The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of your website gives hints on the structure of your WordPress website. Good structure leads visitors to an understanding the layout of your website. They can accurately deduce where to find different content. Having a poor website structure will confuse visitors; they will become frustrated and leave your website. Search engines like a well laid out structure (they can quickly crawl your website). WordPress does not have a typical layout structure. WordPress pulls the content from a database dynamically. Follow our WordPress permalink recommendations to help visitors understand the structure of your website.
WordPress has six permalink structures you can use on your website. Five of the permalink settings are non-changeable. The sixth setting lets you customize the layout of the permalink. We use the ‘Post name’ permalink for all the WordPress websites we develop. Understanding the shortcomings of the other permalink settings will help understand the reasoning behind our choice.
Query Strings not good
The ‘Plain’ setting uses a query string in the URL (i.e. the ?p=123 portion of the URL). This part of the URL refers to the ID of the post or page. It supplies no meaning to visitors or search engines. Some search engines drop the query string resulting in different pages having the same link in search engine page listings.
Date links get old quickly
The ‘Day and name’ and ‘Month and name’ settings display numeric date formats to the URL. These formats become outdated quickly. For instance, consider the following URL:
Do you think that this article is up-to-date? Not likely. But WordPress does not update the date of a post/page each time you edit the content. The original published date stays as the URL. Visitors seeing this URL will think that this content is outdated and will look for fresher content.
The ‘Numeric’ setting is like the ‘Plain’ setting (without the query string added. Note that WordPress adds the word ‘archives’ to the URL. Another indicator that the content is old.
Best permalink option
The ‘Post name’ setting uses the post/page slug as part of the URL. WordPress creates the slug from the post/page title. This setting shows a human readable URL (which visitors and search engines love). You can insert SEO keywords in the title of your content and the keywords will appear in the URL (boosting your SEO page ranking).
The last setting, ‘Custom Structure’ allows the creation of a mix-and-match URL using several different provided elements. You simply drag and drop the element to the box and WordPress will take care of creating the URL. You can really create confusing URLs using this setting.
One of the first things we do when setting up a new WordPress website is changing the permalink settings. You can change the permalinks later, but you must include a way for the website to let visitors and search engines know that the URL has changed. One of the best WordPress plugins we use to achieve this is the ‘Redirection’ plugin by John Godley. This plugin is quite easy to setup and use. You supply the old and new URLs and the plugin does the rest. Whenever a visitor or search engine visits a post/page with an old URL, the website automatically loads the new URL Having the correct structure is vital for helping visitors understand the layout of your website. With WordPress, it is easy to set up permalinks to give your website structure. Use our WordPress permalink recommendations to help visitors and search engines better understand your website layout structure.