Let’s say you’re going to write a page. Your first step is to go to your admin navigation. If the sub-links are not visible, you start by hovering and then clicking on the down arrow to the right of the Pages parent link (see Pages in the dark blue section) to open the sub-link menu where you’ll then see a Pages sub-link — which is what the red arrow is pointing to. Clicking either of these will open the page index panel.
Before you can start writing, your first step is to create a page to write on. Click the Add New sub-link below the Pages sub-link to open the WordPress editor for writing a page which will look similar the the example below:
Enter Your Page Title
Every page needs a title, which you’ll enter in the field indicated in my example below. You can call it whatever you want but it’s best to make your page title reflect the topic of what you plan on writing. If you use characters other than a dash, Worpress will use it on the visible page but it will strip all characters except for dashes out of the permalink (more on permalinks below).
One exception to using characters in your title is that if you use the apostrophe it’s common for the PHP language to do something real funky called “escaping” and you wind up with something that looks like this when it displays your visible page title — Let\’s Write a Page! See the backslash after “Let” ??? I’m not going to explain “escaping” to you but this is not good.
How Do You Fix the Apostrophe Thing?
You can go back and edit your title removing the apostrophe by clicking your cursor to the right or left of the it and hitting the appropriate BACKSPACE or DELETE key and input the apostrophe again. For some reason unknown to me, I’ve found that this seems to work but I can’t guarantee it. Your title may subsequently display strangely on your visible page and/or not be “proper English” so to speak. Where I’ve found this “apostrophe morphing into a backslash thing” to be the most problematic is when you create what’s known as an “internal” or “page to page” link which is a link on your page that takes you to another page on your own site. You may cause yourself a few less headaches if you just rename your title (or your link text) to something that doesn’t require an apostrophe.
Internal or page-to-page linking is a whole ‘nother tutorial of it’s own so we won’t go there right now.
Suggestions for Writing Good Titles:
- Be Creative! Creative titles grab interest!
- Your page title should reflect the topic of your text content.
- Whenever possible, don’t make your titles excessively long
- Watch your spelling. If you’re not good at spelling – double check yourself at Dictionary.com
- Watch your Upper and lowercase letters to make sure they’re the way you want them to display.
- Watch the spacing between your words.
Changing or Correcting Your Title
I don’t know about you, but as I write — I quite often change my mind about what I want to say and how I want to say it! Seems like I input the page title and somewhere down the road I find I don’t like it or I think of a title I like better. I’ve also been quite often known to catch a case of “Fast Fingers” and don’t see that I’ve typo’d or not put a space between two title words until I preview my page. Not a problem!
In the example below you’ll see what happens after you write your title. After you’ve input your title and you click your cursor into the WordPress page editor box to start writing your text content, WordPress automatically “sets” your title, adds a dash between each word in your title and writes it to the database. Don’t panic. Your title does not become a permanent fixture and you can edit it at any time.
Above you can see where I input the title to the web page you’re reading right now. Although I know it’s difficult to read, the text below my title is called the “permalink” which is actually the URL to this specific page. Since it’s pretty much unreadable without a magnifying glass, it says:
If my web page were wide enough the URL would not wrap to the second line.
If you edit your title in any way after that permalink is set, you must manually edit the very last part of the Permalink which is the text highlighted in yellow in the image above which is this part below:
You must do this manually is because WordPress does not automatically edit the permalink to match what you changed. Manually editing your permalink is very important, should not be overlooked and should be inspected very carefully.
How Do I Edit the Permalink?
There is an edit button just to the right of the permalink. Click this and just the section of the permalink that you need to edit will become editable. It’s a very tiny place to edit in so you must look closely. The reason for this is that any part of the URL before the page name is not editable by default. This is a good thing because it keeps you from having to edit the entire permalink which just opens you up for the potential of more typos. Simply edit the permalink to match your new title with the exception of this — because this is manual labor, you must check your changes for spelling and make sure there is a dash between each word – there should be no spaces whatsoever. After you’re satisfied that the permalink has been edited correctly, click the OK button which is the same as the edit button but it changes to an OK button when you click it to edit.
I would also suggest that after you publish your page you do a double check that what you see in your browser’s address bar matches your title and that there is one dash between each word with no spaces or funky characters.
Just an FYI — I’ve told you that your permalink should match your title. This isn’t mandatory, your title can read differently than your permalink. For example you might want a longer title but a shorter permalink. Until you get the hang of things and feel comfortable working in WordPress, I would stick with matching them. If you decide to make them different, for consistency and in order to not confuse your site visitors, I would at least make the permalink another version of your page title. In other words, don’t mix apples with oranges — just mix up the apple varieties. Whatever you decide to do, be sure there’s a dash and no spaces between each word in your permalink — oh — and to keep you from looking like an uneducated idiot — no typos either!