Do This Before You Create Another Blog Post!!
I know what you’re thinking….settle down Mike!! But seriously, if you are new to blogging, you need to do this before you create another blog post!
This is something I kind of came across the hard way. Perhaps it was buried in those super long page posts you see on other sites and I just missed it.
Don’t get me wrong, those super long pages are great resources, but I don’t always feel like reading a book. I normally just need the basics to get me up and running and I’ll figure out the rest of it as I go.
What do I need to do?
So here’s what I learned. See the URL at the top of the page?
You can change the way it looks.
I know you seasoned vets already know this, but I’m talking to the newbies here.
And just to clarify, I love WordPress. But sometimes that great flexibility can turn into one too many options and just makes it a little bit harder to track stuff done.
With all of that said, I’m telling you today that you need to change the way your URLs look if you haven’t done so already. Now, in WordPress they are called Permalinks, and this is found under the Settings tab in your Dashboard.
I changed mine to Post Name. If you look at a lot of your favorite bloggers, they are more than likely using this settings for their site.
What that means is that you won’t see the date, or a combination of the month and name. You also won’t see that funky ?p=123. What in the world is that anyway? (I know what it is, but that’s besides the point) If somebody forwarded that to you, would you click on it??
Why do I need to do it?
Here are a few reason you might want to update the way your URL:
- You can update the original post date of your blog post and your users won’t be confused why your URL says March 2016, but the page says published May 2020.
- It’s very clear what you are linking to if you share your posts in Emails, Newsletters, Social Media, etc.
- The URL itself looks way cleaner and will help with your SEO in the search engines.
Now you might be asking “why would I want to update my post date on a blog post?”.
Good question. The first thing that comes to mind is that you might just be updating some outdated information on your site, but you don’t want to publish a whole new posts. You want your users to have the latest information available, but you don’t want to confuse them if your link says blahblah/2015/blah and you just published your update yesterday.
The world is so connected now that new information is readily available to you daily! As a result, we want the latest information we can find.
I am a web developer by trade and when I am looking for how-to articles, I instinctively look for the latest ones because I want the most accurate information.
Search engines also want to give you the latest and greatest information that is out there, too. It doesn’t help anyone to serve them old and outdated information.
I won’t say that I fully understand all the algorithms that search engines use to determine the latest information, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one technique they use to determine how new something is by the date in the URL.
What if I have several posts, but haven’t changed it yet?
Ok, I had to include this section because this is one tip I found out the hard way. The more and more I looked at my favorite bloggers I noticed all of their URLs were pretty compared to mine. So, I made the change.
However, see that beautiful little warning at the top of the Permalinks page? It says:
Changing your permalinks settings can seriously impact your search engine visibility.
Yeaaahh, they weren’t kidding. When I clicked on my links that Google pulled up for my site, it took me to my old pages.
Guess what?? They don’t exist anymore. Well, they technically do, but not at the location that Google thought they were.
Not too mention all of the social media posts I had previously done. I didn’t feel like going back and updating everything!
So I came across this really helpful tool called Redirection. I won’t go over how to use it step-by-step because frankly it’s super easy to use.
Once you install it, you will only need to go to the plugin to setup your old URL and new URL. Just so you know I’m not making things up, here is an example of some that I did.
Just a quick update today, but I do believe this is something you need to do before you create another blog post. That way you’re not having to do any or as many redirects like I had to do.
But don’t sweat it if you are late to the game like I was. As long as you setup your redirects you should be good if you already have a dozen or so posts out there. It doesn’t take long and it is the proper way to handle incoming requests to your site that don’t get recognized as legitimate page requests.
As always, please like and share our content on Facebook and Twitter and with your family and friends if they are interested in starting a blog of their own, too.
Until next time, hustle on!