How to Redirect a Website to a Different Domain with a WordPress Plugin
You may be familiar with redirects, these are probably the most basic types of linking on a website. A redirect simply changes the URL of a page, image or video once the user clicks or taps on it, to point to a different location.
The most basic form of redirecting a URL is simply to use the keyword “redirect” followed by the old URL in the address bar of your browser. When someone clicks or taps on a link with this redirect in the URL, they will be automatically sent to the new page/location. Simple as that.
Here is an example of a basic redirect from Google’s search results for “redirect”:
- https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=US&q=redirect (Google)
- #redirect (Bing)
- http://www.ask.com/questions/redirect (Ask)
Some browsers may interfere with this type of redirect and ask whether you want to save the new page, however if your redirect points to a static resource (such as a jpg, gif or web font) then the redirect should work as expected.
Why Should You Care About Redirects?
When a user visits your site, there is usually a small window of time (called the “re-engagement window”) where they will remember the site and visit it again. When someone visits your site for the first time, it is extremely likely that they will see a few advertisements and click on a couple of links before they leave the site. All of these clicks add up and make a major impact on your business, even if the person leaves the site immediately after clicking on a link.
Using redirects in your links allows you to take advantage of someone’s initial interest in your site. If they like what they see and click on a link, you can bet they will visit the site again. It is fairly common for users to enter a website, like Facebook or Google, and then visit a third party website that they like based on their interests.
When this happens, the third party website will give the user an incentive to come back because they know they can gain more traffic from these users than they would normally receive. In other words, the third party website is effectively “giving the store” and getting a cut of the traffic because they are “driving the truck”. When a user arrives at your site, they will see a few advertisements or offers from various products and services. If they click on one of these links, you can bet they will visit the site again because they saw some value in it.
How Do You Do This?
The easiest way to redirect a URL is to use a WordPress plugin. The advantage of these plugins is that you can automate the entire process. Once you have installed the plugin, you can use the tool in the WordPress admin area to create redirects for links that you post in your articles (called “published” articles).
The tool will ask you to enter the destination URL (the URL you want people to land on when they click a link to your site)
You can also use the tool to redirect a specific page to a named anchor.
If you have a blog and you want to redirect users to specific parts or specific articles, you can use the URL of those articles as the destination URL.
Creating Redirects With a WordPress Plugin
To create a redirect with a WordPress plugin, you must first log into your WordPress admin area. From here, click on Tools in the left menu and then on Redirect. You will see a screen like this:
- Destination URL: Enter the URL to redirect here (the URL you want people to land on when they click a link to your site)
- Old URL: Enter the URL that you want to redirect here (the URL people will see before they are redirected)
- New URL: Enter the URL that you want to redirect here (the URL people will see after they are redirected)
- Status: Select the status you want for your redirect (“pending”, “finished”, or “failed”)
- Redirect Type: Select the type of redirect you want to create (“canonical” or “permanent”)
- Reverse Proxy: Select this option if you use a reverse proxy like apache or nginx to deliver content to users. When enabled, this option will create a redirect from www.example.com to example.com (and *vice versa*)
- Anchor Text: Enter the text to display in the link below the URL. This setting is optional but recommended. It will allow you to create a better link for your users (and search engines). Don’t use this field if you use an automatic redirect mechanism (like Google Analytics).
- Save redirects: Check this box to save and publish your redirect.
Once you have entered the information, click on Create Redirect.
You will then be brought to a confirmation screen like this:
- Congratulations! You have successfully created a redirect.
- You may now click here to return to the dashboard.
From here, you can click on the Dashboard icon in the left menu, then on Settings in the drop-down menu, to access your newly created redirects. You can also use the built-in Analytics to track the results of your redirects. From your Dashboard, you can click on Traffic⭐️ in the left menu, then on Referrals to see how many unique users and how much revenue you have generated from your redirects.
Why Do You Want To Automatically Redirect Your Site?
The easiest and the most common way to redirect a website is through the use of a “redirect scheme”. A redirect scheme is a combination of keywords and special characters that will search engines recognize as a “redirection” and pass along to a different location. For example, “google.com” is a common redirection scheme. When a user clicks on a link with this scheme in the URL, they will be directed to the “google.com” domain.
When a user visits your site and lands on a page with a link on it that is pointing to a different location, they will see a small popup or a new tab with a warning that this is not the right place and that they should visit the site they came from instead. This will cause a little bit of annoyance for your users but it is a small price to pay for getting rid of the accidental clicks that you don’t want on your site.
There is also the option to have a different page when they reach the destination URL. For example, you could have a welcome page, an error page, or a confirmation page. When a user lands on one of these pages, they will see a small popup or a new tab that explains the reason for their visit and encourages them to continue on to another page. Once they continue to click on links, that are successfully redirected, they will end up on the page they were initially aiming for. This is known as an “impedance mismatch” and can greatly reduce the user experience on your site. The more you can do to reduce this behavior, the better.