When you’re giving your website a little refresh, or perhaps a complete makeover, it’s a great time for an “out with the old, in with the new” mindset. But when you’re launching your updated or completely new site, don’t forget about the redirects.
Redirects – simple configuration statements in your website setup that automatically take visitors from one URL to another – are an essential part of launching a new or updated website. They ensure that visitors get to the most current location for the content they’re seeking, even if that content has moved around your site over time.
You never know who has bookmarked or emailed around a particular link to a particular page on your old site, and if the location of your content is changing (e.g. /about-us/ is becoming /about/) you could quickly frustrate those loyal visitors. The longer your old site has been in existence, the more time people have had to record those older link locations and distribute them far and wide.
More importantly, if your site has been indexed in search engines like Google, redirects are one of the tools that will help those search engines find your new content and keep your site showing up in search results during the transition. This is especially important if you rely on your placement in search engine results to get visitors to your site.
At Summersault, we see a lot of other people’s great new sites launched without any attention paid to redirects. It means that someone entering those sites through a familiar inner content page is most often going to be greeted with a very un-friendly “404 NOT FOUND” error message, and then they have to start from the front page of your site to go looking for what they want. This is an unnecessary disruption to the user experience of your site, and we know that in an age of information overload, users don’t need yet another excuse to move on to the next site or resource.
Setting up redirects during a site relaunch is a standard part of Summersault’s development process. Whether you’re working with us or another web developer, make sure your new site gets the attention it deserves by having proper redirects in place when it goes live.