I have been following a blogger whose blog has interested me because of various reasons. All of these reasons were not positive ones though! I have been watching this blog, among others, as a case study. Recently, the blogger decided to change the permalink pattern of his entire blog which has more than 600 posts! Honestly, I am very surprised to see this. I don’t understand why such a decision was made by a blogger who used to be moderately successful —but then his site was hit by notorious Google algorithm updates. And he lost majority of his traffic. Since then he has been trying hard to recover from the penalty. But this decision of changing permalinks has been, in my view, a really bad one.
The blogger changed permalink structure from %postname% to %post_id%/%postname%
Way back in June 2011, Chris Coyier of Digging into WordPress had posted that using a number field at the beginning of permalink structure will help WordPress to quickly locate the requested post in the database. He cited a piece from WordPress codex as well. This codex piece confirmed the theory.
But that was long time ago. Since then I believe WordPress has solved this problem and now the piece cited by Chris no longer exist in the WP codex. The codex also does not mention anything that the permalink structure has an effect on performance of a WP website.
The blogger in question, did at least one thing right that he placed automatic 301 redirects on his old links using a plugin. He also claims that using post id in the URL enhances the server performance. In my belief his logic is baseless —although I am open to learn and understand how at present WordPress permalink structure may influence performance. If my readers have any information on this, please enlighten me.
Although 301 redirects are in place for the above-mentioned blog —but one must observe that Google does not take too many redirects as a good sign. The blogger mentions that his back links are lost -here also, I believe, he is mistaken. As long as 301 redirects are in place, Google will be able to follow the back links already he has. However, I repeat, Google does not really appreciate too many 301 redirects on a website. A large number of 301 redirects should be setup only if you’re shifting your website to a new domain name.
There is no denying the fact that the high speed websites are preferred by search engines when they rank the websites. So, attempts must be made to increase speed of your website. Caching plugins (like W3 Total Cache) for WordPress have limited effect if the website is located on a shared host. If your website is getting good amount of traffic, it is recommended that you shift your website onto a Virtual Private Server (VPS). On a VPS you have better control of your server environment. You can install software and tweak settings that your website needs for better performance.
However, high cost of VPS keeps small-time bloggers on shared servers. It is easily understandable. Professional blogging is not an easy thing in India. Nevertheless, if you have the right kind of skills, acumen, patience and ability to work hard —blogging can be a lucrative career option for you.