For anyone conducting business online, safety and security should be a number one priority. Affiliate marketers are no exception. Keeping your website safe is absolutely crucial, it will offer protection for both you and your potential customers.
Digital and cyber-attacks come in many forms, hackers and scammers employ various means in an attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities of online platforms and gain access to sensitive personal information. If your affiliate platform was to suffer such an attack, often referred to as a data breach, it could cause serious long-lasting damage to your brand. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is through the use of SSL certificates. Let’s take a look at what these are and how to incorporate them into your platform. Keep reading to find out more.
What is SSL?
Secure sockets layer, usually shortened to SSL, is a security protocol that establishes a secure connection between devices connected over a network, such as the internet. It was first introduced in 1995 and fast became the standard for securing websites and digital transactions.
Since 2015, transport layer security (TLS) has become more widely used due to improved security benefits. However, the two terms are often used interchangeably. The system works by encrypting and securing connections between an internet user, a client in this case, and a website, your affiliate platform in this case.
When transactions and forms are completed and submitted online, cybercriminals can exploit weaknesses in systems to intercept and access this data, which can lead to cases of identity theft and fraud. SSL/TLS uses cryptographic technology to secure this data, scrambling it so it cannot be read by third parties, significantly improving the security of online transactions.
Even if your affiliate website is not processing financial transactions, hackers can still access sensitive data such as customer email lists and contact details. The best way to prevent this from happening is by obtaining an SSL certificate.
When you visit an online platform, there are a couple of quick and easy ways to check whether that website is secured with SSL. At the beginning of the URL in the address bar, you might notice a small padlock icon, this is an indication that SSL is in use. Another way is by looking at the URL itself, SSL secured websites will have URLs that begin with ‘https://’ while non-secured websites will have URLs that begin with ‘http://’. That extra S is used to indicate that the website is secured with SSL.
In order to obtain one of these SSL certificates you will have to apply for one from a certificate authority. Certificate authorities are reputable organizations that grant and distribute SSL certification.
There are several different types of certificates available. Extended validation certificates will display the padlock icon, ‘https://’ URL, as well as the business name, and geographic location in the address bar. These can be expensive to obtain and are often used by major brands.
Domain validation certificates are the most basic kind of SSL certificate. These will display a green padlock icon in the address bar and offer some level of protection, but not as much as extended validation certificates.
If you’re looking to get an SSL certificate for your platform, you’ll need to take a number of factors into account. You’ll need to assess what level of protection you will need. If you are not processing financial transactions, you might be able to use a less extensive SSL protocol, while if you are regularly processing customer payments you should opt for the strongest protection possible.
SSL and SEO
One important factor that affiliate marketers must consider is the effect SSL can have on search engine optimization (SEO).
Search engines like Google will prioritize websites deemed to be safe, reputable, and trustworthy, with SSL used as one of the main benchmarks for these criteria. User safety is a top priority these days, so search engines will only look to promote platforms that offer users the very best security measures.
Securing your affiliate website with SSL won’t just protect your customers but will see your brand perform better in search results as well, helping you to boost sales and conversions.
As an affiliate marketer, the safety and privacy of your customers should be one of your top priorities. Having an unsafe or insecure website can seriously damage your brand image and reputation and can even lead to legal action being filed against you should customer data be stolen. Encrypt your platform with SSL to protect your customers and your business.
If you’re looking for more insider knowledge on affiliate marketing, take a look at our blog, or for more personalized advice, book a free call with a member of our team.
Looking for even more insights? Registrations are now open for our 2023 Amplify Summit, held from the 17th to 18th of January, where you’ll have the chance to access talks from industry experts, panels and workshops, networking opportunities, and a free affiliate manager toolkit. Register and secure your place today!