Now that you have an idea as to what redirects are all about, a common question to ask yourself is, "How long do I need to keep these redirects in place?" A better question is why would you ever remove the redirects? In almost all cases, there is no good reason to get rid of them. Though some people will update their URL information based on your redirects, many will not. Take for instance the casual web user who has your website bookmarked. As soon as you remove your redirect, you will break their bookmark the same as if you had never put a redirect in place at all. The same goes for the multitude of web pages that have been abandoned and link to your site. They will live on un-maintained and you will lose back-links.
Each webserver will have different syntax for your redirects, but almost all of them also support regular expression matching. This is important because it allows you to redirect an entire directory to another with a single command in your apache configuration. Beyond that, it will allow you to redirect any documents that you can represent with a regular expression to another location. Though that may not sound particularly impressive, it provides you with tremendous flexibility while redirecting. For specific details about how to implement these redirects you should consult your web server's documentation. The specifics are a little different for each web server, but all of the major web servers support this basic function.
Hopefully this article has helped you understand how redirects fit into the puzzle that is maintaining a web site. A redirect is a very simple tool to add to your toolkit. They are easy to set up, won't take much of your time and will have a positive impact on your visitors. Your visitors are what make your site a worthwhile venture, keep them happy by doing the small things.