Launching a Revamped Site? Don’t Forget Your URLs!

Launching a Revamped Site? Don’t Forget Your URLs!

Your website has a lifespan of about 2-3 years. Less if a huge web revamp happens during that time– think Web 2.0 from the mid-2000s. Whether you’re handy enough to build one yourself, or commission another party to build one for you, you’ll be refreshing your online presence at least once per Presidential term.

One very important thing to have in mind when preparing to launch your new site is what happens to all the links you have (hopefully) gained over the years. If your website structure is exactly the same, there’s nothing to worry about. But this is about as likely as Mickey Mouse becoming Governor of Michigan. More probable is that your URL structure will be markedly different, and as a result all those hard-earned links will be broken.

Fortunately the people in charge of Internet protocols foresaw situations like this, and gave us permanent redirects, called “301” redirects. When implemented, 301 redirects do two things. First, they bounce users trying to access an old/out-of-use URL to another page, hopefully one that is up-to-date and relevant. Second, it informs search engines that this move is permanent– the old URL is in fact defunct and will not be coming back, so don’t bother checking.

Having a list of your current URLs, and what pages will replace them (or which will be most relevant to direct traffic to), will help you preserve your links and ensure your users don’t run into a virtual dead-end.

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