Once you install WordPress, you’re probably thinking you’re good to go, but there are a few things we recommend you do before showing your site off to the world. They’re simple things and mostly cosmetic, but a few of them will help with your site’s SEO in the long term, so why not start off the right way?
P.S. If you haven’t installed WordPress yet and are feeling a bit intimidated, make sure to check out this post to getting your site set up in just a few easy and quick steps!
WordPress Beginner Basics
1. ‘Just Another WordPress Blog’
By default, WordPress drops in this phrase as your site’s tagline. Obviously you do not want to be known as just another WordPress blog, but instead you want to be known for who you are and what your brand represents. Because this phrase gets pulled into your site’s title in Google, it’s important to change it and also make it something that will be good for your SEO in the long term.
Be specific! You want to help search engines and by providing a tagline that gives context to your site will help you show up in rankings. Let’s say your blog focuses on finding affordable pieces that aren’t too trendy and you live in New York. Which title is going to do more good for you — ‘a New York fashion blog’, or ‘New York Based Classic and Budget-Friendly Style Blogger. Clearly, the second one gives Google and readers a better idea of what your site is about and will attract more of the right readers!
You can change this under ‘Settings’ > ‘General’.
You’ve seen those long, ugly permalink, right? Ones that look like this: http://yourblogname.com/2016/04/post_id1344212
Not only does it look crappy and make sharing more difficult, it doesn’t help with your SEO at all. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Permalinks’ and from here you can set your permalink options. I always recommend the ‘Post Name option because it’s clean, short and easy to remember!
The one time I would suggest editing your permalink to something custom is if you’ve imported posts from a different platform. Blogger’s permalinks are different than WordPress’ and if you don’t want to miss out on old traffic after you’ve moved over, you’ll want to edit your permalinks to mimic Blogger’s so that any old backlinks or pins with that old URL will still go to your new site.
3. Delete Sample Items
When you install WordPress, it automatically creates a sample page, post and comment to give you an idea of how everything will look. Make sure you go in and delete these! So many people forget this step and if a reader happens across it, it can be embarrassing. No one wants to land on that empty sample page or that ‘Hello World’ post and it’s fake comment.
4. Set the Number of Posts to Show
By default, WordPress pulls in your latest 10 posts on the homepage. You can change this setting (and I recommend you do!) under ‘Settings’ > ‘Reading’ — I recommend 3-5. Why? It encourages readers to click back on older posts and also keeps your load time fast because there’s not nearly as much content that has to load on that homepage!
Do you have any other tips for first time WordPress users?