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I'm starting a new blog and I have the ability to publish my archives (old post urls that will receive most of my search traffic) anywhere I choose without any repercussions. I've been taking some time to think about where to publish my archives, which will be dashified versions of post titles (i.e. my-post-about-topic-x.html) and my choices are to publish in the root (blogurl.com/my-post.html), in some subdirectory (blogurl.com/archive/my-post.html) or some other option I haven't thought of.

I'm focusing on simplicity so I like the first option (no subdirectory) but that requires that I reserve certain names for other templates (such as a list of all old posts at archive.html). However, not reserving any file names also has its benefits in simplicity.

What are some other pros and cons of archive urls that I've listed? I'd be interested in any other archive urls you may think of as well.

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What blogging system are you using? Wordpress? –  Eli Gundry Nov 29 '10 at 1:04
    
Doesn't matter, it's exclusively a question on the best url scheme. Assume I can do anything. –  Nick Nov 29 '10 at 1:30
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Pros of using sub-directories:

  • Dealing with duplicate titles/URIs/filenames. With everything hanging on a single directory, you have to be careful to not use the same name ever again. Easy enough to overlook now, but 5 years down the road you'll feel it. You can avoid this just by adding a date or unique ID in the URL somewhere (e.g. "/2010-11-29-some-post.html" or "/6012/what-url-should-i-use-for-my-blog-archives").

  • If you're coding the application yourself from scratch, having the subdir there will help if you want to differentiate the display of archived posts from current ones. For most modern blogs, it won't actually be a real directory anyway, just a trigger to call in additional code and views (calendars for navigating through the history, etc).

  • Search engines like descriptive URLs.

Cons:

  • If you're coding it yourself, it can add a layer or two of complexity. You'd be setting a hard rule of not allowing alternate views for certain posts - but if you don't need it, you don't need it.

  • It's pointless organization from the user's perspective. For example, "/monkeys/1045-stuff-about-monkeys" has context - it tells me what category I'm in, and that there are probably other related posts. On the other hand, "/archive/1045-stuff-about-monkeys" just tells me the post is old.

Can't think of any other cons offhand, but in the end it's mostly just organization and personal preference. The only real issue is the possibility of duplicate URLs (above), and that's easy to work around.

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Well, since you can do anything, I'd go somewhat detailed, like so:

http://blogurl.com/archive/2010/jan/post-name

This URL is based both off of personal preference and some assumed (read: logical guesses) SEO tactics.

  1. I like having human readable URLs. In my mind, what is good for us, is good for crawlers.
  2. I always leave the www out of my URL. Some my disagree, but for a blog, this just adds more characters to your URL, which can affect your SEO (very little).
  3. As it is a personal blog (I assume), you probably don't do more than 10 posts a day, so I see it as unnecessary to include the date in your URL. The month and year are very helpful though.

I'd advise against any structure like:

http://blogurl.com/post-title or http://blogurl.com/archive/post-title

if you are using Wordpress. If you choose this, it can hurt Wordpress' performance.

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