In part 3 of our migration guide, we look at the importance of redirects and why getting them wrong is the number one reason for a migration failing. Find out what redirects are and how you go about making sure they're dealt with correctly, as you move your site to Shopify.
Let's start by looking at what we mean by redirects, before moving on to why managing them is so important.
Simply put, this is when someone searching for one URL on your site is redirected to a different URL.
Searchers may be redirected because the original page no longer exists (perhaps it was promoting an event that has now taken place, or it was a page for a product that is no longer sold, or in the case of migrations, because you need to point people from your old site to pages on your new site.)
This refers to a server-side redirect from one page to another.
There are two types:
301 = permanent
302 = temporary
When a user or a bot visits a redirected page, the server redirects them to the new page.
This is much easier if all your new pages are uploaded to Shopify (the sooner you do this, the easier it will be).
This is because you need to know what your destination URLs will be
We do collection redirects separately because they’re normally the most challenging.
You’ll map your old site PLP URLs to Shopify collection URLs.
To do this you need two things:
You should have a list of Shopify collection URLs from when you built your site structure in part 2
There are Shopify apps like Excelify which can be used to export Shopify collection URLs
The old site product URLs should be redirected directly to the new Shopify site URLs
There are different ways to access the old site product URLs. We use the following:
If you have hundreds or thousands of product URLs, you can imagine how difficult mapping product URLs could become. It could take days or weeks to manually map each product redirect.
Fortunately we have a method that lets you prepare your product redirect mappings in less than 10 minutes. To do this you'll need a CSV export of all the products URLs from your old site. The export needs to include your existing product URLs and SKUs.
You then need to generate the same product export from your Shopify store. This can be done by logging into Shopify and going to Products > Product Export > Export All Products.
You'll now have two exports; one from your old platform and one from Shopify. Open a new Google Sheet and paste each export into its own tab.
We’ll now use a VLOOKUP to map the new product URLs against the old URLs by matching the SKU.
Your redirects need to take effect as soon as your site launches. The easiest way to do this on Shopify is using an app called Easy Redirects. This is an app we created and is used by thousands of Shopify stores all round the world. There is a free version and it makes managing Shopify redirects a breeze.
Simply upload your redirect mappings as a CSV into Easy Redirects, and the app will take care of the rest for you.