Why improving your website’s cyber security is crucial for effective conversion rate optimization

For most online businesses, getting and growing website traffic is only the beginning of their customer acquisition journey. Many things need to be taken into consideration to optimize that process further – but following online cybersecurity best practices when building your website is one of the most important steps in customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization. Ignoring these practices can quickly ruin your efforts and send your clients running to your competitors, never to be seen again. 

Here are 3 ways your website’s cybersecurity protocols enhance your customer acquisition and optimize your conversion rates: 

I. Cybersecurity practices build customer confidence

Customers are now spending more time online than ever before. Unlike just a decade ago, they are more knowledgeable and have higher expectations of the websites they interact with today. They expect great design, a flawless user experience, easy navigation, transparency, and an assurance that their personal data (like credit card information, names, and addresses) will remain protected and secured. Through their shared online experiences, customers have learned to recognize the common signs that point to a website being secure, and when a website fails to deliver these signals, they bounce. Users who bounce from websites often describe a “feeling” that a website was a potential scam without knowing why. Additionally, testing shows that adding proper security has demonstrated a significant reduction in those bounces. By ensuring that your website is secure and is using the latest cybersecurity protocols, you meet your website visitor’s expectations of what a professional website should be like, and subtly build your customer’s trust and confidence. Building customer trust and confidence is a crucial element of customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization.

II. Cybersecurity practices improve your website’s performance …
and ranks you higher in search engines

Businesses also need to consider how much their cybersecurity protocols affect their website’s performance in search engines. Most search engines today pay close attention to a website’s security practices when ranking a page. When crawling your site – a technical term of what happens when search engines rank your website – they look for signs that a website is secure. If a website lacks at the very least, basic security practices, or worse, is hacked, a search engine will block visitors from opening the webpage and delist that page (and sometimes the whole website) from their search results. For example, Google lowers the ranking of sites that don’t have an SSL certificate installed for the entire website, and the lower in the ranking that your website is in, the harder it is for your potential customers to find you. This damage to your search engine results can be incredibly hard to reverse once it happens, so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure. It is no longer “good enough” to only secure your checkout pages and forms. That’s why diligent attention to your cybersecurity protocols throughout your entire website is paramount to customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization.

III. Cybersecurity practices prevent downtime

Unlike of brick-and-mortar businesses, website visitors expect websites to be accessible and operational at all times. This expectation is so prevalent that even a 15-minute downtime episode can lead to a long term loss of business. Customers experiencing downtime are more likely to lose trust and funnel to your competition. It is therefore important to secure your website against any potential hijackers, Distributed Denial of Service (“DDOS”) attacks, malware, and other malicious activities. Moreover, many popular search engines will block website visitors if they detect any nefarious code or cybersecurity compromises, further hurting your customer acquisition and conversation rate optimization.

Action Items

Making sure that your website follows the latest cybersecurity practices is an important start in your customer acquisition and conversion rate optimization journey. It doesn’t have to be daunting or a complicated process, but it is one that has to be managed. To help you along, at the end of every lesson, I like to send everyone away with at least a few action items to help you on your journey. Here are seven things you can do to make sure your website is secure and enhances your customer acquisition.
  • Make sure you have an SSL certificate. You can easily check if you have one by looking at your URL: does it start with “https” – yes? Good! You have one. If not, LetsEncrypt gives them out for free. Then make sure to add a security seal image somewhere on your site.

  • Force all website traffic to the secure version of your site – this may be a job for your developer or web host, but it should be a 2-minute task by adding this code to your .htaccess file:

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301,NE]
  • Ask your host about their DDOS and uptime policy. If it’s not 99.9% uptime or better, it’s time to move hosting companies.
  • Talk to your host about what other sites are hosted on your server. Or even check yourself here
  • Back up your website every day. Most hosts allow you to automate this process. You should have at least: 14 daily backups, 1 month of weekly backups, and 3 months of monthly backups.
  • Keep your website’s features and widgets up to date. Updates are often security-related, so do them often. Every morning if you can, and since you are backing up every night, if anything goes wrong, you are covered.
  • Install malware scanning software on your website. If you are on WordPress or Joomla, I recommend Akeeba Admin Tools and mysites.guru. I’m not sponsored by either, but since I’ve used them across hundreds of websites, I trust them.

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