i What happens to links and bookmarks to a migrated Site Builder site?

When a Site Builder site is replaced by a live SiteWorks site then the Site Builder site will become inaccessible on the Internet. There will be visitors who will still arrive at the old Site Builder site through links from other sites or their browser bookmarks. The SiteWorks technical team will invoke a process for these visitors that automatically changes the URL in the browser to a SiteWorks one.

How this redirection will work depends on whether the SiteWorks site started out as a ‘Migrated’ site created from extracted Site Builder data, or as an empty ‘Starter Site’.

Migrated site – visitors should be redirected to the equivalent page on your new site. Note that this relies on the WordPress name of the equivalent page not being changed by the Web Manager following migration (see Technical notes below). If the mapping cannot be resolved then the visitor will land on the SiteWorks ‘404’ page.
Site Builder admins can now see how this will work. From the ‘ADMIN MENU’ select ‘MIGRATION’ and read the ‘Help’ page.

Starter Site – visitors to the Site Builder home page should be redirected to the home page on your new site. For other Site Builder pages (such as a Groups page) then the visitor will land on the SiteWorks ‘404’ page.

In either case, the Web Manager should customise the default SiteWorks ‘404’ page giving instructions to the redirected visitor. This page lives in a special place, on the Dashboard select Appearance > Editor > Templates > Page 404.

Important – when the SiteWorks site is made publicly visible the administrator of the Site Builder site will need to contact Site Builder support and request redirection. Failure to do so will mean search engines will index both sites.
If the SiteWorks site needs to be withdrawn for some reason the Site Builder redirection can be switched off.

This redirection service will be retained for around 2 months following the withdrawal of the Site Builder service. After that time the site will be backed up and removed. An earlier renewal date can be requested.

We recommend contacting sites that have links to your Site Builder site advising them to update them to SiteWorks links. See below for on how to address this.

Some Technical Notes

The forwarder from Site Builder will use a 301 “moved permanently” status. This should mean that any web crawlers should immediately stop using the old URL and any browser should forget offering the old address.

If you have a “Migrated” site, the redirection will use the page name from your Site Builder page and redirect to the equivalent page in your SiteWorks website. So, for example, if you had a group page on your Site Builder site titled “Walking – Short Walks” this will be redirected to a page on your SiteWorks website which has the page slug of “walking-short-walks”. The page slug is generated during the migration process, so even if you subsequently change the title of the page in your SiteWorks website to something different such as “Walking – Easy Walks” then as long as you do not alter the page slug, the redirection will continue to work.

If you remove a page from your SiteWorks website that was a target for redirection from a former Site Builder page, the visitor using the old URL will instead be redirected to the SiteWorks ‘404’ page. By default this shows a message explaining that the page could not be found and suggesting the visitor uses the menu or search box to find what they were looking for. You can customise this page by editing the Page 404 page template (see above).

The Site Builder redirection service will ensure 3rd party links to your Site Builder site will automatically reach your new SiteWorks site. However, this is only a means to give you time to address important links to your site as after 2 months the redirection service will be switched off. You will need to identify these links so you can contact the site owners to update them.

3rd party links to your site

Even if you have your own domain registered there could be some links that use the u3asites.org.uk/u3asitename reference – perhaps they pre-date your domain.

You can use your preferred search engine to locate the links to your Site Builder site. Go to the home page of the search engine (google.com, bing.com etc.) and type in the body of your Site Builder URL. For example u3asites.org.uk/hammersmith-fulham – do not do this in the address bar of your browser as this will simply land you on your Site Builder site and, if setup, re-direct you to SiteWorks. Don’t just type in your u3a name as this will include SiteWorks hits and muddy your results.

The search results will list sites with link(s). You will need to skip results that originate from within your Site Builder site. Check each result and decide how important it is to contact them with a request to update their link.

Some specific sites to check:

  • If you use Beacon then update the System setting’s u3a Home page and other references to Site Builder (this won’t be picked up by the search)
  • Notify your Network u3a and/or Regional u3a site admins
  • If you are registered with the Charity Commission their contact information needs updating
  • Check local community organisations, councils etc. although these should show up in your search results.