Permalink is the URL using which the world can access any individual posts on your blog. We know that all blogging scripts like WordPress assign a URL/link for each of our blog posts but those URLs might not be optimal. Consider the default permalink structure of WordPress blogs where every post is accessible by a link of type http://domainname.com/?p=123 which is the default permalink. These types of links are not liked by search engines, blog readers and any person won’t link to your posts using these links. So they have a lot of negatives because of which you have to select an optimal permalink style for your blog, that is an optimal type of link for every blog post. In this blog post, we are going to discuss about the Types of Permalinks, How to change Permalink Structure in WordPress, and Permalinks Migration Plugin.
Permalinks can be of various types, and depending upon the type of your website or blog, you can use the most appropriate type of permalink that you want. Here we have discussed about the three most commonly used types of permalinks that are used by most blogs for their blog posts.
1. Traditional Dated Permalink – http://your-blogs-address.com/year/month/day/post-title/
This was the general style of URLs in blogs followed by most of the persons especially magazine-type blogs where the post date information is crucial. It does not have any advantage except the URL itself tells the date when the actual post was/is made which may be useful for some blogs with daily content. demerits are it makes the URL longer by 10 characters (10 characters for date) which do not help technically. This permalink is a must for daily news sites, magazine sites, etc which are nothing but customized WordPress CMS.
2. SEO Permalink – http://your-blogs-address.com/post-category/post-title/
This is the permalink structure usually followed by auto-updating blogs are best for SEO as they include rich keywords in the URL itself which is a common Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactic. But this permalink type has many flaws like blog readers won’t digest this harsh & long URL say yourblog.com/category/post-title and is only good if you use short titles or custom short slugs for every post.
Another technical problem is that if you make a single post under more than one categories the first of the selected category’s name/slug would appear in the /category/ part of the link so you can’t control which cat to appear in the link. The most serious problem using it is when u delete a category all the posts using that category in the /category/ part permalinks won’t be accessible and will give a 404 page not found error.
So your posts within a category would be lost or inaccessible even though they are present & moved to the default category (there is a new permalink with this default category is created but that old link was indexed in search engines so that is a problem). There may be a fix for these plugins please check out in Google Search. I used this and switched to the next type after the above-mentioned problems.
3. New Generation Style (Simplest) – http://your-blogs-address.com/post-title/
This is a new generation permalink style which gives each post a link/URL like domain.com/post-title which looks appealing as it gives the following impression, domain.com is the main page & domain.com/post-title is one of its sub pages i.e. it’s according to the link structure of a normal website (not blog). This makes people remember the URL of your post & makes the permalink shortest possible. Again it makes your URLs simple in both blog reader’s & technical view.
Technically it has no problem & is perfectly structured. The best possible post navigation is possible through this permalink if you have a sitemap on your blog. Top bloggers like John Chow especially experienced ones use this permalink style.
Also, I use this here and switched to this type recently because of its advantages. You can check below for tips on changing the permalink structure of the established blog. One of my experiences with a friend suggests when normal people look at this permalink structure at your blog their first impression is that the link would be permanently available in the future but they think that the blogs with permalink domain.com/2021/04/19/post-title are temporary & clutter up this world.
Custom Permalink Structures
You can have a custom URL for posts in your blog say domain.com/2021-04-19-post-title, which is an improvement upon the Traditional Dated Permalink mentioned above or domain.com/category-name-post-title etc but it depends on you. A piece of advice is not to put category-name in the permalink URL as it poses the above-mentioned problem. domain.com/archives/post-title is also another top one but why use archive word in all URLs.
Open the admin panel of your WordPress blog & under the options tab visit the permalink menu or sub-tab. There choose any option according to the permalink you want. You get domain.com/post-title permalink if you choose custom permalink and write /%postname%/ in the text box near to it.
Check details on using WordPress permalinks here. But before activating a permalink structure make sure you have a .htaccess file in the root directory of your blog which should be writable by the user (chmod to 644 to make it so). That was for Linux hosting with an Apache server.
Switching to another permalink even after your blog has many links and search engine indexed pages with old links can easily be done using a permalinks migration plugin.
This is very important if you want to change the permalink structure even after your blog is popular & gets traffic from links & google searches with the old permalink. If you set a new permalink style then all those links & search engine visitors using that old permalink can’t access your blog. You lose traffic & many other things like juice from links to your posts. So you need to redirect old permalink URLs to new ones for which have to use Permalinks Migration Plugin for WordPress.
All old permalinks are redirected to new ones & are interpreted so by search engines so all visitors & juices are intact and google would soon change the links to new permalinks.
- Go to admin panel → options → Permalinks Migration. Set the old permalink structure of your site.
- Go to admin panel → options → Permalinks. Change the new permalink structure to what you want. (Personally, I recommend /%category%/%postname%/).
In this article, we discussed about what is a permalink, and the different types of permalinks that can be used depending on the type of your blog. Permalinks play a crucial role when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and can put you website or blog higher up in the search engine ranking. We also learnt how you can choose the right permalink structure for your blog easily.