Web standards – and best practices for web design – are consistent only because they are consistently changing. One of those changes is a move towards all websites having an added layer of security known as SSL, or Secure Socket Layer. In the past, SSL was generally only found on ecommerce or financial websites – and that’s still usually the case. However, it’s becoming more common for all websites to include this as a standard feature. Does your dental website need SSL?
Essentially, SSL is a way to bolster your website’s security. SSL establishes an encrypted link between your website and the patient browsing your website. SSL is the specific protocol that provides the secure link between your website and the person browsing it, and it is a tool used to secure millions of peoples’ online data every day. If you have SSL encryption, a small lock icon will appear in the address bar of a visitor’s browser to let them know that their data is safe. This helps establish trust between you and your site visitors.
SSL only protects the process of transmission of user-submitted data from a computer to a server. That’s why the protocol has historically only been seen on ecommerce or financial websites that require users to submit sensitive personal information. SSL can be important when your website transfers data such as appointment request forms or online new patient forms. However, for most new websites these functions are handled by a secured third-party and do not actually take place on the website itself. For websites that allow users to log-in to their accounts, SSL can prevent people from intercepting that transfer and observing the contents.
SSL doesn’t protect the most common website threats however, because most hackers attack a server or computer directly, which means that the server itself needs securities in place or the computer needs strong anti-virus software. Server-level protection is something that Smile Savvy implements in every new website we build, although no system is perfect and any website is ultimately vulnerable to hacking.
SSL is also a very minor ranking signal for Google because Google wants to send their customers to sites that ensure a safe browsing experience. Most SEO experts agree that having an SSL-protected website currently has little, if any, affect of your overall ranking. But, while it’s not a large ranking factor at this time, it’s likely that it will be in the future.
If you’re planning on a new website soon, SSL should be something to consider. While having an SSL-enabled website isn’t an absolute essential, it’s always best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Unfortunately, hackers will exploit anything where vulnerability exists.
As is the case with responsive design, Google indicates that SSL is a best practice, and a minor ranking factor. So, it is always preferable to choose new websites with the most current standards.
As of this post, Smile Savvy now offers our clients free SSL encryption with any new website. Check out our newest designs and contact us today for information about getting a new website. Already have an existing website with Smile Savvy? Email us to find out how you can get SSL encryption.