There’s been a lot of buzz over the last month or so about SSL certificates.
Basically, an SSL certificate on your website changes your website’s address from http:// to https:// (the S is for secure). If you are someone who sells stuff on your website or collects personal data (especially credit card info), then you likely already know about this, and you probably even have one.
SSL certificates make your website less permeable to hackers who may intercept data.
But what if you don’t sell stuff on your website? What if, like me, you’re just a simple blogger?
It gets more complicated here.
First off, getting an SSL certificate can be complicated, costly and requires technical skills you may not have. So there’s that. But there is some research that indicates it may help with your SEO to have it.
In a situation where Google is ranking two blog posts in search, and the two of them have the same score, the higher ranking will go to the one with the SSL (or https://) URL. So getting an SSL certificate could positively affect your SEO.
How do I get an SSL Certificate?
You have to go through your webhost. Mine was actually free (I host with InMotion Hosting), and relatively painless to install. If you are using Go Daddy, it’ll cost you $1/month. Basically, results may vary, so check with your webhost.
The problem is, though, that after you have your SSL certificate, you have to basically change all your links. So anywhere your website is listed as http://, you have to change that to https://. Yes, you could maybe do an automatic redirect, but it’s complicated. Alternatively, you basically have to use some kind of find/replace tool on your site to replace all the http:// with https://.
Yeah, a lot of this over my head, too.
If you are starting a new site, then 100% make sure you start with an SSL certificate and your site will always be https:// from the beginning.
For the rest of us? Maybe. If you are selling stuff off your site, then you need one for sure.
By the way, SSL certificates work fine with services like Cloudflare.
You can test if your SSL certificate is installed correctly and working here.
Read more in this really great in-depth article by Neil Patel.