What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL certificates keep websites secure from hackers and ensure your customer's credit card details are safe. An SSL certificate is typically purchased by the owner of a domain name and installed on the servers that a website is running on. It's job is to encrypt any traffic on the website so hackers can't easily intercept and steal information.
You can tell if a website has an SSL Certificate if it it shows the green lock in the address bar and uses "https" in the url instead of "http". You can see the example of this on our Training Tilt website.
Why does your coaching business need an SSL certificate
To protect your customers
The obvious reason is to keep your customer's personal information safe while they are browsing your website. The most important pages to secure are those where your customers can enter their payment information like credit cards and bank account details. If you don't have an SSL certificate on your website then you should never accept payment details directly on your own website pages, instead you should either used trusted payment providers like Paypal or Stripe who can protect your customers by hosting payments pages for you. At Training Tilt we have always secured all of our customer's payments pages using our own SSL Certificates from our own domains. e.g https://secure.trainingtilt.com. Training Tilt coaches customer credit card details have always been safe.
To protect your reputation and business
Security is super important but so is the perception that your customers have of your website and your business. An SSL Certificate makes potential customers feel safer and more confident when browsing your site.
Many browsers like Chrome have recently made updates and started showing more visible warnings to visitors when they visit a website that is not secured with an SSL Certificate. Without any understanding of SSL Certificates this can be alarming and may scare many visitors off. Pretty scary language here used by Chrome. 999 times out of a 1000, visitors to a website like this are actually safe and it's pretty unlikely anyone will get hacked while visiting a triathlon coaches' website. However this sort of language is likely to have a big influence on whether a visitor decides to continue on your website and could easily result in a lost sale or a lost long term customer.
This is how Chrome now shows an insecure website. You need to click on the "i" to see the message.
So currently that's not the end of the world as many users won't even click on the information item but many will. However, Chrome has more plans and have indicated that future versions of their browsers will eventually show an indicator like this;
When they do this, I would guess that most visitors won't continue. Without trying to be too alarmist, you need to act now before this happens to your website.
To maintain and improve your Google search rankings
Google has now started to penalize websites who do not use a valid SSL certificate in their search rankings. Google has also indicated that SSL certificates will begin to weigh more heavily on search rankings in the near future.
Google doesn't give too much away regarding the algorithm they use for their search rankings but they have indicated that this will become more and more important for the future.
If I was to look back at our own business growth, the number one factor for us has always been traffic coming from organic Google search results.
Even if you don't realize it yet, search results will also be a crucial factor in your own businesses success.
The conclusion here is that from now on every business website on the internet should have a valid SSL Certificate to protect their customers, make them feel safe and to maintain their Google search rankings.
Traditionally it has been the responsibility of the owner of the domain name to purchase an SSL Certificate for their own domain to be installed on the web hosts servers. However due to the changing nature and the importance of SSL Certificates many web hosts are now bundling SSL Certificates into their pricing instead of it being an "add on".
Typically small businesses have not protected their websites with SSL certificates because of the extra cost involved or they simply did not know what it was or how to organize it.
All of our coaching platform plans at Training Tilt include a coaching website and over the last few months we've been trying to develop a way to offer all our clients SSL Certificates without requiring extra payment. Thanks to some new technology now available we can now offer this as a service to all of our customers without changing our pricing.
Not everyone reading this will be a Training Tilt customer and not all of our customers run their websites off Training Tilt so if you are in this situation you should contact your web host as soon as possible to see if they will add an SSL Certificate to your website. It's starting to be important now but the longer you leave it the more likely it will begin to effect your business.
If you have any questions at all regarding this please let me know and I'd be happy to answer as best I can. It doesn't matter if you are a Training Tilt client or not, just get in touch using the speech bubble.
However if your host doesn't offer what you need or you are just looking to upgrade or start fresh with a new coaching website it might be worth signing up for a free trial. We offer free SSL Certificates as part of the service. Our certificates will work on both your own domains https://yourbusiness.com or on our default domains https://yourbusiness.trainingtiltapp.com
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