What is a Permalink?
It is the url or web address of a blog post.
It is the address that other websites use to link to you and also how search engines find your post.
How should a url look?
Have you ever noticed how some blog urls look very untidy with a lot of numbers and dashes, maybe a question mark and nothing that makes particular sense.
Here’s an example
or an alternative which is much easier to read
The second url looks much neater and also gives some idea about what the post is all about.
In the first url there is nothing to indicate the topic of the blog post. In the second url you can see at a glance that the topic of the blog post is about permalinks.
The reason the first url doesn’t appear to make much sense is because when the blog was set up, the permalink settings were left at the default setting. They do need to be changed.
When a blog has a new article posted (called a post) it goes to the homepage and everyone can see it there, however when there is a new post, the older post is pushed off the home page and isn’t always easy to find.
This is where permalinks save the day.
Just to recap so far, look at the url for Blogging for Newbies.
bloggingfornewbies.com …is the main url for this site
blogging for newbies.com/what-is-a-permalink/ …is a link to this post and the url is the permalink – the permanent link.
Setting up Permalinks
The way to set up the Permalinks on a WordPress blog is simple.
Go to Settings in the Dashboard.
Open Settings and click on Permalinks.
This graphic shows the permalink structures that are available in WordPress.
When you first set up WordPress the permalink structure will be set to default.
The default structure identifies the post but not in any way that will make sense to visitors to your site.
The day and name option identifies the the name of the post and date when it was published.
This option is similar to the above option in that it labels the post by date.
My preference is to have the post name.
Copy exactly what is above and you will have same configuration that is on this site.
Once you type in /%postname%/ it will automatically default to Post name. That is fine, that is how it should be.
Other Options …
I have previously had a blog where I used category and then post name and that is also a popular permalink structure to use.
Just be aware that you can’t then change the category names down the track if you change your mind about the categories you want on the blog. Unknowingly, when I first started blogging, I did do this and lost the Google rankings I had built up for a site.
A lesson learned the hard way but I did learn about permalinks pretty quickly after that mistake. So, what is a permalink is actually a pretty important question for your site and once set up should be left alone.
This would change the permalink and your visitor would be directed to a 404 message about not being able to find the page requested.
We all know how irritating this can be, so, just be aware of this.
If you do change the categories or the permalinks in some other way, all hope is not lost, there are ways to address the issue using a Redirection plugin or a 301 redirection.
Using the date options…
If you are in posting frequently or perhaps even daily, you might want to use the date option.
As all of urls on your blog will be dependent on how you set up permalinks it is something you think about when setting up or launching your blog.