Do you own an online business? If yes, you probably have your own website where you post your products and services. The best thing about owning your own website is you can customise it and put everything you want in there. In some platforms, they even have features including analytics on your sales.
This is good since you can maximise it to the fullest. However, the current website security environment is not as conducive as you will imagine. Hackers are everywhere. Cyber attacks happen on a daily basis leaving a lot of businesses not just vulnerable but bankrupt instantly. This makes web security one of the top priority agendas of companies and business owners.
In this article, we will be discussing the most asked question: how do I secure my website? Google offers a plethora of answers to this question. Some websites you might have encountered as not secure. You are no stranger to this as you have once become a victim of this. No worries, we are here to help you out by giving you a good handle of web security, its mechanisms and where you should place yourself.
Before we go to the steps, below are important points you should know:
- HTTP websites are not secure– the internet has certain protocols in place to protect and easily identify malicious websites. The prefix attached to websites is one of them. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a system arranged by the internet to determine these web pages as they are often redirecting HTML documents. This is dangerous since websites with these URLs are more often than not playgrounds of hackers. Meaning to say, if you visit this website a bug will enter your web system allowing access to all your personal information, including that of your clients. This is one of the most common methods they use.
- HTTPS websites are more secure– unlike the former, HTTPS provides a secure browsing experience for visitors and people who are surfing the web. You will not encounter any prompts indicating this website is not secure. Your personal information along with your customers are secured. Search engines that normally use this include Google and Amazon. The difference between HTTPS and HTTP is that the former has encrypted sites bearing this syntax. There is no way for personal information to be extracted without permission from the owner. Next time you browse, be sure the www is preceded by HTTPS.
- Warning prompts are reminders– relax! This is just a reminder for you to tread carefully. HTTPS is secured and will give you the option to proceed or look for an alternative link. No virus or suspicious malwares will be installed. Should you decide to proceed, bear in mind to not share any personal information. ]
- Your visibility might be affected– now that you know that Google is serious in its drive to provide excellent browsing experience to its users, revisit the link of your website. You might be affected by this protocol without you knowing about it. Shifting to HTTPS will benefit you in the long run since users know that you are verified, trusted and a veritable online business owner.
Now that we have a handle on the nature of dubious websites and how search engines like Google filter them to provide a secure browsing experience, let us now delve into the concrete measures you can take to keep your website secure.
Shifting to HTTPs is an expensive venture. If you are a small to medium sized business, this will not be ideal for you to do. You have better and far more important matters to invest your money into. Good thing we have the most reasonable and affordable steps you can consider:
Step 1: Installing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates
As we mentioned, websites are all about authenticity and security. Installing a SSL certificate will act as your encryption feature which the HTTPS has. The major changes which will take place in your websites include:
- Your browser will be identified, recognised, and verified by a website.
- Once verified, the SSL certificate will be provided by the browser giving the necessary feature similar to that of HTTP websites.
- The SSL certificate will be further screened by the system to check its validity.
- After validation, the server will notify the user that the SSL certificate is trustworthy and valid.
- After the process of validation, the server will provide you a digitally signed certificate authenticating the security and encryption feature by your browser, allowing you to start a session.
- You can browse freely with your data secured.
Step 2: Screen and validate that all your links are using HTTPS
This can be laborious as you have to check all micro pages and links in your website and browser to be under HTTPS. But if you are serious about your website’s visibility and the security of your personal information and client information, this is the only way. Much more will help you in the long run to increase your presence online and SEO ranking.
Step 3: Validate with Google Search Console
The next important step you need to take is to see if the changes you have made are successful. The good thing with Google is they created a platform wherein you can check if your website fits their internal standards of security. The platform checks and evaluates if the links and website you changed have been turned to HTTPS from HTTP. This is to ensure that Google users are secured and visiting the correct website you have registered under Google.
Step 4: Redirect all HTTP URLs to HTTPs
It is unavoidable that you have registered to various websites and browsers. This is completely fine and you have nothing to worry about. The thing now that you should do is to ensure that once your old clients and visitors get redirected to the HTTPS version of your website. You can do this by either sending emails or announcing it, even creating 301 redirects to your website to make sure they get to the right website.
Step 5: Update your XML sitemap
Now that you have changed the structure of your website, it is important to alter its roadmap as well. Sitemaps are important as it allows Google to find the important pages that your website has even if your internal linking is flawed. This is crucial as it will help you rake in the traffic you need and to get more sales by ranking high in search engines. So do not forget to update your sitemap in the Google Search Console.
We understand the stress of managing the daily operations of your business, compounded with security related issues, you will be overwhelmed. Let us take the burden out from you. We have affordable website security measures which are available at a reasonable price. Contact us now to know more!