One of the things that I find infuriating is when I hear about someone who has paid a handsome sum to have a web person set up their blog, and it ends up missing vital elements. Now-a-days, installing WordPress is not hard. It was much more complicated a couple years ago. All it takes to install a theme is a couple clicks. I remember the first time I checked out WordPress. You had to download the theme to your computer and then somehow upload it to the blog, but there weren’t very clear instructions for a newbie. This is not true anymore, because much work is automated.
Merely setting up WordPress and installing a theme does not mean your blog has been properly configured. There are several tweaks that need to be dealt with in your back office settings. Unfortunately, that is the work that is often missing.
Below are some of the tasks that should be performed if you want to get your money’s worth for blog setup. If you already have a blog that was set up by someone else, check to see if the following was done. If not, I hope you didn’t end up paying an arm and a leg for the service.
If you have a content area, a sidebar, and a header that looks like someone walking through the woods, you have the out of the box default WordPress theme. This comes with the installation. ZZZZZzzzzzzz.
Check Your Back Office under Settings-General
Is your blog title and tagline included or does the tagline say, “Just Another WordPress Blog?”
Has your timezone been set?
Size of post box: The default is 10. We often set this to 20.
Update Services. The default is http://rpc.pingomatic.com/ This setting alerts other websites that you have published a new post. We like to add a list of over 50 ping sites in addition to the default pingomatic.
The default for the amount of blog pages at most is 10, however it makes for a very long page. We normally decrease it to about 3 at full content.
Would you like your articles to show full text or a summary of the text? This is up to you.
How do you want to handle comments? Some people love them and some don’t. We include a long comment blacklist so that you do not get excess spam. It is left blank in the default installation.
This is the image that will show when people leave comments. We usually set this to Gravatar because people love to see their face on the big screen. If they are set up to have a Gravatar, their mug shot will be included. Again, this is a personal choice.
How do you want your blog post url’s to look? The default is
http://www.yourdomainname.com/?p=123 Not too pretty
Instead you can have
http://www.yourdomainname.com/my-post Much better and more SEO Friendly
To make that happen requires a custom structure. /%postname%/
Plug-ins add functionality and interactivity to your blog. This could be as simple as a tweet button, or may include the visual editor you see, audio players, popular post algorithms, and much much more. Some important plug-ins are your Akismet (spam protection) You need to get your API Key from Akismet. Others include Image condensers such as Smush It, Cache plug-ins to make your blog run faster, Backups, Optimizers, SEO, Mobile devices, translators, etc.
Plugins should be determined by the needs of the individual blogger. Sometimes a web person will install a suite of plug-ins. That’s okay, but they may not be relevant for you. Too many plug-ins cause your blog to slow down. Some webbies like to hard code them into the theme. This procedure saves space, but the great thing about WordPress plug-ins is that they frequently get updated to help them run smoother with new versions of WordPress. If they are hard coded, updating becomes more complicated.
Some bloggers prefer a simple logo, such as the dynamic text that comes with the blog theme, but others want to match their blog with the branding of their business. Logos need to be sized and uploaded depending on the theme’s stylesheet.
You can always change the colors, fonts, backgrounds, images, so that your blog does not look the same as others who are using the same theme. That includes little details like your favicon (the image used in the address bar when your blog is in the browser), sidebar list bullet points, borders, footer information, social media icons, other do-dads.
Each theme requires its own configuration to look like it does in the picture on the page you first saw it on. This blog has a dynamic content gallery of images that is connected to posts in certain categories. Each post has a thumbnail image to make it stand out. The dynamic content gallery is a plug-in, and the featured posts are created with widgets. Each widget contains information to determine if the reader will see the post title, the image, the amount of post content, etc.
Structure of Pages and Categories
Pages and Categories are organized with Subcategories. If you look on the navigation bar on this blog, you will see drop down menus that are sub categories of a parent category. For example, Branding and Marketing has the sub category of public relations.
Stats and Analytics
Does your site have a sitemap so that Google can crawl it efficiently? Has your site been submitted to Google via Webmaster Tools?
These are some of the things you pay a person, who is familiar with WordPress, to do when you contract them to set up and configure your blog. Even though it sounds complicated, it still shouldn't cost you a bundle.
Is your blog set up correctly or would you like a little help on the backend? Let us know. We can help you sort it out for a low hourly fee. Give us a call at 818-515-7880 and let us know what your needs are.
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