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Knee Deep in Redirects

RedirectsOh boy, I’m busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! My desire to upgrade my Tidbits site has taught me another valuable lesson. Here’s the lesson:

When converting a site from Joomla to WordPress (or changing platforms), do not change the category structure or the file naming convention. In other words, don’t do what I did.

Old School

When the site was hand coded, there was only one way to access any page on the site. All a reader had to do was type in the static URL and boom…there was the page! With content management systems such as Joomla and WordPress (yes, I call WordPress a content management system), it’s different.

It wasn’t until after I received over 600 “File not found” errors (started at 90 a day and has now trickled to only 10 or 15 a day) that I had a Should of had a V-8V-8 moment.

My old school thought process of accessing each page via one URL was outdated. With content management systems, pages can be accessed in a variety of ways. I won’t get into the whole relational database structure reasoning for why that is, but take my word for it.

Changing with the Times

In the past when I changed platforms all I had to do was insert a “change of address” line from the old webpage to the new. Now, with at least 10 ways to access any one page from my old Joomla site, the redirects seem endless. You see, something as simple as including or excluding the forward slash (/) at the end of a URL can generate a “File not found” error if things aren’t redirected correctly.

So, this Redirect Queen has been putting out redirect fires as they happen. I was pleased yesterday when I only received 11 crawl errors.

How do I Find the Errors?

There are two ways to track errors. The easy and not so thorough way is by checking my Statcounter stats. When I see “Page not found” in the log, I know I need to address the problem.My Google Webmaster Errors

The other more complete way is by signing into my Google Webmaster account. There they list all of the errors Google encounters when the bots crawl my site. Some of the errors are because of redirects but some of the errors are a result of incorrect link backs. I see some of the sites linking to Tidbits were incorrectly coded.

Additionally, I’ve found that Joomla created a few pages that made absolutely no sense to me, but I’ve redirected them anyway.

When will it End?

The way I calculate it, I fully expect to be resolving redirects for a couple of months. Fortunately, each day there are fewer and fewer redirects and I’ve got it down to a science. I can now complete my daily redirect duty before I finish my first cup of coffee.

BTW, if you find yourself with the same problem (hopefully you won’t), there’s a plugin that helps to make the redirection process a little easier. The plugin is appropriately called Redirection .

Ya gotta love this stuff or else you wouldn’t do it.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Gianna January 8, 2012, 4:32 pm

    I’ve decided to take the plunge and dive into creating revenue on my blog.
    I’m starting really small with small goals that i can accomplish to feel successful and gain confidence.

    With that said, I have no idea what you are talking about in this post. Can I still be successful with a limited knowledge or is it just a pipedream?

    • Felicia January 9, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Gianna, don’t let this post scare you. You can do very well without knowing what a redirect is. When you need to learn about redirects, you’ll do so when the time is right.

  • Judy January 11, 2012, 2:41 pm

    I’m impressed you actually took to the task of switching from Joomla to Wordpres! I faced that decision about a year ago and chickened out. Now I face upgrading a couple of my “old” Joomla 1.5 sites to 1.7 (and 2.5 from there) Oh joy…

    • Felicia January 13, 2012, 7:11 am

      Oh, Judy…I don’t envy you upgrading Joomla.

      Since I only used it on one site, I never got to learn the intricacies of it. The thought of upgrading and learning new features seemed overwhelming. To me switching to WordPress was the only solution.

      I’m thrilled to see that I only had 3 new redirects to do this morning. I guess things are beginning to quiet down.

      Good luck with your upgrade.

  • Charles January 23, 2012, 10:35 pm

    I haven’t encountered the problem so far. I am glad there is a convenient and easy way to fix it though. I install the plug-in you recommended, just in case.

  • Karen January 24, 2012, 3:18 am

    Thanks for sharing the ways to spot errors. I will try learning how to use google webmaster since I honestly haven’t tried it before. The plug-in sounds useful and I hope it provides convenience for none techy users like me.

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