Utilizing redirects is one of our favorite tricks in the book! This article will discuss what redirects are, what plugin we recommend to set yours up, and how to use it.
While bit.ly is great for a lot of things, there are many instances in which creating a redirection URL based off your own domain name is probably desirable. For example, if you’re reminding readers to subscribe to your newsletter on social, instead of sharing a MailChimp short URL, or a bit.ly URL, wouldn’t it be easier to simply tell people to sign up at yourblogname.com/subscribe? That’s where setting up your own redirects can come in very handy. Luckily, it’s extremely easy to do.
PLUGIN WE LOVE
The Redirection plugin by John Godley is a great resource. Once installed, you can set up a “vanity” URL and have it redirect to any other page or post on your website. Download it here, then install it to the Plugins area of your site (learn how to install a plugin here.)
USING THE PLUGIN
1. Once installed, head go Tools > Redirection in your WordPress dashboard. Ensure the redirects tab is selected at the top of the plugin page.
2. Scroll to the bottom of the Redirects page and look for the Add new redirect box
The Source URL is the “vanity plate” part of the URL you’re wanting to set up. In our example from above, it’d be /subscribe. Type in ONLY the /keywords you want to use into the Source URL field. Don’t forget to use hyphens for any spaces (i.e. /sign-up).
The Target URL is the live URL you want the redirect to, well, redirect to. If you have a page on your blog named yourblogname.com/newsletter-subscription-signup, this would be where you want the Source URL to redirect to.
3. Select Short URLs from the group. This just indicates the redirect you set up is for a shortened link you’re creating. Once edited, click Add Redirect.
Here’s an example of how the redirect will now look in your list of live redirects:
BENEFITS OF THE REDIRECTION PLUGIN
Just like with bit.ly or any other link shortening platform, the Redirection plugin can provide you with stats for how many times a link has been linked. This makes it perfect to integrate with any brand collaborations, as you can get clear reporting on stats.
Check on dead pages on your site
At the top of the Redirection plugin menu, you’ll notice a link that reads 404S. This page is showing you every instance of a user accessing a dead page on your site. It could be that a post you deleted is getting traffic from Pinterest, or if you updated a post title of a published post, users are accessing the old version via a social share somewhere. The good news is, you can remedy these dead pages and redirect the old links to get users to the right place. For any dead links you see in your 404 logs, simply hover over the link, click Add Redirect, and input the URL of where you want people to end up.