UAS websites transition Links and Redirects

Practical advice on how to manage links and redirects during the project

UAS sites use links in lots of locations in order to direct site visitors to related content or documents within the same site or to another site within UAS or the wider University. They may be embedded within the text of a page or displayed within a separate section of related links.

During the transition process it is important to be aware of the state of these links and minimise the disruption to site visitors when links are missing or broken.

This guide provides some practical advice on how to manage links and redirects during the project and also when the sites enter business as usual.

We have considered the process for 3 types of link;

  • In site links - a link to another area or document within your site
  • Out to other sites - a link to a page or article within another site
  • In to your site - a link into your site from a non UAS site

Assumptions:

During site build the sites will be hidden from search engines until you are ready to launch. But you should publish each piece of content so that the site can be tested and also so that content can be linked to.

During the project

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Managing links to another area or document within your site

Talk to internal stakeholders and look for the content within the site. Be aware that the url of the content may not exactly match the name within Mosaic, therefore it may be better to search for the content within Manage Content area of Mosaic.


Links to a page or document within your own site are very easy to add in Mosaic using the Linkit tool. See related Mosaic documentation. However you can only link to published content. Depending on timing of when content is published (see assumption above), you might not be able to add a link to a piece of content within your site straight away.


When a link cannot be added due to the new content being unavailable, highlight where the link needs to be within your page e.g. using bold, underline and italic so that it stands out. And keep a record of the page where the link needs to be added so that you can return to it later.

A tracking spreadsheet of links is probably the easiest way to manage this. Download an example Tracking spreadsheet. The contents can be adapted to suit your own requirements. Also track the status of hyperlinks within your site in your Site Build Toolkit.

Managing links to a page or article within another site

Check which tranche the other site will be migrating in. UASInfoDev Migration plan If it’s a later tranche than yours you will need to continue to link to the existing page within https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk  


Make a note of the link in the tracking spreadsheet and schedule a reminder to request the new urls from the site owners just before that tranche is due to go live. Allow time to make the necessary updates in your site as soon as possible after their site is launched.


If they are within the same tranche, collaborate with the content owners in the same tranche to share link information between your sites (both outgoing and incoming). Bear in mind that the url of a site being built will not be the final url, see information on custom domains below. If you are unsure who to contact then ask the site’s representative on the user group. uaswebsites-transition-user-group 


Custom domains will be pointed to each new site just before they go live. Before then the urls are in the format domainname.web.ox.ac.uk and will become domainname.admin.ox.ac.uk. There are a few exceptions to this rule. The custom domains confirmed for tranche 1 sites are as follows;

  • childcare.admin.ox.ac.uk​
  • edu.admin.ox.ac.uk​
  • finance.admin.ox.ac.uk ​
  • staff.admin.ox.ac.uk
  • legal.admin.ox.ac.uk​
  • travel.admin.ox.ac.uk
  • sustainability.admin.ox.ac.uk​
  • academic.admin.ox.ac.uk​
  • compliance.admin.ox.ac.uk
  • sheldonian.ox.ac.uk
  • it.ox.ac.uk​
  • proctors.ox.ac.uk

 A link to a page using the current .web. name will still work after go live, but it would be better to adjust the url now to take account of the custom domains as listed above. e.g when adding a link to https://sustainability.web.ox.ac.uk/sustainable-labs enter the url as https://sustainability.admin.ox.ac.uk/sustainable-labs

A final check of links will be made just prior to go live using the third party tool SiteImprove.

Managing links into your site from a non UAS site

Are you aware of any non UAS sites that have links to your content e.g. departmental or divisional websites linking to a specific piece of content in Personnel Services or Finance?


The project will communicate with wider stakeholders to make them aware of the change and what they should expect during the interim.


Communicate with your users through your normal channels to warn them what’s changing and provide new urls for key information. This provides an opportunity to ask them not to replicate information from your site but to link through to the ‘source of truth’.

Managing redirects

admin.ox.ac.uk will remain active during transition and sub domains will be redirected to the new sites as they go live.


The project team will liaise with IT to set up a sub domain level redirect for each site as it goes live. Anyone who uses a bookmark to a page on the old site will be automatically directed to the home page of the new site.


You may provide the project team with details of any ‘big-hitters’ i.e. landing or content pages that get a lot of direct traffic. Google Analytics can provide some insight into which pages might be bookmarked a lot.

The project team will liaise with IT to set up redirects for those specific pages so that the site visitor ends up in the right place on the new site rather than the home page. Provide a list of redirects to the project team two weeks before you are due to go live.


Redirects will remain in place for 12 months.


SiteManager will be decommissioned shortly after all sites have been moved.


The Bodleian will take an archive snapshot of each admin.ox.ac.uk site just before it is retired.

Site Improve is a third party tool which can be used to look for and report on spelling mistakes and broken links (both on webpages and in PDFs).


The project will pay for the first year of usage for this tool.


Further funding will have to be agreed and arranged by the ongoing governance team.

 

Once the project has closed the ongoing governance for the UAS sites will include a User group that will meet frequently to share information and expertise and input to the continued improvement of the UAS sites and the Mosaic platform.

This will be the ideal forum to share information about planned (or recent) changes that could affect any existing links.


The User Group will need to agree how to manage the sharing of this information.

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