Creating redirects for hard-to-remember URLs is quite useful. You can use it to create URLs you can easily give to people outside your organization. “Just visit http://mycompany.com/meeting to schedule a meeting” is easier to tell people than giving them a long, complicated link to a meeting scheduling page. You can use public link-shortening services to create short links.

Creating redirects on your own site

There are many ways to create your own redirects, depending on your level of comfort with technology and your specific website configuration.

Redirect using your .htaccess file
This is the best, most transparent and efficient way to add a redirect. It also requires the most technical skill. If you don’t know what a .htaccess file is, you probably should use a different method.

Edit the .htaccess file in your website and add a redirect line. If you want to redirect http://yourwebsite/calendar to http://onlinecalendar.com/34238723 you would use this line:

Redirect 302 /calendar http://onlinecalendar.com/34238723

Once you’ve tested the redirect to make sure it works, change the 302 to a 301 in the redirect line.

Redirect if you are running WordPress and have administrator access

If you’re running a WordPress site, install the URL-Redirect plugin. Once it’s installed, you can go directly to Tools > URL Redirect on the WordPress Dashboard and add redirections to that page.

Redirect without administrator access or on non-Wordpress
If you aren’t on WordPress, or you don’t have administrator access to your site, you can create a page with the name of the redirect you want. Then on that page, simply add a link to the final page. Clicking the original redirect link will take someone to that page, which will then contain the ultimate destination link.

This is a kludgy solution, because the person following the link has to click twice. It still beats trying to remember long, unwieldy URLs. The HTML will look like:

<a href="http://link-destination.com">
Click here to go to the destination.

You can avoid the double click for visitors with Javascript turned on

Add this code to the web page, as well. Make sure to replace SteverRobbins.com with the destination URL for the redirect. When the page loads to display, as soon as this part of the page loads, it will instantly jump to the destination page instead.

<script language="JavaScript">
// -->
Get-it-Done Guy resources

Episode 429: Using Redirects and Shortcuts

read time: 2 min