Do you need some tips on setting up Permalinks on your website, or need to understand what they are and how they affect your site in general?
Permalinks are often overlooked by new bloggers and I want to help you figure out what they are and how to work with them.
It can be a huge headache to fix permalinks later on, so it is best to structure your permalinks carefully before you go ahead and publish your first blog post on your WordPress website.
This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
Avoiding The Default Permalink Structure Setup
When WordPress is initially installed, Permalinks are automatically set up to be active.
Every post you publish will generate a unique link which is the URL that you use to direct traffic to specific posts.
the problem with the default permalink structure that WordPress has in place is that it is very ugly and even worse, it can cause problems for your readers as well as search engines.
The default permalink setting within WordPress reads something like this: http://yourwebsite.com/p=963
The biggest problem with this is that search engines cannot index this website for a proper keyword, because there is none. p=963 is not a keyword and Google has no way of telling what kind of topic this post is on without help from your keywords.
Another problem with this structure is that the post could seem outdated if a timestamp is placed within the URL. you wouldn’t want your readers to think you have outdated content, even if you have updated to the latest information. An update to content does not change the URL structure / Permalink.
I highly suggest using the “Post Name” permalink structure option if you a blogger or business owner to make things easy for Google and for your website visitors.
Setting Up Permalinks That Are Google Friendly
If you are ready to change the permalink structure on your blog, head on over to the dashboard and find Settings-> Permalinks.
You should see 6 options for changing the URL structure on the permalink settings page:
- Plain – usually the default setting and is not user-friendly at all
- Day and name – This displays the date the post was published as well as the post name
- Month and name – This displays the month the post was published as well as the post name
- Numeric – This displays the numeric name of the post
- Post Name – This displays the name of the post
- Custom – allows you to build a custom structure with ten available tags
To change the permalink structure, you simply pick the ones you want and click save!
Due to the fact that permalinks affect the entire website, it is best to keep the structure the same at all times.
The best time to change your permalink structure is before you even publish your first post, otherwise, you’ll have to do some URL cleanups which can be time-consuming and you may even feel a loss of traffic due to too many 404 errors on your site.
A permalink structure change is possible, you’ll just need a redirect plugin to minimize the amount of 404 errors coming your way. A redirect plugin will direct all of the old URL’s to the new ones, however, this can slow down your website over time, especially if you have a lot of posts.
Categories And Tags URL Structures
Categories and tags exist for the purpose of organizing your wonderful content.
You’ll find a lot of conflicting information for the correct use of categories and tag on your website, however as a website developer of 10+ years, I have figured out the best practices that are great for SEO, and human experience.
Tags and categories and for the use of posts and not pages however tags are optional whereas a category must be selected for a post or it will go to the default category of uncategorized.
You can add new categories by going to Posts-> Categories and from there you can quickly add a new category. Remember that if you set up your permalinks to include your category, you’ll want to ensure your category name is well keyworded.
Tags are not necessary to use in your blog posts, but they can be useful to your audience if you have a lot of content.
It’s a good idea to only have 5 tags per post. Too many tags and your user and google can get confused.
You can add tags into your post by going into Posts-> Tags.
Here you’ll find a similar set up to the categories section.
Basically, permalinks are pretty important setting up permalinks should be one of the first things you should do when you set up your new WordPress blog.
Need more WordPress help? Find out which plugins you need for SEO, and why Yoast is not the best option as many would have you believe.
Need blogging advice? Here is one of my favourite posts on blog post structure.