Is your website killing your business? If you're making this rookie mistake, it is. 

Websites are my absolute favorite tool in the proverbial marketing toolbox. In fact, I love websites so much I should write a haiku about them. Maybe later...

Why do I crush so hard on websites? Well, they're information central, the hub of your customer experience, where people learn about you and connect with what you're all about – and ultimately buy what you're selling.

A website literally puts your business on the map and makes you official.

Think of your website like a boutique. Imagine that your target customer hops in her car to visit your shop. She's excited to see what you're all about from what she's heard so far.

And you'd want for your boutique to be in a nice neighborhood where she feels comfortable. You'd want her to see your sign so she knows she's in the right place. You'd want the doorway to be tidy and your windows clean so she can see right into your beautiful space (first impressions, you know).

You'd want it to be easy for her to get into the store and find what she's looking for - and ultimately buy from you.

Make sense?

Much like a well-merchandised boutique, it's important that your website is working perfectly so when people come to visit, it's a great experience for them. 

But there's one rookie mistake I see in a lot of start-up websites that is like putting up a huge 'DO NOT SHOP HERE' sign in the window of your boutique - even though you're open for business.

And that is an unsecure website.

Geez, that sounds scary. And it is sort of scary, from a marketing perspective. Because look what Google does with an unsecure site:

Worse, sometimes this will happen:

Crap. That is definitely not good for business.

Wheras, a secure site...

A secure website will start with https://. And it's that little "s" that makes all the magic happen - it's the protocol that encrypts that data it sends between a web browser and a website to increase the security of data transfer. Here's an example:

Before encryption:
This is a string of text that is completely readable

After encryption:

A miracle!

A secure site is really important. Like really really really important.

Without it, you literally are losing out on traffic and performance. Here's why having an https:// site is important:

Privacy concerns

As you saw above, Google will display a big ugly 'NOT SECURE' in the browser bar or worse, display the gray screen of death warning people that your site is dangerous. Yes, you're dangerous.

And they'll warn visitors to not visit your site. Yikes!

According to Hubspot, only 3% of online shoppers say they would enter personal information or a credit cared on an unsecure site. This is especially important if your website accepts credit cards or has a login functionality.

The bottom line? A secure website tells your visitors your brand is making an effort to protect their private information.

And that's good for the user experience.

Who wants to visit a site that Google says is dangerous? A secure site sends a positive message.

And that's good for search.

Google is all about creating a great - and relevant search experience - for its users. As such, it will rank sites with https:// higher.

Making your site secure is a biggie and I see a lot of start-ups completely miss this - because it's an add-on step.

Here's what you can do today:

Check to see if your site is secure.
Look for the little padlock in the browser bar. If you have it, and it's locked, your site is secure. You can go to yoga or Starbucks now. 

If it says "Not Secure" and/or starts with an http://, your site is unsecure and needs tending to.

The good news is that getting your site all https:// secure is an easy to update - and it's free.

Here are the how-to guides for each major web platform:

1. WordPress (managed through your hosting provider):

2. Wix:

3. Squarespace:

Easy, right? 

Let me know in the comments if your site was unsecure - and share a link to your gorgeous secure site when you've fixed it.

Remember, I'm rooting for you!

P.S. My website haiku:

Websites are the best
Your virtual biz boutique
So make it secure!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}