Basic WordPress Settings for a New Website

stephanie erickson digital marketer

Written by:
Stephanie Erickson

How to configure a WordPress website (basic settings to get started)

In my last article, I discussed web hosting for WordPress. I covered how to choose a host and walked through the steps to creating a WordPress hosting account. Now that you’ve done that – it’s time to do some basic set up of your WordPress website. Easy stuff, I promise. Here’s what you’ll need to do to get started, in no particular order.

Designate your homepage and posts page

By default, your new WordPress install will automatically stream any posts you publish right on the homepage – essentially a blog roll. Assuming you’d prefer to design your own homepage, take the following actions…

Create Some Pages

Click on the Pages tab located on the left. Now click Add Page. Give it a name like Home, and press the Publish button on the right. Next create a second page, but this time title it Blog. Publish that page as well.

Set your homepage & posts page

Now hover over the Settings tab on the left side of your dashboard, and click on Reading. Here you’ll see a section labeled Your homepage displays. By default it will have selected “Your latest posts”. Instead, select the option that says, “A static page (select below)”.

Now click on the dropdown next to where it says Homepage and select the page you created called Home.Do the same thing for the Posts page, and choose the page you titled Blog.

Scroll down and press save changes.

Add the Yoast SEO Plugin

The Yoast SEO plugin is a free plugin that allows you, among other things, the ability to add meta titles and descriptions to each of your pages.

Meta titles and descriptions are what show up in search results when your website is presented. The clickable one line sentence at the top of each choice is the Meta Title. The short blurb underneath that explaining a bit of what to expect if the link is clicked, that is the meta description.

If you do not set your own meta title and description, Google will do it for you – often in a less than ideal manner. Do yourself a favor and designate your own. I’ll explain best practices in a later article.

How to add the Yoast SEO plugin

In your WordPress dashboard, hover over the Plugins tab located on the left. Now click Add New.

At the top right, there is a search bar where you can search for any plugins that are listed in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Type in Yoast SEO and press enter. The Yoast SEO plugin should display first in the list. Check that it says, By: Team Yoast before clicking the button that says Install Now.

Once the plugin installs, that button will convert to read, “Activate”. And you guessed it, click that.

Change your permalink settings

If you went to create a new page now, the url structure would include some weird page ID. You want a nice looking URL for each page, something like http://yourdomainname .com/something-relevant-to-article

Changing your default URL structure on WordPress is simple. Hover over the Settings tab on the left side of your WordPress dashboard. Now click on Permalinks. Click the option for “Post Name” and then scroll down to Save Changes.

Delete the WordPress sample page & post

Every new WordPress install has one page already created called “Sample Page.” It also has a post called, “Hello World!” I cannot tell you how many times I have found these pages STILL on someone’s website, long after they’ve launched their completed site. 🤦‍♀️

Do yourself a favor and delete these now.

How to delete WordPress Sample Page & Posts?

Hover over the Pages tab, and select All Pages. Here you’ll see a list of all of your current pages – which at this point should just be the page you created as your Homepage, and the default Sample Page. Underneath the Sample page is a link to Trash that page. Click it.

Now hover over the Posts tab on the left, and click All Posts. Do the same for the post titled “Hello World”. Trash it!

You did it!

Basic WordPress set up is complete! In the next article, I’ll walk you through how to add a WordPress theme and page builder to make designing your site a piece of gf cake.

Girl, you got this.

💚 Stephanie

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