WordPress is a boon to the web.
So much great content is available due to WordPress. So many small businesses have a great looking website with all the functionality they need due to WordPress.
The true journey begins after you’ve initially set it up. I wanted to put together something for you that makes it easier to find the bits you’ll want to check out.
We’ll begin our check in Settings – General.
Ensure your Site Title and Tagline are what you expect them to be (typically the name of your site, and what you do via that site).
Ensure your WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) match the primary domain of your website. If you only have one domain associated with it, ensure these match that. If you have SSL enabled, ensure the URLs start with https://.
Verify your email address is correct (especially if you’ve had this site set up for you by someone else).
Finally, ensure the Site Language, Timezone, and Date Formats are set to what’s familiar to you.
A Christmas bonus: if you’re up to date with your WordPress installation and you have Jetpack installed, you should be able to enable falling snow on your blog until January 4th.
Onto the Settings – Writing tab now.
If you plan to post via email, ensure your settings in that section are correct.
You can enable Testimonial post types on this page as well as Portfolio Projects.
On Settings – Reading you can set your auto-response text to people that follow your blog via email, or follow individual posts.
Don’t forget to ensure “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” in Search Engine Visibility is turned off once you have gone live.
Settings – Discussion can generally be left alone, so we’ll next look at Settings – Media.
Here you can set your desired thumbnail, medium, and large image sizes. There’s also a checkbox to turn off the month and year folder structure that WordPress uses by default. If you plan to have thousands of images, then leave this checked.
On Settings – Permalinks, you’ll likely want to change to the Post name option for permalinks. This allows for content to appear more evergreen (coupled with plugins to turn off the display of the date metatag).
On Settings – Sharing, you can set up autopost functionality to reflect your WordPress activity to social media accounts you own.
Those are the main ones within WordPress.
Now for something extra that is more geared towards people with multiple domains and/or managed hosting (such as WP Engine).
Having multiple domains associated with a single site is a great way to tie things up (where it makes sense). JABSystems is my company, and I have had the jabsystems.co.uk domain for years.
When I decided to move to using my name as my domain, I set up jabsystems.co.uk as a redirect to http://jonathanballinger.com.
WP Engine makes this really easy to do.
However, websites hosted on WP Engine are multi-domain by default. You’ll have your custom domain, and you’ll have the myinstall.wpengine.com domain as well.
When you set up your custom domain, make sure that all non-primary domains are redirecting to your primary domain.
“What does this do for me?” you may ask.
If Google or Bing somehow manage to get a hold of your myinstall.wpengine.com domain, they will crawl it. They will index it, and they will not forget about it for a long time.
When you set up a redirect, and Google finds the secondary domain, it will go “Aha! Fresh meat!” and start crawling. Your webserver will then respond with “Actually, this is a secondary domain for the primary domain. You need to forget about this domain and use www.primarydomain.com.”
This prevents your content appearing twice in search engines, and it stops search engines from having to guess at which of the two (or more) domains is the primary one. They do sometimes get it wrong.
And if they get it wrong, your primary domain is considered to be a duplication of the secondary domain, and it is penalised in the rankings.
If you’ve read something here that you aren’t sure you’ve done, my challenge to you is to go to your WordPress site right now, and check what you’re unsure about. It doesn’t take long, and the benefits can be huge to you and your business.
Then forward it onto a friend who may also be missing some of these small tweaks.
Now, if you’ve read through this, and gone “Yep, done that!” to everything, hooray. You’re doing this WordPress thing correctly! My challenge to you, today, is to forward this to someone that you know is using WordPress that may not have done something on the list.
This week, I’ve shared my Monday and Wednesday emails to my blog as a taster. If you’re interested in more helpful content like this, be sure to sign up to my list so you don’t miss any of the stories and tips that will follow.