In the past I have used meta refresh <meta HTTP-EQUIV="REFRESH" content="0; url=http://www.example.com"> to forward people away from content I no longer use to new content. Should I be using a 301 redirect and how come when I attempt to it does not forward the webpage?
Yes you should be doing 301 redirects if they are permanently changing.
I am not sure what that link was that you sent.
Not knowing what your server is, this link will provide you with a multitude of ways to do 301s correctly: