WordPress uses ugly URLs by default as your post addresses.  Using permalinks greatly improves access and searchability of your posts.

Why to Use Permalinks in WordPress

WordPress is setup to use your page and post ID when referring to a particular post or page.  This post could be BeginningWordpress.com/?p=99 as an example.  If you look at the actual page address, it is actually BeginningWordpress.com/using-permalinks-in-wordpress/.  The main benefit of using permalinks is that they help search engines understand what your post or page is about.  Permalinks use the title of your page as part of their web address making them easier to find and categorize.

WordPress Settings menu item

WordPress Settings menu item

How to Implement Permalinks in WordPress

Turning permalinks on is quick and painless.  To do so, simply:

1.  Select the “Settings” option from the WordPress menu at the left of the screen as circled in the image to the right.  Remember that your menu may differ from mine depending on what plugins you have installed.

WordPress Permalinks menu item

WordPress Permalinks menu item

2.  Select the “Permalinks” option in the submenu that opens as shown in the image to the left.  Again, remember that your menu may differ from mine depending on which plugins you have installed.

3.  Select the format you wish your permalinks to have from the options, as shown in the image below (click any of the images to enlarge them).

The first option is the WordPress default.  The URL is simply your blog site and the page or post number.  Simple, but it gives no useful information.

The next two options enable you to put a time stamp into your URL.  I don’t like this option as it adds more stuff into the URL that doesn’t need to be there.  There is nothing wrong with it however, and if you like the structure by all means use it.

I don’t see the difference between the fourth option and the first one, so I wouldn’t use it.

The fifth option is the one I have selected by clicking the radio button next to it.  It used to be that you had to type in the string in the box as the sixth option shows in order to have the post-name as the permalink, but now you’ve got the option to just select it.  In my opinion, there is no better way to go.

WordPress Permalink options

WordPress Permalink options

Some Technical Details Concerning WordPress Permalinks

Changing The Permalink Structure

The good news is that you can change your permalink structure at any time.  Not only that, WordPress will automatically forward any requests for the old address to the new address, so all of your links should work just fine.  The only downside is that only one old generation of links is kept so if you change twice requests to the original address will result in Not Found results.

Child Category Permalinks

By choosing a permalink structure other than the default for your posts your pages will automatically conform as well.  Since pages tend to have a hierarchy it is worth mentioning how the permalink structure is applied to them.  For example, say your website has pages to catalog your favorite movies.  On your movies page you have different gendres, and after that you have specific movies mentioned.  Your organizational system may look like this:

Movies

—>Mystery

—>Drama

—>Action

—>—>Sci-fi

—>—> Westerns

—>—> Hong Kong Action

The permalink to the Action page would be http://yoursite.com/category/movies/Action/.  The Westerns URL would be http://yoursite.com/category/movies/Action/Westerns/.  Very intuitive and requires no effort on your part to implement.

Use permalinks.  They make your site look cleaner and more professional and help search engines figure out what it is about.


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