There are certain pages that are absolutely critical to include in your website. It’s time to create them, which will also give you some content to work with as you refine the look and feel of your website.
A Page vs a Post
There are two ways to publish content onto your site, a Page or a Post. A Page is designed to be a timeless piece of content, such as your About page. A page can still be edited, but will not show up in the “latest post” section of your site.
You can also turn off comments for all Pages, because you definitely don’t want to spend your time deleting spam comments on your Contact page! Another difference between a Page and a Post is how they are stored. Pages are stored in a hierarchy, while Posts are stored based on the Categories that you assign.
Here are the essential Pages to create for your site.
About Page, or a “Start Here” Page
Add a little personality to your site!
Who are you? Who are you trying to help? Why did you get started? People read articles for information, and they subscribe to blogs they feel a connection with. You’re allowed to get a little quirky here. Do you only eat pizza standing up in front of the fridge? Weird. Tell us why. Put a picture of you on your about page here so people can relate to a human.
Here are a few more things to consider adding to your About page:
- Encouragement for visitors to interact with you, via email and/or social media links.
- Information about the site, its purpose, who you are, your story.
- Links to content, by topic, or category. Try working them into your story naturally.
- Answers to the question: why do you blog?
This page can stand alone or it can be part of a “start here” page, like Kathleen has on her site. Her “start here” page has a bit of background info, then links to things she thinks people should click on.
This is where Ninja Forms will come in handy. Give people a reason to reach out to you! Interacting with your audience is one of the best parts of having a site, so make your Contact” page fun and compelling.
Websites (including blogs) need privacy policies now more than ever. Why? Visitors to your website want to know how their information is being used. Do you allow cookies? Probably. Will you be selling their information to others? Unlikely.
- Go to TermsFeed for your terms of service.
Put these pages in your secondary menu in WordPress. You want them to be visible to anyone who’s interested without taking up valuable space on your site.
Change These Default WordPress Settings
Navigate to Settings in your WordPress dashboard, and update the following now, before you start adding posts or editing pages.
This is the second place (outside of Customizer) where you can edit your site title, tagline, and email address. DO NOT change the WordPress address or the site address. Make sure the Anyone Can Register box is unchecked. Update your timezone and set your date and time format according to your preference.
Change your default post category from Uncategorized to one of your categories. Then, while you’re thinking of it, go to Posts -> Categories, and delete “Uncategorized” so none of your posts end up uncategorized.
Front Page Displays determines whether your site’s homepage lists your latest blog posts or looks more like a homepage. Both For-Profit Blogging’s and Unique Gifter’s front page display settings are set to a “static page” where the Front Page is “home” and the Posts Page is “blog.”
Set blog pages and syndication to ten, and decide whether your feeds should show as full text or summary. Make sure Search Engine Visibility is unchecked — you don’t want to discourage search engines from finding your site!
In Default Article Settings, make sure every option is checked. Encourage commenting by unchecking the Users Must be Registered and Logged in to Comment box. Change comment moderation and avatars in this section.
Uncheck the Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders box for better file management down the line.
Permalinks: The Most Important Setting to Change!
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT setting to update because the default set by WordPress is not what you want (and if you don’t change it now, you have to change it down the line and redirect your old URLs, which is confusing and completely unnecessary as long as you don’t skip this step).
Change it to Post name to remove the date from the URL and to improve searchability.
Change it to Custom Structure and use /%category%/%postname%
The rest of the settings pertain to the various plugins you’ve installed. Go through them while you’re in this section and make necessary changes.
Set Up Your User Profile
In your WordPress dashboard, head to Users and Your Profile.
Fill in all of the details as completely as possible. Later we will set up your Gravatar account, which will add your picture next to your name.
Select the way you would like to have your name associated with posts. This is the author name listed on posts.
The more robust this section is, the easier it is for the internet to find you.
The Biographical Info box accepts HTML. You can use it to link to your social media profiles, your About page, or really anything you wish. The information in this box is what will show up in your author box on each post, depending on your theme and the settings you have selected.
Yoast SEO Settings
The Meta Description to Use for Author Page is another way to help search engines find you. The meta description shows up on a search results page if it contains the searched words.
An Author Page is an archive page with all of the posts written by a specific author, and this meta description is what shows up for those results pages.
While the author bio info box should be a fun peek into your personality and character, the meta description box should include information on the types of topics you normally write about. This is just like the meta description you would write for a specific post, which is 1-2 sentences describing the post and including your keywords.
Author Archive Settings
The Custom Description Text box displays as a paragraph at the top of author archive pages. This is a good place to write things like how long an author has been writing for the site, or just in general write more about the author (especially if it is you).
Make sure to check the boxes to turn on the Author Box on each User’s Posts and User’s Archives.
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