When you install WordPress, you can start using it right out-of-the box. But that does not mean you should start using it as is!
There are some tweaks and some WordPress configuration required to make your blog search engine friendly and make it perform optimally.
Don’t worry at all – this is all very simple and not at all technical. Here is your guide to configuring WordPress after installing it.
1. Change Permalink Settings
By default, WordPress doesn’t come with pretty permalinks or descriptive URLs for the posts and pages in your blog. So, by default, you get URLs like:
instead of URLs like:
These default URLs:
- Don’t look good
- Are difficult to remember
- Are not at all SEO friendly
Therefore, as soon as you install WordPress, you need to change the URL structure.
To do this, please go to Settings > Permalinks in your blog’s admin area. You would see a page like this:
Please select the radio button next to the option “Post name”. Doing this would give your blog description, search engine friendly URLs.
You can select any of the other options as well, but in my experience, this option gives you the best results.
Note: If you are running WordPress version prior to 3.3.1, you would not have an option called “Post name”. In this case, please select “Custom Structure”, and in the text box, type: /%postname%/
2. Choose Between “www” and no www
The URL for each blog or site, and the web pages within it, can begin with www – or not. Both the versions – with and without the “www” – lead to the same web page.
However, search engines see these as 2 separate URLs. Without getting into the details, let me just say that this is not good from the SEO perspective, and should be avoided.
Fortunately, WordPress has this feature in-built – it will let you choose between with-www and without-www versions so that there is no negative impact for your blog in the search engine results.
All you need to do is: decide whether you like your blog with “www”, or without it. Both are perfectly fine, and there is absolutely no impact on the search engine results or anything else. Its just a matter of aesthetics.
Personally, I prefer my blogs with the “www”, because I feel it looks better and browsers also allow shortcuts to that effect (for example, typing thewphowtoblog in your browser address bar and pressing Control + Enter would take you to www.thewphowtoblog.com).
The plus side of non-www URLs is tha they are shorter by 4 characters!
This is something only you can decide – so decide and change the settings if necessary. by default, WordPress comes with the non-www URLs.
If you want “www” in the URLs of your blog, go to Settings > General. The screen would look like this:
In the “WordPress Address (URL)” and “Site Address (URL)” text boxes, add “www” just after “http://”.
3. Blog Title and Description
The title (some people also call this the “blog name”) and the description of your blog are very important, because:
- They let your readers know about the content of your blog
- They let the search engines know about the topic of your blog
Therefore, having relevant title and description for your blog is very important.
You might have provided the title and the description of your blog while installing WordPress using Fantastico. However, it is always good to double check and make sure that these are right.
If you have manually installed WordPress, then of course you need to set the title and description for your blog.
To do this, again go to the Settings > General section. Here, you can type the title of your blog in the “Site Title” field, and the description in the “Tagline” field.
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