Using Permalinks

A permalink is the url of a specific post on your blog, or a specific page on a static website.  Visitors to your site might want to use a permalink to link to a part of your site that they’re referencing in their blog or in an email.

Types of Permalinks

The default permalink structure in WordPress shows the main website name plus a number, like http://www.tonibdesign.com/?p=1.  These are often referred to as “ugly” permalinks because no one has any idea of the subject of the link or what it goes to.  Numeric permalinks, one of the custom styles that you can select on the Permalink Structure page, are also “ugly” for the same reason.

Permalinks that show the website name and the title of the individual article, post, or category being referenced are called “pretty” permalinks.  They’re much more desirable from a search engine optimization (SEO) viewpoint, because they give search engines more information to work with when calculating rankings for your site. For example, the permalink for this post is http://tonibdesign.com/2013/05/using-permalinks/.  Search engines will see the keyword “permalink” in the title, and mark this article as more relevant to someone searching for information about permalinks than a default permalink of http://www.tonibdesign.com/?p=1.

To Set Up Permalinks

  1. Click on the Settings link on the bottom right side on the Dashboard.
  2. Click on the Permalinks link on the submenu.
  3. Select one of the common structure options.
  4. Click the Save Changes button.

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After changing the permalink structure, you may need to update your .htaccess file.  You can do this automatically through WordPress, if it’s configured to do this, or  update it yourself using a text editor. The code to be added will appear in a text box below the update message. You can find instructions on how to update your .htaccess file here.

Once you have established your permalink structure, you should not change it, especially if you have a significant number of posts/pages/other links on your site. Updating permalinks to a new structure may involve placing a lot of redirect commands to your old content.

For more information, see the WordPress Codex page on Permalinks

Why a Facebook Page Isn’t Enough for Your Business

Facebook

Why do you have a website? For self-expression? To make money? To share information about your organization, business, or some other subject that’s important?

I run into people all the time who tell me that they don’t  need to invest in a website, because after all, Facebook is free, and it serves the same purpose. That’s true, but there are some points to consider before making it the only means of representing your company on the internet:

You don’t own your Facebook page — You are at the mercy of Facebook’s whims when it comes to what you can and can’t do with your site. Facebook currently governs what you can say,  and what pictures and apps you can have on your site, and to some extent, where you’re allowed to put them. Facebook policies and technical specifications change frequently and staying ahead of the learning curve can cost time and money.

Facebook reaches a limited audience — You customers will only know about your page if they’re on Facebook.

It can be challenging to keep information current — If someone wants to refer to information you made a post you made last year, they may have a hard time finding it. There are many times when I’ve gotten frustrated with FB pages that make me hunt around for information that I need (when and where a musical act will be appearing, for example). More often than not, I’ve gotten tired of looking and just found something else (on a website with a calendar of events and/or searchable posts) to do with my time (and money).

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) issues — You want people to be able to find your site when they look on Google, bing,  or some other search engine. Studies show that most people will stop looking at listings before the 3rd page, so where your site comes up can be important.

You can make money on your own site — While you may make money on sales from people who see your page on Facebook and decide to do business with you, the big difference is that you can set up an e-commerce section on your website and make money from products that you sell or from ads that you run for other companies’ services. You don’t have any control over the sponsored ads that show up as visitors are viewing your Facebook page.

While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, customers still prefer websites.

How to Upload Media to Your Site

Uploading media to a website is a basic skill that anyone in charge of maintaining it will use often. Clients ask me how to do this all the time,  so I thought I would write a post with simple instructions. These instructions can apply to uploading audio and video files as well. You may want to think about hosting your videos on a YouTube account and then embedding them on your site instead of uploading them, but that’s a post for another time.

From the Dashboard/Posts screen place your cursor where you want to insert the media item, then click the “Add Media” button, which is outlined in red in the picture below. (Click on any picture in this blog post to enlarge them it).

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Another screen will open. Click the  “Upload files” link on the top left hand side (highlighted in red below). Click the big “Upload Files” button in the middle of the page and select the file you want to upload from a file selection box, or locate it (on your desktop perhaps?) and just drag it somewhere onto the screen .

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When it’s finished uploading, click the blue “Insert into post” button at the bottom of the screen.

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Once  the graphic is inserted into the post, you might want to edit it. You can do this by clicking on the picture that you want to edit and selecting the little picture in the upper left corner of the selection,  or by going to the media gallery and selecting the picture there.

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Once a picture has been selected, you can edit the size, alignment, enter a title and/or caption and change link URL settings or click the “Advanced Settings” tab for even more options.