The "Alternate Site URL's" section in NetCommunity allows you to redirect any URL/domain over to your NetCommunity site. Here are some common instances where these become useful:
1. You have registered multiple extensions of your domain name (e.g. yoursite.com, yoursite.net, yoursite.org, etc...) and want to point all of them to your main site.
2. You have changed domains but still want your visitors to ultimately get directed to your website (e.g. olddomain.com redirecting to newdomain.com).
3. You want to include URL's with typos or an abbreviation for your organization so that users who mistype the primary URL still reach your site.
4. You want to force traffic to the "root" of your domain from the "www" subdomain (e.g. redirect all traffic from http://www.yoursite.com over to http://yoursite.com) or vice-versa.
These URL's are actually 301 redirects (permanent redirects) that maintain search engine rankings for your primary site. This means that search engines will not demote your organization's ranking in search results because of duplicate content sources.
- You can enter the URL with or without a protocol, such as "http://".
- The program validates each URL to make sure it is unique in Blackbaud NetCommunity. When you include a URL that already exists in the database, you cannot save it in the grid.
- You must register the domain URL's with a registrar in order for the redirects to render your primary URL. If you do not, the redirects will not work.
Alternate Site URL's vs. URL Redirects (under Administration > URL redirects):
It is important to remember the difference between Alternate Site URL's and the URL redirects you add under Administration > URL redirects. In this grid, you enter website redirects for the primary website URL. One redirect can reroute a group of URLs. For example, you add http://yoursite.org to redirect to the primary URL, http://www.yoursite.org. This redirects all http://yoursite.org URL requests, such as http://yoursite.org/donate and http://yoursite.org/aboutus, to the primary URL.
In URL redirects, you add page URL redirects to reroute traffic to another page. For example, you add http://yoursite.com/donate to redirect to http://www.yoursite.com/donate. This only redirects the donation page.
Note: These page URL redirects override the redirects you add in this grid.
Let's say your organization's website used to be accessed by visiting "http://www.youroldsite.com". You had an SSL certificate bound to this domain and now your organization changed their domain name to "http://www.yournewsite.com". If you swapped your SSL certificate over to the new domain, you can still use an alternate site URL to point the old domain to the new one.
PRE 7.1: Even though the old domain no longer has an SSL certificate setup on it, your visitors won't see any SSL warnings or errors because this alternate site URL will redirect before the browser has a chance to see that there is no SSL certificate setup on the old domain. In other words, the redirect is seamless and won't cause any issues with people access your new site through the redirected URL (e.g. through a search engine or by typing in the old address in a web browser's address bar).
POST 7.1: If redirecting traffic from URL to another, both URLs need an SSL certificate, otherwise the visitor will see an SSL warning. This is due to https being required for all pages in the product.