The rule of any long-running Web site is simple: content moves and old links break as a result. [caedmonscall.net] has been up and running since September 2001; it was, for its first few years, a hand-rolled site. Over the last year or two, we’ve transitioned it to WordPress, and things have been great. That said, doing that broke a lot of links, and until lately, I haven’t had a toolset for fixing those links easily. But here’s what I’m now using, WP plugin-wise, to fix the broken things:
- Alex King’s 404 Notifier. I snarf the RSS feed, and that reminds me that I have new things to go off and fix. [Guilt is good.]
- Google XML Sitemaps. A lot of the 404s I see are from Google and Yahoo! crawling the site looking for links that once were good. Might as well let the search bots know where things really are, no?
- Redirection, which is the true star of the show. John Godley’s plugin is ridiculously powerful—regular expressions for moving an entire directory elsewhere, 410 reporting for links you’ve purposefully ended, the ability to create 301s on the fly when you change a post slug, you name it. I can’t say enough about the awesomeness of this plugin.
If you’re taking an existing site into WordPress and want to re-point things, or if you’re looking to reorganize your WP site, these tools will help you keep the Web from being broken. That’s a good thing.