What is the Point of an SSL?
SSL protects your information as it transmits across the net. This is essential if you want to protect your website, even if you don't process credit cards. It's all about privacy, security and website integrity for both your website and the users who browse it.
The SSL protects your website by encrypting your information across the Internet so that only the intended system can decode it. This is critical to understand because any information that you send across the net is passed from one system to another just to get to its destination. Any computer between a user and the web server can see social security numbers, usernames, passwords, and even credit card information. Having an SSL makes the information undecipherable to everyone except for the web server that you are requesting information from. Total protections from hackers and thieves.
It doesn't only provide encryption, but a good SSL will provide authentication. What that means is that any requests are sent to the correct end point and not some imposter trying to crawl the data. Why should you care, right? The Internet, by its nature, often sends data through several systems before the complete request is satisfied. Any of these systems could be great pretenders and trick your potential clients into send their sensitive information. Make sure that you use a legitimate SSL provider.
Why is it important? Can't I just use any self-signed SSL? It should be all about the padlock...
A trusted SSL provider will only issue a certificate to a verified website that has gone through several checks to prove their identity. Many devices will not accept any SSL certificate and will present warnings to their users. A lot of web surfers will see your site as a threat and you will have no opportunity for a conversion or sale. In this specific case, you are better off without any SSL.
All browsers give visual indications that a website is secured from a padlock to a green bar to make sure that you know your connection is secured. This means that they can trust your website, compared to a website without an SSL and are more likely to buy your product or service. If you want to accept credit card payments through your website, there are certain audits that display you are complying with PCI standards. One major requirement is an SSL.