Data Cleanup for WordPress Tags without a Plugin

Over the years I’ve had this blog, I’ve added lots of tags. In 15 years and 4,600+ posts, you can guess that I’ve made some typos and mistakes. I’ve also changed how I classify posts, or names of products/technologies have changed.

Recently I wanted to do some tag cleanup as I discovered I had an “administration” tag and an “adminstration” one (missing an i). Apparently there is no easy way to do this in the EAV structure of WordPress, though there is a plugin that will help.

Unfortunately, I use for my blog and they don’t allow plugins without a business (and much more expensive) plan. Makes sense, I understand, and I’m not complaining, but how can I clean up tags?


The way to do this is manual, and slow. I am surprised that the WordPress base package doesn’t allow for this, but I also think they made some poor database decisions they’re living with and this means I must as well.

If I look at tags, I’ll see things like this:

2020-07-23 08_47_17-Window

ReadyRoll has been renamed, and this tag is really obsolete. Some of the posts still make sense, and I don’t want to delete them. I do want to get rid of this tag. I’ve already started using “SQL Change Automation”, which is the new name, so what I want to do is fix tags.

If I click Edit above, I only get a few choices.

2020-07-23 08_47_21-Window

Nothing here to merge. If I rename this tag, I’ll have two tags with the same name, which is another whole issue. However, over on the right side, I can see how many posts have this tag.

2020-07-23 10_50_42-Window

If I click the “””3”, I go to a page with those posts.

2020-07-23 10_51_25-Window

For this set of posts, they’re already dual tagged. I think I added the SQL Change Automation tag when the product changed.

Now I can quick edit each of these, and remove the tag for ReadyRoll. When I complete that, I go back to the tag and I see there isn’t anything using this.

2020-07-23 08_52_31-Window

Now I can just delete the tag.

A Chore

This isn’t easy, simple, and it is incredibly manual. I don’t have a ton of tags that I need to change, but I did find 4 or 5 that were typos and I have worked on those across a few days, as I need a break from other work.

I also have a number of tags with 1-2 posts, so I have been thinking about consolidating those, or re-tagging with something else, but I haven’t decided.

Data cleanup is a pain, and not being able to do this in a lookup table in a database and quickly fix things is annoying. It’s not an enjoyable chore, but it also gives me perspective as someone that has built software for the tooling that users would like to see, as well as the struggles when we don’t account for tasks they will perform, like consolidating tags.

About way0utwest

Editor, SQLServerCentral
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.