Changing your post title can be a bad idea!

I posted recently about the importance of setting the correct blog post title. This made me think of something I came across a while ago. Once again it is something quite simple yet very important, that is getting your blog post title right, first time!

Here’s why…

If you blog like I do you may blog fast and furious manner, in a quest to hit that Publish button. You may or may not give a tremendous amount of thought to checking things like spelling (you should, but then it’s easier said than done) until after it’s published.

In the case of spelling it’s not the end of the world. Enter the admin panel again… manage… posts… select… edit… save… DONE!

Where things come unstuck occasionally is changing the title, or more importantly changing the permalink that goes with it.

Why is this?

Basically, under the hood of your WordPress installation lies the UPDATE section (under settings/writing). This contains something like http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ and means when you post a blog article it updates various feeds from Google to Yahoo to Technorati.

This is all well and good, but what happens if it updates them with your latest and greatest post, only for you go back in there and change the title and permalink? That’s right, it won’t be able to find it!

I would have thought it was intelligent enough to go back in there and update these services, maybe it’s supposed to, who knows? All I know is I have looked at my stats on occasion and found attempted visits trying to find the old page, only to be greeted by a 404 error.

There are plugins out there that will handle this sort of thing and maintain a list of old pages and their corresponding new ones. Personally I find it easier just to spend a little time hovering over the Publish button, checking the permalink is correct before I submit the post.

The benefit of taking time doing this is you can craft your permalink to take out the irrelevant words, leaving a short, accurate, keyword rich description of your post.

3 replies
  1. Rarst
    Rarst says:

    It’s more about permalink than title. Changing title doesn’t influence much and sometimes even beneficial like when post gets major updates.

    By the way I think bloggers gave up on pings. I had seen question “are they even doing something?” asked numerous times… And most of the the time all answers are negative. Also I’ve read mentions that because of faulty usage of ping in WordPress it can get quickly banned and ping into nothingness after that.

    Google, Technorati, etc are good at indexing – it’s their business.

    Reply
  2. Jim
    Jim says:

    Thanks for the comment Rarst,

    You are right, it’s the permalinks that are the important part, I should have emphasised that more.

    Pings and trackbacks are awful things… I never understand why some blogs list them either, it just looks like a lot of nonsense clutter?!

    Reply
  3. Rarst
    Rarst says:

    Trackbacks aren’t too bad. But they aren’t very reliable. I see some trackbacks my blog sends but hadn’t got much of them from the posts that linked to me. Safe to ignore I guess.

    Reply

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