The Internet may be a much more accepted medium today, but it is still met with some scepticism. And, so it should be! After all, there are a number of fake websites out there that have been designed merely to scam people. Of course, this makes life a little bit more difficult for genuine businesses. However, by making an effort to secure your website, you can reap the rewards in the form of more customers. Nevertheless, securing your website, and letting your customers know that it is secure, are two different things. You need to do both. Let’s find out how…
It’s time to turn to HTTPS – The difference between HTTP and HTTPS may seem like one letter, yet it is a lot more than this. HTTPS is a method of encrypting information that is sent between the browser and a web server. Therefore, HTTP is much more secure because it protects all of your site visitors from so-called man-in-the-middle attacks. These attacks refer to scenarios whereby a hacker steals information that is being sent to a website, for example, login details or credit card information. HTTPS was once only the norm for websites with sensitive data. However, it is becoming more and more commonplace. Switching may seem like a lot of effort, but the best and fastest way to migrate a WordPress website to HTTPS is simply to engage a professional. It won’t cost a lot, and it will do your business the world of good. As web users get more clued up, many recognise the importance of only choosing websites that have https:// on the URL. There are also a number of knock-on benefits that are associated with switching to HTTPS. This includes increased Google rankings. In fact, more than 30 per cent of the websites that are ranked on the first page of Google are HTTPS, and the search engine giant has confirmed that they prefer HTTPS websites.
Keep all software updated – It is imperative to ensure that all of your software is kept up-to-date. This applies irrespective of whether you have created a DIY website on a third party platform or you have hired an expert development team. Once software becomes outdated, it becomes a lot easier to hack. If you use a popular CMS provider like Joomla or WordPress, you will benefit from regular updates, and this makes a massive difference.
Encourage customers to use strong passwords – When users sign-up to your website, make sure they use a strong password. This is a password that continues a certain number of characters, a combination of lower and upper case letters, and at least one number and symbol. This will reduce the chances of anyone hacking their account while also showing them that you take security seriously. It is also advisable to give your customers the option of two-factor authentication whenever possible. This means that they will need to go through a two-stage process in order to access their account. This will be a password and something else. In a lot of cases, it means inputting a code that has been sent to the user’s phone or email. Another option is to get them to enter a PIN or answer a security question. Again, you may avoid this because it seems like an extra bit of hassle for the user. However, they would rather spend an extra second getting into their account than being hacked, that’s for sure. Internet users today are clued up, and they know how important layers of security are.
Make sure your website has a professional design – While the design of your website is not going to impact security or secure your data, it can make your customers feel more secure, and that is what this article is all about. If you have a website that appears amateurish, and uses stock photography and outdated features, anyone that visits it are going to be sceptical. Is your business legitimate? Even if it is, you’re going to make users feel sceptical. A professional, sleek and sophisticated website is a must.
Use an SSL certificate – The next step is to make sure you incorporate an SSL certificate into your website design. Customers need to know that your brand is genuine and that they can trust your business, especially if they are making a purchase from you. An SSL certificate will give users the ability to verify your identity, which automatically makes you a trustworthy firm. This is critical to your online success. Not only can you include an SSL badge on your website, but you will also benefit from the small padlock that is found next to certain URL addresses. This is a clear visual cue that your website is safe and secure, and can make a massive difference. In fact, one study carried out by the CA Security Council revealed that over half of consumers recognise this padlock icon, and they actively use to determine whether the sit they are browsing is trustworthy. Not only this, but only three per cent stated that they would share their credit card information on a website that did not have the padlock icon next to the URL.
Provide numerous contact options – You need to supply your users with a number of contact options, and you need to ensure that they are easy to find. If you do not provide any contact options, or you only provide an email address, users are going to assume that your business is not trustworthy or genuine. Why don’t you have any contact options? Is this because your company is not legitimate? These are the questions that are going to instantly go through your visitors’ minds. The more contact information you can provide, the better. This will go a long way to reassuring your potential customers.
Install security updates regularly and perform malware scans – Malware does not only infect computers, but it can infect websites too. Such infections can result in websites loading slowly, displaying unwanted adverts, and even infecting your visitors’ devices. This is the last thing you want when you are trying to build loyalty and trust. This is why you need to monitor your websites regularly for malware and other security issues. Aside from this, you need to ensure your site is updated and patched regularly.
Provide a number of payment options – Another way to reassure your customers is to provide them with a number of payments. Not everyone wants to enter their credit or debit card details, irrespective of how safe and secure your site appears. After all, it seems that a day does not go by without news of a data breach. You can use sales by only offering limited payment options. Instead, allow customers to pay via PayPal and other e-wallets. A lot of people feel much more secure about this approach.
Avoid redirects whenever you can – When the SSL certificate expires, buyers will receive a notification that lets them know that their information could be put at risk if they proceed. This is where you will lose a lot of consumers, plus you can suffer reputational damage too. Another way to lose customers is to submit them to redirects, which then trigger an additional warning from the SSL certificate authority. Essentially, this means that whenever a consumer clicks on a link to purchase something, and they then have to leave your website to do so, a warning will come up to let them know that they are no longer dealing with your e-store. This can happen for a number of reasons; not only does it relate to simple redirects to buy something from a different vendor, but it can also happen because you are redirecting a customer to a third-party credit card processing website. Irrespective of the reason behind the warning sign, this can leave customers feeling worried, and they are likely to abort the sale altogether.
Focus on customer testimonials (legitimate ones!) – Last but not least, showing that other people trust you can go a very long way. This is why you should feature customer testimonials on your website. Nevertheless, avoid making up your own feedback, and don’t merely type comments yourself onto the website. You need to evoke trust, and the best way to do this is by using an independent review platform. This shows that you have had no hand in the rating you have received or the reviews that have been written. Video testimonials can also work very well.
So there you have it: a number of different ways that you can secure your website, and assure users that your website is safe and your business is legitimate. If you follow the advice that has been mentioned above, you will establish your business as a reputable and trustworthy one, and this can go a very long way.