This is an old blog article. It was first written in 2013. It has not been fully update (yet)… but we have written this very quick paragraph/update on 16/05/18: Please DO read this: Right now Google is using the very popular Google Chrome web browser to label websites that do not have a correctly setup SSL Certificate on their website as ‘NOT SECURE’. This is resulting in loss of profits for businesses who do not have a quality SSL Certificate setup on their site. Google are about to take this even further… new additional penalties will also be imposed by Google as of July 2018. You can read about this here. Please read our newer blog article here that contains additional information (you’ll find info about this about half way though the blog article). We offer free SSL Certificates to those who host with us or want to host their site with us.

A Web Browser showing the SSL Certificate Lock

What is a SSL Certificate?

This below explanation is a very boffin/overly technical explanation provided by a 3rd party, but please bear with it. In my own words however, a SSL Certificate on a website helps keep your data and your site visitors data secure. people who know about the ‘lock’ that displays in a website browser when a SSL Certificate is setup, also know that this tells them (leads them to believe) that the site is secure. Here is the boffin explanation:

A SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information sent to the server using SSL technology. Encryption is the process of scrambling data into an undecipherable format that can only be returned to a readable format with the proper decryption key.

A certificate serves as an electronic “passport” that establishes an online entity’s credentials when doing business on the Web. When an Internet user attempts to send confidential information to a Web server, the user’s browser accesses the server’s digital certificate and establishes a secure connection.

An SSL certificate contains the following information:

  • The certificate holder’s name
  • The certificate’s serial number and expiration date
  • A copy of the certificate holder’s public key
  • The digital signature of the certificate-issuing authority

For a long time now we’ve been discussing SSL Certificates with our clients. So far only a few of our eCommerce clients (clients who have an online shop website or membership site) have fully realised the huge importance of having a quality SSL Certificate. By and large many have not fully appreciated what an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate can do in terms of increasing their website sales and in turn achieving a much higher monthly sales conversion rate. Even those using PayPal as the Payment Gateway should also invest in an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate.

Why does a quality SSL Certificate increase your sales conversion rates?

Because any online shopper who is familiar with the “green lock bar” knows a site that displays it is much safer and way more secure than one that doesn’t. They may not know exactly why it is safer and more secure, but they do trust it.

The actual reason is because any data being transmitted via pages on the site where the green bar is displayed, are being encrypted when transmitted. Sending non-encrypted data across the internet leaves that data wide open to being intercepted by malicious 3rd parties. I know I certainly don’t insert sensitive data like credit card details, my full name, my date of birth, private logins etc into a online form unless I can see the site is secure. Most people don’t, hence if you don’t have an EV SSL Certificate on your website you are forcing potential buyers to thing twice about buying from you. And these ‘would be buyers’ are therefore simply not purchasing. And then you as the website business owner are left in the dark scratching your head wondering why your monthly sales conversion rates are remaining so low. Below is how Trustwave describe it:

“EV SSL Certificates are validated to the highest degree to provide consumer confidence in the identity of the web site operator. If you are taking orders online, you need to get the green bar with EV SSL. Customers will receive the green bar as a striking trust indicator in the web browser, and you will see fewer abandoned shopping carts and more conversions.”

The bottom line is an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate creates trust with your online shoppers. If you have not yet got one for your website opt for an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate, not simply a cheaper Domain Based SSL Certificate.

EV SSL Certificate - green bar

For those not sure what I am referring to when mentioning the “green bar” I’ve included a screenshot above.

Why an Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificate is best

Just because a website has an SSL Certificate does not necessarily mean it can be trusted. Some fraudulent websites are now getting away with having a very lower quality domain based SSL Certificate. If a website wants to display the “green bar” though they have to apply and be accepted for an EV SSL Certificate. To be issued with an EV SSL Certificate the business must prove they are a legit business. This then helps prove your website is not one of the increasing number of fraudulent or copycat websites targeting online shoppers.

Applying for an EV SSL Certificate is a relatively straight forward process but after the initial application submission many checks are done by the Certificate Provider to ensure the business is who the say they are and are indeed an actual legitimate business. For the more techy explanation Trustwave describe it like this:

“EV SSL certificates are at the forefront of a new online security initiative. EV certificates enable secure connections, establish business identities, and assist in preventing fraud through a rigorous set of checks and validations previously unmatched with regular SSL certificate processes. The Trustwave Premium Extended Validation SSL Certificate features 256-Bit encryption, and includes a $250,000 identification guarantee as well as free re-issues for the life of the SSL certificate.”

Amongst EV SSL Certificate providers we ourselves currently use Trustwave. Their prices are competitive and they are a quality provider.

Jay Daniells

About the Author: Jay Daniells

Jay Daniells has been doing advanced Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) work for clients since 2010. He is an SEO specialist. He first started doing SEO work in 2005. He has also been creating websites full-time since 2003. Amongst things Jay is also a graphic designer, digital marketing consultant and creative person. His focus is helping businesses, community groups, clubs, charities, organisations and other entities achieve their goals. He is the owner of Green Valley Digital.