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A Guide to Pretty Urls for Bloggers
I believe a pretty url is a wonderful thing, and is an advantage if you're a blogger. What's a "pretty url"?

Take a look:




Why does this matter? Ugly urls are a missed opportunity -- if the url is short and pretty, it's memorable, it's easy to forward to people, it's understandable by the reader and gives a clue to what the content is about. An ugly url is something most people don't want to work with.

So here are some of my suggestions:

1. In the Wordpress Permalinks settings, choose "Post Name". That means the name of your post will be the url, not some number with a question mark, nor the month or day or year. You don't need the date in your url anymore -- it is unnecessary.

2. Take "blog" out of your url. Having the word "blog" in your url is unnecessary for most blogs -- i.e. Just have your blog at the root domain.

3. Take "www" out of your url. Redirect "" to "". Your domain host can do this. For steps on how to do this or anything else, Google is your friend.

4. Don't use the Feedburner ugly urls. If you use Feedburner for your RSS and email feeds (recommended), turn off the stats tracking. If you allow it to track clicks and views, it adds a long jumble of junk to your url (i.e. ?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FMKuf+%28Official+Google+Blog%29*). That's not hot. Turn it off.

5. Shorten your url before you publish. After you type the title of your draft post into the Wordpress editor, it will automatically create a url based on the post name. It's usually long. I shorten it to something prettier, with 1-3 words from the post's title (or something related). Example:

6. Use a redirection plugin. If you've been running a blog for awhile and want to change your urls without losing search engine traffic and traffic from incoming links, you can use the Redirection plugin for Wordpress: Easy to use and set up.

Hope this helps!
Suraj Shah's profile photoLise Capitan's profile photoSrini Guna's profile photoSusan Myers's profile photo
Great post Leo -- thanks for the tip on the redirect plugin. I'd just add one more point -- to take the dates out of the URLs. I just started blogging for Forbes and was surprised to see they still have them in. And I stupidly set up my blog initially with the date feature checked, and I'm about to make them disappear -- so that plugin will really come in handy!
Thanks Carol. Actually that's my first tip in the post above. :)
Oh nards...I see now that IS in point #1. Guess I'm revealed as a champion skimmer...
:) I do the same, pretty much always!
+Gregg Sandler All Wordpress versions are free, but if you're using I don't believe you can edit your permalink structure. If that's an issue, you might look into transferring to another host and paying. Wordpress is a free installation on other hosts, and transferring your Wordpress posts isn't hard.
Great suggestion Leo. Turning my Feedburner stats off now...
Hey +Leo Babauta Thanks for bringing up this conversation. I've wanted to make the change for quite some time. When I change my Wordpress settings to "Post Name," Wordpress automatically removes the date from all of my existing post permalinks (rendering every link 404'd). I assume that's where the redirect plug-in comes in, but do I need to go back and individually change every post link? Or do you know of a way to just change my future urls? If so, I could just go back and change a few of the evergreen urls individually. Does that make sense? And do you (or anyone else) have any Wordpress thoughts for me?
Any advice for those of using Blogger as our platform? I'm getting more and more pressure to move off of Blogger now that my own blog has grown and that seems to not only be supported by my peers and mentors but by the technologies and plugins available to apply the principles you mention above.

At the very least I'll try to apply the practices you mention, but I'm feeling as though I really have to think seriously about migrating to a more, dare I say it, mature platform.

Always great information Leo, thanks as always for sharing. ^BG
+Joshua Becker The Redirection plugin prevents you from having to individually change urls -- tell it your old url structure, then your new one, and all old urls will be redirected to the new ones.
+Susan Fuller I have had success with Redirection, simple and without conflicts, but it probably depends on your setup. I haven't tried Pretty Link so can't comment, but it looks like a good alternative.
+Brian Green I can't comment on Blogger. I used it in 2007 but soon moved off it because of limitations. I've been happy with Wordpress.
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