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As is so often the case with WordPress, making a change to your website is really simple but doing so could have major consequences on your traffic or the way your site performs.
In the case of switching a document type from Post to Page (or vice versa) you must first take into consideration the permalink structure you’re using. Especially if you’re using dates or categories in your URLs.
Let me explain why.
Say you have a website and blog using the Day and Name permalink structure.
All the pages you create will have a permalink structure that looks like this:
(Actually, because it’s a page, it’s the same for all permalink options.)
And all the posts you create for your blog will have a permalink structure that looks like this:
When you convert a post into a page or a page into a post, the permalink structure changes to match the default settings on your website.
So the original page will now be a post and it will have the publication date as part of the URL, and the original post will lose the date part of the permalink and become a page.
This is what will happen:
Old PAGE URL (if using the Day and Name permalink structure):
Page URL after converting it into a post
Old POST URL (if using the Day and Name permalink structure):
Post URL after converting it into a page
You’ll have the same issue if you have /category/ in your URL. The only time you can safely switch a Post to a Page is when you’re permalink structure follows the /post-name/ structure.
To check the permalink structure of your website go to Settings > Permalinks to see which radio button is checked. If you’re using Post name, you should be able to change the document type without breaking the permalink, but do check yours before doing so.
Why is this a problem?
Firstly, any links pointing to the original URLs will break.
Secondly, anyone requesting the original page or post will get a 404 error because the document no longer exists. If the original document was getting traffic, you’ll lose it all straight away.
The best way to keep the traffic is by setting up something called a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is a HTTP status that redirects one URL to another. The ‘301’ part declares the move as permanent so you shouldn’t lose traffic or rankings. However, you should be aware that there is no guarantee the traffic and rankings will remain at the same level after setting up a redirect.
If changing document type creates a load of broken links on your site, you can either set up more 301 redirects or change the links so they point to the correct URL. Check out the article How to Check Your WordPress Website for Broken Links to help you find and fix broken links. To set up redirects, use a plugin called Redirection.
Are either of these options better when fixing broken links?
Yes. Forget about setting up redirects. Go straight to the link and change the URL it’s pointing to. This helps increase page loading time and decreases the chances of issues cropping up in the future should you want to create more redirects. Moz has a good article on how to keep 301 redirects from ruining your SEO. You can read it here.
So now you know some of the pitfalls of converting a WordPress post to a page or a page to a post, let’s get on with the process for doing it.
One method you could use is good old copy and paste. But why bother when all you have to do is install a WordPress plugin and click a check box.
First, install and activate a plugin called Post Type Switcher.
After you’ve done that, click over to the post or page you want to change and enter the editing interface. Once you’re in there, look for the Publish widget. At the bottom of the widget you’ll see a new drop-down menu that lets you change the status of the document you’re editing.
It looks like this.
To change the document type, click on the drop-down menu and choose from one of the options. For a standard site, you might only have two: post and page. More complicated sites might have custom post types, which the plugin might also support.
To change lots of posts or pages at once.
- Go to your list of posts or pages
- Check the box next to the title of the documents you want to change
- In the drop-down menu, change Bulk Actions to Edit and hit Apply
Use the drop down menu to change the post type to the new format and hit Update.
WordPress will now change the document type for all the selected items.