To edit a page name in WordPress you’ll need to have the WordPress username and password. You’ll need to be an Editor or an Administrator. The lower roles will not be able to rename pages or posts.
Once in the backend, you’ll be able to edit:
- Post or page titles – also known as heading 1 or an h1 tag.
- The post or page slug – also known page name. This is visible at the end of the permalink or WordPress URL, shown in the browser address bar.
- The menu label aka navigation label.
If you’re new to WordPress, perhaps you’ve not realised that different text labels can be used for the page title, the page slug and the navigation label.
Using different words really tidies up the look of a WordPress website although, the three should correspond for good search engine optimisation.
Confused? Read on, I’ll explain it all.
The WordPress page title and the navigation menu
Changing a WordPress page title is a fairly simple job.
There will be no difference made to the slug when you edit the page title (the heading 1).
What you need to realise though, is that changing the page title also changes the navigation label. This depends on how the site is set up but it is common.
It’s easily fixable but read these instructions through before you make any changes to a live website.
Learn to change the navigation label before you edit a WordPress page title. You’ll then be able to nip in and correct it.
Only Administrators have permissions to edit menus.
Edit the navigation label
- From the left-hand menu, go to APPEARANCE > MENUS.
- You’ll need to be on the ‘Edit Menus’ tab.
- Select the menu you want to edit.
- Hit the arrow icon associated with the menu item to be changed.
- Find NAVIGATION LABEL.
- This is the field to edit – whatever text you enter here will show on the navigation bar on the front end of the website despite the page title.
- Enter whatever you like here.
- Save the menu.
Edit the navigation label BEFORE the page title. That way the navigation label will stick, it will override the page title.
When you go back to edit the WordPress page title, you can now edit with confidence.
Edit a page title in WordPress
- Simply go to Pages on the left-hand menu within WordPress.
- Once on the Pages screen, hover over any page and click Quick Edit.
- The Title field contains the text that is (normally) used as the heading 1 (H1) tag at the top of any page or post. Change this to change the title of the page.
Edit the page title on the edit page screen too.
Just click to select the title and start typing.
Now hit the blue Update button to save the page.
A side note – a web designer could have installed a page editor plugin that looks completely different to the image above. You’ll need to find out what page editor is used.
What’s the difference? URL, permalink or slug?
A URL is the full domain name, parent category and name of the page. You’ll see the URL in a browser address bar, they change as you move through a website.
The URL for this very post is https://kaydee.net/blog/edit-page-name-wordpress/
URL is the official name and stands for universal resource locator.
WordPress’ name for the URL is permalink.
A WordPress slug is a name for an individual post, page, category or tag. It should be ‘friendly’ or easy-to-read for humans (see pretty permalinks below).
The slug for this page is ‘edit-page-name-wordpress‘.
Creating a title and a slug
When a WordPress page or post is created, the original title of the page becomes the slug. Unless edited.
A title such as ‘Our Services’ will create the slug ‘our-services’.
WordPress represent spaces using a dash. This is because filenames across the web should be joined, in one string.
Pretty permalinks in WordPress
You have the option to change the slug. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the same as the title. One very good reason to edit it is to optimise the page for search engines.
Why change the page slug?
A pretty URL or pretty permalink is one that is understood by humans. Page rank is helped when it corresponds to the title and the content of the page.
A WordPress page title must be a complete sentence. But on a page slug take out the joining words. This keeps the permalink short and is good practice for SEO.
Google is advanced enough to understand the context of a sentence without joining words.
Side note: By ‘joining words’ I mean connectives (prepositions, conjunctions and adverbs) – words such as “the, a, in, and, to, because, therefore” – words that join or form sentences. They are also known as linking words but I like to use joining because ‘link’ means so much on the internet.
Cautions to take when editing a slug in WordPress
Be super careful when changing slugs, please. If you don’t know what you are doing, edits can end in dire results.
Editing WordPress permalinks can:
- Create dud links on the website or blog.
- Send search engine listings to 404 error page.
- Cause backlinks to no longer work.
These factors are negative signals to search engines. If they are not fixed quickly your website will rapidly lose rank.
Follow these steps very carefully. Have a redirect plugin in place which I go over at the end of this post.
Once you’ve changed a permalink, check that the navigation works and that all links to the page work too.
The updated WordPress automatically links to page ID rather than page name so links should still go to the correct place. However, older versions or manual menu links will break which is why I tell you to proceed with caution.
If the menu isn’t working, go to Appearance > Menus where you’ll need to re-add pages.
Manually entered URLs will need changing within the HTML code.
How to edit a permalink in WordPress
Pretty URLs that are shorter and relate to content will help pages and posts to rank better on search engines. Please read the above warnings before editing permalinks.
In WordPress, here’s how to change the URL:
Start by going to PAGES via the main menu on the left-hand side of WordPress.
Edit the WordPress URL the quick way
- On the All Pages or All Posts lists, permalinks are edited using QUICK EDIT.
- Hover over the page title and click Quick Edit.
- You’ll see the field for the permalink is labelled ‘Slug’ within the quick editer.
Edit the WordPress URL via the post/page edit option
- From the All Pages area, click the page title to edit it.
- You’ll probably need to unhide the page/block settings because they are hidden by default. Just hit the cog icon top right of the page.
- A sidebar appears on the right-hand side, where you’ll see:
- the post/page settings and
- settings for any block that is selected.
- You’ll need the settings for the page or the post. The tab will be named one or the other – click that.
- Scroll down this area on the right-hand side of the page to find the word Permalink. The settings might be hidden, but just click the word Permalink. This will show/hide the settings.
- Now, simply change the words in the field labelled ‘URL slug’. WordPress will replace any spaces with dashes (-).
- Click the blue UPDATE button to save the changes.
Redirection plugins for WordPress
There’s a very simple and very good redirection plugin for WordPress.org which is simply called Redirection by John Godley.
I recommend that you add the redirection plugin before you change any slugs.
Within the options (TOOLS > REDIRECTION > OPTIONS), you have the ability to monitor posts, pages and other post types for changes. So when a change is made, a redirection is added.
The old URL will redirect to the new URL.
What happens when people change the URL more than once, due to indecision, is that they end up with a redirect loop.
The first URL redirects to the second. The second to the third, the third to the forth. This is a negative signal to search engines too because it slows down the ability to serve the final page.
If you’ve got yourself into a redirect loop using Redirection by John Godley, it’s fixable.
On WordPress’ main menu, on the left-hand side go to TOOLS > REDIRECTION. You’ll need to be in the Redirects area to see all the redirects that are currently working on the site.
Really what you want is that the original URL goes to the final URL.
However, if you have had an interim page and it has started to rank on the search engines you may also want to redirect that one to the final URL too.
Delete any of the redirects accidentally created.
The conclusion to edit a page name in WordPress
Editing a page name in WordPress comes with responsibilities. There is a noticeable difference between a page title, the permalink and the navigation label but all can be changed and should have slight differences.
If you are going to change permalinks first backup the website and proceed with caution. Always have someone on hand to restore the website if something goes awry.