How Do I Make My Permalinks User Friendly?

On pretty permalinks

Permalinks are the permanent URL’s to the posts and pages. A permalink is basically your post URL or address – the part that comes after your domain name. Permalinks on my site are like this: www.domainname.com/post-name. A permalink is what another blogger will use to refer to your article, or how you might send a link to your story in an e-mail.

Traditionally permalinks were a bunch of numbers put together. This didn’t make much sense and wasn’t very user friendly. Who can remember 10 characters put together to form part of the URL of a post. More recently WordPress has introduced different options that allow you to make your permalinks “pretty” and easy for users to recognize and remember.

To setup your permalink pattern in your WordPress admin, click on “Settings” in the left hand navigation menu and choose “Permalinks” option. As URL’s are frequently visible to the people who click them, they should therefore be crafted in such a way that they make sense, and not be filled with incomprehensible parameters like I described above. For example, take a look at the default Permalink stracture in your WordPress Permalinks settings: www.domainanme.com/?p=123. How is your visitor to know what “p” represents? And where did the number 123 come from? These are called ugly permalinks. You should aim to make your permalinks pretty. Here’s how.

Make your permalinks pretty

In contrast, here is a well-structured, pretty permalink which could link to the same article, once the installation is configured to modify permalinks: www.domainname.com/post-name. Or another option is to include the date your post was published in the permalink. This way your readers can easily guess that the Permalink includes the date of the posting, and the post title, just by looking at the URL.

On the other hand this might not be the best option to go for as some articles might be more timeless and do not rely on the date of publishing but by having a date in the URL your users might think the article is outdated and will not want to click on it. You can for example also include a category to where the post was published in the permalink if you think categories are important tool for you in the way that you want to categorize your content.

All in all the recommended way to go for is just to list your post name itself. This is the shortest option, the most user friendly option and arguably the most search engine friendly option. Remember also that the permalink link doesn’t necessary have to take the full post name. WordPress allows you to edit individual post permalinks before you publish those posts. There is a permalink “edit” button just under your post headline in the post writing field. Use it on all your posts to make their permalinks shorter, more focused and nicer to look at.

One of the first things I do after starting a new site is to make sure that my permalinks are “pretty” before I start creating posts on my site and before I let people see it. Login to your WordPress admin, click on Settings in the menu and choose Permalinks option before you start as well. It will create a better user experience for your visitors, it will make it more memorable and more clickable. Good luck!