I just posted a link to a particularly good blog post on my Facebook page and someone said that my permalink URLs, that are of the form “?p=39”, are bad. What’s wrong with them and how do I fix it in Wordpress?
I don’t know if I agree that your permalinks are “bad”, per se, but I will agree with them that the link is suboptimal.
Seriously, it’s so incredibly easy to have a WordPress blog or site use better URLs that there’s really no reason to fix it. Better yet, WordPress supports a lot of different permalink naming conventions, as you’ll see shortly, so if the default isn’t something you like, you can switch to something else.
But why change? Because URLs of the form http://www.yourdomain.com/this-is-a-meaningful-name/ are more human friendly for those situations — like on Facebook — where people can see the web page address and they’re also more search engine friendly because now you’re including keywords in the page name. In fact, having a “?” in your URL can be a distinct problem. In the Webmaster Guidelines, Google says: “If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages.”
So let’s see how to fix things!
First off, go to your Dashboard from your home page:
Once you’re at your Dashboard, go to “Settings” and choose “permalinks”:
That’s it, that’s all you need to do in terms of navigating through WordPress.
The resultant page shows you all the many options for changing your permalink structure:
The default is what you have with “?p=123” as the URL format. Ugly, and not search engine friendly.
Which one you choose to switch to is up to your preference but keep in mind that whatever you choose, you’re going to be kinda stuck with that forever. You can switch from “?p=123” format any time since those will always still work, but if you choose “Numeric” and then decide to change to “Post name” then any existing links to your numeric format permalinks will break. Which is bad.
So having read the Google Webmaster Guidelines, I always want to have the blog entry title as part of the URL, so that actually eliminates “Numeric” from the choices. Then it’s a matter of whether you want month & day, or month, day and year included. On some of my blogs, like my Dad blog GoFatherhood, I use Month and name, but on other blogs, like this one, I just use Post name.
You can pick your favorite, but anything’s going to be better than the default.
Change it, and you’re good to go!