Permalinks (permanent links) are an important part of WordPress hosting set up and are used by anyone and everyone that has ever posted new content. If you are unfamiliar as to what a permalink is, it is the URL that points to a specific post on a site. If you want to get other people linking to, referencing, and sharing your content, you are going to need to make the permalink structure as “pretty,” or as visually appealing as possible.
Pretty WordPress permalinks
Whenever you publish a post, WordPress will automatically create a permalink for it; however, the permalinks that it creates are visually horrible, featuring URLs crammed with numbers and question marks. Fortunately, WordPress knows that its default option is not too pleasing on the eye and provides users with the ability to change them, which is what we are doing today.
Pretty permalinks are attractive to look at and, more importantly, are visually pleasing to search engine spiders. To achieve a pretty permalink the URL must provide the topic of the post and the date that is was created. Ideally, it will need to look something like this:
Creating a permalink
To create a new permalink, you will first need to decide whether you want your website to show with or without the www, for example, www.yourwebsite.com or simply yourwebsite.com. It really comes down to personal preference.
To change how the URL is displayed go to Settings > General in your Dashboard and type in the required WordPress Address.
Next, you will need to select the permalink configuration you wish to use going forward. This is done by going to Settings > Permalinks. On this page, you will notice six different options, some more appealing than others are:
- Default – URLs are assigned an ID and creating in the following format: http://www.yourwebsite.com/?p=100. This is known as an ugly permalink.
- Day and Name – includes date and post name in the following format: http://www.yourwebsite.com/2013/12/01/my-post/. This is a pretty permalink.
- Month and Name – also includes date (but no day) and post name in the following format: http://www.yourwebsite.com/2013/12/my-post/. This is also a pretty permalink.
- Numeric – each URL is given a numerical value by WordPress and displayed in the following format: http://www.yourwebsite.com/archives/123. This permalink structure is not recommended.
- Post Name – the URL is generated using only the name of the post and displaying in the following format: http://www.yourwebsite.com/my-post/. This is a popular choice for many people and is great for posts being shared via social media.
- Custom Structure – allows you to use your own tags and variables to create a custom permalink.
Having selected the permalink structure of your choosing (one of Day and Name, Month and Name or Post Name), simply click on the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page and WordPress will automatically generate all permalinks in the chosen format, giving your site desirable URLs that offer improved search engine optimisation benefits.