As a standalone software, WordPress is an amazing Content Management System. However, even though the WordPress Core software is pretty great, it’s more like a stock model car with a V6 engine than a heavy-duty race car with a revving HEMI under the hood.
Is there a way to take your WordPress install from V6 to HEMI? Absolutely.
Here are 12 actionable and important settings after installing WordPress and get the most out of your blog or site.
Change Title & Tagline
By default, every WordPress install comes with the tagline, “Just another WordPress site”.
To change the default settings to something more relevant; simply go to the WordPress Customizer under Appearance -> Customize, and edit the tagline there. After you’ve made your changes, be sure to click save to make sure that the changes take effect.
Another option to change to the tagline would be through – Settings, and then click on General. You’ll find the option to change the tagline there as well. Make your changes and click Save.
Update Your Profile
It is an utmost important to provide as many details to your readers as you can. The WordPress profile settings enable you to add your name, display name, website address and biographical information. Make sure to fill all your details on the Profile section.
To do so, go to -> Users -> Your Profile
Set Your Timezone
Although changing the time zone is not so important, and you can continue to work as per UTC time as well. But if you are going to set up a bigger website, then matching the time zone with your local time could prove handy.
To change your time zone; Go to -> Settings -> General and update your time zone accordingly.
Here you will also find few more options to set up your desired date and time format as well. The date and time on your website will be displayed as per the format you select from there.
WordPress Permalinks Settings
Your permalink is the link outside of just your standard URL. It usually looks a little something like this:
However, for some reason that’s beyond me, WordPress sets up the default permalink as something leaves a lot to be desired.
Never, EVER, leave the permalink as-is.
To change your link structure, go into your Dashboard, and under Settings you will find the Permalink option. You’ll notice that you have quite a few options to choose from.
Generally speaking, the best rule of thumb is that the structure should make the link easy to understand. As that is the case, most people like to use the Post Name options; however, I know of others who use the Day and Name option too.
Just pick one that you’re most happy with, and then save the changes.
Disable User Registration
Make sure that you only allow user registrations if you want to accept guest posts from other authors as spam registrations will be much pain for you if you openly allow registrations for all. If you will be working on your website alone or with just a group of few other colleagues, it would be a good idea to close the registration process for others to avoid spam.
Activate Akismet & Delete Hello Dolly
By default, WordPress comes with two pre-installed default plugins.
Akismet is an anti-spam plugin so will surely want to activate the plugin to fight comment spam on your new website. To do so, click Activate.
I never find any good use of Dolly and the need to keep this plugin, so you can just delete the plugin from your list.
Install A Theme
Chances are that you already have a WordPress theme in mind for your new blog or site.
Uploading your theme zip file is super easy.
Go to your dashboard and navigate over to Appearance, and then Themes. There you will see an option to “Add a New Theme“.
If you already have a theme file, then you’ll want to choose the option to “Upload Theme“. Choose the file you want to open, and select “Install“.
Once it has uploaded, you simply click “Activate” and you’re ready to go.
You can refer to our detailed guide covering three different ways to install a WordPress theme.
By default, your WordPress install will have a few themes automatically installed so that you have at least something to start with. If you decide not to use these, then you’ll want to delete them in order to slim the bloat of your site.
To do this, you go to Appearance —> Themes and hover over the theme you want to delete. You’ll notice the option of “Theme Details” will pop up. Click on that and navigate over to the bottom right corner of the new window and select “Delete“.
Install Essential Plugins
- WordPress SEO by Yoast is by far my favourite SEO plugin for WordPress. The reason for this is that the plugin has some significant functions outside of just keyword focus. The plugin also comes with the ability to create an XML site-map which helps with SEO. All you have to do is tick the option box for that feature, and it will automatically generate a site-map for you. How great is that!
- W3 Total Cache is one of the most powerful caching plugins available. The options and abilities that come with a free plugin can be a bit overwhelming, but if you do a bit of research, then you’ll be able to get the most out of it. You can read our guide to set up this plugin for the best and optimum settings.
- WP Smush.it will compress your images without affecting their quality. At the same time, it will increase your page loading speed as well.
Make sure to read our encyclopedia on all the essential plugins and select the best plugins from the list.
Categories are used to focus posts around particular topics; they’re good for general user experience and SEO. It’s important to add both Categories and Category Descriptions to help your site get indexed better and faster in Google. And yes, there is an SEO advantage to this.
You can quickly add Categories from your post ( in the right-hand column in your post editing area), however, to add descriptions you’ll need to go to Posts —> Categories.
Simply choose or add a category and then add your description. Be sure to try to tie in your keywords into both areas for better SEO. (note: keyword stuffing is still a bad idea, so don’t go overboard.)
Delete Default Content
When you install a fresh copy of WordPress, you will find a default post named “Hello World!” published in your “Posts” section and default page named “Sample Page” in your “Pages” section. Both of them are available as dummy content and you can simply get rid of them by deleting them.
Just hover over the name of the post and page and click “Trash“.
WordPress Ping List
You might be amazed that WordPress uses only 1 ping service by default. Although you can notify many other services to get better SEO visibility.
Download this updated list of ping services that we use on WebLoggerz.com.
To add them to your own site; Go to ->Settings -> Writing -> Update Services.
Copy all the ping services from the text file you just downloaded and paste them in the Text Area under Update Services. Make sure to keep visiting this page as I will keep updating the ping list regularly.
Gravatar is an important element to engage more discussions on your site continuously. Therefore, it is advised to register for the free Gravatar account and upload a decent profile picture of yourself over there. Make sure to use the same email you used to install WordPress earlier.
The image you upload there will be displayed as the profile image on all your WordPress websites.
Wrapping it Up
So that’s the list. You can also check our detailed list of recommended WordPress resources.
If you need any further help getting started with WordPress, you can reach me at my email. I would be happy to help you guys.
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