Growing your website’s audience can be difficult, but did you know the effort you put into your website security can result in faster growth? About the author: Ryan Dube (makeuseof.com) has a BSc degree in Electrical Engineering. He’s worked 13 years in automation engineering, 5 years in IT, and now is an Apps Engineer. A former Managing Editor of MakeUseOf, he’s spoken at national conferences on Data Visualization and has been featured on national TV and radio. MakeUseOf is a technology website, focused on bridging the connection between users, computers, devices and the Internet through education. Feature image courtesy of Rawpixel.com via Bigstockphoto.
Growing your website’s audience can be difficult, but did you know the effort you put into your website security can result in faster growth?
It’s true. Ensuring your site security features are strong and updated can boost your site traffic in ways you probably never considered.
Let’s look at the various ways your strong security standards can help with your site promotion efforts.
1. Build User Trust
The verbiage that the State Department uses is not so specific that you know what systems or technology they’re using. However, it does explain the extent of their security systems to protect users.
These measures may include device safeguards and secured files and buildings as well as oversight of our third party service providers to ensure information remains confidential and secure. Please visit bankofamerica.com/security for additional information.”
That page not only outlines security measures the bank takes to protect users. It also shows awards the bank has received for its security efforts.
The more critical user security is to your business, the more important it is to publish and boast about your security efforts.
2. HTTPS Is Moderately Good for SEO
For some time now, Google has been encouraging website owners to enable HTTPS encryption. As far back as 2014, Google announced HTTPS would be added as one more SEO ranking signal for websites. Since then, there have been a lot of myths about HTTPS floating around.
SEO guru Neil Patel conducted an investigation to see if HTTPS actually made a difference in terms of SEO and found that the impact was only minor. The real effect that HTTPS offers you as a sight owner is making your visitors feel secure.
If you don’t utilize HTTPS on your website, when people visit using Google Chrome they’re going to see an indication in the URL bar that your site is not secure.
This is another opporunity to use security as a way to boost your site’s reputation as a safe place to be online. Again, if you’re just running a blog or some other site that doesn’t really require users to share personal information with you, HTTPS may be overkill.
However, if you’re running a site that requires users create an account and add personal details to a profile, adding HTTPS might be worthwhile—and the slight SEO boost it offers would be an added bonus.
Google offers an HTTPS page dedicated to walking you through the process of adding HTTPS to your site.
3. Gain More Subscribers
For many sites, a thriving newsletter or email list is one of the key ways site owners are able to engage with their readers.
But if you’re going to grow that subscriber list, visitors need to believe that you have their privacy in mind.
It’s also a good idea to top it off with a statement on your newsletter subscription page assuring visitors that you take their privacy seriously. And also sharing exactly how you’re going to use the information they provide.
A statement like this works:
“Remember: [Insert Website] maintains complete confidentiality and privacy with your email. We never sell or share email addresses with anyone, under any circumstances. The email is only used for a single newsletter email that you’ll receive once a month, and no more than that.”
What’s interesting is that this isn’t a contract or a signed statement. There’s absolutely no reason visitors have to believe what you’re telling them. However, for many people, simply the fact that you’re willing to publish this statement on your site gives them the confidence to provide you with their name and email address.
This simple statement can boost subscription rates significantly.
4. Open Yourself to More Opportunities
There are some fields where bettery security can help you find more opportunities and success. One example of this would be investigative journalism, where leads are an important part of the process.
Take Edward Snowden, for example. Edward Snowden is the NSA whistleblower who reached out to journalist Glenn Greenwald to help him release insider information about the NSA spying on Americans. He also created his own security app.
How does a whistleblower with Top Secret clearance choose which reporter to turn to? It’s the same criteria anyone uses to transfer personal or sensitive information like security numbers or bank information. The security of the transmission.
If you want people to feel safe communicating with you, then you need to offer them safe forms of communication they can use.
Take Glenn Greenwald’s Intercept contact page as an example.
Glenn provides potential whistleblowers with two secure methods to communicate with him. The first is a Securedrop link, which allows someone to place sensitive files or messages into a repository only accessible by the news organizations that set it up.
The second is Glenn’s own PGP Public Key and Fingerprint. PGP is a very easy and secure method of allowing a person to send you a fully encrypted message that only you can read. This is because only you have the private key to decrypt any message encrypted by the public key.
By providing two levels of security for anyone to reach out to Greenwald privately, it increases the chances of Greenwald landing yet another big Snowden-level scoop.
5. Higher Security Might Be Required
In some industries, like government or banking, your security standards need to be even higher than other sites. If you have people transmitting important financial transactions and information, there’s no room for error.
One small slip can lead to major public embarrassment, as we’ve seen happen frequentlyin the past few years.
If you go to any banking website, you’ll find layers of security. Any bank, from the largest national bank to the smallest local credit union, should use HTTPS encryption as the first layer of security.
If your bank or credit union doesn’t use HTTPS, you may want to consider switching to one that takes its online security more seriously.
Security Phrase and Picture
The next level of security is an additional security phrase and picture that you see every time you log in. This security phrase and picture becomes so familiar to you, that you’d know immediately if they were wrong.
Another approach to login security is two-factor authentication. Coinbase, the platform where users can purchase Bitcoin, Etherium, or Litecoin, uses this form of authentication.
This means that if someone tries to brute-force guess your password, they’ll never be able to access you account without also obtaining possession of your cellphone. And hopefully you’re using a lock screen, so even having your phone won’t matter.
Yet another level of security is device identification. The security systems will log what devices and device IP addresses you’ve approved to access your account. If the system doesn’t recognize the IP or device you’re logging in with, the bank will email you at your registered email address to obtain your authorization for that device to access your account.
The reality is that financial institutions have been hit hard through the years by hacking and other cybercriminal attacks.
To maintain the trust and continued use of their online systems, banks had no other choice but to layer on security like these to make it nearly impossible for hackers to break into accounts.
Banks do this because they know that if they can win over the trust of the general public, they will also win more business. People want to do business with companies that are more likely to keep their accounts, information, and money, safe and secure.
Start Promoting Your Site’s Security to Visitors
For all of the reasons listed above, your site security should be part of your sales pitch. It should be one of the major reasons you give people for why doing business with you is better.
Are you launching a new website? Then start thinking about security now with our essential security tips you should keep in mind when launching a new website.