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Monday, August 03, 2015

Re Title Posts, As And When Needed

As you develop your blog, you may observe that some of the post titles don't encourage viewer attention.

Since the post URLs are derived from the post titles, renaming a post involves some planning.
  • The post URL should match the post title.
  • If you change the post URL, all of the existing links to that post will break.
So, what to do? This makes renaming a post into a major project. Or, do you think your readers enjoy seeing
Sorry, that page does not exist.
Even with the blog using a custom "404" page, this isn't going to cut it - if you want your readers (not to mention the search engines) to feel loved.

But if you plan, and practice, you can rename a post in a minute or so - and possibly half that time, the post actually may be "404".

If you prepare a post for renaming, you can minimise the actual down time, that your readers might experience.

Prepare the change.
  1. Identify a Posts menu label page, where the post in question appears "above the fold" (i.e., does not require scrolling or searching).
  2. In a separate tab, load the Settings - Search preferences dashboard page.
  3. From the Posts menu label page, hit "View", to get a current copy of the post in another tab. Then, hit "Edit", to edit the post - in that same tab.
  4. This will put you into Post Editor.
  5. Copy the URL of the post, from the post view tab, where it is displayed. Add the URL to the first word in the post, making the first word a link caption. You will need this link, so make it work.
  6. Copy the current content of the Title box, to the bottom of the post.
  7. Add "<br />" lines before and after the current title text, at the bottom of the post.
  8. On the line below the current title text, compose your replacement title. Compare the current and new titles, for impact, length, and phrasing.
  9. When you have composed a satisfying new title, copy that into the Title box at the top of the page.
  10. That's the prep work - now here is where it gets interesting.
Make the change.
  1. Hit "Revert to draft". Now, the post is offline.
  2. Hit "Publish". Now, the post is online - under a new title and URL.
  3. Now, you should be back at the Posts menu - with the post, hopefully, visible "above the fold". Hit "View", to retrieve the post, under the new Title and URL.
  4. Go back to the tab, created in Step #3. Copy the old post URL.
  5. Go to the "Search preferences" tab, and add a Custom Redirect.
  6. Paste the old URL into "From:" - and strip the base URL, carefully.
  7. Go back to the tab, created in Step #13. Copy the new post URL.
  8. Paste the new URL into "To:" - and strip the base URL, carefully.
  9. Click "Permanent".
  10. Click "Save".
  11. Hit "Save changes".
Test the change.
  1. If you have done everything right, the old post URL should now redirect to the new post URL.
  2. Go back to the post in the tab opened in Step #13, and click on the first word. That link should redirect, and reload the post.
  3. Go back to the post in the tab opened in Step #3, and refresh the tab. The old URL should redirect, and reload the post.
  4. You're done, and tested. When convenient, edit the post and clean up the bottom.
  5. If you have done everything right, the old URL will be offline from Steps #11 through #21. Read that section, carefully - that's what you want to minimise.
Steps #11 through #21 are essentially adding a custom redirect, to the blog. With planning and practice (as in my pedantic procedure, above), you can probably do that in a minute or less.

Step #8 is the only artistic step. How long would you take, to compose a snappy post title? Everything else is just repetition.

If you have a lot of posts that need new titles and URLs, streamlining this procedure will help you get started - and rename each individual post, whenever you decide one needs changing. Practice the process, and you can minimise the inconvenience - and not make a big production out of the whole project. It is easier than it looks.

As the saying goes
Just do it.

Dude, hit me with a comment!