If you are just starting out please heed this advice and change your Permalink settings before you write your first post! If you have a good number of posts and are getting traffic, don’t change anything without getting advice from someone in the know.
Every post and page on your WordPress site has its own address and can be linked too as well as come up as a separate search result. When title a post for your blog readers, WordPress creates a permalink for it which becomes the permanent address of that post on the web. It creates it by adding a unique identifier to your url. It creates it in lower case and dashes, no spaces.
Out of the box, WordPress uses URLs that look like your url followed by random letters and numbers with a few question marks thrown in for good measure. You would be likely to see something like this:” http://www.newtricks.me/?245″. This is not pretty. Search engines do not like the default permalinks and they are hard for humans to read and remember. You can however change the default settings to create a more readable or “pretty” permalink structure.
I have changed mine and so the permalink of this post is: “http://www.newtricks.me/first-things-first-set-up-your-pretty-permalinks-on-your-wordpress-sites”. This type of permalink is SEO friendly, and human friendly as well.
WordPress provides a way for us to change this linking structure and offers several ways to set them up. Go to the Dashboard under Settings. You will find Permalinks is one of the choices. You will see the screen above. It shows that I use a custom structure and put in the space: %postname%.
If you are likely to have duplicate post titles you may want to add the the, date and and post name by selecting the day and name option. But then you can never change the date of the post without creating broken links. I sometimes change the dates of posts to reorder them or not to have a particular post show on my blog page. Some people set up permalinks using the url, category name and the post name . I don’t recommend that method if you are likely to ever recategorize a post. This will result in broken links.
Changing the structure of your permalinks affects all of the permalinks on your blog. This is important to know because search engines will have indexed posts on your site via their permalinks. If you change the permalink structure mid stream, you will end up invalidating all of those links.If you have already started your site and are getting a lot of visitors and comments and have a lost of posts you should careful consider what to do about this. There are ways to redirect the old title to the new one through making modifications in the .htaccess file or by using a 301 redirect plugin. So don’t do this without consulting someone with some understanding of the ramifications of changing them or not changing them depending on where you are in the life cycle of your site.
But, if you are just starting out Please heed this advice and change the settings before you write your first post!I’ve seen too many blogs out on the net that never changed their permalinks. Not only will you find benefits for your SEO by having your key words in the title of your posts, it also makes it easier for readers to to see what the post is about when they see it in a search result or when you are sharing a link with someone.
If you are using custom permalinks, I’d be very interested in knowing which configuration of permalink you have chosen to use and why.