I’m pleased to introduce the newest tool in the zevenseas toolkit, the Link Conductor.
Great name I know, but the question, of course, is “what does it do?”
I’m glad you asked, first and foremost, it solves a problem that we had with our web site. We are releasing it, as we suspect that we’re not the only ones. Our site, which is based on SharePoint, is like all sites, scattered with all sorts of links. Our blogs, which are based on SharePoint, are also, scattered with links. Finally, our products, which are slowly scattering over lots of servers, often include links to help people find upgrades or other information.
Managing all these links, and by that I mean keeping them current, can be a real pain.
- Our blog post that announced our “Tagged Links V1.0” solution linked to the Tagged Links 1.0 download, but, now that we have released V1.1 we want to make sure people are instead downloading the new version. We want to be able to do this without having to go back through all those old blog posts to adjust them.
- Our products include built in links to walkthroughs, and potentially links to our store, if we change our store, how can we make sure all those old links out there still send people to the right place!
And there are many more reasons why some sort of link redirector comes in handy, its why you will often find Microsoft linking to their properties like this:
Link Conductor provides a complete solution for doing this with SharePoint. We have also included a basic statistics list that tracks every click we get, and as a bonus, who the referrer was was, so you can see just who is giving you the “link love”.
So, show me how it works?
1) Download and install the Link Conductor (make sure you read the included Readme for installation instructions)
2) When installed you will need to activate both the Site Collection and Site Configuration features.
3) These will add the following links to your Sites Site Settings page:
The “Link Conductor” link, under the “Galleries” heading, is where you define your redirects and the “Link Conductor Statistics” link, under the “Site Administration” section, is where you can track the statistics around each of your redirects.
The Link Conductor List
1) After clicking on the “Link Conductor” link in Site Settings you will be taken to the “Link Conductor” list.
2) As described in the list description area, this is the list where you can define and manage any redirects for this Site (sometimes called a Web). It also describes the URL which will provide the redirect, in the format http://<Your Site URL>/go.aspx?<Category>=<Action>.
The “Category” and “Action” values are pretty arbitrary, and can essentially be anything you like. I named them this way based on their usage on our site, with a loose definition as follows:
|Category ||Use this field to categorise the link in anyway you like, for example the Product or Service name |
|Action ||Use this field to define the action of the redirect, for example 'Download' or 'Feedback' or 'Purchase' |
3) You can create a new redirect by clicking on the “New” button:
4) In the “Title” you can enter some text that describes what this redirect is for. The “Redirect Action/Category” have been described and the “Redirect To” field is the URL which you would like to redirect to.
5) Upon saving the new entry, you will find the list updated as below:
Notice the right hand column contains a “Test” link? This provides you with a quick way to grab the newly created redirect URL (right-click –> Copy Shortcut) and a quick way to test that it is working. In this case my URL was: http://wsstest/sites/LinkConductor/go.aspx?TAGGEDLINKS=WALKTHROUGH
That is all there is to it, from the minute you save it, any requests for that new URL will automatically be redirected.
1) As I mentioned we have also included some really basic statistics. Returning to the sites “Site Settings” page, click on the “Link Conductor Statistics” link.
Notice that there is already an entry? This was created when I tested the link I created above.
2) Like I said, it is a very basic statistic, but we have included a couple of views which make it a little more interesting, for example the “By Referrer” view:
Its a quick an easy way of keeping track of who is sending you the link love!
Well, that’s it folks, its a pretty simple solution, but hopefully an elegant and useful one. Please take a look at it, and as always, we look forward to your feedback!