A Primer on WordPress Permalinks

A Primer on WordPress Permalinks

Permalinks are the URLs people use to access content on your site. Luckily, WordPress gives you the option to change the permalink structure of your website. This allows for easier sharing, intuitive navigation, and gives your site some added SEO functionality.

WordPress, by default, uses a http://example.com/?p=%ID% structure. As you are probably aware, this is not very user friendly. Imagine explaining to someone that in order to hear some of your music, they should visit http://example.com/?p=123.

A word of warning

Permalinks are meant to be permanent links to content, so changing their structure after your site has been active for a while can lead to problems. For example, if there is a link to your band’s music somewhere on the web and you change the permalink structure from the default setup, you risk traffic being directed to a page that no longer exists. One way to prevent this from happening is to use a redirect plugin that will send people to the correct page when they reach the old URL.

How to change your permalinks from the WordPress dashboard

The permalink settings can be easily accessed and managed from your WordPress dashboard. You will find them under Settings → Permalinks. On this screen, you will find several standard options, and you should select the one that makes the most sense for your site.

One of the most common ways to display permalinks is the http://example.com/%postname%/ option. This allows for intuitive link sharing, and gives you a chance to edit permalinks (prior to publishing!) that will include SEO friendly terms that accurately describe your post or page.

You have the option to create a custom permalink structure, but unless your site is going to have tons of information that needs a rigorous system of organization, the standard options will work fine.

How to utilize permalinks for SEO

When drafting a post or page, WordPress gives you the opportunity to update the slug (the words describing the post/page after the example.com/ portion of the URL). These slugs should be kept clean and used for keywords. You can leave out stop words like “of,” “a,” “it,” etc. You want to focus on the words that people will be searching for. Keep the slugs short and sweet.

AudioTheme’s permalink structure for gigs

By default, AudioTheme lists upcoming gigs, with the next occurring gig being displayed first. However, it’s not unusual for bands to want to archive their performances and allow fans to access past dates.

If you’ve enabled pretty permalinks as described above, you can access your gig archive at http://example.com/shows/. If you want to display a list from a specific year, just add the year to the end of that URL: http://example.com/shows/2014/

Soon, with minor maintenance release (1.6.3), you’ll be able to list all past gigs using the URL: http://exaple.com/shows/past/

Learn more about setting up your AudioTheme archives here.

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