How to Track a URL Redirect

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If you regularly use redirects to send visitors from one URL to another, it may be a good idea to install tracking codes so you can analyze your users' behavior. By tracking your URLs, you'll be able to figure out how many people are being redirected and what percentage of them end up buying. You'll be able to segment your traffic sources, so you can track different sources with different redirects to figure out what sources are bringing you the highest ROI.

  • Create an account with a Web service that has URL tracking. There are many free resources online. The service can be self-hosted (Tracking 202, free) or it can be third-party hosted (URL to URL, free.) It can even be a part of your shopping cart system (1ShoppingCart, paid.)

  • Create a redirect link to your destination in your chosen software. The link will track users that come through whenever they click on your link.

  • If you want to use an original redirect from your own domain, create a redirect to your redirect. For example, if you want example.com/redirect/ to go to a specific page, set example.com/redirect/ to send the user to your redirect link, which will then send them to your final page. This double redirect will allow you to use any link you want on your own site, while still tracking detailed data about your users.

Tips & Warnings

  • Meta redirects are notoriously slow. If you're using double or triple redirects, always use a PHP redirect to avoid the user having to load several slow pages before getting to the final page.
  • Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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