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"Find and Replace" Can be a Bad Idea

Every now and then we get a request asking for us to change all instances of text on a website from “text a” to “text b”, e.g. “can you change our phone number from (07) 2222 2222 to (07) 3333 3333”.

This sounds very easy to achieve with a “find and replace”.  However doing a find and replace across a website is never a 100% accurate (and is sometimes very dangerous).

Why it is not a 100% accurate:

  1. Sometimes we cannot find the exact instance of “text a” (i.e. the original text provided by the client may have had spelling / typographic errors in it).
  2. Sometimes the original text is surrounded by “code” (and searching this is not possible).
  3. The text is contained in an image, or other document that we cannot search on (such as Word, PDF’s or Excel documents).

Why it is dangerous

Doing a straight find and replace can also alter core code, and potentially break an entire website.

How to go about changes

The only way to make sure you’ve got all instances of a change, is for specific instructions to be provided by the client i.e.:

  1. On the home page, bottom paragraph change phone number
  2. On the about us page, 2nd paragraph, last line change phone number
  3. In the “order confirmation” email, update the phone number.

Can we still do a “find and replace”?

Sure we can… however it’s not advisable.  We (TMD Online) will not take any responsibility for any ramifications that arise if the client insists we do this.