WordPress Tips for Small Businesses: Part 1 – General Setup
There are tons of individual settings available for you to mess around with within your WordPress installation, but today we are going to be covering the settings that must be properly configured so that your business’s website gains maximum exposure.
To begin tweaking, login to your website’s WordPress installation and you will be brought to your very own dashboard. On the left-hand side of your screen you will notice an array of buttons to click – the one we are interested in is the Settings tab that I’ve gone ahead and outlined in red.
One you are inside the settings area, you should notice that there are now a few more categories that we can select from. For the purposes of this guide we are only going to be looking into the General, Reading and Permalinks areas but feel free to look around in the other areas and familiarize yourself with the system.
When we clicked the Settings tab earlier, WordPress should have defaulted you to the General tab automatically. If it hasn’t, go ahead and click General so that we can begin to make some tweaks.
The settings we are most concerned about in this area are your Site’s Title, Tagline, WP Address, Site Address, Admin eMail Address, Membership and finally your New Users’ default roll. The rest of the available settings within this section are up to you changed based on your own personal preferences.
The first thing we need to do is fill in the title of your website. Enter this exactly as how you want it to show up in the title bar of your browser. If you’re not sure what you want it to be, you can always enter something temporarily and come back to change it later. It is a general rule of thump that you enter the name of your company in this field
After you have entered your site’s title the next field will ask for your tagline. Depending on what type of theme you are using the tagline you enter here may or may not show up on your website. If you are unsure if the theme you have installed incorporates taglines it is best to go ahead and enter one just to be safe as the tagline will be taken and displayed next to your logo, site name or wherever the theme developer has chosen to put it.
Once you have that squared way it is time to enter in your WordPress address as well as the site address for which you would like your homepage to show up at. I’d say that 99% of the time most people install WP directly into the root of their webserver, meaning that if you owned suitfactory.com and typed suitfactory.com into the address bar of your webserver that your WordPress front end would be displayed. If you are unsure which directory has been used for your WP installation you can contact your hosting provider to confirm where it is, but it is likely a safe bet that you can enter your domain’s address and everything will work properly.
The last couple of things we are going to setup in this part of the settings area are the membership requirements and the role of new users. Depending on what type of website or business you are running, you may or may not want your viewers to be able to register. If you do not want anybody to be able to register, you can simple uncheck the “Anyone can register” checkbox, as shown below. On the other hand, if you wish for your viewers to be able to register you can leave it checked and then adjust their user-rights via the drop down box next to “New User Default Role”. For most business’s I recommend that new users are only given subscriber rights, as your viewers shouldn’t have access to anything other than commenting on your posts. If you need to upgrade a user’s privileges you can always do so under the Users tab.
This section is rather brief, but there are a couple of very important things we need to look at within the Reading section. Outlined below in red you will see the options to display a static front page or post page and also the option to discourage search engines from indexing your business’s website.
As a business website you are most likely going to have a static front page that describes what your company does and some other information about yourself. If this is the case, you would select “A static page” as show above and then when asked to select a Front Page you can select whatever page you have created that you wish your viewers to see as your homepage. In this specific case, I created a page named “home” and selected it as the homepage for Suit Factory.
The next item on our agenda is the option to discourage search engines from indexing our website. For those who are unfamiliar with search engine lingo, indexing is simply referring to whether or not search engines like Google are going to put your website and its accompanying pages into their search results as they crawl through your pages.
By checking this box you are telling search engines like Google and Bing that you do not wish to be crawled, which is highly advised against as you are essentially asking to be removed from search results and severely limiting the exposure of your business’s website.
By default, WordPress likes to attribute a permalink to posts that are not descriptive of what the post actually has within it. Because of this, search engines like Google and Bing have a hard time figuring out what you are talking about in the post and this may actually hurt your rankings.
To remedy this this problem, it is often suggested to select “post name” as the name of your permalink such that it will accurately describe what your post will be talking about, making it easier for search engines to make a connection between the title of the page and the content within it. Additionally, this style of permalink also makes it much easier for your readers, actual human beings, to look at the URL and have a general understanding of what the post is going to be talking about.
Onto the Next Chapter
The basic setup is now complete within your WordPress installation, congrats! In the next chapter we will discuss how to use the Yoast SEO plugin to improve your website’s rankings in search engines and drive more traffic to your website!