If you used to have your website hosted on a free host like Tripod, or another free hosting service, and then decided to set up your own domain you will need to redirect visitors from your old free host to your new domain or search engines will penalize your new website for having the same content.
However, most free hosting companies do not provide 301 redirects, which is the preferred method of redirecting a website. You can set up a meta refresh tag however Google sometimes penalizes the use of this tag because it's used by spammers. Whatever method you use you also need to set up a meta tag telling the search engines to no longer index your old free site.
In order to make these changes you will need to know how to FTP into your old site files (ask your host for instructions) and you will also need to know how to edit the html code or hire a webmaster to do this (it should only take a few minutes).
How to Move your Visitor to your New WebsiteLog into your site builder program on your free host and remove all the text from your home page except for this short message:
<p align="center" style="font-size:16px">
We have moved. In a few seconds you will be taken to our new website
<A href="http://www.YourDomainGoesHere.com/">Put the Name of Your Site Here</A> </p>
Do the same to any other pages you want to redirect.
How to Set up a Meta Refresh Redirect to Your New WebsiteNow you need to FTP into your free host site and edit your home page file, and any other pages you want to redirect, adding the following to the head tag. This tag moves your visitor within 5 seconds to your new site (if you want the time longer just chage the number of seconds).
<META http-equiv="Refresh" content="5; URL=http://www.YourDomainGoesHere.com/">
How to Tell the Search Engines to No Longer Index Your Old PagesAlso add the following to the head tag of every page you want redirected to your new domain. It tells the search engines to no longer index your old pages but do follow the links:
<META name="robots" content="NOINDEX,FOLLOW">
Test to Make Sure the Redirect is WorkingNow log out and put the address of your old freebie site into your browser and check it out. It should move you from your old site to your new domain in the seconds you specified. If not then check your code as you may have set it up wrong.
It it is working correctly then the search engines should eventually pick up your new site and drop the old one from their index. Don't cancel your free account till a few months after you have this set up correctly to make sure all search engines have picked it up (some don't refresh their files for a month or more).
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owner of Lori's Web Design