Since the default WordPress page URL includes the domain and the post’s ID which doesn’t make any sense, it’s necessary to make it more meaningful. WordPress allows you to change a page or post’s URL easily, whether it’s been published or not. You can adjust the URLs of individual posts or all of them at the same time.
In this article, we’ll briefly explain 4 main reasons for updating your posts’ URLs. Then, we will walk you through a detailed guide on how to change your WordPress link with ease.
4 Reasons for Changing Page URLs in WordPress
As mentioned, the default WordPress page URLs appear quite simple with the slug “/?p=123” displayed after the domain name. URLs like this make it hard for admins and editors to reach and manage the content. Similarly, Google and visitors can’t understand what your page is about with these nonsense links.
Below are the 4 most common situations you might find yourself in when intending to change page URLs in your WordPress site:
#1 Website organization
Well-organized websites create a better experience for readers when they want to look for related content. You can group multiple posts belonging to a topic together in a category. For example, preventdirectaccess.com/file-protection/restrict-file-access-by-IP-address.
After reading this article and feeling interested in the File Protection topic, users can easily find other posts to explore more information.
#2 Content updating
When searching for a query on Google, visitors always look at the metadata of a post to decide whether they should click on and read it. This information includes the title tag, meta description, and the URL.
Once users click on a link and don’t find relevant content, they’d leave your site immediately. This affects greatly to the user experience and they probably won’t come back to your site again.
#3 Search engine optimization
The irrelevance between the link and the content harms not only your user experience but also your site rankings on Google search results.
Google doesn’t prefer content with an unoptimized or disconnected URL. That’s why it rarely displays these posts on the first pages of search results.
Updating your links format helps crawlers recognize your content better, and easily understand what your content is about and which section it should belong to.
#4 Content protection
You might not notice but changing your WordPress page URL assists you in protecting your content too. Instead of showing the post’s original link, you ought to protect it and provide users with an alternative private access link.
Only those with the correct permissions such as user roles or IP addresses are authorized to open the page with the original URL. Otherwise, they will see a 404 error when attempting to open the post.
If users intend to see secure content, they must have the private access links which can be generated automatically or manually.
Update the URLs of all posts with a custom permalink structure
WordPress decides the links for all posts based on their post ID, for example, https://preventdirectaccess.com/?p=123. Backend users like admins, editors, and writers find it difficult to manage and find the desired content with these URLs.
Google never ranks these URLs at the top positions since they know that visitors won’t like them either. It would be better if the slug matches the post name.
To change the default URL structure, you need to head the Permalinks section under your WordPress admin Settings page. After that, choose the Post name option. Remember to save your changes once you finish the settings.
How to update the URL of a published post
Even though you replace the post ID in the URL with its title, there might be times you look for ways to adjust the new page URL for several reasons.
Firstly, your post title is too long which results in an endless URL. This harms your SEO optimization. Users won’t be able to see the full link and might quickly skip your blog to choose a clearer one.
What’s more, changing the URL is required when you adjust a post’s content so that these two factors make sense and are relevant to each other.
You can handle everything right in the Posts list section or in your individual post edit screen in less than 3 minutes. Take these 5 simple steps to update your page and post URLs:
- Visit the Pages or Posts section in the admin navigation menu
- Look for your desired content
- Hover the post title and click Quick Edit
- Replace the existing URL with a new one
- Click Update
That’s it. In case you’re editing the content and plan to change your WordPress page URL, follow this guide:
- Go to the post edit screen
- Edit the slug under the post title
- Update the post
Will changing a published page URL affect your links?
When you provide a new link for your page or post, WordPress will automatically update it everywhere on your website, for instance, the main navigation menu or the category archive page.
However, it would be a disaster if you don’t notify Google about the new link. It will still show the old link on search results. In addition, other sites linking to this updated post URL, also known as external links, still keep the old one. Once users click on this link, they will see a 404 error.
It might take a long time for Google to recrawl your site, update the new URL in the database, and replace the old one. That’s why you’re required to redirect the outdated URL to the new links.
How to change the URLs to protect your pages
Talking about protecting WordPress content, most WordPress users think of password protection or membership applications. Have you ever heard that updating the page URL can support you in securing the content?
It’s what the Protect WordPress Pages and Posts (PPP) plugin is doing. The plugin allows you to protect a page original URL by redirecting unauthorized users to a 404 page. Only users with the correct roles or IP address can browse this link and see the content.
How about other people? PPP creates private access links so you can grant them temporary access to the protected pages and posts. Instead of clicking on the original page URL, they can use these links to read your post. Still, these private access links can expire after a given time or a number of clicks.
Before getting started using PPP, you need to have the plugin installed and activated on your WordPress site. All you need to do is download the Protect WordPress Pages and Post plugin, then install it.
The following instruction shows you the way to use the plugin to update your WordPress page original URL with a private access link.
- Head to the plugin general settings page in the Content Protection section
- Select post types to protect. Pages and Posts are added by default. You can choose other custom post types such as Products, Thank-you-page, etc.
- Change the access link prefix to customize your access URL structure
- Go to Pages or Posts and pick the one you want to protect
- Click Configure Protection and the Protect this post button
- Auto-generate a new link or customize your own link
It’s possible for you to disable the link after a period of time or a number of clicks. This prevents users from sharing private access links with others.
On top of that, you’re able to hide the protected pages and posts in various places, from the front page to category pages or even the RSS feed. This feature is available right on the plugin Settings page.
Should you update your WordPress page URL frequently?
There are numerous reasons to change your WordPress page URLs. You just want to make them more meaningful, organize website content better, or even to protect the private content.
In fact, it’s not highly recommended to update your links regularly since it can harm your site rankings and affect the user experience. Once changing the URLs, you need to create redirects so that visitors won’t see the 404 error when accessing the old links.
If you still have a question and concern about how to change the URL of a WordPress page, let us know in the comment section below.