An Overview of WordPress Permalinks

Configuring your WordPress Permalinks is a must when creating a new WordPress website. Having a messy permalink structure gives your site an unprofessional feel that can be easily avoided. Furthermore, having a clean permalink structure will make it easier to share your website, increase click rate, and help out your WordPress site’s SEO.

For example, having something like this:

Messy WordPress Permalink Structure
Ugly and Unhelpful WordPress Permalink

Will result in an unprofessional or under construction feel that users will pick up on. With just a few clicks, you can achieve something like this:

Clean WordPress Permalink Structure
Beautiful and Search Engine Optimized WordPress Permalink

While it isn’t a glaring detail, having the details right will help give your site a professional and completed feel while improving your SEO.

How to Configure your WordPress Permalinks

For a video overview of WordPress Permalinks, check out our WordPress video tutorial Settings 106 — Privacy and Permalinks.

Configuring your WordPress Permalink structure is a cinch. Simply head over to the Permalinks page under the Settings section.

WordPress Permalink Settings Page

From there, you will be presented with a simple page.

WordPress Permalinks
Managing WordPress’ Permalinks

From here, you can quickly and easily configure your WordPress Permalink structure.

If you’re running WordPress 3.3, we recommend using the setting called “Post Name.” This will give you a natural, helpful, easily scannable, and keyword-dense URL. Not only does this help users, but it will also help out the search engines.

Creating a Custom WordPress Permalink Structure

If you wish to get more custom permalink, you can mix and match to create your own WordPress Permalink structure.

For example:
/%year%/%category%/%postname%/
Could result in
/2011/settings/an-overview-of-wordpress-permalinks/

WordPress site owners can incorporate 11 different variables into their permalink structure: Year, Month, Day, Hour, Minute, Second, Post ID, Post Name, Category, Tag, and Author.

%year% – The year the post was published — for example 2011

%monthnum% – The month the post was published – for example 08

%day% – The day the post was published – for example 13

%hour% – The hour the post was published – for example 15

%minute% – The minute the post was published – for example 43

%second% – The second the post was published – for example 33

%post_id% – The unique numerical ID of the post – for example 423

%postname% – A hyphenated version of the post name – for example, “An Overview of WordPress Permalinks” becomes “an-overview-of-wordpress-permalinks”

Please note, if you’re running WordPress 3.2.1 or an even older version of WordPress, we do not recommend using a permalink structure with the post name as the first and/or only variable in the WordPress permalink structure. There were technical limitations to earlier versions of WordPress that would cause performance issues, but they were fixed in WordPress 3.3 (source). How to check for your current version of WordPress

%category% – A hyphenated version of the category name

%tag% – A hyphenated version of the tag.

%author% – A hyphenated version of the author’s WordPress user name

Conclusion

Customizing WordPress permalinks is something that should be done on every WordPress site, despite how small of a detail it is. It’s often the small details that set someone apart from the competition.

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