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A web page you should NEVER see...

UPDATE - May 7, 2008: A bit of an apology to Fast Company is in order here. Shortly after I posted this piece back on April 30th, Paul Maiorana, who works with the Fast Company web site, contacted me asking for the original URL I used that got me to the screen I include below. After I provided the URL, Paul very quickly said it was the wrong format for the Fast Company site (even before the site re-org) and the blog where I found the link was using the wrong link. He also provided me with the correct link.


So of course if I am following a link to a page that never existed on a web site I will naturally get an error message like the one I show. As to my inability to find the article through the search box, all I can say is that whatever search terms I used at the time (I have no clue now what they were) didn't find the article for me. It was, though, there on their site.

So my apologies to Fast Company for criticizing aspects of their website redesign. Clearly in this case such criticism was not warranted.

I'd note that the point I was making about web site redesigns still stands - if you have a valid URL from before a redesign, it should still work after a redesign. Obviously, if you have an invalid URL, it still won't work.

P.S. For the record, the post I was trying to find was "The Ultimate Calling Card" about books and self-publishing.

I'm sorry, but I find pages like this utterly inexcusable:

Okay, so you went and "re-organized" your web site and in the process completely screwed up all the URLs that used to be there. But, c'mon, man, haven't you heard of Apache redirects (and their equivalents for other web servers)? In my opinion, part of any website reorganization/redesign/whatever really MUST include some plan to redirect the old URLs. Why? Simple:

Once posted, URLs live "forever".

Those URLs are linked to by other web sites. They are incorporated into blog posts. They are sent along in email and IM messages. They wind up in search engine databases.

Once used out on the Internet, in my opinion, URLs should never be deleted. Redirected, yes... but not deleted. Unless, of course, the content is actually being removed from the web server in which case, sure, the URL will no longer work. But if the content is just being moved to a new location... to a new URL... because of a redesign then I shouldn't get a 404 for following a link to your site for the older URL.

Sure, with a large site setting up the redirection will take a good bit of work, but the benefit is people will still be able to easily get to your content, nevermind all the SEO advantages. Unless, of course, you don't really want them to find your content anymore.

P.S. I did search Fast Company's site for the article I was looking for and couldn't find it. Fast Company's loss... it sounded like an interesting article to read that I probably would have passed along to the 1,200 people following me on Twitter.

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