My old website had a contact page called contact.html. My new website’s contact page is contact-us.php. If I go to the original page I get a 404 error. I heard there was a way to use the .htaccess file to fix this. Can you explain it?
Absolutely. It’s called a 301 Redirect and it tells search engines that the old page is now the new page, and not to forget it. It’s easy to implement. Just add the following code to the bottom of your .htaccess page:
Redirect 301 /theaboutpageidontwant/ http://mydomain.com/theaboutpageiwant/
In your example, it would look like this:
Redirect 301 /contact.html/ http://mydomain.com/contact-us.php/
If you don’t have an .htaccess page, you can create a new file on your server and name it “.htaccess”. Don’t forget the period before the file name. I have occasionally seen a server that liked a reboot after making this change, but most of the time you don’t have to do that.
Now, go to your old website page and make sure it redirects properly.
If you still have access to your old website, I suggest you redirect all of the pages that aren’t named the same as your new pages. It will be better for your website ranking in searches. Alternately, you could create a custom 404 error page with some useful information, like a sitemap for people who get lost in their internet travels.