Now, you know how to choose your domain name, how and where to buy your domain and web-hosting from, you have learned how to start a WordPress blog, you have decided which niche you want to blog; so, the only thing left to do is just set up your blog and start to create awesome content for it.
So, today we are going to look at the essential things that your blog must have to make the most out of it.
Here is what you will read today:
- The most vital tweaks to make on your WordPress blog immediately after the installation.
- The must-have elements that your blog cannot miss.
9 essential settings for your WordPress blog immediately after installation:
When you buy a new smartphone do you just use it with its stock settings and never customize it?
Of course not; coz the default settings are always boring.
So, what you do? You change the settings as per your requirements. You would change the themes, colors, wallpapers, and ringtone, rearrange the icons, remove the unnecessary applications, install the new necessary applications, you will tweak the camera settings to get the best pictures and there’s plenty more you do before you are finally satisfied with its look, usability, functionality, and performance.
The same needs to be done with a brand new blog. You should never make a blog public without doing the necessary tweaks to it.
If you do, it will simply make you look unprofessional and that will harm your reputation in the long run.
So, to save you from that, here I have listed a few must-dos right after you install your WordPress blog:
1. Give your blog a title and a tagline:
You have just installed a blog; so, I am pretty sure you have already decided a name for your blog, but just in case you still haven’t, then read this How to choose a blog name?
You might say, “I am planning to put a nicely made logo on my blog, so I don’t need a title and a tagline”
If that is you, then think again.
You are starting a blog that means you want people to see it, read it, and engage with it. But if a search engine can’t recognize your blog then how will you bring in the readers. Of course, there are other ways, but you will be an idiot to miss out on the biggest traffic source, especially when it’s FREE.
“The first thing a search engine will crawl is the title of your blog and unfortunately it can’t read images. “
So, even if you put a logo on your website, it won’t understand what is it that written on your logo. However you can put an “alt tag” in the logo, but again a web crawler will not necessarily figure out that is the blog name, it’s highly likely that it will just assume it as a typical image on your blog.
So, don’t make that mistake; go to Settings> General> and give your blog a title and a tagline and there are few more settings in the General settings section, just follow the screenshot below and make the changes as per your requirement.
If you plan to be the solo author of your blog then keep the “Anyone can register” unchecked.
Set the time zone as per your locality,
Change the date format, time format, the week starts on, and language as you would prefer.
Refer to the above image.
2. Setup the writing settings
Here, the most important setting is the Update Service. By default, there is one site is listed, where WordPress would ping whenever you publish a new post on your blog.
It basically updates the sites that you have published a new blog post or made an update on your site; it helps your blog to be found in different search engines.
That’s why it’s important that you ping a few more reliable websites to get the process a bit faster.
You can follow the link (already available in the description under Update Services and hyperlinked as Update Services) to find a few more websites where you can allow your blog to ping.
Just copy the links and paste in the box one per line.
The second thing you can do here is, change the default post category. It is not necessary, but it can come handy if you blog in only one category; this way you won’t have to select the category each time you publish a post.
3. Set up the reading settings:
This section is basically for the readers.
On the first setting, you can decide which page you want your readers to see when they first land on your blog.
Most bloggers (including me) prefers to list the latest posts on the home page as it straight away shows the most important element of a blog, the posts.
However, if you like you can set a static page instead. Just check the radio button that says “A static page” and below select the landing page you want and keep the posts page as it is (as blogs are the posts page by default).
Next, you can decide how many posts to show on your blogs page*. Set it as you like.
After that, you can set the number of blog posts to be sent out at once via your RSS feed.
“For each article in a feed, show” here you can decide whether you want your feed subscribers to see the complete post or just a summary of the post.
Then comes the most important setting of this section, search engine visibility; always make sure the checkbox against it is not checked. If you keep it checked, that means your blog will be ignored by all the search engines (and you don’t want that).
However, it is not a bad idea to keep the bots away from your blog when you are still customizing and experimenting with things with it.
…just don’t forget to uncheck this setting once your blog is ready to go public.
*blogs page – this is the page where all of your posts are shown.
4. Set the discussion settings:
In this section, there’s nothing much to set and most of the options are self-explanatory.
There are only 2 things that you can do here:
First, check the first option against “Default article settings”; if this box is checked, what this will do is each time you add a referring URL of another blog inside your post, WordPress will try to ping that blog and update it about your referral.
Second thing you can do is select the Default avatar as Gravatar Logo; if you check this option what will happen is that, each time someone leaves you a comment in any of your posts or pages, it will show you the universal gravatar logo associated with the email id the commenter typed in while submitting the comment instead of a boring unknown icon.
5. Set the Media Settings:
The only thing you want to change here is to make the default image sizes for all as 0.
This will prevent WordPress from creating duplicate images of different sizes when you upload an image; hence saving you some space and keeping your blog efficient.
It is very important from SEO point of view that you use search engine friendly permalink structure on your blog.
As per Google longer and unstructured URLs will make it tough for the robots to crawl your content; hence making the indexing process a bit difficult.
Even for a human, it is going to be tough to recite the URLs if it is too long.
So, as you are going to put your keywords in the URL, the best practice here is to use a structured URL format and keep the slug close to the main URL (eg. www.yourdomain.com/your-post-name).
So, just go ahead and select the radio box that says “post name”
…and always make sure you don’t come every other month and change the permalink settings; if you do you will substantially lose a lot of traffic as the search engine will start to give you a lot of 404 errors as the URLs doesn’t get redirected each time you change the permalink setting.
7. Clean up the defaults:
By default, WordPress has some contents in form of post, page, and comment. Delete them all; if you don’t, it will show up in your blog archive, along with the other posts and even in the search engine.
So, it is advisable that you remove the defaults; that in fact shows your professionalism and how dedicated you are to provide the good user experience.
Go to >Posts>All Posts and delete the default post.
Same way go to >Pages and >Comments and delete the defaults.
Apart from them, you should also delete the unnecessary plugins and themes as well; it will save you some space and also will save you from some security threats.
Let’s say you don’t delete the themes and plugins and when you have an update for any of them, you might not even bother updating them as you don’t use them; right then, you probably be making a mistake; as you know updates are usually meant to fix something that wasn’t fixed earlier. So, if you don’t update them on time you could just be encouraging a security breach.
So, don’t be too lazy, instead, just delete them all that is of no use at all.
Go to>Plugins and delete the plugins that are of no use (say goodbye to Hello Dolly).
Same way go to>Appearance>Themes> and delete the default themes which you do not probably intend to use.
8. Upload a favicon:
You might not find it important to use a favicon but incorporating a favicon into your blog is one of those small touches that go a long way towards improving the overall quality of the blog.
If you’re wondering what is a favicon? And where does it appear? Then, just have a look at the screenshot below:
This is where you will see a favicon:
- next to the page title when you open a website on your browser.
- left to the page title when you bookmark a web page.
- show up on your phone’s screen when you create a shortcut of a web page.
In the long run, having a favicon can actually play a tiny bit of part in your site’s branding.
Favicon is nothing but a smaller version of your logo. And as you know our visual memory is powerful than our auditory memory, there’s a good chance that people who couldn’t remember your blog’s name the first time might be able to remember your logo attached to the page title bar of your browser (or the favicon).
So, if someone bookmarks a post to read later, it would become easy for the user to filter out the page from his bookmarks (assuming he has a big list of bookmarks) if he remembers your blog’s logo.
Create a .png or .ico version of your logo and the size should be at least size 512pixels in both tall and wide.
Go to > Appearance > Customize > Site Identity > Select Image and you are done.
9. Finally, set up your profile:
This section is so much like setting up your Facebook profile. So, I am sure you won’t find any difficulty here.
However, there are two things you need to know
- If you check the box against the visual editor, it will disable the visual editor we use to write our posts. However, you will still have the text editor activated. But it will become difficult for you to format the post if you don’t know HTML and also it’s time-consuming, so it doesn’t make sense checking this box.
- If you unchecked the toolbar option, it will disable the toolbar (refer to the screenshot below)that shows on top of each page; hence it will make editing any page or post a bit difficult as you will have to go to the /wp-admin link and navigate to the page or post from dashboard each time you want to make any changes in it. So, keeping it checked is the smartest choice here.
For the rest of the settings, like said it is pretty easy; so just follow the screenshots below and you will be good to go.
The above settings are important for nice user experience for your readers. So, neither be too lazy nor hasty to set them up.
With that thought, I will see you soon.
If you have any query or anything to add, which I might have missed here, please put it down in the comments.
P.S. if you have found the post helpful, do share it with your friends, who might benefit from it too.