Ten steps to configure your WordPress website

When using WordPress, it comes with some settings already configured. I have now been using WordPress for over 5 years. I have always configured my WordPress install, using the following steps. This has enabled me to build my websites with ease.

Category: WordPress | Read time: 10 minutes

Read more

How to prepare your new website?

It is important when starting any new project that you first have solid “foundations”. Therefore meaning that you have initiated and amended the site to your requirements.

It may be that you want to change the timezone and date of your site to match your location. This will mean your site will be in sync with when you want things to publish.

These are the common configuration settings I do on every build.

  1. Turning off comments thread
  2. Setting up the default language and date/time formats
  3. Defining the Media Library file structure
  4. Change the default title and tagline
  5. Make your URLs SEO friendly
  6. Configuring the reading setting that my website will need
  7. Removing unused WordPress themes
  8. Putting in place the basic WordPress Security tips
  9. Enabling SEO tools on your Website
  10. Setting up your WordPress and Site Address URLs

1. Turning off comments thread

To turn off the comments feature you need to do the following steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Discussion
  2. At the top of the ‘Discussion’ page, you will see a section called ‘Default article settings’
  3. Now un check ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’. This will disable comments.

If you have already posted blog posts you will need to go in one by one and un tick ‘All comments’. You can do this by clicking ‘Quick edit’ within the post landing page table.

2. Setting up the default language and date/time formats

  1. Go to Settings > General
  2. Locate Site Language > Select English (UK).  I prefer Bin to Trash

3. Defining the Media Library file structure

If you prefer to avoid having all your images inside many folders then this setup is a good solution.

  1. Go to Settings > Media
  2. Untick ‘Organise my uploads into month- and year-based folders’

4. Change the default title and tagline

When creating a new WordPress website by default it comes with a title and tagline. The default is ‘Just another WordPress website’. You should change this, even if you are not displaying it within your theme.

How to change the default title and tagline

  1. Go to Settings > General
  2. Now you will find two fields, one Title and the other tagline
  3. Edit the fields accordingly

5. Make your URLs SEO friendly

When creating pages in WordPress you will notice that the URLs are not very user friendly. You will see that the URLs, will look like https://www.leevanstone.co.uk/?p=123. The number followed after ?=p is the ID of the page.

WordPress stores all your content and settings within a database. To do this, in the ‘custom structure’ field add the following line /%postname%. This will now change the URL to be something like this URL. %postname% 

This will make a url from the page or posts title. You then will get more user friendly URLs appearing for your pages: https://www.leevanstone.co.uk/my-new-page. 

As my website has a blog I have added the following  /blog/ before /%postname%.

6. Configuring the reading setting that my website will need

Is your website a blog or is it a brochure/ecommrece site. This will determine what settings you will need. For a blog:

  • Your homepage displays needs to have latest posts set

For brochure and eCommerce sites

  • Where the content is mixed you will need to select ‘Static page’. Then from the drop down select the appropriate page you have created.
  • The second option is what is your post page. Do you want a blog/news page. If yes, then you can select the page to be used in that drop down.

Configuring how many post per page

On the blog post page you have the ability to specify how many posts to serve per page. Mine is set to 8. This gives you flexibility to change it as the site grows.

7. Removing unused WordPress themes

When you download WordPress.org it comes with the default yearly theme. If you are using another theme or making your own then I would recommend removing it. To remove the theme, follow these steps.

  1. Appearance > Themes
  2. Click on the theme you want to remove
  3. Press the delete button

This will mean going forward when new updates are available it will be one less update to carry out. It uses space that is not required and only adds to website bloat.

8. Putting in place the basic WordPress Security tips

In a recent post (“Improving your WordPress security”), I discussed WordPress security. In this post I gave ten tips to help improve your WordPress website security. Some of the tips provided you may need more knowledge of WordPress to carry some of the tips out. I would recommend speaking to your developer if in doubt.

9. Enabling SEO tools on your Website

In my post, (“5 Plugins that will help kick start your WordPress project”, I discussed my top 5 plugins. I highlighted a plugin called Yoast. A well respected plugin for enabling SEO functionality onto your site. This goes on all my builds as it allows me to add OpenGraph and meta data to each page and post with ease. Yoast, also allows access to the Robots.txt and .htaccess files. This feature is helpful for more technical SEO work.

10. Setting up your WordPress and Site Address URLs

My final configuration is setting up your URLs.  The beauty of WordPress is that you can have multiple installs of WordPress on one domain. When you want to put one of them live it is easy to swap over. Can be useful if you are redesigning your website on the same domain and you want to keep the new website separate. It makes putting your new website live, more easier. With WordPress your can leave point the URLs to two separate locations.

What is the WordPress URL and Site Address URL?

  • WordPress URL: This is the location where the core WordPress files are stored
  • Site Address URL: This is the location of where people will find your website on. ie. Your main domain name.

Summary

These are a few configurations that I do when creating any WordPress website. As you get more confident, you begin to build up your own configurations that may work better for you. If you are looking to start a new project get in touch via my contact form. I would love to help.