Tutorial

The First 5 Options You Should Set in WordPress

Once you’ve installed WordPress, it can be very tempting to rush off and start instantly posting content.  But hold your horses there, cowboy – there’s a few things that need to be done before you can really get the most out of your WordPress site!

Before you write your first words, before you install your first plugins, and even before you choose your theme there are a few options in WordPress that are worth making sure are done right.

Here are the top 5 options you should absolutely set before you start writing in your WordPress site.

General Settings

Site Title + Tagline

WordPress Title + Tagline

You’d be surprised how many people forget to do this.  Granted, WordPress *does* ask you to set the title of the site as you are installing it, but the tagline is a different story.  In fact, because I was curious, I ran a specific Google Search to see just how many search results would come up for the default tagline, “Just another WordPress site”

Actually, I also removed any results from WordPress.org and YouTube, since there’s a few tutorials on the subject.

The query ‘”Just another WordPress site” -wordpress.org -youtube.com’ nets over 91.3 million search results.

Just another WordPress site.

And all these people had to do was hit the Settings > General button in their Admin Dashboard and change it.

Timezone Settings

WordPress Timezone Setting

If you like to schedule posts, then pay attention to this one.  Chances are your web server’s time-zone may be different from yours.  A lot of hosts have their server farms in Utah or on the west coast – not a problem if you’re in that longitude line, but if you’re in New York or overseas then you could run into some issue when your post goes out 6 hours before you want it to.

Luckily, there’s a handy setting that will let you set the timezone to your local choice – offsetting the server time to where posts go out when you want them to.

Writing Settings

Default Post Category

Post Categories in WordPress

Not quite as bad as the timeline, but still worth doing, is making sure that you get rid of the “Uncategorized” category in WordPress.  Over 20 million use the default with no care for their SEO or human interaction.  Your posts may be random, but even the biggest chaos has a bit of order.

Head to the “Posts > Categories” section of your dashboard and find the “Uncategorized” Category.  Click on it to bring up a screen to change the “name” (the name you see in the template and in posts) and the “slug” (the part of the URL that comes up after /category/ in your site address).

Change it to something.  Anything.  Just don’t leave it the way it is.

*BONUS* Editing / Deleting the Sample Page

Once again, I took to Google to prove my point. The phrase below is a default page on every single WordPress install that’s created:

 “This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors.”

Apparently, 6.5 million people don’t realize that this page is indexed by Google even if you don’t link to it directly.  You can thank Google Sitemaps for that.

Do yourself a favor: delete it quickly, and with prejudice.

Reading Settings

Search Engine Visibility

Search Engine Visibility

 

The number one complaint I get from people with a new WordPress site is “why can’t Google see my site”?  And this is the first thing I check.  WordPress tries to mitigate this by displaying a warning on the home page of your dashboard, but believe me – I understand that it may still get lost in the shuffle.  Uncheck it and know you’re covered – at least by the basics, anyway.

Permalink Settings

Permalink Settings

Our final option is one that is often either neglected or done hastily.  You permalinks, to a certain extent, are the roadmap that people use to view your content.  Giving them a second though BEFORE you have a lot of content is better than re-thinking them (and redirecting to them) later on.  9 times out of 10, using the “Post Name” will serve every need you have – especially in the SEO department.  Adding dates is discouraged now-a-days unless you have a specific reason to date your content (not dating content will allow it to remain evergreen and worthwhile for longer).