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 – any lower role will not be able to rename pages or posts.
Once in the backend, you’ll be able to edit page titles which are the same as heading 1 or an h1 tag.
Or you may want to edit the page slug also known as permalink or URL. That is shown in the browser address bar.
Maybe if you’re new to WordPress you don’t realise that different labels can be used for the page title and the page slug. Although for good search engine optimisation they should correspond.
Then comes the navigation menu which can also have a different label, read on.
The WordPress title and navigation menu
Changing a page title is a fairly simple job. When you rename the page via the title the slug will NOT change.
What you need to realise though, is that changing the title can also change the navigation menu link. Depending on how the site is set up.
That’s easily fixable too but read through first before you make any changes to a live website.
I advise that you learn to change the menu link name before editing a page title in WordPress because you’ll then be able to nip in and correct the menu. Only Administrators can edit menus.
Change the menu link name
From the left-hand menu, go to APPEARANCE > MENUS. You’ll need to be on the edit menu tab and you’ll need to select the menu you want to edit.
Once there, hit the arrow icon associated to 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.
So now, you can enter whatever you like here, save the menu and go back to edit the WordPress page title with confidence.
This can be done BEFORE the title is changed. That way the menu label will stick, whatever the page title is changed to.
Edit a page title in WordPress
Simply go to Pages on the left-hand menu within WordPress.
Once on the Pages screen, you can 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.
You can also edit the page title on the edit page screen.
Just click to select the title and start typing.
Now hit the blue Update button to save the page.
A side note – like all things in WordPress, your designer could have installed a page editor plugin which looks completely different to the page above. You’ll need to find out what page editor the website is using and search to edit page names within that.
What is a URL, permalink and a slug?
A URL is the full domain name, parent category and title of the page that you see in the browser address bar as you move through a website.
WordPress calls it a permalink. The page name is known as the slug.
Creating a title and a slug
When a WordPress page or post is created, the original title of the page becomes the slug. Unless the creator changes that.
So if you title the page ‘Our Services’ the slug will become our-services.
WordPress uses a dash in the spaces because the names of files across the web should be joined so they can be understood by servers.
Pretty permalinks in WordPress
The slug can be changed so that it is different from the title of the page. One very good reason to do that is to optimise the page for search engines.
A pretty URL or pretty permalink is one that can be understood by humans. Page rank can be helped if they also correspond to the title and the content of the page.
However the title will make a full sentence, but a URL shouldn’t really contain joining words – Google is intelligent enough to figure out a sentence without joining words, or at least what the intent is.
Leave joining words out to help keep the permalink short. Best practice for SEO.
When I say 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 more on the web. I digress.
Cautions to take when editing a slug in WordPress
Be careful when changing slugs. It can have dia results for the navigation system and links throughout the pages. 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.
All of these factors are negative signals to search engines if they are not fixed quickly. It’s serious because your site could rapidly lose rank.
Follow these steps very carefully and have a redirect plugin in place – covered at the end of this post.
Once you’ve changed a permalink always check that the navigation menu works and that all links into the page work too.
If you’ve linked pages via page ID, which WordPress automatically does now, your links should still go to the correct place. If they don’t, go back to edit the menu and add the page again.
Manually entered URLs will need changing within the HTML code.
How to edit a permalink in WordPress
Go to pages from the left-hand menu.
On the pages page, you could click QUICK EDIT on any of the pages and change the permalink here. You’ll see it is called slug there.
Or click the page to edit it.
Gutenberg, the WordPress block editor, hides settings by default so you’ll need to turn them on.
Just hit the cogge icon, top right of the page whether in full-screen mode or not.
A sidebar appears on the right-hand side, where can view the post/page settings and settings for any block that is selected.
You’ll need the post/page settings, so click that tab at the top of the sidebar.
Scroll down this right-hand side of the page to find the word Permalink – the settings for it may be hidden. Click the word to toggle the settings on and off.
Now you’ll 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 the 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, you can fix it.
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 also a noticeable difference between a page title, the permalink and the navigation menu label but remember that they can all be different if you know how to do it.
If you are going to change a permalink backup the website first. Always have someone on hand to restore the website if something goes awry.