Must do tweaks for every WordPress site

WordPress works great out of the box, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make it better. Themes and plugins are the obvious add-ons to customise your site and make it yours. But there are also some settings in WordPress that you should change for every site you create to make your it better.

These are easy changes, most of which require no additional plugins or themes to install. They’re right there in your WordPress dashboard. Making these changes will instantly make your site a little bit better, and give you that “feel good” factor.

1. Permalink

The default WordPress permalink (the link to your posts and pages) isn’t pretty. It looks something like this:

A pretty permalink looks something like this:

Why does it matter? Well, aside from aesthetics, it’s friendlier to search engines and to your site’s visitors. When people share the link to the post, they’ll instantly know what it’s about.

Permalink settings can be changed in WP Admin > Settings > Permalinks.

2. Author name

I cringe every time I see websites whose posts have a byline that reads: “by admin“. It’s terrible. If you care the slightest bit about your site and it’s presentation, change that. Change that to something more personal, more creative, more whatever, as long as it’s not admin.

Unless of course, you’re running a multi-author site and you are indeed, the admin. But still, you can change it to “The Cranky Administrateur”, or something. Anything.

You can change your display name by going to WP Admin > Users > Your Profile.

3. Don’t publish your email address

Cause if you do, it won’t be long before your inbox is flooded with offers of cialis and viagra. Seriously, publishing your email address online is just like dangling bait for spambots. Except it isn’t bait. It’s your inbox with no hook attached.

Use a contact form instead. There are a lot of good free plugins that will let you create a contact form in just a few clicks. My favourite free plugin for this is Contact Form 7. Favourite premium plugin? Gravity Forms.

If you absolutely have to publish your email, use an email obfuscator plugin. This plugin scrambles the HTML code for any email addresses you publish so that they are more difficult to be recognised by spambots, while retaining the look and functionality of the email link to your site’s visitors. My recommended plugin for this is Email Obfuscator.

4. Turn off navigation menu description if you’re not using it

This one is specific to the Graphene theme, which comes with a feature that allows you to insert short description for each menu item. But if you’re not using that feature, go to Graphene Options > Display > Navigation Menu Display Options, and tick the “Disable description in Header Menu” option.

Those are the more obvious ones that I can remember for now. I’m sure there are many others, but my mental notes seem to be missing at this time. Feel free to share your own tips in the comments section.

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