If you haven’t migrated your site from HTTP to HTTPS, we need to talk. Don’t let yourself fall in the SERPs. Read our guide on how to get things going.
If you’ve been putting off switching your website over from HTTP to HTTPS security, listen up!
You’re not alone. A recent Google report showed many top websites don’t use HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) by default yet either.
But with an announcement that Google will begin to mark websites without HTTPS encryption as non-secure, it’s time you made the switch.
And it’s here now! Starting in January 2017, Google began marking HTTP pages that collect information such as passwords and credit card numbers as non-secure. This means that any customer logging in to your page or trying to make a purchase will have reason to doubt that your site is trustworthy.
With all the concerns around digital identity theft, would you make a purchase from a website you didn’t completely trust?
Your customers won’t.
That is why it is important to get your website switched over to HTTPS ASAP. The deadline has come and gone, so read this guide to see the correct and necessary steps!
The Benefits of Switching from HTTP to HTTPS
The good news is, there are a lot of other benefits that make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS protocol worthwhile for your website.
Google wants to see a more secure web, so they made HTTPS a ranking signal. Switching to this protocol will increase your search engine ranking.
HTTPS websites also load faster. This is good news for your users who won’t have to deal with any frustrating loading. It’s also good for your rankings since website speed is another ranking signal.
And of course, there is the increased security. HTTP websites are vulnerable. When you load a website with HTTP, it is possible that someone else has looked at it or modified it before it has gotten to you. When you’re inputting sensitive information such as credit card numbers, an HTTP website puts you at serious risk.
With HTTPS, data is encrypted, preventing digital eavesdropping. It also ensures data integrity, preventing data from being modified as it is sent.
Remember, though, HTTPS doesn’t protect your website; it protects your users. Even with HTTPS, you are still vulnerable to website attacks like DDOS attacks or hacking.
If your website is small, you likely won’t see much change in your rankings with a switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Also, if your website does not require customers to input any information, you may not need the extra security. But for most websites, the switch is vital.
How to Start Implementing HTTPS
The good news is, even if you’re not technologically inclined, the switch to HTTPS is not as difficult as you might expect.
1. Get SSL Certified
To use HTTPS, your website needs an SSL certificate. This is something you have to pay for, unfortunately, but there are different price ranges so you can buy only what you need.
Doman validation, the cheapest option, just covers encryption. It isn’t suitable for eCommerce websites or anything where you will be collecting valuable information from your customers. But, if you just want basic HTTPS protection for your website, domain validation may work for you.
Organization validation is the medium option, both in terms of price and security. This is sufficient certification for most businesses. It’s suitable for eCommerce and password protection.
The most expensive and robust option is the extended validation. This is for websites that are most vulnerable to attack and need the greatest user trust. Organizations such as Twitter and banks use extended validation certificates.
You can purchase SSL certificates from a number of sources online, and the prices do vary. However, it is often easiest to purchase your certificate through your web hosting company. This is because the company will generally install the certificate for you, saving you the hassle.
2. Updating Your URL and Redirecting
One of the biggest hassles of switching from HTTP to HTTPS is updating your URLs. Thankfully, it’s easy, just time consuming.
Basically, once you upgrade to HTTPS, all the URLs on your website will change. Instead of http://yourwebsite.com, it would be https://yourwebsite.com. Only the first part of each URL changes, but it means it is an entirely different link.
To make sure your entire site is still accessible, you need to make copies of (or rename) every page and create redirects from the original page URLs to the new HTTPS versions.
It helps to make a site map in Excel, listing all the pages on your website with the old and new URLs. This will help you ensure you don’t miss any in your update.
As for internal links, it may be easy or tedious depending on how you originally created your website. If you used relative links, where a link just specifies an ending to add to a constant domain, you won’t need to update anything.
If you’ve used absolute links, however, you will need to go through your entire website to make sure that all your internal links reflect this new URL format as well.
Don’t forget other places where you’ve got links to your website, such as your social media pages or email footers. These will all need to be updated, or customers won’t be able to navigate to your new secure site.
Finally, you’ve got to update the links for any files you have stored on your website, along with scripts and stylesheets. It’s tedious but take your time and do it right; any links you forget to update will cause issues with your new website.
While you’re making these updates, it is the perfect time to make other optimizations to your website. You can get a full website audit and information on your rankings, plus ways to improve.
3. Updating Webmaster
You’re almost there!
Since, as we said, your website is technically under a new URL, you’ll need to re-add it to the Google webmaster tools search console. This way, Google can crawl your new URLs as soon as possible. Plus, you can monitor what websites are linking to you, and ensure they’re linking to your new URL.
Don’t forget to re-submit your old HTTP sitemap as well. Once you do this, Google will take all your redirects into account when it recrawls.
4. Checking the Transition
Upgrading from HTTP to HTTPS should be as easy as that. However, as with anything on the web you should test your website to make sure the transition went smoothly.
An SLL server test will let you verify that your new certificate was installed correctly and the website is working properly. If the results come back negative, it means something has gone wrong. Go through your redirects and updated links again.
Beyond that, keep an eye on your rankings. They should stay the same or even increase slightly; if you notice a decline, something has likely gone wrong with the installation.
While the process of updating your website from HTTP to HTTPS can be frustrating and tedious, it is well worth the effort.
Your customers will appreciate the extra security, and the boost to your rankings won’t go astray either.
Want more help with your website? Contact us today to see how we can help optimize your online presence.
Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.
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Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.
With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.