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.
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.
- Identify a Posts menu label page, where the post in question appears "above the fold" (i.e., does not require scrolling or searching).
- In a separate tab, load the Settings - Search preferences dashboard page.
- 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.
- This will put you into Post Editor.
- 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.
- Copy the current content of the Title box, to the bottom of the post.
- Add "<br />" lines before and after the current title text, at the bottom of the post.
- On the line below the current title text, compose your replacement title. Compare the current and new titles, for impact, length, and phrasing.
- When you have composed a satisfying new title, copy that into the Title box at the top of the page.
- That's the prep work - now here is where it gets interesting.
- Hit "Revert to draft". Now, the post is offline.
- Hit "Publish". Now, the post is online - under a new title and URL.
- 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.
- Go back to the tab, created in Step #3. Copy the old post URL.
- Go to the "Search preferences" tab, and add a Custom Redirect.
- Paste the old URL into "From:" - and strip the base URL, carefully.
- Go back to the tab, created in Step #13. Copy the new post URL.
- Paste the new URL into "To:" - and strip the base URL, carefully.
- Click "Permanent".
- Click "Save".
- Hit "Save changes".
- If you have done everything right, the old post URL should now redirect to the new post URL.
- 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.
- 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.
- You're done, and tested. When convenient, edit the post and clean up the bottom.
- 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.
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.