People delete posts for many reasons – lack of interest, change of thoughts/belief, want to start over, etc. But what if the posts you deleted were receiving good traffic from search engines and other websites?
Some might not bother about the lost traffic especially if the reason for deleting the post is very important. Some on the other hand might want to restore said traffic – traffic is traffic after all.
Here’s what I recently did on one of my WordPress powered blogs.
Step 1. Install the Redirection plugin
The Redirection plugin for WordPress is a very powerful plugin and has many good uses. I use it to cloak affiliate links for example. But one its very powerful uses that I really like is that it monitors 404 errors. For those who don’t know what a 404 error is, it is an error that is returned by your website if someone visits a link that doesn’t exist.
Step 2. Check Out Redirection’s 404 Error Log
What interest do I have with 404 errors?
Well, if you delete a post and someone visits the link to that post, a 404 error is generated. The Redirection plugin will log the URLs of these posts and pages allowing you to check if people are still interested in something that you’ve already deleted.
Now that you know what URLs are being visited, you can then decide whether or not you still want the traffic being sent to these URLs.
Step 3. Redirect Those URLs
It’s time to redirect all those lost traffic to something useful on your page. Usually, you’d want to redirect people to a page similar to the old/deleted page. To redirect a URL generating 404 to a new location, all you need to do is click the green + icon on the right side and enter the URL of the post/page that you want to redirect them to.
After you doing this step, all traffic sent to the non-existent page will now be redirected to the URL you specified. Traffic restored!
Step 4.(Optional) Resurrect the Deleted Page
Sometimes, you may want to resurrect the deleted page from the dead so that people will see exactly what they used to see. This is also good for SEO because you’d possibly restore whatever on-page SEO value your deleted page had.
To do this, all you need to do is use the Wayback Machine. Yup, there’s such a thing.
What the Wayback Machine does is crawl all websites and archive them in its ever-growing database. If you’re lucky enough and your site has been crawled and archived then all you need to do is type the URL of the deleted page in its search bar and it will show you whatever archived copy it has.
Now go and restore all those lost traffic!