Permalinks – A means to Enhance the WordPress website Performance
URLs are something that actually connects business owners with the target audience. Having a right and easy URL such as Google.com or Target.com not only enables the audience to remember the business and its URL but also can easily access its main page/homepage. In the world of WordPress, these URLs are known as permalinks. WordPress.com defines permalinks as:
Linguistically, permalink is a portmanteau of Permanent and Hyperlink. It’s a URL that allows people to reach out to different parts of your WordPress site.
The importance of URLs or Permalinks (as we will be using both interchangeably throughout this article), cannot be overlooked. But unfortunately, it is overlooked when WordPress websites are created. When WordPress websites are created, developers or even the owners do not pay a lot of attention while creating them because it is considered to be an unnecessary item. However, that is not the case. Permalinks are highly important when it comes to SEO and performance optimization of the WordPress website (will be discussing this in detail in the next sections).
A long, lengthy, or even a faulty permalink can affect the overall performance of the WordPress website and the SEO efforts. All-in-all, a well-defined permalink works as a clue for a search site and ensures that whether your content is search-friendly or not.
Therefore, in this article, we will be focusing on changing permalinks in order to make them optimized for the best WordPress performance.
But, first, as always, a little education on Permalinks is important!!
Is your Website Slow?
What does a Structure of WordPress Permalinks look like?
Basically, a permalink comes into two parts:
- First is the domain name of a website ( i.e., wp-bridge.com)
- Second is the slug: a URL-friendly name describing the content that user is going to find on the page (i.e., /contact-us)
Why are Permalinks So Important?
Permalinks have significant importance for WordPress sites as they have a direct impact on things such as SEO, user experience, and website navigation, etc. Some of these aspects are discussed below:
- User Experience: One of the things which makes the user experience of a website better is ‘URL’. Often, UX design is considered essential for all the stuff lying below the browser tabs, but holistically, the full user experience is not limited just to it. Technically, what you’ve included or have not included in your permalinks mark a big impact on whether a visitor can land on the correct page or will bounce back. For example, users look at the title and URLs of the site. So, they only pick those URLs which seem relevant. That’s why permalinks boost the UX of a WordPress site.
- Effect on SEO: “No visibility is no business” – No brand can successfully exist in today’s super-digitalized business ecosystem without an identifiable presence across search engines. And, this online visibility is bound to happen when you have a good SEO strategy in which ‘permalinks’ play an important role. In broader context, a SEO builds domain authority through the use of right keywords, and if those keywords are integrated objectively in permalinks, they are a surefire solution to boost your SEO rankings to pull search engine traffic to your WordPress site.
- Website Navigation: Permalinks enhance website navigation as they help users figure out the location of a content on the website. Permalinks make it easy for netizens to return back to their favorite post later and they can share the post with everyone else. Contextually, URLs help identify and organize content. It is the responsibility of the front-end to create user-friendly permalinks so that a visitor could get an idea of website structure for finding relevant content on your WordPress site.
When should you Reset or Change Permalinks?
From a technical standpoint, changing WordPress permalinks can badly affect SEO endeavors as it might impair link building efforts used for funnel-building to drive web traffic to your WordPress site that kills off lead-generation efforts. There are a few things you need to do to resolve these issues even after resetting permalinks in WordPress.
Here are some of the instances, when changing permalinks can prove useful:
- Possibly your existing posts have a page structure that’s not user-friendly. For instance, the old version of your WordPress post contains a Post ID which is not helpful for people to remember and they can’t use for reference for later use.
- An existing post consists of a worthless permalink structure with no SEO benefit.
- When you’ve rebranded your site and want your URLs to showcase your rebranding efforts.
Is your Website Slow?
What are the Easy and Safe Steps to Change WordPress Permalinks Without Breaking the Site?
To change permalinks in WordPress without breaking the site is not without difficulty. In order to change the permalinks without breaking the WordPress website, you should take the following easy and safe steps for changing WordPress permalinks correctly:
1. Backup your WordPress website
In order to change the permalinks, first take a backup of the page or if you have time – the whole website so that in case if a link does not work, you can revert back to original settings.
2. Change your permalinks
In order to change the multiple permalinks of your contents, just go to the WordPress dashboard where you can update the permalink structure. This action should produce two outputs:
- It should change the permalinks of already existing pages and posts in WordPress.
- It should change the custom URL structure to ease up storing content in future with relevant permalink format.
3. Redirect the website
Once you change the permalinks, users will see a WordPress 404 error. Therefore, in order to prevent users from bouncing off your site due to unavailability of content, set up redirects. Specifically, use HTTP 301.
Moreover, old indexed posts with old URLs get broken when permalinks are changed. Therefore, everybody with an old link would see – HTTP 404 Page Not Found – an error message, that’s very irritating.
Here, you can do two following things to redirect:
- Add the redirects manually to your WordPress site’s .htaccess file by using the following format for quick and easy redirection:
Redirect 301 /your-former-post-url.html /your-new-post-url.html
- Get a WordPress maintenance service from experts who will not only enable redirection to the file but also help you in the quick-fixes of other technical problems.