WordPress is one of my favorite platforms to run my websites from because it makes it so simple to create a new website with, add new content, tweak settings and appearances, and it’s extremely user friendly. Plus it’s free! It can also be very search engine friendly. Part of this is using the best permalink structure. This article will identify what a permalink is, how to set one, and identify the best permalink structure.
Permalinks are the settings in WordPress which dictate how your links and URLs will look like when you create a new post or page in WordPress. The default setting in WordPress is to assign new posts which you make a number. I can’t really think of a good purpose for using numbers to identify your posts.
Permalinks, or Permanent Links, are a way of dealing with the tendency of WordPress blog entries to become very cryptic and human-unreadable as well as ‘unfindable’ as time marches on.
First, a bit of web-history may be in order here…
In the early days of blogging systems, all content was static… meaning that it never changed. When one wrote a blog post back then, it existed on a known web page with a known web address.
Later on, web content such as this became ‘dynamic’, meaning that the address of it might change from moment-to-moment depending on how the blog was set up.
The reasons for this had to do mainly with the fact that there was “so much” content on any particular blog, that a new method for dealing with it had to be devised.
This new method was the advent of Content Management Systems which handled blog posts as database entries instead of static web pages. This is also where those nasty, indecipherable file names came from – the ones that look like cartoon swear words!
Here’s what happened: The database would index the blog entry. Okay, fine. You could still read the post like before – no problem. The trouble would start when someone tried to link to that entry somewhere else on the web.
After a bit of time, those links would no longer work because the database assigned a different reference to the entry since it was now in the ‘archived’ section of the blog.
All the external links would break and Bingo! A whole lot of “Page Not Found” errors would pop up!
This is obviously not good for online marketers (or anybody else for that matter!) A way needed to be found that would give more permanence to each blog entry so that it could be linked-to later on.
Permalinks provide a solution – sort of – to the problem of broken links in blog entries. In WordPress, for example, when you write a new blog post, an option appears above the text editing box that allows you to change the Permalink to your blog post.
WordPress always has a default entry for your Permalink, but you can change this to whatever you want.
For example, a fairly typical Permalink might look like this;http: //www.mysite.com/?p=1– Pretty cryptic, huh?
Using the “Change Permalinks” button next to that entry, you may decide to change it to; http: //www.mysite.com/kittylitter
A much easier name to remember, wouldn’t you say? And a link that won’t go away as your blog post ages.
The important point to take away from this article is this… Always remember to change the Permalinks for all blog posts you make in WordPress. This will ensure consistency and ease-of-linking for your clients and readers.
Oh yeah… Remember to ‘Tag’ and ‘Categorize’ all your posts too. That will help both with search engine rankings and internal site searching when and if you decide to implement it.
How To – Change Your Permalinks to Make Your URL’s More User and SEO Friendly