Let’s talk about how to change the Permalink structure on your WordPress blog. Sexy, right?
Okay, not really.
It’s kind of a boring topic. BUT… it’s super important to make sure that your permalink structure on your blog is set up properly from day ONE.
This is going to save you soooo much hassle and headache down the road.
WHAT IS A PERMALINK?
First things first. A permalink is simply the permanent URL structure for each of the pages, posts, and categories on your website.
That’s seriously it, nothing crazy or scary.
Nerdy, slightly fun, fact: URL is actually an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator.
The permalinks on your website are going to include your domain name and then a ‘slug’, which is the bit of text that comes after the domain name. As an example: MyBlogDomain .com / ThisIsTheSlug
WHAT IS A PERMALINK STRUCTURE?
A permalink structure is simply the way your website URLs are put together.
Hence, the term, structure.
You have several options for your permalink structure, and the structure you choose will affect every link on your website FOREVER. If you change the permalink structure at any time, it will mess up all of the links that you have shared over the years (unless you redirect those broken links to your new accurate links, which we’ll get to in a minute).
So just keep this in mind.
These links are PERMANENT parts of your website, and they speak to search engines and to your website visitors. So, they’re important. And the way your permalinks are structured matters.
WHAT PERMALINK STRUCTURE IS BEST?
These are your permalink structure options. You can find them within your WordPress dashboard by clicking on Settings, and then Permalinks.
Now, the truth is, I’m not your mama and I can’t tell you what to do. But I will tell you what the best option is for most bloggers, and why.
The best permalink structure for most of us is going to be the POST NAME option.
This means that your URL structure will simply consist of your domain name and your blog post name… whatever name you choose to assign to that post when you create it.
WHAT PERMALINK STRUCTURE SHOULD YOU AVOID?
By default, WordPress usually sets up your permalink structure with the day and name in it. This means that your blog post links will include the day you publish the post and the name of the post. It will look like this: BestBlogEver .com/2019/06/31/Blog-Post-Title-Here
This isn’t the best option for most of us bloggers.
It might be okay if you’re a ‘news and events’ blogger and you NEED the date of those events in your URL for some reason, but that’s one of the few cases it might be okay.
Otherwise, that is a long and messy URL that no one will ever remember. And on top of that, it includes a DATE, which is usually a bad idea.
Readers like fresh new content that is relevant to them TODAY.
You might have a great blog post with tons of great information, but if you wrote it a year ago and the publish date is in the URL, many people aren’t going to consider it relevant or up-to-date info.
This is going to cost you potential traffic and readers!
If you ever want to update that blog post, the old date won’t make any sense in the URL (because the content has been updated).
Even worse than that, if you decide to edit the URL to remove the date, you will be essentially “breaking” all of the links to that post, and when anyone clicks on your Pinterest pins or links that used to direct to that post, they will land on an error page.
Most of the time, I’m going to recommend avoiding all permalink structures except for the POST NAME structure.
HOW TO CHANGE THE PERMALINK STRUCTURE ON YOUR BLOG
If you’re reading this article early in your blogging career and you don’t have many blog posts up yet, I have good news for you! You can easily change the permalink structure on your blog with little-to-no damage.
** Do not change your permalink structure without learning how to do link redirects (tutorial linked below). Once you make the change, it will essentially ‘BREAK’ your old links with dates in them. If you are nervous about this process or just don’t know what you’re doing, you can hire someone like iMarkInteractive to help with this!
When you’re ready, simply go into your WordPress Dashboard, click on Settings, click on Permalink structure, and then click the box next to ‘POST NAME’. Then hit Save.
This will change the structure of the URLs across your website, and it will essentially ‘break’ the old links to your blog posts that contained dates. If you have no blog posts and no blog readers (or very few blog posts and very few blog readers), this isn’t a huge deal.
If you have a lot of blog posts and some website traffic, you’ll follow the same steps to change the permalink structure, BUT you’ll have one more step to take. It’s important to setup a redirect from your old links to your new links, so that people can find those posts when they stumble across the old broken link.
HOW TO CREATE A REDIRECT IN WORDPRESS
Alrighty… now we have to talk about something that I strongly dislike: tech stuff! Redirecting your links can be a little bit scary if you don’t know what you’re doing. But luckily, we have a ton of helpful resources online that will walk us through the process.
This isn’t my specialty, and I have never done this on my own site, so consider me the messenger when it comes to creating redirects for your new permalink structure.
WPbeginner is my absolute favorite for learning the ropes of WordPress, and this redirect tutorial is going to provide everything you need to know.
If you get stuck or simply want a professional to handle this permalink/redirect thing for you, be sure to reach out to my friends at iMarkInteractive because they are extremely affordable and they can save you all the stress of doing it yourself!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Not too bad at all, right? We just went through the simple process of finding and changing the permalink structure on your blog. And now you’re ready to get writing!
Be sure to pin this baby for later, just in case you ever need a refresher on how to change the permalink structure on your WordPress blog!