1. The SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate shows that your site is using strong encryption to keep its users and their information safe. Obviously if you are collecting sensitive data like credit cards, this is vital. But it is also vital if you are collecting email addresses for any reason at all--newsletters, freebies, building a list. Under EU law, you are bound to keep your site and its data secure. It could be argued that even a reader making comments is revealing some sensitive information, perhaps a photograph or a linked website.
2. The certificate is also important to authenticate you as the responsible owner of the site. With scams pouring across the Internet, and cloned websites becoming almost commonplace, readers need the security of knowing that they are landing on a reputable site. You may feel it's going overboard to protect a personal site to such an extent but if you value your following, think about acting soon.
3. Information sent across the Internet can pass from computer to computer before reaching the server. Without strong encryption, any one of these could steal user names, passwords, all the information they need to start targeting you and your list with phishing attacks and sending you to insecure sites riddled with malware.
4. With the rise in publicity for the SSL certificate fostered by Google demands, more and more sites are offering certificates at greatly reduced rates. It will no longer cost you a fortune annually to secure your site. You may even be eligible for a shared certificate which will cost you nothing. But beware--check the credentials of your chosen provider carefully. Some certificates have already been rejected by Google as not providing the advanced layer of trust needed for users.
5. Do you really want a Google warning notice pointing out that your site could be untrustworthy or put its readers at risk? We all work hard to make our blogs the best they can be, to help and inspire the readers that drop by.
Having said all that, I have not yet got round to providing a certificate for any of my sites. Probably for the one domain I have shared with my Internet Service provider, I shall go for the free certificate. So if you have a site that ends with the name of your web host, check to see if there is a free certificate available.
However, if it is your own domain name, choose carefully. You can go with several websites which allow you to set up the certificates for yourself, pointing your website to their servers--Cloudflare, Let's Encrypt are two most often mentioned.
But if you're not very tech-minded, pay a little extra and get your host to set everything up for you. It has to be worth it for peace of mind.
Image of padlock courtesy of Stuart Miles
|Anne Duguid Knol|
A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne Knol is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at Author Support : http://www.authorsupport.net .