that website.
What makes this all work is a technology called SSL, or "Secure Sockets Layer".

SSL has been around for 20+ years - but recently has become quite mainstream - mainly because of efforts by Google to make the whole web secure.

In the past, we would typically only see "https://" on credit-card and checkout pages.
But these days, we are all filling in online forms all the time - and protection of personal data has become a hot topic.

Benefits of https:

By having a website address that starts with "https://" you are telling site visitors that their data is being encrypted when they fill out forms.

Not only does this make your website more credible in the eyes of would-be clients and prospects, but Google and other search engines will also favor your site in terms of SEO too.
Critically, by having a secure site, browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox etc) will not present warning messages to site visitors when filling out forms!
Without SSL, browsers are now more commonly showing obvious warnings about insecure data and privacy when your lead capture forms are displayed which clearly will not help your lead capture objectives!

So, we advise all websites to have an SSL certificate applied. In summary :

  • Create trust and credibility for your brand.
    SSL for your site visitors gives credibility to your site and brand
  • Avoid Browser Warning messages.
    Browsers will not show privacy warnings on Forms if you have a SSL
  • Improve SEO rankings
    Google and others have made it clear they WILL favor SSL sites for SEO rankings

Making a Site Secure

Applying a SSL certificate is not a guarantee that your pages will then be shown as secure.
When a certificate is applied, its important to check that all the content on a page is also secure.
For example, if you are loading images or videos or other content on a page from a separate site that is not secure - then your page will not be considered secure!

Generally, we will ensure that website pages are updated as needed to be secure.

However, there can be issues with a small number of MLS because they are still providing photos to us using non-secure hotlinks. Most of the MLS we work with do provide secure assets.
In the worst case, if your MLS is NOT providing secure photos, the majority of your site will be made secure with the SSL certificate. But, in such a case, the IDX "property details" pages that display large photos will not be secure until the MLS updates their own services. Our recommendation is that even in such cases, your site should have a SSL certificate applied.

 

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