I made a tweet a few days ago, with an excellent article about changing permalinks without consequences. I have tested the plugin in question, Advanced Permalinks and it seems to work properly on the site. It seems to not send you on “404 no found”. The thing is that of what I was afraid from the beginning, I couldn’t avoid.
You “share” your posts on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Digg sometimes, on reddit (even if this isn’t a “promotional” site as it’s a “discussion” one). I use also a sharing plugin with counters. I know a certain post being tweeted and re-tweeted even if I did it myself. After I activated the above mentioned plugin, those counters went null. This isn’t what I expected, but it’s logical.
The best thing is to choose your permalink structure from the beginning. The best for SEO and PR increase is the %postname%. You have this choice in the 3.4 wordpress, it wasn’t when I started, and I haven’t had the patience to study thoroughly the matter. What I’m using now is not bad at all, only has too many tiers. It offers the necessary info to search engines’ robots, but I’ve noticed in time, “the simpler, the better”.
The structure may be changed to %postname% if you have not a large number of posts, or if your initial structure was the dumb default one, something like that:
I think it’s never a problem to do so, if you’re not concerned of the counters. Without the plugin, which redirects the old links to the new ones by creating dynamic 301 redirects, a link on digg will send the one who clicked to a “404 no found” page, on your blog, all right, but not where the link was created to send. The plugin redirects the searcher to the new “structured” link. If you don’t have an enormous number of posts, say less than a hundred, or around that figure, you’ll find the time to re-share all of them in a short time. If you’re famous, doesn’t matter anyway, your fame will attract a lot of visitors anyway, and your permalink structure will look “professional”, offering the necessary info to the machines and keeping the the date in the URL is not really worthwhile, the post, your creation, is timeless. I like sometimes long titles, but I’m keeping the “slug” short and representative, which I advise you to do as well. A little late for me to change the structure now, I have disabled the plugin and reinstated the old structure, the one I have used from the beginning (
/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/ ), and I took a deep breath. Everything came back to normal.
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