We all know that adding SSL to your store makes it more secure for your customers to conduct transactions. In fact, many payment processors actually require that you have SSL installed on your hosting.
Often people just apply SSL to their cart and checkout pages, and although that satisfies the immediate issue of securing your checkout, it means you’re missing out on tons of other benefits when you add SSL sitewide.
There are lots of reasons to add a WooCommerce SSL certificate, chief among them is security, but not many people talk about the “other” benefits. These are the things that you wouldn’t normally think about when adding SSL.
My hope is that after this article, if you’re on the fence about whether you should add SSL to your site, then these 3 reasons will tip you over the edge.
1. SSL boosts confidence
If you’re only using the PayPal Standard payment gateway that comes stock standard in WooCommerce you don’t technically need an SSL certificate.
Customers add their products, fill in the checkout on your site, then they’re shifted off to PayPal’s hosted pages to do the actual transaction.
After that, they come back and the deed is done – at no point is the payment information transmitted insecurely because it’s all done on PayPal’s servers anyway.
What you might not know is that even if you don’t technically need an SSL certificate you may want one simply for the fact that it can boost your conversion rate dramatically.
People have been conditioned over the years to “look for the little lock” or “look for the little green bar” to ensure that the transaction they’re about to make is secure.
Without an SSL certificate, your site will not show this.
So when Jane Doe gets to your checkout, she might think that the page isn’t secure and that risking it isn’t worth it (even though it’s all handled by PayPal so her credit card digits are technically safe).
If you had an SSL certificate installed then this drop off in the checkout would disappear.
In my consulting days helping e-commerce stores optimise their website funnels, I’ve personally seen sites go from a paltry 5-10% conversion rate on the checkout page up to a 30-40% conversion rate on the checkout page simply by adding SSL.
It’s amazing to watch what that does for a business.
2. You can add a security seal/badge
There’s not much else that can increase conversion rates so dramatically on a website than trust.
The funny thing is trust isn’t something you can measure as traditionally as conversion rates or visits to a page. It’s all about perception.
When a customer comes to your store they get an immediate impression. It happens in a fraction of a second and it’s subconscious. It tells them everything they need to know about your store and whether it’s a trustworthy place to buy from.
Adding trust indicators is a great way to increase the perception of trust, here is a few things we already know we should be doing:
- Ensuring you have a professional looking design
- Showing payment option logos
- Displaying shipping and other information prominently
- Showing privacy policies & terms
- Showing social media profiles
- Displaying customer reviews
Now you can add one more to that list with an SSL certificate, the security seal (sometimes called a security badge).
Baymard Institute recently tested exactly which seal gives the most “trust” with consumers.
Official seals are generated by a snippet of code you are given when you purchase an SSL certificate. It will dynamically verify your site’s SSL on each page load and present the user with an image indicating the validity.
An interesting result of Baymard’s study though was that “the homemade seal performed significantly better than the SSL seals issued by established vendors”.
So you can actually make your own seal and get the same effect.
3. SSL can give you better rankings
Back in August of 2014 Google made a subtle but very important change to their ranking algorithm. They started favouring sites with 2048-bit SSL.
Additionally, they said:
“[…] over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”
This means that over time, they’re going to strengthen the ranking signal that security plays in their overall algorithm.
So if the above factors haven’t convinced you yet, then maybe the promise of increased rankings in the search pages might.
Should you add SSL to your store?
Ideally, you should add SSL to your store right from the beginning.
If you haven’t already then there’s no time like the present to swap your over to SSL site-wide.
To me, it’s pretty much a given that you need to add SSL to your store.
With the promise of better rankings and better conversions, it’s pretty much all positive and very little downside.
Additionally, there are many web hosts around now that will actually give you a free SSL certificate, so you don’t even need to worry about it costing you a fortune.
Has this article convinced you to add SSL to your store? SSL isn’t just for WooCommerce stores, you can see the benefits on all kinds of websites. Have you made the switch yet? Tell us about it in the comments!