It used to be said that if you weren’t using your website for e-commerce purposes, meaning had a shopping cart on your website, you wouldn’t need to utilize an SSL (https).
First off, what is an SSL Certificate? SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol, allowing secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when it comes to websites.
The image below gives you a better idea of exactly how it works:
The security during the transfer is called the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). The procedure for exchanging public keys using SSL Certificate to enable HTTPS, SSL and TLS is called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
Now you’re probably asking yourself, “but why do I need this for my website?” Well, effective July 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will mark non-HTTPS sites as “not secure.” Potential Customers will see that the website is “NOT SECURE” and probably won’t go to it. Think about it this way, if you were on the internet and Google flagged a website as “NOT SECURE,” are you going to risk clicking on it, or are you going to be worried about malware/viruses and decide it’s not worth it?
By not having a secure site it is also forecasted that Google will lower your rankings in the Search. A lot of this is going to have to do with users simply not wanting to click on your site, because it looks unsafe, lowering your traffic significantly. This will result in your competitors (who have the secure website) showing up ahead of you, taking away the traffic/users that would of been your customers.