5 Really Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your WordPress Blog Much Better
UPDATE: April 7, 2021
I see at least one WordPress blog a day and frequently many more than that. It drives me a little crazy when I see a good looking blog not be as good as it could be. So here are 5 things you can do to make your WordPress blog much better
These are things that go to the heart of what a WordPress blog is about. There is no good reason not to do them. All of these will really improve the user experience and Google will smile upon your site.
If you’re not much into blogging, I’m good with that. But keep in mind that many WP sites use the blogging model. If you’re building an online store with WooCommerce, you’ll see how Categories and Tags (mentioned below) are used for product inventory.
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No plugins are needed for any of these simple fixes.
1. Use The Read More Link
A blog that is set up correctly looks like a blog. By that I mean the blog (aka archive) page is set up to give the reader a tease of the entire article.
Here’s the pattern of a good blog archive page.
Essentially you’ve got a featured image, an excerpt (or a few paragraphs of the article), and a link to Read More or Continue Reading the entire post.
The most recent post will be in the top position.
Here are two good examples of how to set up your blog correctly.
Way too many times the blog archive page does not have a Read More link for each article. This creates a blog page that shows the entire article, one following the next in the order in which it was published. It defeats the purpose of a blog.
How To Create The Read More Link
If you are using the Gutenberg page editor, there is a Read More block you can insert where you want the link to go. That’s as easy as it gets.
If you’re still with the Classic Editor, there is an icon you can use where you want the Read More link to go.
Note: Some themes will automatically add the Read More link after the first paragraph which is nice since you don’t have to remember to do this.
2. Get Rid Of “Uncategorized”
By default, WordPress assigns the category “Uncategorized” for every blog post you publish.
If you are assigning at least one category for every post (which you should be), then this is not a problem. You can untick the check box next to the “Uncategorized” category as you assign your categories.
But if you forget to assign a category, then you’ll automatically get the dreaded and highly useless “Uncategorized” category for a post.
Here’s The Easy Fix
Step 1: Go to Posts > Category:
The new category I made was “General Tips.”
Make sure to save your changes.
Step 2: Then go to Settings > Writing
Replace “Uncategorized” with the category you set up in this first step. In my case I’m using “General Tips.”
Save the change.
All done. All past and future posts will now use “General Tips” in place of “Uncategorized.” So much better, right?!?!
3. Use Sub-Categories
If you are using categories (you should be), you can set up a hierarchy of categories using sub-categories. This will make it easier for users to understand your blog and navigate through it.
Say you’ve got a site about Major League Baseball. You blog about baseball’s 2 leagues and 6 divisions. Those could be your categories.
The sub-categories could be the names of the 30 teams.
If you were blogging about the world, continents could be your categories with the countries being the sub-categories.
4. Use Tags
I’ve not used tags, so I don’t want to be a hypocrite. But I recently read how tags can be used as “fillers” to your categories.
Tags could be used for player names or types of statistics using the Major League Baseball example.
For the world example, tags could be things like notable geography.
It’s up to you. Just be consistent.
(Ok, if you don’t want to do this one I’ll give you a pass. But you have to do all of the others.)
5. Use A Featured Image For Every Post
It just looks bad if articles do not have a featured image. In most cases when a post is shared with a social network, the featured image will also be displayed.
Do you have any ideas on how to make a blog better without a lot of sweat? Leave your thoughts below. Thanks.
But Wait, There's More
I recently found this helpful resource that provides a lot of good ideas even if you are not new to WordPress.