A Few Basic, Essential WordPress Tips: #1 Permalinks and Page Orders

Neil CooperVOiD Applications, Web

A Few Basic, Essential WordPress Tips - VOiD Applications

There are a lot of websites out there that harness the power of WordPress. Many first time bloggers or designers gravitate towards this platform because of its accessibility and what can be made possible with little to no knowledge. On the other end of the spectrum knowing the ins and outs of the medium can allow you to create your own beautifully crafted pieces of World Wide Web and stand out from the rest when showcasing your portfolio, creating your online presence, or putting a business model to use whereby you can make money online. Regardless of the why’s, we’ll be sharing with you some basic, essential WordPress tips that will make your WordPress powered website just that little more effective. So if you’re a new user there will be plenty here for you to get to grips with over the coming posts, whilst the hardened veterans of the WordPress system may just remember something they forgot previously.

This post however will delve into the Permalink Structure and also the underutilised Page Order.

Permalink Structure

First off, what is a permalink? A permalink is a permanent static hyperlink (URL) to a particular web page or entry in a blog. The address. When WordPress is first set up, you will find that the option for permalinks is set to ‘Default’ which still works as intended, but it will not provide a memorable address, one that you can be proud of sharing or more importantly be effective for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

Permalink Structure Examples - VOiD Applications

An example of available Permalink Structures given by WordPress.

To access this set of options, log in to your WordPress Dashboard (the admin section of your WordPress powered website). Hover over ‘Settings’ in the left hand menu and click ‘Permalinks’. In most cases using the ‘Post Name’ option will universally tidy up your Permalinks and give it a consistent look. In addition to this what you will notice is to create the URL it will take the title of the page or blog post and assign it to the address. Voilà, you have just changed your Permalink structure.

Another tip for this is to edit the Permalinks individually when you create or edit pages and posts, this is extremely effective in creating Clean URLs which will boost the reputation and visibility of your site when coupled with good content. To do this, access a page or post you would like to change the address of whilst in the WordPress Dashboard. Where you would input the title, look just below it, you will see Permalink followed by the pages URL, click edit. Eliminate unnecessary words, and make intelligent use of keywords that may also be used in the copy or title of your content to come up with a new and clean Permalink. The idea with editing the Permalink is to create a compact URL that tells search engines and users what your post contains in a glance, whilst helping you rank for your chosen keywords and content.

Editing a Permalink - VOiD Applications

WordPress Permalink being Edited.

What to Avoid when dealing with Permalinks

Some things to avoid are stuffing the URLs with multiple words or phrases and making it extremely long. Remember you want it clean and straight to the point so it is easily readable for Search Engines and Users alike. Connecting phrases such as ‘and’, ‘or’ etc. help to create a sentence and explain, but these sort of words do more harm when clogging up Permalinks as they are too generic to rank for, so keep phrases short for effective, searchable URLs.

Page Ordering and Why You Should Use It

Page Order, is an effective little tool that goes unnoticed, especially to the untrained eye. Its not something that has to be done or paid attention to, but if it is, it makes the admin and general maintenance of your pages that much easier, for yourself and others that may or have to work on the site.

When you click ‘Pages’ in the right side of the WordPress Dashboard, you, ‘amazingly’ will be taken to where all the user created pages are kept for you to access (who’d have thought). In many cases, you create a page or pages, give them titles, add content, assign them other attributes if possible, save them, and if ready, boom, hit publish and they are on the web. This is great until you’re 200 user created content deep of pages in your WordPress Dashboard, and you have to skip pages to get to the one you want, not knowing if its on that page you’re skipping to. Sounds like hell doesn’t it (for me it does anyway).

Editing Page Order - VOiD Applications

An example of Page Order being assigned.

By default every page is assigned 0, so they pick an order of date created or alphabetically. To avoid this, a good practice from the start but can be done at any time during a WordPress websites life is to add a number to the ‘Order’ section of the page when editing. For example, if you have a user created Home Page, give it the order of 1, as its your first page. An About page, 2, and Contact 3. Now whenever you access the ‘Pages’ page in the WordPress Dashboard they will be delivered to you in that order. Genius. The benefit of doing this from the start is that when you end up 200 pages deep (you shouldn’t but we’ll get on to that in another post) you’ll have updated the orders of the pages so that you can easily find them in your Dashboard.

The benefit doesn’t end there, some Menus and Plugins utilise this order and when they auto display Menus and Pages, they will use the ‘Order’ you assign to assort the results. Bonus. General maintenance is easier also, when you create Menus through WordPress the pages will be laid out from top to bottom in the order you assigned making admin tasks that little more bearable.

A bonus tip for this (I’m being generous on this post) would be to list Child Pages the same as their Parent Pages with regards to order if you have any to make sure pages remain in sync (insert Boy Band joke here).

So there you have it, two basic, essential WordPress tips covered in depth, in the first installment of this series. If you think your business’ webs presence could benefit from the Web services we offer or just want to have a chat about the wealth of possibilities on offer, please get in touch we’re happy to help.