So you know the basics about how to edit pages and posts, but are you making the best use of all the features WordPress has to offer? Here’s a quick overview about some of the basics that can take you to the next level.
The Quick Install
One of the nicest things about WordPress is that it’s really easy to install. Be sure you have a host with CPanel and you can install WordPress in 5 minutes.
Once WordPress is set up, most people want to get into adding their content right away and go straight to creating pages or posts, but there are some settings we should look at first.
Settings > General
Site Title & Tagline Make sure you’ve updated your site title and description. If you’re not using any SEO plugins, this is how Google will know who you are and it will show in Google results.
WordPress & Site Address (URL) These are set up automatically when you install WordPress and should not be touched unless you are moving your site or changing your domain name. Doing so will mess up your site and you could loose access to the dashboard. Do not touch this unless you absolutely know what you’re doing.
Email Address We discussed this a little during the WordPress install, but just to be clear, this is the email where you will receive site notifications. It can be any email address and doesn’t have to be associated with the domain name for the site. This does not create an email address, but is simply where you fill out what email address you want to use.
Timezone You should set this right away. If you want to schedule your posts and you haven’t set this, there is no telling when your post will actually go live. And no need to know your Universal Time if you live in New York, just start typing that in. If you live in other time zones, you can scroll to find a city that’s in your same zone.
Settings > Permalinks
This one can easily be looked over, but is really important for your SEO rankings. When you set up WordPress, your pages and posts will have odd URL’s that are easy for the database, but no so great for people. Choose the “Post name” option so that your URL’s will be easy to read, or create your own custom structure.
Settings > Reading
Front Page Displays By default, your front page will show your latest posts because WordPress was originally set up as a blogging platform, but if you’re a business and have created a beautiful page that you want clients to land on, choose it here through the dropdown menu. (Note: you must actually create the page before you can choose it here.)
Search Engine Visibility If you have a test site you are building while you have a live site, you will want to check this so people don’t find your development site while it’s still under construction and you don’t want Google to penalize you for duplicate content. Just be sure to uncheck it when you site goes live!
Think of plugins as little bits of code that increase the functionality of your site. You can use them to add calendars, social media streams, ecommerce, etc.
See my full list of Recommended Plugins.
Categories & Tags
Many people are confused by Categories and Tags. Categories should be the main subjects you will talk about on your site. Tags are more like hot topics that come up. Maybe a certain football player is in the news and you want to tag post with his name, but your general topics are sports medicine. The name of the football player is just something you might reference and want to grab some of the Google juice from, but you won’t be talking about him regularly. Your main category would be sports injuries.
If you are looking for a few more options, don’t forget to check your screen options at the top of the page. You can find these in
By using the screen options in the Menus sections, you give yourself the ability to add classes to your menu items, which is important if you want to be able to add icons or individual colors to each menu item. You can also specify a link target if you want the link to open in a new window. This is most useful if you are using Custom Links to link to an outside website.
All Posts Page & All Pages Page
From your list of posts or pages, you can choose which information to share. For my blog, I’m the only author so showing the author was irrelevant information for me. I’d rather leave the interface uncluttered so I can find what I’m looking for more quickly. Keep in mind that your options may be different depending on what theme and plugins you have installed.
Single Post & Page
When you are editing a single post or page, you have lot of options to remove anything that you don’t use that might be distracting. Like I said before, I’m the only author, so why clutter my editor with an extra box? Most people aren’t using scripts on their pages and posts, so that is another thing that is good to get rid of. You also have the option of using only one column if you want more writing room.
Posts & Pages
You already know the basics about editing posts and pages, but here are a couple things you may not have known.
Have a special post you want to keep at the top of your blog? WordPress makes it easy with “sticky” posts. When you go to publish your post, just click on the “edit” button next to “Visibility”. Then just tic the box marked “Stick this post to the front page”. So easy! Find out more.
Most people who are creating a new website will want to have one or more email addresses that are created with the site using the same domain name. Personally, I like using GMail because it’s free and has a lot of features which continue to grow all the time. If you want to have an email address with @yourdomain.com, you can set that up through Google as well, but there is a fee for it.
I want to be clear here that email addresses are completely separate from WordPress. You cannot create email addresses through WordPress. You need to create the email addresses through your hosting provider, domain name provider, or a 3rd party email provider like Google. If you have a good hosting or domain company with good customer service, they can help you set these up. However, if you move your website, you need to make sure your MX servers are still pointed towards whoever has your emails. Usually when you point your domain name to a new server, it will automatically re-point your email servers as well and you could lose access to your emails. Just a warning!