Setting up an SSL certificate is not only good business, it’s essential SEO practice!
(SSL adds and extra layer of security between a browser and your website via an encrypted link)
People are becoming aware of SSL – looking for that “https” sign, either through a little green icon or a lock or some other indicator. It’s a sign of trust and security … to a degree. At the least it makes people feel that they are dealing with a site that looks after their data.
On top of that, search engines are giving preference in their algorithms to sites that are SSL enabled. So if you notice you’re slipping in the rankings, this could be one reason for it.
How to Set Up SSL on Your SIte
Step 1. Apply for SSL Certificate
I set up my SSL certificate on this site eons ago. Well, I thought I did. I signed up for the one free certificate that 1and1 provide. Within minutes my hosting account had a nice green tick next to the domain name suggesting I was all good with SSL. And … nothing changed when I checked my website. The credentials were still showing http rather than https. Ok, more action needed.
Step 2. Add Code to HTACCESS file
As a good website owner should, I contacted support. “Oh yeah, you’ve got to add this code to your htaccess file” they said. Well, thanks for that heads up – would have been good to know. So, I duly updated my htaccess file … and waited. Nope. No change.
Step 3. Update WordPress Settings
After searching online for a solution, I found a tad more info that my host failed to advise. If on WordPress, change the site URL settings. Just go to the admin page, go to Settings/General and change the WordPress and Site URLs to https from http.
It shouldn’t have been that difficult … if my host had given me proper instructions upfront. (Talking about you, 1and1).
Of course, step 2 may or not be required depending on your host. Check with them what the code should be and if it’s necessary.
Now if you have a standard website that isn’t accepting financial transactions or private information of significance then a free SSL certificate (eg Lets Encrypt) may be fine for you. If you have a more involved website and want harder security then you may want to buy an SSL certificate. Your host probably sell them or there are plenty of providers online. Not all SSL certificates are the same – they provide differing levels of encryption warranties and applications.
The key point is, you need to upgrade your websites to at least a basic HTTPS for SEO value, security from hacking and improved user experience. It is the new standard.
A word of warning: you can install SSL certificates easily enough if you’re so inclined. If not, your webhost may set it up for you or you can hire someone to do it – just be careful who you give your site access to if you go that route.
Note that 1and1 or IONOS as they are now known, do not encourage or support the installation of free SSL Certificates like Let’s Encrypt. Bad move 1and1.
You might find this post useful too – https://redhotinternetmarketing.com/blog/essentials-after-installing-wordpress/