How to choose a blog post URL structure

BlogMany businesses now have a blog, some are news based (as is Tamebay), some are product based, some don’t look like blogs at all but use the blogging platform as a Content Management System (CMS) for a website. The one thing that they all have in common however is that they have URLs.

Today we’re going to look at your option for how you structure your URLs and how to choose one depending on what you intend to use your blog for.

News Based Blog URL Structure: Tamebay’s URL structure

http://tamebay.com/2016/04/how-to-choose-a-blog-post-url-structure.html

Tamebay’s blog structure is Domain/year/month/blog title.html

As we’re a news based site it makes sense to have the month and year in the blog post title. It instantly tells you if you’re seeing an archive post or one written more recently.

It is possible to add in the day as a number to create Domain/year/month/day/blog title.html, but this makes the URLs even longer and doesn’t necessarily add much value. You can always display the publish date on the article itself and most news based sites do.

The one thing I wish we’d not done is tag on the superfluous .html at the end. However changing this would break every back link we have built up over the past ten years so that’s not going to happen.

The advantage of this URL structure is that every post is unique, and if we repeat a blog post title (so long as it’s not in the same month) the URL is still unique.

Plain Blog URL Structure

http://tamebay.com/?p=66586

This is about as basic as you can get and generates a sequential number based URL. This does nothing for your SEO, doesn’t indicate to the reader what the content may be about and is one to avoid in almost all situations.

Numeric Blog URL Structure

http://tamebay.com/archives/123

A numeric structure might be useful if you’re blogging to build a course, i.e. you want readers to start at the first blog post and work their way through numerically. It would also work if you were publishing a story you were writing and wanted each chapter to be numerically identified. Other than that, again it’s not a particularly useful blog post structure.

Post Name Blog URL Structure

http://tamebay.com/sample-post/

There is a disadvantage to this type of URL structure which is over time you may end up with two or more posts with identical titles. In this case the first will appear as http://tamebay.com/sample-post/ and the 2nd as http://tamebay.com/sample-post-2/.

Product or event based blogs

Using the post name with no date information as your URL structure is ideal for product based blogs. This is information for which the date of publication is largely irrelevant and the product is what counts.

One way around the duplicate title problem is to include a season or version in your product titles, for instance you might be writing about the NCIS TV series so instead of “NCIS Box set” you’d title your posts “NCIS Season 1″, NCIS Season 2 Episode 3” etc.

Website based blogs

The post name blog URL structure is ideal if you’re using the blogging platform as a CMS for your website. This enables each post on your website to have a unique URL in the same manner as a regular website. The reader will never know that you’re using a blogging platform unless they look at the source code.

For most websites it will make more sense to use pages, but posts will enable you to easily publish seasonal information on a regular basis to keep your website fresh and up to date.

Custom Blog URL Structure

http://tamebay.com/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html

You can create any URL structure you choose after your domain. Most blogging platforms will allow you to create the exact format you prefer so if you have specific requirements there really is no limit.

Picking a Blog URL structures

It’s very easy when you set up a blog to pick the default URL structure or choose one in haste. It probably doesn’t seem to matter too much at that point but picking the correct blog URL structure will make it easier to manage your blog in the future.

As a preference you should go for the shortest possible URL. The more back slashes you have the harder it is for a user to remember a particular URL. That’s why on the Tamebay Guide you can find any company with the Blog URL Structure tamebayguide.com/company-name. The only part you need to remember is that if a company has more than one word in their name they’ll be separated by a hyphen.

Choose a longer format URL if you think it best to include date information or if you’ll have a lot of blog posts with the same title. Pick the shortest possible format URL for your new blog if you won’t be repeating titles, if date information is irrelevant or if you are using a blogging platform as a CMS for a website.