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Unpublishing pages and requesting redirects: top tips

Redirects are a great way to ensure you don’t lose traffic to your site after making URL changes. However, redirecting unpublished pages in EdWeb presents issues for internal links; this post examines tops tips to minimise link breakage.

When you unpublish an EdWeb page, any internal links to it break–the live site shows the link text, but it is no longer a clickable link. This also means that any URL redirects you set up for a page won’t work for internal links because the link becomes inactive, regardless of whether a redirect is set up.

How can you mitigate the effects of this?

Modify over unpublish

Avoid creating replacement pages, and instead modify content on your currently published pages. This way, your pages stay published and internal links don’t break.

In some cases, though, you may be merging content from separate pages into one, causing you to unpublish the others. In these instances, make sure you are merging content onto the page you would consider the most high-profile and linked-to in order to minimise breakage. You could also leave the unused pages published, but with a redirect set up to the new master page.

Add links internally over externally

While situations like this can be avoided if you add internal links as if they were external (pasting the URL into Target path in Linkit), we’d highly recommend against doing this. This is because URLs are more likely to be changed than pages unpublished, and internal links don’t break when URLs are changed.

Adding an internal link guidance on EdWeb Support wiki

Page references

While not in EdWeb yet, the ability to see page references (that is, which other pages internally link to your pages) is on the EdWeb roadmap. Once this is in place, you’ll then be able to see which pages will be affected by unpublishing content. You can then update any links on your own web pages and inform other content owners who link to your pages.

EdWeb roadmap

Lead Publishers of University sites

Requesting redirects

While redirects won’t work for internal links to unpublished EdWeb pages, requesting redirects is still a good idea as any external links to your pages (such as through search engine results) won’t break.

To request redirects, email Website Support a list of each old URL and the new URL you need to redirect to.

Email Website Support

2 replies to “Unpublishing pages and requesting redirects: top tips”

  1. Ross Ward says:

    Thanks for the useful blog Lauren… i’m just about to unpublish/publish a large section of the Learn VLE pages in IS-Learning Technology next week.

    My original plan was to try and repurpose old pages, but I found that the original structure needed redeveloped so this wasn’t an option.

    One of the other things that I took into consideration is that there wasn’t an easy way to create a Staging-Live version of the pages to easy develop pages away from the live pages. The rewrite of this section has been a long time-consuming process and wanted to do the updates away from accidentally publishing the changes on the live site (although it would be relatively easy to rollback). Do you have any suggestions for good practice for Staging-Live workflows?

    Looking forward to seeing the page references coming to EdWeb – especially as there is related content linked in our sections across IS web pages and we are keen for content to be in one location but linked to from multiple sources.

    1. Lauren Tormey says:

      Because it’s easy enough to rollback changes, I would always advise revising content you already have on the site. However, when working on a site like ISG which has so many editors, if you don’t want to draft on top of pre-existing content, create mock-ups of your drafts elsewhere (such as in a word doc) and then set aside some time to copy that content onto the existing pages and restructure as necessary when you are ready to go live with it.

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