Setting Blog Permalinks: Blogging Tips #3

Once you’ve chosen a blogging platform, one of the first steps to take in
setting up the blog is to designating permalinks.

Permalinks is short for “permanent links” as in, “this is the permanent location
where this blog post will reside.” For example, a recent post on Technology
Evangelist titled,
“How
Google Creates Wealth” can be found at the following permalink:

http://www.technologyevangelist.com/2007/09/how_google_creates_w.html

The part designated at setup is everything that comes after your blog’s base URL
(in the above case, after http://www.technologyevagelist.com/).

The permalink designation used here is
year/twodigitmonth/first_20_characters_of_post_title_with_underscores.html

Here are some tips for creating great permalinks:

1. Make them human readable. It’s much
friendlier to have a URL that helps describe the content of the link than
something like /?storyID=112 Additionally, it may give your site a bit of a
boost with search engines to include descriptive words in the URL. It certainly
doesn’t hurt.


2. Keep the URL under 80 characters total.
This helps keep URLs from breaking when people email permalinks to each other.
URLs
longer than that may break if they wrap around to a second line in the
email, leading to responses like, “the link you sent me doesn’t work.”

3. Use date information in my URLs. I use
dates in permalink URLs because it makes it easy to filter by date in web
analytics programs. For example, I could filter for top page views with URLs
containing 2007/08/ to generate a list of top stories for the month of August
2007. Others will argue that evergreen content will appear more evergreen if a
date isn’t attached to it, so would recommend against using dates in permalinks.

4. This isn’t make or break stuff. Some
blogging platforms won’t give you an option for permalinks. That’s not the end
of the world. But if you have the option, take advantage of it.

5. .htaccess modification. If you’re
hosting your own blog, such as WordPress or Movable Type, you’ll need to have
the ability to create and modify your .htaccess file to create permalinks. If
you turn on permalinks in your site’s admin area and start seeing page cannot be
found errors when you click on individual posts, you probably forgot to
configure the site’s .htaccess file.


6. Linking to Permalinks. Set your post
titles on your homepage and category pages to
link
to your permalinks. That’s more important than including a link called
“permalink” that links to the post’s permalink location.

Are there any other thoughts on permalinks worth noting?

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