I’ve historically recommended using a custom permalink structure which includes only the /%postname%/ element. This eliminates the date-based folder hierarchy while still enabling the creation of a keyword-friendly web address.
Rolfe indicates (and this can be supported in WordPress documentation) that using text based variables to begin the permalink structure negatively impacts speed and performance. WordPress “must distinguish page URL’s from post URL’s” and stores this extra information in its database.
According to WordPress Documentation
…it is best to start your permalink structure with a numeric field, such as the year or post ID.
Personally, I have not experienced performance issues using only the /%postname%/ element for permalinks on any of the blogs I run or manage. I find a shorter URL more appealing and (in my opinion) it helps mitigate the potential issue of a long URL breaking due to a line break in email or getting mistyped when referenced.
I also had avoided using a date-based structure because I block archives from being indexed in search engines. Before Joost de Valk developed the Meta Robots plugin, it was a bit more challenging to do this (especially when using date-based permalink structure).
That said, I did find Rolfe’s information of interest and it is an easy adjustment to start using the post ID to begin WordPress permalinks going forward. I’ll make a slight modification to my original post and will be recommending using /%post_id%/%postname%/ as a custom permalink structure from here on out.
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