How’s your SSL game?
You know the one? The SSL you got and set up on your site, assuming everything would just happen smoothly from there.
But...did you know there are additional steps you must take to make sure that people who type in your URL without the (http)S get routed to the right site?
And that if you don’t it can break all sorts of things.
See, websites by nature link to other pages by URL. And some of those URLs were created before the S part of the https was set up.
For example, the button on your course that says “Start” may link to an http URL. The external website that links to a page on your site may have forgotten to add the S. The “Next Page” or “Read More” button my link to a standard page rather than your SSL page.
What happens then? Where do those people go who inadvertently forget to go to the secure site or who click an old or incorrect link?
Well, without proper precautions and plugins in place they will go to your old, unsecure site, often setting off a warning from Google or their search engine that the site is unsecure. Have you ever seen the warning?
That’s not a put off at all, is it?
And better yet, when asked on the Chrome Help Site about Not Secure sites, here is what their experts answered just a few short months ago:
So, how many people would you guess continue on to their original destination after getting a warning like that?
If they aren’t in the industry of online marketing, and/or that’s not a part of their business, they probably won’t continue on to your site.
Don’t you agree?
The warnings, announced by Google in 2018, are there to dissuade people from visiting potentially dangerous sites, and to warn people that their information might be stolen from these sites.
Now you know that you aren’t going to steal anyone’s information.
But in today’s age of mistrust of the internet, and of most other things, taking your visitor’s sense of security into consideration is paramount to ever getting your message heard.
And, even if they don’t go to an unsecure page, they may get a broken link. Buttons won’t work. Progressions will break.
It can really wreak havoc, not only on your system, but on your customer’s experience as well.
So, enough about why it matters.
Let’s talk about what to do about it.
What you need to do is tell the browsers that anytime an http link is clicked they should be routed to the https site.
And there are a couple ways to do that. The hard way that developers may charge you quite a bit for, and the easy way that anyone can do, with a little direction.
I always recommend the easy way.
I recommend you install a plugin on your WordPress site called Really Simple SSL. [https://wordpress.org/plugins/really-simple-ssl/]
It is pretty much a plug and play plugin that you can add to your site, turn it on, make a couple adjustments and it takes care of everything else for you.
Super simple! Well, really simple! 😉
Anyway, what Really Simple SSL will do is set up an automatic redirect for you so that any time a browser is told to go to the http version of your site it will redirect to the https version.
Set up is straight forward. You pretty much click activate and it will take care of the rest.
Sometimes you maybe get a warning that you need to flip a toggle to help take care of mixed content, but there’s a help bubble that will walk you through anything you need.
And if you do need help a skilled WordPress developer should be able to get it totally dialed in in under an hour.
There is a paid version you can upgrade to, but you likely won’t need it. I have only worked with a handful of clients who needed the paid version, and every one of those cases had unique situations that warranted paying for the pro version.
Once you have this installed and set up I encourage you to test everything. Click on links and buttons and make sure they all work.
If you host online courses on your site, go through the course. Make sure all of the next and submit buttons work.
Run an ecommerce site? Check those buttons too.
Seriously, check all the links you can find.
Everything should work. But I have always found it better to find any broken links myself rather than to have visitors or paying customers find areas your site is not working.
Oh, and the best news?
You’ll only have to do this once.
Once you set up Really Simple SSL it won’t need to be done again.
And your site will have the happy secure lock telling everyone that your site is protected and trustworthy.
P.S. These are not affiliate links and I get nothing for referring you. It’s just a really reliable plugin I have used for years on dozens of sites and always been very happy with. 🙂