Often when designing and building custom WordPress sites for clients we are converting an existing website from HTML, PHP, or another CMS to WordPress. This usually always results in the URLs or permalinks changing from something like yourdomain.com/about.html to yourdomain.com/about/.
If redirects are not done after the new WordPress site is live, any old links from emails, search engine results, or browser bookmarks that are requested will usually send someone to an error page. With the WordPress plugin Simple 301 Redirects, you can easily mitigate the changed URLs/permalinks on your new WordPress site. This is good for your website visitors and for search engines.
The plugin gets its name from the http header status code 301 (moved permanently). A 301 code basically tells search engines, “Hey there Googlebot, this page no longer exists but you can find the new page here. Please update your index and preserve my existing page rank. Thanks, your BFF.”
Here are 3 Awesome uses for the Simple 301 Redirects plugin:
1. Changing from HTML, PHP, etc. to WordPress or making extensive changes to an existing WordPress site
When converting an existing site to WordPress, you need to make an index of all of your current website pages. Use a plain text editor like Notepad or TextEdit. In the first column list all of your old pages and in the second column, list the appropriate new WordPress page.
In the plugin settings, paste the old URL in the first column and the new WordPress URL in the second then click save. That’s it. Note the format: the first column uses relative URLs (/about.htm) and the second column requires absolute URLs (http://www.yourdomain.com/about/)
2. Sending a request to another website
Besides redirecting page requests to another location on your website, you can use Simple 301 Redirects to send page requests to any other website on the web. This can be useful when creating new websites for new ventures and directing existing traffic to the website, or for branding purposes and using using your main domain in marketing messages.
3. Marketing and Google Analytics Tricks
When crafting marketing plans and strategies, you can use 301 redirects to send requests to a page that doesn’t even exist to the actual webpage. For example, what looks better as a URL in a print marketing piece:
Now, if you want to take the redirect trick a little further, you can add Google analytics tracking parameters to the end of your actual URL in the 301 Redirects settings to track the effectiveness of your efforts. In that case, the original URL may look like:
but instead your audience sees http://yourdomain.com/2012Sale.