Lost Product Reviews: Never Change Permalink in WordPress
Here is a living nightmare and why you never change permalink in WordPress.
Listen to me, I can save you lots of stress and grief! I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack recently. For about one hour of agony, I was practically screaming and pulling out my hair.
After spending many long hours researching and writing a “War and Peace” product review yesterday, happiness turned to extreme stress, and serenity turned to abject madness….
Recently my long hard work became a lost product review of 4370 words that nearly washed down the drain….almost!
Thanks to my own resourcefulness and an assist of my wonderful community, my product review was saved. Barely.
Here how the story goes.
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Don't Do What I Did
You should never change the permalink of a page or post after it gets indexed. Or even worse, is ranking well in the SERPs. You will get a 301 redirect leading to a 404 Page Error. You will lose all of your traffic.
That is like gospel here and everywhere.
And it will be a severe pain in the assets to fix.
Never do this.
However, in the beginning before your post gets indexed, it’s perfectly acceptable to change your permalink. For many reasons.
Here are 2 Big Reasons that immediately come to mind:
You might want to edit your permalink to match your focus key phrase (main keyword) to get better SEO.
You might want to also match your permalink to your Meta title if you later found a better one, and if so now is the best time to do it.
But you need to be very careful.
Don’t convince yourself to work when you are in a non-optimal mental state.
Or are in a half dream-state.
Beware of common household accidents like what happened to me recently when you are not paying attention (or half asleep as in my case).
Don’t do what I did.
Never change the permalink or your post to the SAME permalink you used for a previous post!
And that goes for Pages too!
This certainly bears repeating….NEVER CHANGE PERMALINK IN WORDPRESS TO THE SAME PERMALINK YOU USED BEFORE ON YOUR WEBSITE!
All weird stuff will happen.
Watch what happens.
Product Review Gone: Never Change Permalink in WordPress
Within seconds nearly ALL of my 4370 words of my Product Review were GONE, KAPUT!
Replaced by one paragraph of text!!
You heard that…Gone WITHOUT a TRACE and No Where EVER to be Found!
Over the course of several hours, I was in contact back and forth with my host platform’s Site Support, and I was also emailing the Theme Support Tech Team. No immediate response from the latter.
I must say the few occasions I’ve had a problem, I definitely always do get a quick responsive from my hosting platform’s Site Support.
By the way, this is what the original Featured Image and Intro of the product review looked like + 4300 WORDS:
Site Support was able to retrieve and send me a link to a backup from yesterday – but when I opened the content my heart practically sank…..
All the beautiful formatting I worked so hard on was GONE, and I was also missing 350 words of important content.
This was all the remained……..
The best case scenario would have cost me at least an extra 3-4 hours of re-formatting, as the original beautiful formatting, the link buttons, the text formatting, and even Featured Image were all Gone!
Plus I’d have to change and adjust all the formatting separately in Tablet and Mobile view.
Sure I saved a backup of my website, but I had just added a “small piece” of new content since my last backup (that 4370 word product review!).
Yes, I also saved my content on a separate file and on an external drive.
None of this would matter though.
Never Change Permalink in WordPress: A Stroke of Uncanny Luck
This is slightly convoluted, but I will try to simply it.
The plugin I use has a style independent of how it appears in WordPress. If you save your Page or post in the plugin on the WordPress dashboard, then revert back to the WordPress editor, there’s a risk you will lose all the work you saved when you go back to the plugin.
Site Support suggested I try to restore a previous version of the post in WordPress.
But I was afraid of going back to a previous revision in WordPress, knowing there would be a risk I could choose the wrong revision (and there were 133 of them!), then when going back to the plugin I would lose all the styling and formatting forever.
If you aren’t convinced yet, this should convince you why you should never change permalink in WordPress after your page or post gets indexed. The amount of stress to fix this mess may drive you to want to jump off a cliff!
So I was hoping Site Support had a backup of the styled plugin version, but when they told me they didn’t have a backup of the plugin styled version, that to be on the safe side I should use the plugin’s “clone” feature to duplicate the post before attempting to restore the revision.
What is about to follow was totally unexpected and shocking.
Thankfully incredible luck was on my side. And hats off to the plugin designers for thinking of everything! Even Site Support wasn’t expecting this!
This Story Has a Happy Ending
After I “cloned” the formatted version that was a “MESS” (the Original backup Site Support sent me after changing the permalink) and clicked the “Preview” link, I couldn’t believe my eyes…...
The “cloned” copy of the BAD version turned out to be the Original Beautiful Version!
Lost product Review NOW FOUND!
Exactly in the same condition as it was, all 4370 words.
Not a hair missing.
That’s like making a copy of a brown mouse in front of a trap…..
...and getting back a White Duck that Quacks!
Actually in my case, a beautiful Swan!
Ladies and Gents, you can be sure of one thing…. .
Next time I will make sure I get a few extra hours of zzzzzzz’s…..and make certain I am in a higher state of cognitive awareness before performing such an important task.
Moral of the Story: NEVER change permalink in WordPress to the SAME permalink you used on another page.
Lesson well learned!
Bullet dodged….Disaster averted.
Thanks for being my sounding board, my Friends.
I really needed to get this out.
Please feel free to make your comments below.