When you type a web address into your internet browser address bar, you are typing in the permalink. So the main permalink for this website is
and the permalink for this post is
If you’ve spent any time on the internet at all, you’ve noticed that some permalinks are really long. Sometimes they are filled with a bunch of letters and numbers that don’t really mean anything. They can be kind of ugly.
Changing Your Permalink Settings
Did you know that in your WordPress website you can set the permalink structure for your website? If you look at the dashboard of your website you can go to Settings > Permalinks and you will see the following list of options:
WordPress sets the default permalink to a post number. But that doesn’t really offer much to you or your reader. A permalink structure made of just a post number doesn’t tell Google what the page is about, so you lose a little bit of search engine juju with the default structure. As a reader, the post number tells you nothing of what the post is about. So one of the first things you should do when you start a WordPress website is change the permalink structure.
But which one should you use? Well, that depends on the website and its purpose. But there are two that I recommend for most medical blogs.
The first is simply the post name. It tacks the post name at the end of your web address and that’s it. I like this because it’s simple, it should have your keywords in it, and it tells your readers what they are getting.
The second option is a custom structure. It adds the post’s category after the web address followed by the post name. Simply add /%category%/%post name%/ into the blank for custom structure in the permalink settings. So if one of your categories is Medical News and you just wrote a blog post about the changing USDA dietary guidelines, its permalink might look something like this:
This structure adds a little more search engine juju by pulling in the category name in addition to the post name.
If you blog very often, like every day or more, you might want to choose an option that includes the date, but for the majority of medical blogs that won’t be the case.
So choosing between the post name permalink and the category/postname permalink comes down to personal preference. Postname is simple to understand and very clean. Category/postname is less clean but it may offer some SEO benefits. You just have to decide what you think makes the most sense.
Caution! Changing Permalink Settings Will Change All of Your Old Posts and Pages
One thing to remember is that if you’ve been blogging for a while, changing the permalink structure in the settings will affect all your old posts. If you have a lot of links to your old posts from inside or outside of your blog, you may not want to change the structure because you could lose the traffic when people click those links and find them to be broken.
If this is your situation either don’t change your permalink structure, or use a 301 redirect plug-in such as Redirection to point those old links to the new ones.
If you are relatively new at blogging and don’t have a lot of links to your website yet, you don’t have much to worry about.
Changing Permalinks in the Post Editor
Once you decide to change your permalink settings, you can edit the permalinks further when you are adding a page or a blog post. For example, this website is set for post name, but you’ll notice the permalink doesn’t include the entire post name. I like to go into the permalink while I’m writing the post and delete words like a, an, or the, or simply change it to a short descriptive name. I think it helps with simplicity and SEO. You can make these changes right in the post editor, and here is what it looks like:
Your to do list today is quite simple. Go to your WordPress dashboard and select Settings > Permalinks, and change your permalinks to the option that offers the most value to you and your reader.
If you’ve been blogging for quite a while now, install the Redirection Plugin before you make the change.
If you don’t have a WordPress website, or you just need help with these steps, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’d love to help.
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