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To WWW or not and how to redirect your blog

In a previous article I wrote entitled Essentials for your WordPress blog, I briefly touched on a few of the most useful WordPress plugins that I am using currently. One of the plugins that I really felt needed more attention was the way that WordPress handles the domain name of a site.

When I established this site, I wasn’t too aware of the fact that there was a difference between http://www.ejcross.com and http://ejcross.com. Lot’s of people might be confused about this as well. So you might ask, what’s the big deal?

When search engines index your site, they look at the main page that it submitted or linked to from other sites. When they would find this site, Google for example would find http://ejcross.com as the main page. The problem this creates, and from my site statistics on how people link to me and find me through search engines, is that there are instances of http://www.ejcross.com in the results. You might not think this is a big deal, but it can be and often is for search engine optimization of a blog.

When Google and other search engines compare the results from a search to that of links on other pages and submissions to the search engine, they see two different sites! This can seriously affect and hurt your page ranking, and could possibly lead to your site being penalized as having duplicate content.

I wasn’t really aware of this until I came across this WordPress plugin that takes that worry away. Justin Shattuck has written a simple and powerful WWW Redirect WordPress plugin that will allow you to perform a 301 redirect to the style you prefer. If you want your site to show up with the WWW in it, you can specify that, or the traditional WordPress way of not having the WWW.

The great thing about this plugin is it allows for people that already have your site bookmarked, digg-ed, technoratied and stumbled to still find you without suffering the possible consequences of having duplicate content from the search engines.

You can also allow your site’s home page to show up with or without the “/index.php” at the end of the main page.

This is a really neat little plugin, so I hope you find it useful for your site’s optimization.

24 Responses to “To WWW or not and how to redirect your blog”

  1. kristofer says:

    Great plugin… This is one of those SEO things that i have been meaning to address on my sites but just sits on the back burner, this plug-in fixes that for two of my sites, now I just need something like this for Mambo CMS and I’ll be set.. Thanks!

  2. JP says:

    /, /index.php are also treated as seperate. So you definitely want to make sure you consistently like your homepage. Don’t use / in some places, and /index.php in others. Or put a redirect in for / to /index.php. You can do this without the need for a WP plugin by using mod rewrite.

  3. elliott says:

    @kristofer, Glad this helps you out!

    @JP, You’re right about that! This plugin helps for those users that might not be versed in using mod-rewrite rules or don’t have access into the .htaccess file. Good point though! Maybe I’ll put something together in the future about that! Thanks!

  4. Mark says:

    WordPress does this itself in 2.3, there’s no need for a plugin.

  5. elliott says:

    @Mark,

    Thanks for confirming that! I am still leary about upgrading to 2.3 due to some plugin issues, but good to know that it takes care of that automatically?

    What do you think of 2.3 so far?

  6. This is cool! Anyway we don’t require this plugin for the moment.

  7. Dikkie says:

    I setup a redirect from www pages to no-www pages myself through the dashboard of my hosting. Don’t know if it is exactly the same, but works fine.

    WordPress 2.3 takes care of the redirection now indeed. The upgrade to 2.3 went very smooth for me. It is not a big deal as they want you to believe. I don’t know which plugins you are using, but make sure, after upgrading, to not re-activate Ultimate Tag Warrior or any plugins alike. Import your existing UTW tags into WP 2.3 via the wizard. You can find more info in this post:
    http://n00.be/archives/598/
    (My blog is in Dutch, so that won’t help you :-) )

  8. elliott says:

    Thanks for confirming that Dikkie! I didn’t know about the Ultimate Tag Warrior, so I’ll double check that one for my setup. Can’t wait to upgrade, once I get some time to make sure all of my plugins will still work.

  9. fiorano says:

    thank you! i think i would love the 301 when i could use the plugin :)

  10. pelf says:

    So would you suggest having the WWW or not on blogs? I noticed that your blog URL is still http://ejcross.com, so does that mean that you have yet to direct it to http://www.ejcross.com.

    Why not?

    I use my blog URL without the WWW, but there are bloggers who link to me, with the http://WWW..

  11. elliott says:

    @ pelf,

    That’s a great question! It really is a personal preference whether you have a WWW or not on your blog.

    I prefer to not have the WWW as that is how my site was registered and I like it without it, so all traffic that comes to this site with the WWW is “redirected” to show up without the WWW part in the url.

  12. jhay says:

    Thanks for pointing out to this plugin. Though WP 2.3 takes care of this automatically, it’s nice to have some control over it.

  13. elliott says:

    You’re welcome. I knew 2.3 took care of it automatically, but there are so many people that aren’t using 2.3 still or those that don’t have direct access to modify the .htaccess file. It is nice to have that ability to easily control it!

  14. Steve Mills says:

    Great plugin, would have come in handy for a project I was working on about 6 months ago.

    Thanks for letting us all know

  15. elliott says:

    You’re welcome for it! Wish you could have used it earlier too, but at least you know about it now.

  16. WordPress is took care of this automatically.

  17. elliott says:

    Yes, it now does, however a lot of people are still using the older versions of WordPress. In version 2.3, it will now handle this automatically. You can get the latest version by visiting the wordpress.org site.

  18. Idetrorce says:

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce

  19. elliott says:

    Thanks for your comment! Why, or what part don’t you agree with?

    elliott’s last blog post..Is Viral Linking Good for your Blog

  20. Ambo says:

    I really need this plugin. thanks i’ve found it at last. Nice post!

    Ambo’s last blog post..Few Tips to Start Your Own Blog

  21. ATV says:

    Nice find and very true. Another thing you can do is go to Googles webmaster tools page and declare which version you want so that google never indexes the wrong one. Nice site btw!

    ATV’s last blog post..Jennifer Albright Sponsored in Womens GNCC

  22. ATV Urge says:

    Very good to know thanks. I’m still trying to figure wordpress out. Lots still to learn.

    ATV Urge’s last blog post..VholdR Helmet Cam Kit | Wireless Digital Video Camera System for Motocross

  23. Any site, not just WP sites, can benefit from setting either www or no-www and sticking with it. If you have access to your DNS zone you can remove the A NAME record for www and set up a CNAME record so all traffic goes to whichever one you choose.
    Alternatively, if your server space allows htaccess, you can use an htaccess directive to rewrite www to no-www or vice versa. There is no need for a plugin.

    Set it up correctly and it doesn’t matter whether someone uses www or no-www to reach your site, they will reach the domain in the way you want them to reach it.

    Mambo Tutorials’s last blog post..What Does “This Site is Temporarily Unavailable” Mean?

  24. elliott says:

    Thanks for the tips! I have also had good luck with the Google Webmaster tools where you can set the prefered domain, either with or without the WWW. However, this only sets it in the search engine results for Google and doesn’t help with Yahoo, MSN, or any other search engine.

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  1. Chat Marchet News Digest » To WWW or not and how to redirect your blog - [...] Read the original source… This entry was posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2007 at 10:07 am and is …
  2. Weekly Link Post 12 « Rhonda Tipton’s WebLog - [...] Elliot Cross has posted an interesting article entitled To WWW or Not and How to Redirect Your Blog. [...]
  3. Backlinks Giveaway: 28 Free Backlinks - [...] To WWW or not and how to redirect your blog [...]

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