Unsure How to Redirect URLs in WordPress? This Guide Will Help!
If you’re pondering changing the URL of your WordPress website, redirecting old URLs to new ones is essential to maintain link juice, prevent 404 errors, and make sure that your website visitors remain happy. Sounds like a hassle? Fear not! Although it may appear daunting if you’re a non-tech-savvy individual, there are several relatively simple methods available to redirect your URLs, and this guide will detail all of them.
But Why Do You Need to Redirect URLs in WordPress in the First Place?
To maintain search engine optimization (SEO), redirection is imperative. When a page is either deleted or altered, search engines will still try and access it, but if it is no longer available, it will negatively impact the website’s SEO ranking. Similarly, 404 error pages can be extremely frustrating for visitors, making your website appear unprofessional and less user-friendly. Lastly, if you’ve got a particularly strong page with great backlinks, it’s worth redirecting it to the new page because this preserves the link juice and maintains the page rank.
How to Redirect URLs in WordPress
1. Using Plugins
The most straightforward method to redirect URLs in WordPress is by using various plugins. Plugins such as Yoast SEO, Simple 301 Redirects, and the Redirection plugin are all available on the WordPress platform. In this guide, we will be focusing on how to implement redirection via the Redirection plugin:
Step 1: Install and Activate the Redirection Plugin
To install and activate the plugin, go to your WordPress dashboard, and click on ‘Plugins’ from the left menu. Click on ‘Add New’, search for the ‘Redirection’ plugin in the search bar, then click ‘Install Now’ and ‘Activate’.
Step 2: Add a Redirection Rule
After activating the plugin, click on the ‘Redirection’ menu from the WordPress admin bar. Next, click on ‘Add New’ to set up your new redirection rule. Enter the URL you want to redirect from, in the ‘Source URL’ field, and the URL you want to redirect to, in the ‘Target URL’ field. Choose the redirection rule associated with your case, either 301, 302, or 307, and click on ‘Add Redirect’ to save.
Step 3: Test the Redirection
To test the redirection, open a new browser tab and paste in the old URL, checking the success of the redirection to the new URL. If it hasn’t worked, double-check the redirection plugin settings to ensure all the necessary details are correct.
2. Using the .htaccess File
If you don’t want to use plugins, the .htaccess file is located in the root directory of your WordPress website and is an alternative means of redirection. However, this method requires technical expertise, so proceed with caution:
Step 1: Backup the .htaccess File
It’s crucial to backup the .htaccess file before making any changes to your website. Locate the .htaccess file in your WordPress root directory, download a copy of the file, and save it to your local computer.
Step 2: Edit the .htaccess File
To edit the .htaccess file, open the file using a text editor such as Notepad, and add the following lines of code:
Redirect 301 /old-url/ http://yourwebsite.com/new-url
Replace ‘/old-url/’ with the old URL you want to redirect and replace ‘http://yourwebsite.com/new-url’ with the new URL you want to redirect to.
Step 3: Save the .htaccess File
Save changes after editing the .htaccess file and upload the updated file to your WordPress root directory.
Step 4: Test the Redirection
Ensure that the redirection has worked by opening a new browser tab and entering the old URL you want to redirect. If it has redirected successfully to the new URL, congratulations, you have successfully redirected the URL in WordPress using the .htaccess file.
Best Practices for Redirecting URLs in WordPress
- Always opt for a 301 redirect as it informs search engines that the content has permanently moved to a new location.
- Make sure the URL you are redirecting to contains content relevant to the URL you are redirecting from.
- Test redirects to ensure they function efficiently across multiple browsers and devices.
- Remember to update any internal links on your website after redirecting URLs to avoid broken links.
Redirecting URLs in WordPress is integral to maintaining a healthy website, and this comprehensive guide has taught you various methods to achieve that goal, including plugins, .htaccess files, and redirection plugins. Remember to always use a 301 redirect, redirect to relevant content, test the redirection, and update any internal links that may be pointing to old URLs. Follow these best practices, and your website should enjoy improved SEO rankings and a better user experience all round.