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What's a Permalink?

by Brian Brown (follow me on Twitter): March 7, 2007

Des Walsh mentioned the other day that when he first began blogging he wasn't real sure what a permalink was and how it was different from a trackback. Here's my confession...when I first started blogging I had no idea what either of these were.

I went over trackbacks a couple of days ago, so today I wanted to give you my straightforward explanation of a permalink.

When you write a post on a blog, it gets sent to the top of the home page. If someone else reads your post and wants to link to it, there's a problem, because if they link to the home page, a few weeks from now your article will no longer be on the home page!

The permalink comes to the rescue. The permalink is the website address that goes to that one individual article you have written. That's the link the other blog should use to link to your story. It will always go exactly to that one story.

Permalink You can find the permalink to a blog post at the very bottom of the blog. It's usually a link called "permalink" and oftentimes is near the "comments" link. Also, the title of the blog post is often the permalink to the story. To find out, just click on the title. If this brings you to a page that displays the article all by itself, it's the permalink, and you can copy and paste the URL in the address bar and use that to link directly to the individual story.

Sometimes the title isn't a link to anything. This used to be the case with Typepad (until they changed their format just a couple of months ago) and is still the case with some blogging formats. To make it even more difficult, some blogs don't call the permalink a "permalink." It might be the date and time at the very bottom of the article. If you can click on the date and time and it brings you to a page that displays only that blog post, it is a permalink.

Finally, the permalink can be deactivated on a blog, usually by accident. This stinks because it makes it extremely difficult to link specifically to that story. The last thing you want to do when linking to a story is make your reader go to a page that has 100 posts on it and make them wade through it to find the exact post you are writing about.

You can find out how I use permalinks to create links in my blog posts by reading my article called, Blog Dos #5: Link to websites within posts.

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