Redirect as the name indicates is the process of sending user to different URL than the one they look for. There are different types of redirections available like temporary and permanent redirections. Whenever there is a redirect from requested URL to different URL, web server will return a 301 HTTP status code in the response indicating a permanent redirect. Though you will not see any status code or visible changes in the browser, it happens at the server side. If you are using Weebly site builder, here is how to setup 301 redirect in Weebly site.
What is the Need of 301 Redirects?
When the site is growing in size, it is unavoidable to update the content and the page URL to offer latest information to users. It is common for a webmaster to change the page URL based on the search engine performance and other factors. Whenever you change your Weebly page URL it is required to setup a 301 redirect to avoid loosing the page reputation and hence the search engine ranking. Let us take an example. Assume you have written an article “Top 10 Weebly Apps 2021” during end of the year 2021. Now that you have updated the same article for 2022 with the title “Top 10 Weebly Apps 2022” and updated the permalink in Weebly. Now that the URL is changed and here are the impacts:
- External links pointing to your old URL will lead to 404 page not found error.
- Search engines will think that your old page is deleted and remove it from search results.
- You will loose the search ranking position of your old content and the new page will be shown in search results with lower rank.
This will be a disaster and modifying couple of high traffic pages will drag down your entire site’s search engine traffic.
Solution for Changed or Deleted Pages
The solution is to setup a permanent redirect from the old page to the new page. This will help users not to see the outdated URLs and titles which are no more relevant. And also your new page will retain the search position similar to the old page. 301 Redirect is a simple tool used for diverting users from your old URL to new URL. Weebly offers a simple solution to setup 301 redirects for the following scenarios:
- You have deleted a page in your site.
- Changed an existing Weebly page URL.
- Temporary redirection during an event or product launch.
- Upgrading from free domain to custom domain.
You have to setup manual redirect in Weebly for all the above cases except the last scenario.
Upgrading from Free Weebly Subdomain to Custom Domain
Most of the users send us emails asking what will happen when they migrate from Weebly subdomain to custom domain. In this case, Weebly will automatically setup 301 redirects at server side and forward all old pages to new site. This is very helpful so that you will not loose your traffic and your search engine ranking for the new site is retained as that of the old site.
However, make sure not to change any page URL. Otherwise, there will be no option to redirect the old page to new page.
Note, we do not see Weebly will setup redirect when changing from one custom domain to another. It will also not work when you change the free subdomain name. You have to check this with Weebly if they can help to setup redirect at server side, especially if you have purchased both domains from them.
How to Setup a Weebly 301 Redirects?
Whether you have deleted a page or changed a page URL, Weebly offers single site setting option to setup a 301 redirect.
- Login to your Weebly account and select the site you want to edit.
- Navigate to “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) section under “Settings” tab.
- Scroll down to bottom and find “301 Redirects” section.
- Click “+ Add Redirect” link and enter the old in “Old URL” text box.
- Select one of the new URLs from “Destination Page” dropdown which will show all the available pages from your site.
- Click on “Save” button to save your changes and add a 301 redirect.
- You can add as many as redirects for a single site.
What You Can’t Do with Weebly 301 Redirects?
Weebly’s 301 setup will not be useful in the following site/domain transfer from another host to Weebly:
- Old and new sites are having different domain names.
- Page URLs of old site are not matching with new Weebly site’s page URLs.
- Old site uses different page extensions like .php instead of .html.
- In addition, redirecting to external pages is not possible with Weebly. Therefore, it will not be useful if you want to migrate to other host from Weebly.
So basically it is a very simple one to one redirect that Weebly offers. On top of that Weebly does not support 301 redirects in the following cases:
- You can’t setup 301 redirect from old blog post to new blog post.
- You also can’t setup redirect from old single product to new single product.
What you can do with Weebly is to setup redirects between standard pages, blog pages and products pages. Even you have a paid hosting, setting up 301 redirect at .htaccess level will not work as these directives will no control the Weebly server. So, ensure to have appropriate URLs for blog posts and products which you can’t change later and setup redirection.
Redirect Trick for Product Launch or Special Event
Though Weebly redirection options are simple, there is one big advantage here. What if you want to send your users to a different page only during an event or a product launch?
- Create a new page and setup redirect from the site settings from old page to new page. When you are done, remove the redirect and delete your new page (or reverse the old and destination URLs).
- If you want to redirect home page (index.html), create a new page and move to top under “Pages” tab. This will make your new page as the home page (index.html) for your site. Now, you can setup a redirect from old home page to new home page. After you are done, you can swap the redirect to go back to your old home page.