4 Things You Should Know Before Changing A Page Name In WordPress
A website is a never ending process. As new technologies come up, you’ll want to try different things on your website. You may also want to modify pages, names, and relationships after time has gone by.
Most recently we went through this on our own website. It was time for the About section to be refreshed along with my bio. I decided I no longer wanted the Contact Us page to be the About Us page’s parent. In the process of this modification I made sure not to break the current page associations. I thought it may be helpful to explain this to you as well.
WordPress makes it so easy to change a page name, you may not realize the implications of what such a small change can do. Before you change your page name consider this:
- Facebook Likes go back to 0.
- Pages and Posts now have broken links.
- Child pages become orphans.
If you’re using a Facebook Like button on your website and you change the name of the page, you’ll lose your ‘likes’.
Why is that?
When someone ‘likes’ your page or posts, that like is associated with the exact link. For example if the page link is yourdomain.com/about/meetus and you change the page link to yourdomain.com/about/meet, the Facebook Like button doesn’t know the new link, same goes if you change the relationship of the page.
Using this same example the About page is the parent of the MeetUs page, hence the reason for yourdomain.com/about/meetus. If you change the relationship to another page, this also effects the likes. If you remove the parent relationship, the new page link becomes yourdomain.com/meetus, this causes the Facebook Like button to no longer be connected with the page.
Facebook Likes are specific to the exact page or post link. Be aware before you change your page link.
Also note ReTweet and Twitter buttons go back to zero as well. I’m pretty sure Google+ will work the same way, although I’m not 100% certain, still waiting to gain access;)
If you’re referencing your page or posts in other areas on your website, changing the link or relationship to another page will cause a broken link. Your referenced pages and posts aren’t smart enough to know a change has taken place. Instead the links will go to your 404 error page.
If you decide you want to change the name of a page that is a parent page, you have just created an orphaned page. Continuing with our example using yourdomain.com/about/meetus, if you decide to change /about/ to /aboutus/, when someone clicks yourdomain.com/about/meetus, it no longer exists, the new link becomes yourdomain.com/aboutus/meetus. This is fine as long as the child page is not being referenced anywhere else on your site and as long as there have been no likes, tweets, or retweets from the page.
What’s the solution so you don’t have orphaned links, broken links, or lose the count to your social media share links?
Keep the old page as published, however remove from the navigation.
If there is a parent/child relationship, keep it as is and remove from the navigation.
Forward the old link to the new link. Use this option only if you don’t mind losing your FB ‘likes’ and other social media counts for the page or post.
Exactly how to do this?
To remove a page from your navigation menu:
If you are using the Thesis theme, you can easily remove the page from the navigation by going to Thesis > Site Options > Navigation Menu > Pages and un-checking the page name and hitting “THE BIG GREEN SAVE BUTTON” or
If you’re using the standard WordPress menu, you can also remove the page easily from the navigation by going to Appearance > Menu and removing the page from the menu and hitting ‘Save’. or
If you’re not sure how to do this in your WordPress theme, you may want to checkout the plug-in Exclude Pages from Navigation. This will allow you to select whether or not to exclude a page from your navigation menu right from the ‘Edit Page’.
To check for broken links:
Broken Link Checker is a great plug-in that works for you even when you’re not logged in to your website. You’ll receive an email notification if there’s a broken link on your website, even if it’s in the comments section. This handy plug-in is much more efficient than combing through your entire website to locate links that aren’t working.
These are just a few things you should know before you change your page name.
Now it’s your turn to share. Have you experienced this when changing a page name in WordPress? What did you do to prevent a broken link?
Great advice here, good things to think of before changing a name… And again, I *love* that picture! So funny. 🙂
Thanks Laurie! While a name change is simple, it can mess up some things.
Thank you Tiffany for sharing the page technique in WordPress. Your steps are simple and easy to follow. I have never made a page orphan but this info will go a long way for me and keep it for reference.
Fantastic! Glad to help:)
Great post Tiffany, I was just updating some old post and changed the url to a couple posts and ran into this exact issue. You gave sound advice and lots of value in this post.
It’s great when you find what you need right when you need it. So glad I could help!
Good stuff Tiffany! I will definitely be much more aware when I change things around.
Thanks Phil! It’s easy to change things, but often frustrating if things go awry.