Important WordPress settings that are typically ignored

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There are many ways to install a self-hosted version of WordPress. Most hosting companies offer a “1-click” install which places WordPress on your server ready to go. Godaddy.com now gives the option to install WordPress standard with all hosting packages. However you go about installing WordPress, it is important to always go through the “settings” tab in the back-end or “Dashboard” to make sure you do not miss anything. Below are some notes on those settings.

Settings > General

Site Title
This can affect your page meta title which is the #1 item search engines take into consideration when indexing your site. This declares not only the name of your site but what your website is all about. If you are using an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO for WordPress, then your Meta Titles are set on a page by page basis. If this is the case, then all that is needed is your business name or the simplest plain version of what your site is. For instance, Complete Web (This website) is simply titled “Complete Web”. Since my meta title is not pulled from here, I choose to keep this very simple. In the case that an SEO plugin is not being used, and you are competing for search terms, I would have named the site: “Complete Web – WordPress Web Developer in Boston, MA“. This would tell the search engines exactly what my site was about and where to place it in search.

An important note about your website title is that many form plugins and Ecommerce plugins such as WooCommerce will pull the name of your site from here to place in email correspondence. When a user of your site gets an email receipt for a purchase, many times it will name your shop from the title so it is professional to keep it simple.

Tagline
If you are using an out-of-the-box WordPress theme, then this could be used but I rarely see this used for any serious websites. Most themes do not use this setting but it is important to visit this page to remove the “Just another WordPress site…”. This will be indexed and can show in search results causing your site to look unprofessional.

WordPress Address (URL) & Site Address (URL)
If you are happy where your site lives, and your site is live and taking on any kind of traffic, it is very important NOT to touch these 2 settings or your site will go down. It is quite a headache to revert this back and requires diving into the database to fix.

Email Address
WordPress is known to throw out a fair amount of spam at times so I like to use a different email such as a separate Gmail address. This point may be changed down the road if this setting has more to do with emails your site sends through contact forms.

Timezone
This setting is often overlooked for people that like to schedule blog posts to post at a certain time; especially for people that have an auto-emailer set-up. This emails a large amount of people and alert them that a new blog has been posted. WordPress uses UTC setting of 0 which means if you live in the states, and schedule a post to go in the morning, the post will actually send out around 3am which make you look like your pulling an all-nighter. Not the worst thing, but we like things to be exact right? Just make sure to select a city in your timezone and your all set.

Settings > Writing

There is not much here to change but I like to keep my website running as smoothly as possible. Some settings that are set to “on” make your site work a bit harder on page load.

Formatting
“Convert emoticons like 🙂 and 😛 to graphics on display” – I switch to “off” to save on performance.

Update Services
This box tells your website who to notify when you post a new blog. Here is a post explaining a bit mare about the Ping list if you are interested in adding more sites to notify automatically every-time you post a blog.

Settings > Reading

Many of the settings here depend on your theme used but the most important setting to note is the last one. Make sure it is NOT checked if you want your website to come up in search!

I like to make sure the “For each article in a feed, show” is selected to “summary” and to reduce the number of articles in a feed to reduce load times.

Settings > Discussion

Now that WordPress is powering almost 25% of the world’s websites just means that WordPress is being used for more of a content management system rather than a fully functioning stand alone blog. Unless your website is taking on quite a bit of traffic or your site is well established, comments are rarely made on most sites and these settings if left untouched will only annoy you. For a standard business website that only uses a blog as a means of posting news articles, I like to turn off the following settings:

Email me whenever – check both to off. Most of these notifications are spam related.

Avatar Display – Uncheck this again if you are operating a very simple website that is not blog heavy. This setting rely s on another website for your site to load. I am never a fan of relying on other site to load for your site to load.

Settings > Permalinks

These settings tell WordPress how you want your link structure to look. This is very important out of the gate as your new pages will begin to be indexed by search and changing this down the road is not suggested. For maximum keyword use and best legibility make sure to set this to “Post Name”.

There could be added tabs in the General settings depending on which plugins you have installed. Make sure to go through any other tabs and review your plugin documentation to further optimize your site for success!

Jason Houston
Jason Houston
Jason Houston is a web developer at Complete Web based on the island of Nantucket Massachusetts. He actively monitors the status and health of over 20 accounts to maintain position in search and to ensure each business is doing everything possible to increase revenue. Feel free to ask Jason a question at: jason@mycompleteweb.net