Check out this video on what WordPress Permalinks are, and how to setup your WordPress properly to use them.
For all previous entries in the Best Practices Series, check out the links below:
- WordPress Best Practices Part 1: Security through obscurity
- WordPress Best Practices Part 2: Security through updates and backups
- WordPress Best Practices Part 3: Reduce visibility to hackers
Now, on to the meat and potatoes of WordPress Best Practices Part 4.
What are permalinks?
Permalinks are direct links to your articles, posts, or pages. They are: “permanent links”
By default, WordPress uses query strings for your pages, so they will look something like:
It is this
?p=123 that is significant here.
When a page address has a question mark (‘?’) in it, it’s not considered a “permanent link”. Take for example the permanent link of the page you’re reading right now:
No matter when in the future you go to this link, it will always (hopefully) bring you to this page. It is the permanent address for this page and is helpful for a couple of reasons.
Why are permalinks useful/better than the default?
Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different answers to this question.
Mainly, I use them because they’re often “prettier”. If I read the URL of a permalink page I’ll probably know a little of what that page is about and when I’m linking to it, I’ll know I’m linking to the correct one.
Then there is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There is an over-riding opinion that placing keywords in your permalinks that are relevant to your post/article, increases the pages’ relevance in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and thereby increasing your visibility.
Of course, there is much more to SEO than permalinks, but SEO is about a cumulative effect in-page, off-page, and over time, so every little helps.
How to set Permalinks in WordPress using best practices
There is an oft-overlooked performance penalty with permalinks if you don’t do them correctly. And, unfortunately, it’s a common problem with many WordPress websites and most webmasters aren’t even aware of it.
Due to the mechanism that WordPress uses to handles permalinks, your permalink structure should always begin with a number. [WordPress Codex]
To start your permalinks with text causes a performance penalty that increases with every page that you add to your site.
The video shows you how to change WordPress permalinks and some of the best practices for doing so.
If you haven’t setup your permalinks on your WordPress site, now is the time to give it a go.
If you would prefer to have all this and more done for your, please contact us to see how we can help you with your website. For more information, have a read about our managed WordPress hosting service.