One of the first principles of starting a business (or anything for that matter) is to start small. When we are entering a new project, hobby or interest, often we can find ourselves initially scared of the amount of work, skill and information it is going to take to make it right. Some get scared away and some try to muscle it out.

However it may be, it’s not a good idea to think too much in advance when you are starting a new project. You might not see what’s right in front of you. When it comes to starting your website and designing it, it’s easy to get caught up with questions that are leading you off your path.

Many big and successful business ventures start small, as a hobby. Selling out of the garage or writing a small column on a friends website.

Once you hone your craft and your work method, and of course, when you get positive feedback, you can think about scaling it up. Now you can start moving to your very own website – that is the right time to ask yourself how many subdomains you should open and what your address name will be. 

Once you have a few conversations with your team, (or yourself) you can set it up. And now it’s time to open the gates and invite everyone in. It might feel daunting to move from an old workspace to a new one especially when it is up on the internet.  Remember the feeling when you have just opened a new social media account and your friends list was empty. You don’t have to go through that process again…

There are a few ways you can redirect your audience from one page to another. And there are different situations that call for this.

Let’s say your site had some content that expired. It was meant to expire. Like a one-time offer page or something. Google might still be sending users to that page, or if you aren’t careful, you still might have active links all over your site that lead to it. And you certainly don’t want your users to be looking at that ugly “404 error Page not found” image.


You can do this „by hand“, which means without a plugin, but that’s much more complicated especially if you don’t have any coding knowledge or experience.
Or you can use a plugin and make your life easier. 

That’s where 301 Redirects plugin comes in handy. 

WP 301 Redirects


A 301 redirect is an indicator that says that the link you clicked on has moved somewhere else. And it takes you to it. It indicates that the requested page has moved to a Destination URL, and steers on the traffic from the Requested URL to the new one. 

There is also the 302 redirect which functions in the same way but regards a temporary redirection of content. A 301 redirect is a status code that tells the search engine that the content on the Requested URL has been permanently moved. The new page has replaced the old one forever.

301 Redirects

The 302, however, redirects the users to a new page for a limited amount of time, until the redirect is removed.

Both of these functions you can manage and create using the 301 Redirects plugin. It is located in the WP Admin Dashboard after installation, you can access it using the Settings menu. It’s fairly simple to use, it contains a “Redirect From” box and a “Redirect To” box, and a drop-down menu that allows you to choose which kind of redirect you want to create. 

Your only worry is to wisely pick your Requested and Destination URL. With the “Redirect To” drop-down menu you can choose from Posts and Custom Post types, Pages, Archives and Term Archives.

Once you create your redirects you will want to keep track of how much they are used. Users say that the plugin works really fast and you have an Import/Export option to manage bulk redirects. 

Even though this plugin is simple to use, experts say that being inexperienced in redirects, in general, can cause problems. Using a 302 redirect when you should have used a 301 redirect can cause problems for your website. The biggest fear when doing redirects is losing SEO ranking, so it’s important to keep in mind that search engines react differently to these two redirects. If you don’t set them up correctly the search engine can determine that one is a mistake and stop sending traffic to the page.

The 302 does not pass all your search engine equity to the Destination URL. Remember, the 302 redirect is a temporary one, that’s why it’s set up this way. So it’s rare that a 302 is a better option over a 301 redirect.

Once you set up your 301 redirect your page will show up in the search engine results with a 301 code.
When should you use a 301 redirect instead of a 302?

Examples


Some examples include: transferring your domain or sending traffic from outdated URLs to new ones after merging websites. Maybe you have several different URLs as accesses to your website. You should select one URL and redirect the others to it. If you’ve changed your website domain name or have converted your site from http to https.

In spite of the fact that a 302 redirect does not distribute SEO, there are situations where it actually makes more sense to use one. Redirecting a page temporarily is a rarer practice than doing it forever, but a setting where this happens regularly is eCommerce. If your eStore contains a product that is out of stock it makes more sense to redirect your users to a page with similar products. And this is, of course, temporary, until the product is in stock again. 

Another scenario is A/B testing. A/B testing is a marketing tool that sends or publishes demo versions of similar content to see which one is more desirable. So if you make two websites that differ in one or two areas and want to see the reaction, you can use a 302 redirect, you can get client and user feedback on your new page without impacting your site ranking.

Another thing to keep in mind is the Google aging delay. Search engines try to give you the best, their crawlers are constantly crawling the web, indexing content and ranking it. They try to give you the most relevant results for your search. 

If you use a redirect unwisely, Google may pick up that the set up was wrong and he will try to decide how to treat the redirect. The 301 redirect which redirects permanently may cause Google to completely drop the page from search rankings for a period of time, which can cause big problems. 

So even though redirections are a simple concept and with the 301 Redirects plugin they are a straightforward task to manage, there are a few things to keep in mind. Even the SEO guru Neil Patel admitted to using redirects unwisely. So calling for help before you get the hang of it is our advice. Better safe than sorry, especially in the battle for SEO ranks.

Conclusion

And of course, redirecting your following from one link to another isn’t the only thing that can influence your stats. How your users will interact with the new page and if it is user-friendly enough are also big factors that you shouldn’t miss. 

So, our advice is to aim for the 301 Redirects plugin to save yourself from the headache you might get from coding the redirection. Choose wisely which redirect you will use on which URL and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Good luck, and don’t forget you can always reset your WordPress site if necessary!

Posted by Outside Contributor

From time to time, we are glad to feature outside authors who contribute to BizzMarkBlog with their insights and experience. This is one of those features.