If your art gallery’s website is not secure, you could soon be losing traffic and business. All the hard work you have done to improve your website’s SEO could be in jeopardy. Websites are now being penalized in search rankings for not having an SSL certificate. If you’re thinking, this only pertains to sites that accept credit cards, think again.
Imagine a gallery prospect trying to visit your website and is greeted with a warning, in big red letters, from Google that the site they are attempting to visit is not secure. With all the hacker damage and stolen personal info reported over the last few years, a message like that could send art collectors clicking away from your site as fast as they can.
Computer virus and ransomware attacks are familiar to even non-techy internet surfers these days. Some can be extremely serious. As a result Google and other major web browsers are responding by requiring websites displayed in their search results to be secure with a SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate. Google has been leading up to this since 2014, but in January of 2017 they have starting making it more obvious to internet surfers which sites are secure and which are not. They are also favoring secure sites in search engine results. Today 40% of search results on the coveted page one are HTTPS sites. People are used to looking for the little green lock before entering their credit card numbers, but don’t really look beyond that to ensure they are surfing safely.
The main reasons for this move by Google is to address some recent web communication issues.
- Encryption – Probably the most obvious reason is to ensure ecommerce and form data is encrypted so it cannot be stolen.
- Prevent cyber criminals from making a replica of a website and funneling personal information from site visitors to their server instead of the site’s real owner.
- Data Integrity – This keeps data secure while it is in transit. Ensuring form data, such as from your gallery’s contact form or mailing list registration is actually sent to you vs a hacker.
If your gallery’s website does not already have an SSL certificate, you will want to get one very soon. This is something that you should have your web developer do to ensure it is configured properly. It can be a little trickier than just purchasing the certificate and installing it on your server. Don’t be fooled by advertised free SSL certificates. You will probably be ripped off. Look for trusted and verified SSL providers.
Someone with the right web savvy can help you with the following important steps required.
- Help determine the best type of certificate for your needs.
- Install the certificate on your website
- Update all the configurations so your new HTTPS website points to your gallery’s domain and web forms and ecommerce purchases are submitting properly.
- Submit new ownership verification and site maps to Google and other browsers, so their web crawlers know your site is secure and can list it as such in search results.
- Test that the SSL certificate installation and conversion is successful.
Once this is done, you will see your website address listed as https/www. vs. http. Google may take a few days to crawl the web and find your secured site, but once it does you will have an advantage over your competitors who have not secured their websites and you will provide valuable piece of mind to your gallery’s website visitors. SSL certificates need to be renewed annually, similar to web hosting services. You can expect it cost around $100 a year, but it is a worthwhile investment in the digital presence for your gallery business.