You have to start somewhere, and if you’re a home-grown blogger or aspiring website do-it-yourselfer, you’re likely going to be working in WordPress. And you’re likely going to have a couple of mistakes along the way.

Now, you by no means need to be a WordPress expert for your online business to be successful, but hopefully this checklist of some basic WordPress how-tos (and reasons why they are important) help you along the way! Cheers!

 

 

Understanding Permalinks

If you’ve ever paid attention to digital marketing campaigns, you will often notice they use a web address that is specific to the campaign itself. For example, if LovelyPixels was going to host a branding workshop at The Hub, we may create marketing pieces that encourage people to visit the URL “lovelypixels.com/workshop” for more information. It is easy to remember, would be specific to the event and helps search engine crawlers associate the relevant keywords in the URL with your page content (which ultimately helps your pages performance).

When you create new posts in WordPress, it automatically assigns a permalink, which can look something like this: http://www.website.com/?p=298nr249. Pretty ugly, right?
This kind of permalink is incredibly hard for search engines to make sense of and will result in reducing your pages SEO performance.

 

Let’s Fix It!

In your WordPress dashboard go to Settings > Permalinks. From here, you can select the URL structure you want, making the URL relevant to the page title. For better SEO, using “Post Name” is the best option. This will automatically populate slugs based on your new page/post title.

 

 

 

Are You Blocking Search Engines from Finding You?

A simple oversight that can cause havoc on your site traffic if you are not careful. And by simple, we mean as simple as a checkbox that has been overlooked.

WordPress gives users the option to discourage search engines from indexing their website. By activating this feature, you are telling Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines that you do not want your site crawled, inspected or indexed in their search results. Pretty bad for online business, right?

While your website is under development, you will likely want this activated to protect your site from being cached prior to completion. But don’t forget to turn it off before launch day!

 

Where to Find It

From your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Reading. At the bottom of the settings, simply uncheck the “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” if it is active, then click “Save Changes”

search-engine-visibility

 

 

Ensure Your Posts are Not Defaulting to “Uncategorized”

Categories are another great feature for WordPress sites that allow your visitors to easily navigate content, filtering it by what they are interested in seeing. When you first install WordPress, it will have a category setting of “Uncategorized.” If you fail to develop your categories (or “content clouds”), then each posts published on your site will default to the “Uncategorized” pile. Which is an issue for two core reasons.

The first being that no one likes to browse a website for a specific topic, only to find they have to click through pages upon pages of content that is not relevant to why they are there. If I am looking for more information pertaining to the rise and fall of the Spice Girls, I will get frustrated if I need to dig through pages of content about Nickelback. Wanting instant access to the content I am looking for could be because I am a millennial and need that instant gratification, or it could be because I am a bit OCD and like my content organized – either way, just keep your blog clean.

The second reason (which will continue to be a running theme in this blog post) is for SEO. When your website content is organized and properly labeled, search engines are better at learning what your site is about so that it can in turn help promote your site when people are searching for relevant content.

 

How to Make Categories

Start by going to Posts > Categories. From here you can not only change the name of “Uncategorized” to something else, but you can also add additional filters. For example, if you are an online blog about local artists, you may filter your content by “Art Nouveau” and “Finger Painting”.

uncategorized-category

 

 

Changing Your Website Tagline from “Just Another Blog”

Your website tagline should be a simple statement about what your blog is about. Often we forget about this setting and it can make even the best web design look unprofessional. Oh, and it can also affect your SEO.

 

How to Change the Tagline
In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > General. Here you will see a place to change your site title and tagline.