Why Your Station Should Switch to a Secure Website

Seth Resler

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Seth Resler
Jacobs Media Strategies

In the wake of recent revelations about the way Facebook data has been used, the general public is expressing increased concern over data privacy. This concern will impact radio stations, as listeners will come to expect that any data they provide through their favorite radio station’s website will be kept secure. In light of these concerns, it is more important than ever that radio stations secure their websites.

When we talk about “secure websites,” we mean that the data passed between the computer that a website originates from and the computer with the browser displaying the site is scrambled. If somebody else accesses the data as it is passed from one computer to the other, they will only be able to see a string of characters, and they will not be able to make any sense of it.

Insecure website URLs begin with “http://,” while secure website URLs begin with “https://.” The extra letter ‘s’ stands for ‘secure,’ and signifies that the website is using an SSL Certificate (a special set of files) to encrypt its data. When you visit a secure website, you will see a green padlock displayed in your browser’s URL bar to indicate that the site is secure.

If your radio station’s website is not currently secured with an SSL certificate, here’s why your webmaster should secure it:

1. Your Station is Asking Listeners for Personal Data
Your radio station is probably asking your listeners to provide data through its website, whether it’s inviting them to register for the email database or to enter a contest. Ensuring that listeners’ data is safe is not only the ethical thing to do, but it’s the smart thing to do as well. It reduces your station’s risk of everything from lawsuits to PR debacles.

2. Browsers Will Scare Listeners Away from Insecure Websites
Increasingly, web browsers are going to do more to let people know that they are visiting insecure websites. Currently, if you use Google Chrome to visit an insecure site, the browser labels it with a grey “info” icon in the URL bar. In the near future, Chrome will label insecure websites with red warning icons. These new labels will discourage listeners from entering personal information into your station website, and you will likely see a drop off in email signups and contest entries.

3. It Will Impact Your Ranking in Google’s Search Results
For years, Google has indicated that it will take a website’s security into consideration when deciding which ones to list at the top of its search results. If your website is not secure, you could be losing traffic to similar sites because Google would rather send people to a site that will provide people with a safer experience.

Securing a website is usually not a difficult process. If you haven’t secured your radio station’s site, now is the time to talk to your web developer about doing it.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at mab@michmab.com or 1-800-968-7622.

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