After downloading and installing WordPress on any one of my blogs, I always follow a set pattern of events. These ensure that the website is search engine and user-friendly.
To help all of those who are beginning their own blog, here are 5 WordPress Installation Tips that I always use.
- Set your blog title and tagline
This is one of the most important things to do straight off the bat. Without giving your blog a fitting title and description, users will be unable to understand your site’s content. For example, Lateral Code uses:
Blog Title: Lateral Code
Tagline: A Blog Focused on Code and Technology
To set these two features, go to the Administration Panel and click on Settings in the sidebar.
- Find a fitting theme for your blog
If you have a site with a design that you hate, will you really want to blog on it? A beautiful site that portray’s your site’s content in a professional manner is imperative for a successful blog.
Look through the wordpress themes database for some pre-created themes or make one yourself. A fully created, original theme will have an inherent satisfaction factor. Set a new theme by uploading it to your server and going to Appearance under the Administration Panel.
When picking a theme, remember some basic rules:
- Your blog title should be clearly displayed.
- The content should be easily readable. Do not resort to a small font. Not everyone has perfect eyesight.
- Links should be easily distinguishable from content
- Have some breathing space. Not many people love to view a cluttered website.
- The latest post should be clearly visible when the theme loads.
- Make sure the RSS subscription button can be easily accessed and found. RSS is a key way to keep visitors devoted to your site.
If a theme you really love lacks one of these guidelines, don’t be discouraged. You can customize the theme to meet your needs. By changing the CSS or adding a few elements, most of the guidelines can easily be met. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t have anyone to go to, you can ask us through our contact page.
- Customize your permalink and user settings
The default WordPress permalink structure is not very friendly. Would you rather have a link that like this:
The latter version benefits both the user and search-engine. It is very simple for the user to remember such a link. Search engines also like this form: containing your title inside the URL is known as a ‘friendly’ URL. You can change the permalink structure by going to the Settings → Permalinks.
User options are a nice way to express yourself as the author of a post and set contact info to obtain the latest updates to your blog.
You may set name, contact information, color scheme, and more at Users → Your Profile.
- Change the default sidebar
A regular WordPress sidebar contains a blogroll with 7 links to wordpress.org. As much as you and I love this blogging system, doesn’t this seem like overkill?
Take time to add and remove widgets from your sidebar. Make it nice for the user and search engine. Provide links to archives, and tags. Navigation defines what posts users can find.
Many people love to place a calendar on their blog’s sidebar. I feel that this is completely unnecessary. Search engines will see this calendar on every single page of your site. When their spiders look through your content, much of the resulting info will be numbers.
Some argue that calendars are great for users. Let’s think about this logically. The user is at a computer. Most or all computers have a time and date setting build in. He/she already knows this information. Thus, I recommend staying away from this widget.
To customize the sidebar, navigate to Appearance → Widgets.
- Use the wide range of plugins available
Before writing an article for a new blog, I add in some of the most popular WordPress plugins.
I love the All In One SEO Pack. It gives my pages nice titles and provides default descriptions. These titles are displayed on search results. Those that clearly express the content in articles and leave out the unnecessary items are perfect for search engines.
You may find more of my recommended plugins in my previous article: 5 Great WordPress Plugins.
Please remember that most plugins are absolutely free. Do not hesitate to use them. They can really help provide everyone a better experience while viewing your site!
To install a plugin, upload it and visit the Plugins section of your Administration Panel.