Working with WordPress will unavoidably have you facing a problem of broken links and missing pages. This is one of the problems you must know how to handle in the shortest possible period.
First of all, 404 notifications are never a good thing. Yes, there is the pretty design you’ve chosen for it or the witty line notifying the visitor they have lost their way. And, yes, there will be some moments when this page comes up. Still, it’s best if you keep these appearances on the minimum – only occasional and extremely short. We’ll see why shortly.
Redirects and Their Role
There are numerous occasions when a link can lead to a 404 error instead to an actual WP page. Sometimes the cause of this problem lies in a typo within the link, other times it’s because the website content has been moved or the domain has been updated.
In many of these cases, there is a way to control where your visitors end up. In other words, you can make sure they reach the desired page although they might have used an outdated link.
Why Should You Care About This?
In short – SEO and reputation. If you understand what we’re on about, move on to the next section. If, however, you need a bit more info, we will take a few lines to help you better understand this problem.
Namely, your website is there to attract and keep the audience. It reaches the public through Google. Google, in turn, makes sure a website is a reliable and relevant source, and it uses several criteria in the validation process. One of these evaluation steps includes making sure there aren’t any broken links related to the website.
If there are, Goggle ranks the website lower in its search results as it doesn’t see it as something the person who is browsing would like to click on. This leads to lower traffic, and a consequent reduction in the number of new customers being reached.
So, How Do Redirects Help Here?
Redirects are here to help your audience reach the content they were looking for by informing Google that you have moved bits of your website elsewhere.
The most common redirects – or at least the ones we will be analysing – are 301 redirects. These, together with 302 and MetaRefresh redirects, fall under HTTP status codes. However, unlike its sister codes, 301 is a permanent command. It is a form of URL forwarding, i.e. rerouting the traffic going towards old page addresses and directing it towards the new ones. Thus, both Google and the visitors are kept updated and you maintain your impeccable reputation.
How to Handle Bulk Redirects
Okay! So, we’ve explained the 301 redirects principle. Obviously, if you have a few broken links, you can set up redirects manually without wasting too much time.
However, when you have pages and pages of faulty URLs that need to have traffic rerouted to new destinations, it is inefficient and time-consuming to do it one by one. This is why software engineers have come up with a bulk redirection feature which makes this otherwise tiresome task fairly quick and simple.
Regardless of your coding skills, the easiest way to implement a 301 redirect is to do it through a plugin. It is faster and less complicated than to write code. And, after all, many WordPress website owners don’t have relevant coding knowledge to write the appropriate code.
One of the best and the most convenient 301 redirect plugins out there – and certainly our team’s top pick – is Easy Redirect Manager, especially if you need a bulk redirect tool.
Easy Redirects Manager
This is one of the popular and highly rated redirect plugins, and rightfully so. The sleek user-friendly interface is one of the most appealing features for more than 80 thousand of its active users. It is compatible with WordPress versions 4.0 and later as well as PHP versions 5.2 and up.
The team behind it obviously works hard on maintaining it and frequently updates its features, which must be one of the main reasons why this plugin is so well rated by its users. Additionally, it works with no glitches or delays, and can easily be marked as one of the most reliable redirection options.
Let’s just quickly look at how setting up redirection for individual pages looks like. Commands are pretty simple. You will be offered two columns to fill out – one is titled Redirect From,and the other Redirect To.
You can choose destinations from a drop-down menu where you will be offered Pages, Posts, Custom Post types, Archives, and Term Archives. Alternatively, you can type in destinations manually after clicking on Custom option in the menu.
In this case, the principle is similar to the one employed in several other redirection plugins. First, you need to create a CSV file with addresses of requested and destination URLs. Then, you click on Import/Export Redirect Rules tab on Easy Redirect Manager’s dashboard, and choose Import option to upload your file with bulk redirection data. That’s where your job is done, and the rest is on the plugin. This import/export option is immensely helpful as it significantly contributes to process automation.
Whether you are migrating content from one page to another, or you are doing some broader work such as design reinvention or domain switch, you can rely on Easy Redirects Manager.
One of the interesting but less known features is that this plugin also allows you to retain query strings across redirects. Also, it keeps a simple redirection statistic. This way you are familiar with how much a redirection is used.
Bulk redirections setup isn’t a creative process, so it shouldn’t take up too much of your time. Nonetheless, this is an important maintenance step and it has to be taken care of promptly.
Hence, our advice is to always look for the most time-efficient way of handling redirections and other support tasks, and leave the most of your time free for your creative growth.
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