If you have a background in regular web development such as basic HTML and CSS then taking the leap and moving to a blogging platform can be a difficult adjustment.
It takes a long time to get used to wordpress, and you might probably set up about one dozen different blogs or more across many different domain names manually before you get the hang of it.
One thing that is hard to do is to set up the permalink structure correctly, so this guide will show you how to do this yourself. The name permalink means exactly what it sounds like: the permanent link where your blog posts and pages are located.
When you first install WordPress the default way that your pages will be displayed is by number. This is no good for anyone who wants to see what your post is about by looking at the title, and it is no good for you to keep track of what you have written over time as you add more and more content.
Not to mention the fact that it is not good for the search engine analysis of your site, since filenames can be an important metric when it comes to deciding which pages to serve to a search query.
Changing Permalink Structure and The Htaccess File
A basic knowledge of FTP is required for this, because once you understand how to upload stuff to your server you can create or edit your htaccess file, which is the file that determines the “priviliges” that a web browser or web bot can have when accessing your website.
It is important not to change the settings on your htaccess file to writable, because if you do then search spiders can query confidential data. It is good to know how to security test your websites to make sure that this does not happen to you.
The first thing you want to do is go to Settings on the left in your wordpress control panel (this guide is for version 2.7) and then click on permalinks. You will see that the default option for you will be numbered posts, but we are going to change it so that the name of your post shows up in the permanent file name.
You will notice that there are a bunch of slashes and percentage signs, and there are two ways recommended fot doing this. Go to Custom, and then put in /%postname%/ if you just want the file name to show up, or if you organize your posts into separate categories then you may want to select /%category%/%postname%/ to list both the category and the postname for your permalink.
After you press Update, if your htaccess file is writable then you are done. If not, you will get a message that says Update Your Htaccess File Now and some code at the bottom of the page. So what to do now?
Creating An Htaccess File
You must have an FTP program and know how to log on to your server. You can try a program called Filezilla which is freely available and constantly updated.
Step 1: Start by creating a new text document on your desktop called “htaccess.txt” that is blank.
Step 2: Upload this blank txt file to the directory on your server where your blog is.
Step 3: In your FTP program, add a period to the start of the name so it is called “.htaccess” so it will change from a txt file to an htaccess file. The reason you do this is because an htaccess file will not show up the right way on your desktop, you need to do it in your server.
Step 4: Copy this new file back to the desktop and it should open like a normal text file although the title may not show up on the icon.
Step 5: Paste the code that was given at the bottom of your permalinks page into this file, save and then copy back to the server.
Step 6: Go to your blog and click on one of the posts to make sure that everything works alright.
Step 7: Go get a cup of tea (optional).
You should now have an updated permalink structure that displays more information in your page titles. Good stuff, especially if you can make these intial changes right from the start of your new blog.
This may also encourage you to create a category structure for the types of posts you will be adding, so that you can be organized and so that the theme of your post can be displayed in the filename.