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Changing Titles in the Titles of WordPress Posts

Damn, damn, damn. I found some posts I wrote before I found Spellbound Online Spell Checker which puts built-in spell checking in Firefox. The word “perseverance” was misspelled in the title. ARGH!

So I had to go back and change the spelling. I quickly learned there is more to fixing or changing a title in a WordPress blog than just fixing the title.

How to Change or Fix Titles in the Titles of WordPress Posts

If you want or need to make a change in the title of a WordPress post, there are several steps to the process.

  1. Find the post with the error in the the title in Manage > Posts and click EDIT.
  2. In the Title form area, make the changes.

    Write Post Title section

  3. WordPress Post Title sectionMove to the right column to your Post slug section. This is the phrase that appears in your posts URL if you are using permalinks, the default URL structure for many WordPress blogs. If the Post slug section is closed, click on the + (plus) symbol to open the section. The post slug or permalink is a cleaned up version of your post title. Carefully make the appropriate changes in the Post slug form, keeping dashes (hyphens) in between each word, no spaces.
  4. If the error is also in the post section, such as a misspelling, click in the Post textarea box and do one of the two options:
    1. Manually or using an online spell checker like Spellbound, fix the post content from within the Post textarea.
    2. Use a Text Editor to fix the problem in the content.
      1. Select the whole text (Ctrl+A) and copy it (Ctrl+C).
      2. Paste the text (Ctrl+V) into a text editor, not word processing program. Do a search and replace or manually fix the problem text.
      3. Select the repaired content and copy and paste it back into the Post textarea.
  5. Check you’ve fixed everything and then click SAVE or Save and Continue Editing to verify your changes.

The link is changed and the title is changed, and any problems in the post content is fixed, but we still have a problem. Links to that specific post have now changed because you changed the URL address.

For the most part, WordPress can automatically handle the change in the title, though not always. If it doesn’t you have some options if you are using the full version of WordPress. Some of these will also work with blogs.

  1. Search your blog for references to the link and manually change them. Look in your site map, links list, and referring posts.
  2. Look for incoming links to that post and notify these people that the link has changed.
  3. Create a redirect in your .htaccess file.
  4. Do a search and replace throughout your database to change the link reference. Do this with extreme caution.

And the lesson learned here? Check the spelling and get it right before you hit the Publish button. ;-)

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen

14 Comments

  1. Posted April 13, 2006 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Wow! Thanks for the tip!

  2. Logan
    Posted April 13, 2006 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I always hate it when I change the title of a post and then it’s all flubbed up in the RSS feed, thanks for the tip!

  3. Posted April 13, 2006 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Just one thing, If you come back to the post a long time after or if you have a very popular site, changing the permalink surely isn’t such a good idea (kinda defeats the point of a permalink).

  4. Posted April 13, 2006 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Which is why I mentioned the solution of adding a redirect in the .htaccess file to help direct people to the new link automatically. A pain in the buns, but a solution if a glaring problem exists. Best to catch this early, but boo boos happen.

  5. Luke
    Posted April 14, 2006 at 4:38 am | Permalink

    Excuse me for the silly question, but

    Would not be enough to change the title and leave the misspelled permalink in the Post Slug form?

  6. Posted April 14, 2006 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Hi, found this site via digg, and noticed that the background of your page isn’t set explicitly to white. Users who set a different default background color in their browser will see that color, instead (for example, I see light purple). Easy fix: just add a background-color: #fff; to the body selector in the CSS.

  7. Posted April 14, 2006 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Great Info! I have just started WordPress and I am finding it great. Your blog is like a gold mine of info

  8. Posted April 14, 2006 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Luke: you could do that. It’s up to you.

    CES: Thanks for the kind words!

    Vincent: WordPress.com bloggers have no control over their WordPress Themes. We can’t change anything in the design elements. I apologize for the author not paying attention to this issue regarding Accessibility Standards. There are ways to overcome the CSS elements, and you are using one that should, so I will dig into this matter soon to see if I can come up with some other methods to help. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

  9. Posted April 15, 2006 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle
    How do you do the post to digg/technorati etc? stuff on this post?

    On topic: I don’t do an .htaccess redirect when I discover a typo. Mainly due to the speed with which my popular sites get indexed, but also because my .htaccess file is growing quite large enough as it is.
    Instead I follow the following process
    1) fix the spelling in the header and the slug
    2) create a new post with the original misspelling and slug. The body acknowledges that we made a typo and link to the original post.

    An example is at my new site. First post we made a huge typo.

    I do this because I’ve been seeing 301 and 404 errors in my logs for years over exactly this sort of stuff and you never know how long somebody’s link will last. Yes 301 is possible but it suits my blog style better.

  10. Posted April 15, 2006 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I will have an article on the submit links soon. Stay tuned. In the interium, check out Adding Del.icio.us, Digg, Technorati and Slashdot Links to Your WordPress Blog and I’ll have an article on what I did for WordPress.com blogs coming out soon.

  11. Posted April 15, 2006 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Hey Lorelle,

    Can you add adsense to a wordpress blog?

  12. Posted April 15, 2006 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    No. For more information, see What can you do with wordpress.com and WordPress Versions – How Many and What’s the Diff?. Also check in with the WordPress.com Frequently Asked Questions blog.

    In a sentence, the full version of WordPress is for tweaking and customizing and WordPress.com is for blogging.

  13. Posted April 18, 2006 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I experienced this a few times myself. I’m too much of a control freak and a perfectionist to let the slug remain misspelled, so I would change it, and labouriously code the redirect. That started to get old, and my .htaccess was becoming bigger, which slows things down, so I decided there had to be a better way. (This is the point in this infomercial where I try to “sell” you something).

    Redirect Old Slugs is a plugin I wrote to address this issue. Upload it, activate it, and forget about it. If you run across a title that is misspelled, change it, and fix the slug too… the plugin will notice the change, and remember the old slug. When someone comes looking for the misspelled version, they’ll automatically be forwarded to the new version. Violà: worry-free title typo corrections.

  14. Posted April 18, 2006 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    As always, Mark, my friend, you are a star! Wizbang! Brilliant!

    Thank you!


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