Anybody who’s ever worked in site management will tell you that, sooner or later, your site will experience fundamental content changes that will affect designations of your pages. In best case scenarios these will affect only certain pages and in worst cases whole sets can be misdirected because of a specific common denominator.
You don’t need to be an expert in the field to know what this means for your current and future traffic. The moment a visitor can’t reach the desired content their desire to try so again dwindles. If the issues continue, it declines exponentially to the point when you’ve lost the visitor in full. On first glance this seems like a process that has to take its time to play out, but unfortunately that time is measured in a few days at most.
There are ways to do damage control in these situations. Naturally, the first thing you’ll put into motion is resolving the issues to begin with, but what about the time it takes to resolve, especially if you’re doing everything manually. As the title implies, creating a quality redirecting page could mean the difference between retaining and losing visitors. Ensuring they get what they need will mean they’ll come back for more. Fortunately, you’re not in it alone, since there are plugins that are design to help you. One of these is the WP 301 Redirects and we’ll be using it as an example of a successful retention tool going forward.
Different kind of redirects
The worst thing you could do in those cases when your pages are lost to coding hell, is to leave everything to their default 404 error page. We’ve all seen the dreaded page and we’ve never been too keen to return again. There are several times you could be prompted by 404 error pages. We’ve already mentioned crashes, but a page can also expire, or the URL can change. Internally you can account for these changes, but externally it isn’t so easy.
Other sites can link to your pages that aren’t there damaging your reputation and putting off visitors from exploring the pages that are working. The main thing that plugins like WP 301 Redirects do is change the default page with a redirect to a page that is actually working, bypassing the bad URL in the process completely.
Of course this isn’t the only thing that’s done, it’s just the beginning. Imagine if you’d have to manually dig through all your data to pinpoint all the outdated and/or bad links and make redirects yourself. You’d lose hours upon hours of time you could be using putting out new content. That’s precisely why you need an automated process that makes these connections and changes the accordingly. Not only is it automated, it’s also done quickly so there is minimal time before the changes are done and the new redirects are put in place.
Be on top of everything
That’s all well and good for already published content, but what about things you’ll publish in the future, after the plugin has already been activated. Most processes are automated, as we’ve already mentioned, however you will be able to keep track of everything through extensive, yet easy to use charts that provide you with crucial information about all the ins and outs. Data you’re presented with is simple to understand and won’t come out so bloated you can’t make heads or tails of it like some other analytics tools. This information can then be used to manually configure details you feel aren’t fully optimized within the default settings.
If you’re worried that your manual changes will conflict with everything else that’s being done automatically – don’t. The plugin will work with and around your changes so everything will fit perfectly, so you’re free to change and update URLs of your pages if you ever need to.
Additionally, bots, especially those already classified as problematic, don’t benefit from all the features regular visitors do. They are, in fact, left to wallow in the regular 404 error page without being redirected to live, working pages, ensuring your sites safety.
By now you’re probably wondering how can all this help you regain visitors. Well, as you already know and we’ve gone through it, potential visitors tend to have very little patience for sites that aren’t working properly. Depending on the mileage of your site and the amount of content it entails, disconnections are bound to pop up – this can’t be avoided, how you handle them, however can. The best way to handle them is to let the system do it for you. Links are redirected immediately after the changes to URLs are made making all the pages on your site available to the public.
These kinds of problems tend to present themselves more and more as the site grows. You’re using different plugins, themes, links etc. making every new page entry that much more liable to conflict with the overall setup. Add to that old, unused links that are still around on search engines and you’ve got a recipe for disaster if it isn’t managed properly of course.
Visitors generally don’t know the reason a site or a page is down, it can be server issues, or malicious attacks that are much harder to deal with, then faulty links and frankly they don’t usually care, they just go on to the next one. Making your pages always available is therefore the perfect way to keep the visitors coming back.
Smaller problems with dead links can be looked over, but they need to be fixed quickly in order to regain those visitors that simply didn’t get what they were looking for – imagine doing all of this before the problems even arise, you’ll, without a doubt regain visitors in bunches once they know your site can be counted on to always provide them with what they’re looking for. In the end, it’s all about speed and stability and with a plugin like WP 301 Redirects you’ll have the stability portion of the equation covered.
If you liked the plugin, we also suggest other plugins by the same developer: WP Reset