A 301 redirect is, simply put, a way to redirect a URL to another URL. Learn how to create and manage a 301 redirect in WordPress.
The URL you redirect from is a link on your website and the URL you redirect to can be anything anywhere. You can choose to redirect to a blog post or page on your website, or to a blog post, page, product or any anything else on any other website.
Why would you need to redirect a URL?
Reason#1: Nobody likes broken links. Suppose you need to delete or un-publish a specific article on your site but don’t want to end up with broken links to it all over the internet. Think about it! You’ve got backlinks from Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and email newsletters. Plus, you don’t know how many visitors of your website bookmarked your posts. If you delete a page or post, all these backlinks will become broken links leading to a “404 Page Cannot be Displayed”. This hurts your ranking and undermines your business in general. You can easily create a redirect so that if someone visits a page on your site that no longer exist, they get redirected instantly to a new location of your choosing.
e.g. Say we decide to rename the kitchen essentials page at http://www.colorfulrecipes.com/kitchen-essentials to http://www.colorfulrecipes.com/my-favorite-kitchen-essentials. To avoid broken links, a redirect can be created to forward visitors of the old page to the new one.
Reason#2: Affiliate Linking is another common reason to use 301 redirects. It allows you to manage all your affiliate links in one place and track the clicks and unique clicks. Also, it gives you the ability to change the target link of each service or product you market in one single place instead of having to manually update all the instances of the link all over your website.
e.g. We affiliate with Amazon and link to the Vitamix blender. We have created this 301 redirect http://www.colorfulrecipes.com/vitamix that redirects to the Amazon location of the product. Suppose we decide to market a different Vitamix in the future, we can then easily modify the 301 redirect target URL instead of having to edit every post and page where the product link was mentioned.
How can you create and manage a 301 redirect in WordPress?
The short answer is: Pretty Link.
There are numerous ways to create a 301 redirect. My favorite method for managing 301 redirects in WordPress is using a WordPress plugin. We use Pretty Link.
Check out this video tutorial below for step by step instructions on how to install and use Pretty Link.
Other methods include modifying the .htaccess file which you could do either manually or by leveraging plugins that give you the ability to manage .htaccess indirectly. A .htaccess (hypertext access) file is a directory-level configuration file supported by several web servers. If this is the route you want to take, a recommend WordPress plugin is Yoast SEO.
There you have it. Now you know how to create and manage 301 redirects in WordPress.