You may be a company that only needed one URL, but over time your company experienced rapid growth and your website has grown in proportion. Now you are stuck with a jumble of missing posts, phantom pages, and multiple URLs to untangle and organize. You may ask yourself where do you begin to unravel the mess. If you inherited a wide variety of domains and subdirectories from someone who was at the company before you, that makes it even more confusing. Don’t panic, there is hope. One of the best ways to deal with pages you no longer need is to redirect them to another URL.
A redirect, for the uninitiated, is where one URL is pointed at another, sending traffic in that direction. A redirect can be done either on another URL or individual pages. You may want to redirect to subdirectory on your website. You may have multiple domains names purchased for the sole reason of someone using your domain in an unauthorized way, once you have the additional domain names they should point back towards your main website. You may want to redirect your current domain name to a new one because your company was acquired, or you have changed the name of your business to better reflect your brand.
Chances are you will need to do a redirect at some point for one of the aforementioned reasons. There are several ways to achieve these goals, some you may know, and some you may not. Let’s take a closer look at redirecting URLs.
301 and 302 Redirects
A 301 redirect is the old reliable go-to when transferring traffic from one URL to another. It permanently redirects the URL and is the most used method for redirection. The reason for its popularity is that a 301 redirect is indexed at both the browser and server levels. Over time search engines will index a 301 redirect. A 302 redirect is used for temporary URL redirects to another site. It is used in cases where a company’s main site is being redesigned and a redirect is only needed for a short time. 302 redirects are rare. But, there are instances where they can be useful such as pointing away from a URL while you clean up your predecessors mess.
A meta refresh is less common than a 301 redirect, it first informs the user the URL has moved and then it gives a user a link to click if they have not been automatically redirected after a certain amount of time. A message will be displayed upon a user’s arrival “In 10 seconds you will be redirected to another URL, the original has moved. If you are not redirected after 10 seconds, click here”. This lets the customer know that they have not arrived at the wrong website if a company has undergone a name change or has been acquired by another company.
Redirecting a URL is a common occurrence and makes learning the skill invaluable. You can use the various methods or redirection listed above to achieve a wide variety of goals. While most redirects will be the 301 type, the others can be used creatively to help a company’s brand and boost user experience. It can also be used to give you time to fix problems with the website without increasing bounces from click-throughs. A URL redirect could be just the thing you need to get your website turned around.
Contact MosierData for all your website needs… including redirects.