18 Essential WordPress Tweaks

There are 18 essential WordPress tweaks that are absolutely necessary to perform as soon as you install your blog.

18 WordPress Tweaks

In today’s marketing environment having a WordPress blog gives you a distinct advantage. Setting up a blog the right way makes a great deal of difference on both the functionality of the site and the traffic it will receive.

Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t come out of the box as a perfect website. Installing a blog is fairly simple, but even at the basic level, there are essential WordPress tweaks and configuration settings that must be done, including loading and activating several important plugins.

Below is  a list  of the “minimal” setting and tweaks every blog should have. If you want to go all the way and have the ULTIMATE blog and SEO configuration, then download the free guide The Ultimate WordPress Blog

Here’s the list:

 

1. General settings. Change the computer generated password, fill in your blog name, tag line, update your user profile, set the time zone, time format. Set the blog address to http://www.yourdomain.com (with the www).

2. General settings/permalinks – Change the permalinks structure. Who knows why, but WordPress default settings are just plain awful.

You want the blog posts’ urls to look like this: www.yourdomain.com/hot-home-business instead of the default www.yourdomain.com/?p213?  (under custom structure insert /%category%/%postname%/). This way the post main keyword is in the URL.

3. General settings/discussion – Configure discussion settings. I could write a whole 30-page report on comments, but let me just explain a couple of key points. You want folks to leave blog comments on your posts. You just don’t want the Viagra, porn pushers, “bad bots” and other spam-happy jerks to invade the place. Set up comment moderation so that you are in full control of the comments. Set the number of comments, number of links people can place (a common characteristic of spam is people placing a large number of hyperlinks on your blog).

4. General settings/Reading – Set your home page. Set your WordPress blog so that when visitors either see your latest post or a static home page, which ever is the best for your business.

5. General settings/Writing – Set up posting preferences . You can post on your blog by email from a Blackberry or iPhone or a remote computer (that’s very cool!)

6. Media- Adjust media settings. WordPress auto-sizes your main content column in your posts and pages. For example, if your theme allows 500px or 600px for the posts/pages width and the default for a large picture is 1024, you have a problem. Change the setting to your desired maximum picture size for your posts.

7. Categories – Set up your categories list. It’s a good idea to give your WordPress blog a structure of the topics you plan to write about.

8. Set the canonical URL in the Platinum SEO plugin or in the .htaccess file. Your URL must be set to either yourdomain.com or www.yourdomain.com You can’t have both. Google looks at them as two identical sites and will index them as  “duplicate content.” This penalizes you search-engine ranking.

The recommended setting it is www.yourdomain.com. This is a “root-level” command that gives you piece of mind that Google sees ONE blog, not two, regardless if people enter yourdomain.com or www.your domain.com.

9. Turn off Post Revisions. This is an important WordPress tweak. Saving post revisions is a great idea, but WordPress takes to an extreme.  The long list  of post revisions is annoying, but most importantly each revision generates a new record in your database making it bigger and bigger and eventually it will slow down the loading time of the blog.

If you write your posts in MSWord you have a copy of your posts anyway. Turning off post revisions is a little lenghty to cover here. I shoe you this in my free WordPress installation guide The Ultimate WordPress Blog

 

Upload and activate the following plugins:

10. Activate the Askimet anti-spam plugin that comes with your blog. Obtain an API key and activate this plugin that comes with WordPress. There are people out there with bad robots that will post automated comments with spam advertising (especially Viagra, adult and others). Askimet is not totally sufficient at keeping those out, so install an activate another plugin called NoSpamNX. It works well with Askimet.

11. Ping Optimizer. This plugin prevents over pinging. Every time you write and edit a post WordPress pings the search engines to let them know about your post. However, when editing, re-editing and saving posts, you risk over pinging and being banned from the search engines.

12. Trackback Validation. Performs a simple, but very effective test on all incoming trackbacks in order to stop trackback spam. Checks if the IP address of the trackback sender is equal to the IP address of the web server the trackback URL is referring to. This reveals almost every spam trackback.

13.Chunks for URLs. This limits the length of the links people can leave in the comments.  If someone posts a comment with a long link, it can break your theme.

14. WP-backup. This is a must. All your posts, pages, comments and links are stored in the database. If it crashes, your entire blog is lost. Set the number of back ups per month, week or day and set it to back up in and excluded directory (not indexed by search engines to avoid duplicate content) or to be e-mailed to you.

15. Google Sitemap. This helps Google to index your blog faster and also promotes better rankings. Indexing simply means Google found your pages and copied them in their database. They need a copy of your pages stored away before you can even hope to rank. there are many tweaks and configurations to perform in the site map. I go through this in the video section of The Ultimate WordPress Blog.

16. WP Super Cache. By using this plugin you will speed up your WordPress blog significantly. This is important because blogs can be a drag to load. Statistically people click off after EIGHT seconds!

17. Platinum SEO . This allows you to set the canonical URL, title and description optimization, insert post/page keywords, establish page-level exclusions, index or nonindex settings, follow or no follow and other important SEO functions.

18. WordPress.com Stats. Tracks views, post/page views, referrers and clicks (requires an API key). This is good for a quick view right from the dashboard. However, you can add the Google Analytics plugin for a much deeper analysis. I recommend this. To tweak the setting of this plug in is not complicated.

To download all the plugins click here — Right click on the links and then save the zip files in a folder on your desktop. You can install them right from your WordPress dashboard.

There’s a lot more to WordPress of course. For complete in-dept information on blog installation, configuration, plugins, automated features and complete SEO optimization download: The Ultimate WordPress Blog this free guide has everything you need and will save you loads of time.

These essential WordPress tweaks will help you maximize the efficiency of your blog immediately and enjoy a professional level blog performance.

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Riccardo Ferrari

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riccardo ferrari

Riccardo Ferrari is a former naval engineer. For years worked in the maritime industry as an officer on cruise ships. He is in direct marketing full time since 28 years and become the #1 income earner in five major direct marketing companies and top earner in several internet ventures. Along the way, worked as VP and senior consultant for several companies. Some were owned by billionaires, doctors and celebrities.