Permalinks Settings

One of the first settings you’ll want to change on your new WordPress site is the permalinks.

Permalinks are the direct, permanent links to any content on your site. It’s what other websites will use to link to your content.By default, WordPress creates permalinks that are less than useful. They have question marks and lots of numbers that are completely meaningless to the average user. They look like this:

http://www.mysite.com/?p=206

That garbled mess isn’t helpful to anybody, including search engines. These links obviously work— that number is the ID of the content and they get people where they need to go. But they don’t tell the reader – or search engines – very much, hence they aren’t very useful. A simple improvement is to make your permalinks user friendly. Useful permalinks look like this:

http://www.mysite.com/title-of-your-post

That makes your links a lot more useful. It improves the aesthetics, usability and forwardcompatibility of the links. It’s not only good for humans looking at links, but it can also help your search engine ranking. Having real words in the URL, especially keywords for your content, is a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

These improved, user- and search-engine-friendly permalinks are sometimes called pretty permalinks. And it’s easy to use them in WordPress.

Setting Your Permalinks

From the WordPress Dashboard go to Settings > Permalinks to change your permalink settings.


The ‘Post name’ setting will give you a simple URL like this:

http://www.mysite.com/title-of-your-post

Just select ‘Post name’. You’ll see the new format appear in the Custom Structure field. Remember to ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom. There are plenty of other permalink options you can use there, but in general simpler is better.

Privacy Settings


These settings are especially handy if you are developing your site and are not ready for search engines and people to find it. Simply select the appropriate radio button and Save Changes.

Note – if you select “Ask search engines not to index this site” make sure you change this setting before you officially “go live” with your site. Otherwise you will remain a virtual secret.