Redirects: A Powerful Tool for Managing WordPress Sites
Redirects can be an extremely useful tool for managing a WordPress website, as they can help improve user experience, update old links, and prevent visitors from encountering broken links. Additionally, they can help preserve page authority and contribute towards improving SEO. This guide will provide an overview on everything you need to know about setting up redirects in WordPress.
What are Redirects?
Redirects allow web traffic to be routed from one URL to another. This feature can be implemented in various scenarios, including:
Updating old links:
If you have modified the URL structure of your site or have changed the location of content, implementing redirects could ensure that users can still access your platform without issues.
Fixing broken links:
Whenever a broken link is encountered on your site, redirects could be used to successfully point users to the correct URL instead.
Multiple URLs that point to the same content can potentially create confusion for users. Redirects help to ensure that visitors will only see the URL that was intended to be displayed.
Redirects can also help preserve the authority of your website’s pages, which includes ensuring that backlinks continue to work even if the URL has changed
The two most important types of redirects in WordPress are the 301 and 302 redirects. A permanent redirection is communicated by a 301 redirect which informs search engines and web browsers that content has been permanently moved to a new location. A temporary redirection is indicated by a 302 redirect which indicates to browsers and search engines alike that the content has been moved but will return to its original location in the future.
How to Set Up Redirects in WordPress
Several methods exist for setting up redirects in WordPress, from plugins to manual editing of .htaccess files. The following section will highlight some of the most common options available:
Using a Plugin
Using a plugin to set up redirects in WordPress is a simple and safe alternative if you’re not comfortable editing .htaccess files, or if you don’t have access to them. For example, the “Redirection” plugin is commonly used for this purpose, with the following steps:
- Install and activate the Redirection plugin from the WordPress Plugin directory.
- Add a new redirection by typing the old URL in the “Source URL” field and the new URL in the “Target URL” field. Choose between 301 and 302 redirects depending on your specific needs.
- Click “Add Redirect” to preserve the redirection.
Through .htaccess File Editing
Although editing your site’s .htaccess file manually is not exactly easy, it is ideal for anyone comfortable with making advanced changes. However, it’s wise to backup your .htaccess file to be safe:
- Get access to your site’s .htaccess file via an FTP client or file manager.
- Add the code below to your file to create a 301 redirect:
<Redirect 301 /old-url/ http://www.example.com/new-url/>
- Replace “/old-url/” with the outdated URL you wish to redirect and “http://www.example.com/new-url/” with your new URL.
- Make sure to save your work before checking the functionality of the redirect.
Using WordPress Built-In Redirect Feature
WordPress provides a built-in redirect feature that allows you to create 301 redirects easily without installing any third-party plugins:
- Log into your WordPress dashboard and select “Posts” or “Pages” depending on the content that you want to redirect.
- Find the post or page you want to redirect and click “Edit.”
- Under the “Publish” meta box located on the right side of your screen, select “Edit” next to “Permalink.”
- Change the permalink to your preferred new URL and click “OK.”
- WordPress will now have created a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new one while retaining any backlinks or page authority.
Using Google Search Console
If you want to set up redirects for old URLs that you don’t have control over (such as links from other websites), you can use Google Search Console’s “Change of Address” feature:
- Log into your Search Console account and access the “Change of Address” tool.
- Follow the steps to confirm your old and new websites.
- Specify the new URL linked to your site that you want to use.
- Google will then automatically establish 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones while retaining the authority or backlinks.
Setting up redirects in WordPress is not an easy task, but with the best techniques available, it may help to boost the performance and accessibility of your site. Additionally, it is recommended to test your website’s redirects to guarantee that they work correctly. Ultimately, employing redirects can make a difference to how your website operates and impacts the user experience positively.