If you are running a business website, then there are a number of things you need to know about your website, even if you do not do all the website management yourself.
With most new websites you will not need to redirect URLs because you will start out with just a few pages but your website will grow over time, and the website structure will become more complex.
After a while, you may realize that you need to change the content on your site or some pages aren’t performing as well as they should, which means you will have to move pages around.
In order to do this, you will likely also need to redirect an old URL to a new URL. In this article, we’ll explain how this is done.
What Is A URL Redirect?
A URL website redirect points an old URL to a new page with a new URL. When a user clicks on your original URL, he will be taken to the new page instead.
A URL redirect makes sure that anyone who visits your web page does not end up on a 404 page or “page not found”. Instead, they see your new content.
In addition, a URL redirect also means that you do not lose any value of your original links that you built throughout your site. This is an essential part for your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Reasons Why You Need To Create A URL Redirect
We already touched briefly on why you may want to create a redirect for different pages of your website.
Let’s take a look at some of these key reasons in more detail.
Redirect An Old Domain To A New Domain
One of the most common reasons why a website manager wants to redirect a URL else is when the domain name changes.
This is typically the case when you are building a new website, and you may have decided that the old name isn’t reflective of your business or brand anymore.
You will then need to make sure that you have a redirect in place that takes users from your old domain to the new one.
Migrating a whole website is a big project, and redirecting all URLs is very labor intensive for an entire site.
Redirect An Old URL To A New URL
You do not always need to redirect as many URLs as with a website migration.
Sometimes you have an existing page URL, and you may want to simply change it to clean up your existing URL structure or just to move pages around.
Then you will need to put a permanent redirect in place for your old URLs. This is not just important for the user experience on the website but also for SEO purposes.
Pages that have already been indexed by search engines can be found much easier and quicker by search engines, such as Google. This means your page also will not drop in search engine ranking.
How To Set Up A URL Redirect
There are a number of different ways to set up a redirect. Here are the three most commonly used options by website owners.
Set Up A Redirect In cPanel
Sign in into your cPanel account on your domains section. You should see an option for Redirects.
In a dropdown menu, you will then be able to select the Type of redirect that you want to put in place, either a Temporary (302) or a Permanent (301) redirect.
Select your option, and then go to the next dropdown. There, you can choose the domain that you want to set up the redirect for. You may just see one here if you only own one domain.
Lastly, you will just need to fill in the URLs for the page you want to redirect, and the page you want it to be redirected to.
Set Up A Redirect In Gator
If you are using Gate Website Builder, you can redirect a URL by going into Edit Site. On the menu on the left hand side, select Manage, and then Redirects.
Next, click the button for Add Rule, and then just add the page you want to redirect. In the dropdown, you can also select the redirect type.
You can then either choose to enter the URL manually here or you can select the page from a dropdown. Once you are done, you just click OK.
Set Up A Redirect In WordPress
Many websites run on WordPress, and for all WordPress users it is easier to use a plugin for redirects.
One popular WordPress plugin is Redirection. In order to set up a redirect, you just search for the plugin and add it to WordPress.
Once you installed the plugin, you can go into Redirection under the Tools menu. From there you simply add your URL information for the old and new URLs.
Types Of URL Redirects
We mentioned a couple of different types of URL redirects in the sections above but it’s worthwhile taking a closer look at these redirect types.
When you select a 301 redirect then this is a permanent redirect which means that you do not plan to change the URL again very soon.
It is the redirect that is most commonly used, and most of the time, this type of redirect is fine to use.
This type of redirect is a temporary redirect which is typically only used when you are likely to move back to the old URL soon.
It can be used if you are running A/B tests on your site, or if you are redesigning your website.
Although setting up a URL redirect sounds very complicated, it is a simple action that even non-technical website owners can perform with the right tools.
It will help you avoid any “Page not found” error messages on your website, and it also makes sure that you can improve search engine optimization.