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The Complete WordPress Permalink Guide for a Beginner

The Complete WordPress Permalink Guide for a Beginner

It is advisable that you change your WordPress permalinks with proper structures, for the default ones are deemed not to be effective. However, this major undertaking requires caution as it may affect your site SEO, and in return affecting your online ranking. It may also result to errors when done incorrectly leading to broken links.

In this case, we have come out a guide on permalinks and how to handle them, with which our readers just require dedication and a little technical knowledge to change the WordPress permalinks successfully. What are Permalinks?

Basic Definition of WordPress Permalinks

what is permalinkThese are the numbers, texts and symbols that appear at the end of the site domain name used to direct the readers to different web pages and to different posts online. These permalinks have a couple of purposes to your readers.

  • They capture the attention of the reader even without opening the links.
  • They optimize your site for SEO purpose with the given keywords.
  • They are a permanent path for your readers and Google searchers to come back to the site.
  • They identify each post on your site.

Why Change Permalink Structure?

permalink structure changeThere is an array of reasons why you might want to change your permalink structures. This, in fact, depends on the type of your blog and whether you need to promote the content urgently. Also, if you require upgrading your site and having a date as part of the URL structure, you can make a modification. Most of the reasons storms from your needs for the site.

Note that if you are used to the default permalinks, you may have found that they do not have any effect on your subscription list or the growth of your site.

How to Change WordPress Permalinks without Affecting the Site

Permalinks need to be as SEO-friendly as your whole site URL, which are easy-to-spell, easy-to-remember, and well-organized. In fact, there are three types of permalinks for WordPress. We’d like to introduce them in the following.

wordpress permalink

  • Default Link – By default, the WordPress permalinks use the query string format that is ugly and hard-to-type, coming with question makes and meaningless letters, symbols, and numbers. It simply looks like https://whatswp.com/?p=N.
  • Pretty Permalink – This is the ideal permalink that is well-organized with no incomprehensible parameters. Visitors can type or modify the link text to navigate to their targeted posts easily. Besides, they can also guess the posting date, post title, main content, and article category simply by looking at the permalink.
  • PATHINFO Permalink – It looks very like the pretty permalink with the same benefit and functionality. The only difference is that it has a /index.php part inserted in the URL, which just like https://whatswp.com/index.php/year/month/date/post-name/.

Just as we have mentioned before, the default permalink structure is not search engine optimized. Therefore, you need to change the common structure with a pretty format for better usability and compatibility of the links. To do this, firstly you need to make a decision on the items you want to be displayed on the permalink and how they should be displayed.

This includes the date factor. Whether it should be there? Should it show the month only? Should you include day and year? How should the date be arranged on the permalink? Once you have decided what items to use and how to format them, you simply need to log into your WordPress admin panel and click the Settings tab. In the dropdown menu, there is an option called permalink. Click it for permalink configuration.

wordpress permalink setting

Now, you can see 6 common options for you to choose, which include Default, Day and Name, Month and Name, Numeric, Post Name, and Custom Structure. To be frank, according to our own experience, we think the second and the third structure are the best options, for you can present comparably more detailed information for a specific article on the post link. If you are wishing for a short URL, the penultimate one is also worth trying.

Besides, if you don’t want to use these pre-determined structures, you can also decide a custom one on your own. However, you always need to bear in mind that the structure you choose needs to be 100% search engine preferred.


Lucy has been a very experienced SEOer, technical writer, web developer, c# developer since 2002. Now she owns a startup in San Francisco, CA, focusing on running a couple of blogs to share knowledge and experience with global readers and deliver exceptional results to global sponsors by leveraging the power of Internet.


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