Guest post: Using “Redirect” to Make Your Website a Hub for Your Shop

Today’s post is by Amy, the Team Graphics Designer of EcoEtsy. She is the owner of Ojami on Etsy where she creates altered Bento Boxes and sells Sashiko (Japanese running stitch embroidery) supplies. You can contact her through her shop, blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Many Etsy shop owners have multiple Etsy shops or shops on other sites. Your website can be a hub for your shops – making it easier for people to find them. I’ll show you how to use “redirect” to take a big step toward making your website that hub for your shops.

I’m going to put a caveat on this tutorial, it’s for people who like to tinker and have a bit of experience with websites. If you’re a newbie – don’t be afraid to try though. Just take one step at a time. OK?

Using a Redirect for Each of Your Shops

What is a redirect? It’s like another address for a website. A redirect can be useful for situations such as:

  • if you changed your domain name and you want your old web address to point to the new one
  • if a site has a really ugly long url that you’ll never ever want to type and you want to simplify it
  • grouping urls to provide a “hub” for multiple web addresses (<- this is the one we’ll be focusing on)

Just a quickie piece of trivia on URLS before we get into the thick things. Most web addresses can be typed with out the “www” in front. So we’ll take Etsy’s site for example – you can just type http://etsy.com and it will go to the site. This is a fancy redirect. ;) If you have your own website – try dropping the “www” to get to your site. (And dropping it can save valuable space on business cards, signs, and sew in tags.) In addition, most browsers don’t need the http:// in front either.

etsy.com - no www or http://

You’ll need a hosted website and domain name for this tutorial. If you don’t have a hosted website and domain, I’ll have a future article for you on setting up a consolidated page or area for your shops.

If you have a hosted website and domain name, you can set up a redirect for each of your shops so they can all be accessed from your domain and have a consistent feel. For example my shops can be accessed from my main site (ojamiya.com) by just adding bit to the end: ojamiya.com/etsy, ojamiya.com/artfire, ojamiya.com/amazon, etc.

These redirected addresses are much easier to put on my business cards and easier on the eye than the jumble of various ways each site makes it’s own URL for your shop. (Especially for Amazon shop addresses…egads those links are long and ugly!) Another nicety to having the redirects is that viewers can easily check out my main home page and find all links to all of my shops, just by dropping the “/store_name” part of the URL.

The easiest way to do this is using a line in the .htaccess file on your web server. If it looks a little technical – it’s ok. It was new and different for me too. And it doesn’t hurt to try it, right? We’ll setup a redirect for your Etsy shop and then you can repeat the process for your other shops – Artfire, eBay, Ecrater, etc.

  • First, you’ll want to create the directory on your web host that you’ll redirect from. (You can use a file instead of a directory or folder. But personally, I always create folders for a redirect because I think it’s easier for me to spot and remember NOT to delete it later. So for consistency sake we’ll just use a folder for this tutorial.)
    • Go to your file manager on your web host or connect to your host with FTP. Create your folder. In the tutorial here I’ll call it “etsy”, but you may want to call it something else if you have more than one Etsy shop.
    • Example: For my etsy shop, I wanted http://ojamiya.com/etsy to go to my Etsy shop. The “public_html” folder is where your web domain goes to. For me, “public_html” is seen on the web as my site http://ojamiya.com. Thus, I created an empty “etsy” folder in my “public_html” folder on my web host.

      Etsy Folder in my public_html folder

  • Setting up the redirect in an .htaccess file for your Etsy Shop.
    • What is an .htaccess file? The .htaccess file on your host tells the web how to access or act toward the directory the .htaccess file is in and the directories in it.
    • Go to your file manager on your web host or access your host with FTP.
    • Make a backup!!!! Be paranoid and always make backups and copies of files before you make changes, so you can undo what you’ve done. Make a copy of the .htaccess file that you have in your folder. I always add the date or a description to the backup file name so I can easily find the file to go back to.
    • Copy and paste the following line of code into your .htaccess file and change “youretsyshopname” to your Etsy shop’s name. (If you used a different folder name, change the “etsy” in “/etsy/” to your folder name.) Keep all the “/” characters in the line. Save the file.
      Redirect 301 /etsy/ http://youretsyshopname.etsy.com/

      The 301 means a permanent redirect. 302 means a temporary one. So for me the line should be “Redirect 301 /etsy/ http://ojami.etsy.com/”

  • An alternative way to setup your redirect is through your host’s control panel. Control panels on hosts differ so much, that I’ll suggest searching for “redirect” in your host’s help files or help desk if you’re interested in this method.

The change should be instantaneous. In another window, try typing your new address http://(whatever your site name is)/etsy and it should go right to your Etsy shop.

As far as SEO and redirects are concerned, if you use the permanent type of redirect (the 301), your redirect address should be counted with the original addresses popularity count. So you won’t be losing ground for your Etsy shop by using a redirect. If you’d like to read more about the topic here are a few articles on it. Including one that says there could be a little page rank loss – but it’s only slight if any.

In my next post, we’ll look at how to create a centralized shop page or widget for multiple shops. If you created your redirects for your shops you’ll be able to use them for this tutorial.