You’ve probably encountered HTTPS on other sites. This is a special level of encryption that requires you to purchase a certificate. Any site that has HTTPS has added barriers to thwart online fraud and minimize e-attacks. But is it right for your ecommerce company?
Like anything you do involving a few or all pages on your website, you should consider the pros and cons.
The Pros of Switching Your Ecommerce Site to HTTPS
What benefits will you experience when your ecommerce site switches to HTTPS from HTTP, beyond having a cool little “lock” icon in certain browsers?
- You’ll Be Protecting Your Customers’ Data. Any pages that are HTTPS are at the very least encrypted, and they possibly include data integrity and authentication features. While you may not need HTTPS on your blog pages, any other pages where you collect customers’ information can gain an advantage from having HTTPS. Plus, your customers who are savvy will know you’ve taken this extra step toward their protection.
- Most Ecommerce Sites Use HTTPS. Even if other ecommerce sites don’t use HTTPS on every page, most do use it on the sites where they ask for credit card information, shipping information, and personal data from visitors. Some tout their use of HTTPS, which means if you don’t use HTTPS and your competitor does, your competitor might seem more computer savvy.
- You Could Get a Slight Uptick in Your Google Ranks. This isn’t to say that you’re going to see a major difference in your page rankings the moment you switch to HTTPS. Yet Google itself has said that HTTPS is one of the umpteenth considerations in page ranking. In other words, having HTTPS won’t hurt and could help with search engine optimization (SEO).
- HTTPS May One Day Become Necessary for All Ecommerce Sites. Currently, you have the choice to use HTTPS or not. In the future, you may be expected to offer it. By switching now, you’ll be ahead of the game.
- It’s Easy to Purchase an SSL Certificate From Your Web Hosting Company or a Trustworthy Site. There are different levels of SSL certification, so do your homework and choose the best for your ecommerce site. Ask yourself what protection you would want if you were your customer, and act accordingly.
Of course, just as there are pros, there are some cons to making the change to HTTPS.
The Cons of Switching Your Ecommerce Site to HTTPS
As you read through the following cons, remember that they are all cons to you, not to your target visitor. Therefore, what you may see as troublesome could be seen as positive in the eyes of consumers:
- You Have to Invest in Changing Each HTTPS Web Page. HTTPS doesn’t automatically happen. You, or your web development firm, have to make duplicate copies of all the HTTP web pages you’re going to move to HTTPS. This takes time and must be done methodically so you don’t lose anything in the process.
- You Will Need to Redirect All Your HTTP Pages to Their Duplicate HTTPS Pages. Your HTTP ecommerce site will still exist, which means you will have to get someone to add redirects. The redirects are embedded codes that send people who land on your HTTP page to its HTTPS counterpart.
- You Will Have to Fix All Internal Page Links. Let’s say you have several internal pages, such as blog posts, that include links to pages you’ve moved to HTTPS. Those links should be fixed so they are not corrupt or broken.
- You Will Need to Tell Google How to Index Your Improved HTTPS Site/Pages. This involves adding the new sitemap of your ecommerce site to Google using your Google webmaster account. Google will then start crawling the HTTPS pages and indexing the site for SEO.
Is it worth a little pain to get a whole lot of gain? For the majority of ecommerce sites, the answer is “yes.” Remember that the cons are limited to the switchover. Once you have your HTTPS site/pages running, you can start enjoying the pros.