The HTTP protocol was launched way back in 1991 and it was designed to pass information from a web server to a web browser as quickly as possible and with a minimum of fuss. HTTP has seen many enhancements over the past 25+ years but it still carries one huge flaw, it is highly insecure. Information on the internet is bounced between Internet Service Providers and third-party routers/servers until it reaches its destination, any one of which could be compromised which allows criminals to easily peek into the data being sent between a website and the browser.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificates provide secure two-way communication between a website and a visitor's web browser by using data encryption. The majority of banking, ecommerce, social media sites, governmental sites, and organizations such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple secure their information with SSL Certificates.
If you've visited an HTTPS website you've taken advantage of a web server's SSL Certificate and its capability to encrypt information so any potentially compromised router or server between a website and your web browser can't snoop, or modify, the information you're sending or the pages you're visiting on a website.
With today's increased security concerns, it's in your best interest to have an SSL certificate for your website's domain.
Starting October 2017 Google's Chrome web browser will begin marking a website as Not Secure when a user starts entering information into a form that's using the old HTTP protocol. This will likely drive away any visitors that attempt to enter information into a contact or order form on your webpage. An SSL certificate will be able to secure any contact or login forms so your website won't run into these issues.
Beyond the security benefits of having an SSL Certificate there comes the peace of mind your site visitors will have when they notice the "green bar" next to your website address. The green bar is the flair that web browser developers settled on to show website visitors a page is secure by simply glancing at the address bar. Microsoft's method of showing a website as secure is a simple grey lock icon.
There's also the search engine ranking aspect that's important to keep in mind. In 2014 Google started ranking HTTPS enabled websites slightly higher than sites using the old HTTP standard. As time goes on it's likely that they will begin increasing its weight on rankings and HTTP sites will start to miss out on higher placement in search results.
An SSL Certificate secured site is the past forward for all websites that want to remain relevant in the future. It keeps your visitor’s information secure and boosts your credibility as a website. Taking security concerns seriously is one of the best ways to keep web visitors coming back to your site.