This is the single most important marketing project in my role as the IT manager for Sunberry Fitness. I updated our WordPress multi-sites install from http to https, this will help with our SEO and website visitor experience in the long run.

I will share with you

  1. How I explained this project and got support
  2. A list of resources and guides on how to tackle to project
  3. Address some gaps in the resource guide and other items to look out for

Motivating SSL Certificate to Non-Tech People

If you are a IT/tech person who have to explain why this is a good project to non-tech people, I find it is easier to explain the risk and benefit.

Risk: When You Don’t Have SSL Certificate

The ugly warning below shows up depending on a visitor’s browser setting. Yes, you can click “proceed anyway” or ask the customer to change their browser settings. But, imagine the number of visitors that turned away because of this warning.

You don’t want to risk your website’s visitors to see this.

Most non-tech people can see that this would lead to revenue loss.

Benefit: Google Ranking & SSL Certificate

Other than not appearing like a sketchy website, the biggest benefit is Google ranking. SSL certificate is a factor that Google and other search engines look for when determining your website’s ranking.

As of 2019, not too many small business websites have SSL certificate yet. This would give you a boost compare to your competitors.

Tackling the Project

If you are building a new website, I recommend having SSL certificate from the start. Many hosts will provide SSL certificate for a small fee or free of charge. I use DreamHost which provides Let’s Encrypt free of charge. You can use Let’s Encrypt on any website for free.

Follow This Guide

Why reinvent the wheel when @Nick Schäferhoff wrote this detailed article on how to change http to https for WordPress. I highly recommend it!

I added 3 things below that I had to look up while reading the article and thought would be general best practices.

If you have a WordPress Multi-site

You won’t be able to change the url in Setting -> General. Follow this article in the WordPress Codex.

Use the “Edit functions.php” method. It’s in your theme folder.

You will need something like FileZila to access your ftp.

Note on .htaccess File

To edit your .htaccess file once you download it, you have to be able to see it. If you are on Mac, press command + shift then hidden files will become visible.

.htaccess file will become visible after you press command + shift

Best Practice Items

A good idea is to update the business web address on other websites that give you lots of traffic. Yes, the 301 re-direct is suppose to take care of this, but still… it’s just a good idea. Imagine if you change theme and forget to update your functions.php file or something.

Some Places to Update Your URL

  • Google Business
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Instagram, etc

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Nancy Lin

I'm a new mom & an entrepreneur trained in engineering and finance. I enjoy designing systems.
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