Magnifying glass on colored paper

Changing Page Titles + Permalinks? Hold Up!

Right now I’m working with a client on a new site. I’ve done the initial development, and we’re in the revision phase. He’s taking time to make sure the menus, navigation, wording and page structure are the way he wants it.

We’ve changed page names and permalinks several times, and since we’re not live to the world yet, this is all okay.

However, once the site is live, we want to take some extra precautions any time we change the page name or permalink.

Title + Permalink

Before I dive in, I want to make sure you get what I mean when I say title and permalink.

If you look at the top of a page or post in edit mode, you’ll see the title and right under that, the permalink. The permalink is the full URL (also known as the address) for the page or post.

Title and permalink

If I want to edit the page title, I can do so in the title box. I can also edit the permalink by clicking the Edit button (as seen above), typing the new name, then clicking OK (as seen below).

Title and edit permalink

Changing After Launch

When I first launched my site, I had a page called Newsletter. After a few months I decided that “Newsletter” was too stuffy, so I changed it to “Let’s Keep In Touch.”

I changed the page name and the permalink and went on my merry way.

Some time later, I did a search of my name and my site and found a link to the old newsletter page. Because this page no longer existed, I ended up on the 404 Page Not Found page. Ugh. (I should know better?!)

If you’re sharing your pages and posts on social media and via email (or even if you’re not), you should make sure those links always work! Redirect them to the current page (or any applicable page that’s not the 404 page).

With WordPress, it’s not hard to accomplish this.

Redirection Plugins

WordPress has a number of plugin choices for handling redirection. Two that I’ll talk about today are Safe Redirect Manager, which I use on this site, and Simple 301 Redirects.

Safe Redirect Manager lets you specify the old link (where you want to redirect from), the new link (where you want to redirect to) and the HTTP status code.

If you want to geek out with the list of status codes, I’ll let Moz tell you all about them. If not, just choose 301 which means “moved permanently” (which is also good for SEO).

Notice my entry from /newsletter to /keep-in-touch. If I did it right, they should go to the same place.

I’ve also renamed Projects to Portfolio, and Thoughts to Blog (well, it was Blog to begin with, then I had Thoughts, and now I’m on Blog again).

Safe Redirect Manager

Simple 301 Redirects is even more simple, allowing you to choose the old link and the new link. It handles everything as 301.

Simple 301 Redirects

Don’t Forget

Another great time to implement these is with a site redesign. Later this year you’ll see a new site here, and I will take extra care to make sure all my old links still work.

Now have at it! I don’t want to see any broken links on your site!

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