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More businesses than ever are offering their goods or services through online transactions. Most consumers expect to be able to purchase directly from your site, especially if they've found you through an online review or one of the many social networks they might be active on. Unless it genuinely makes no sense to offer your goods online, then you should try to make them available to your website visitors. If they're in buying mode, you don't want to lose that sale.
However, just putting up an order form is not enough. Consumers are well aware of phishing, hacking and online fraud. Today, security risks are high, and it only gets riskier with each passing day. That means you will have to ensure that their information is safe and make it clear to them that their data will never be at risk or misused. You'll need to make sure they feel safe purchasing from your site. The very first thing you'll want to do is start using an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate.
Even if you run a very small business consisting of 3 employees (or even just you), you have to remember that online. You aren't only competing with similar-sized businesses. You'll be competing with any other company offering similar goods regardless of their location or size. And you can bet that some of them are using SSL and other measures to ensure visitors feel safe purchasing. If you aren't doing it, you're almost guaranteed to lose potential customers to them.
How Does SSL Protect Customers?
By implementing an SSL certificate, you're providing the user a secure environment. Hackers never have a chance to see the information that they enter while on your sites, such as their identification info or credit card numbers. When a user inputs information where an SSL is present:
How Do You Get an SSL Certificate
Many companies are well-known for their SSL certificates. They offer them a variety of security levels and can be purchased in different security packages. Some sites act as a gateway for your payment, such as Paypal. But that requires the user to leave your site normally, make payment, and be redirected back to your site (which you have to set all up). The best route is getting your SSL that can be installed within your site, branded, and make checkout easy.
Most good hosting companies will have SSL available. Either as free or a small add-on. For example, at HostWinds, we offer you your SSL certificate for a mere $35. We will even install it for you to make sure everything is set up correctly. If you buy one from somewhere else, that's ok too. There's simply a $10 installation charge.
Written by Andrea Martin / February 5, 2013