If you started a blogging business to make money, you know or have learned that it starts with content, creating an awesome product, engaging with your audience and other bloggers.
But your blog has to be good to go too. By that I mean that your blog loads fast, that your theme is mobile-friendly and that your blog posts are formatted correctly, among other things.
If you’re a new blogger, chances are you’re starting out with a small budget so you’re careful with how you spend your money. And I don’t blame you one bit.
However, there are some things new bloggers should invest in such as hiring someone to do a blog review to make sure your blog is completely set up.
You see, it’s not only about the appearance of your blog, although that does matter.
But you also want to make sure the right boxes are ticked in the theme settings and WordPress settings and that you have essential pages, plugins, etc.
How To Review Your Blog Like A Pro
When I started blogging I couldn’t afford to hire a pro either so I set up my blogs with the help of video tutorials and blog posts.
Even as I write this I noticed some settings I missed in my initial set up. So you see having your blog reviewed is important!
I was going to publish one blog post. But since there is a lot to cover, I decided to break it up into two parts.
Here’s what’s coming up.
Part one (this post) will cover theme settings, WordPress settings, plugins and your user profile.
Then part two will cover SEO for your site, blog layout, menus and categories, essential pages, and blog post format.
Let’s start with the theme settings.
To access the theme settings click on Genesis then theme settings.
The first thing you want to do is tick the check for updates box and add your email to be notified when a new version of Genesis is available.
Enter your custom feed URL and your custom comments feed URL. For a shortcut to get those URLs, in Chrome right click and select view page source.
Scroll down until you find the RSS feeds. Then mouse over each link, right click and select copy link address. Go back to the Custom Feeds settings and paste.
The next section is Google Adsense, if you’re an Adsense publisher enter your Publisher ID in the text box provided. There are also links to enable the feature and if you’d like to sign up.
In the Default Layout section, choose the theme layout for your theme.
And in the Breadcrumbs section, choose whether you want them to appear in posts, pages, archives, etc.
Under Comments and Trackbacks, enable comments and trackbacks on posts, pages or both if you’d like.
The next section is Content Archives. This is where you choose how you want blog posts in your archives to appear.
Next, choose an entry pagination format. You can choose numerals or ‘previous/next’ text.
Blog Page Template
From the dropdown box next to ‘display category’ choose the category for your blog page template and the number of posts per page.
You can also exclude categories by entering the category ID. Read this post by WP Beginner to learn how to find the category ID in WordPress.
The last section is the Header and Footer Scripts.
This is where you would copy and paste codes such as the Pinterest verifier shown in the footer scripts.
If you’ve made any updates, click save changes before continuing.
Now let’s set up your user profile. To access your profile, to go Users then click on your profile.
The first two boxes is to disable the visual editor when writing and to disable syntax highlighting when editing code. These are left unticked unless you want to disable them.
Next, pick the color scheme of your WordPress dashboard.
Below that, tick the box if you would like to enable keyboard shortcuts.
Tick the box next to Toolbar if you want it to show when you’re viewing your site.
Next, select your proofreading preferences.
If you want to enable post by email click on the enable button. Post by email is a way of publishing your blog posts on your blog by email. I tried but was unable to.
There’s a Post by Email article on wordpress.com to walk you through the set up.
The next section is your Contact Info. Make sure all the information is filled in.
The About Yourself section is where you will type in your bio. If you want to add links to your social media pages, copy and paste this code:
<a href=”https://www.facebook.com/yourpagenamehere/”>Facebook </a>
And the Account Management section is where you will change your password.
If you activated the Yoast SEO plugin you would see the section below.
Make sure to add the title and meta description for the Author page and leave the three boxes under the description box unticked.
Note: Not shown is User Permissions. Tick the ‘Enable Genesis Admin Menu’ and ‘Enable Import/Export Submenu’ boxes next to if you want to enable those features.
In the Author Archive Settings fill in the archive headline and description.
Below that is the Author Box. Tick ‘Enable Author Box on this User’s Post’ and ‘Enable Author Box on this user’s Archives’.
The last section is Choose Layout. You can leave that alone since you already selected the layout in the theme settings.
If you made any changes, click update profile to save changes before moving on.
Over on the left side of the WordPress dashboard there is a settings tab. Hover your mouse over that and click general.
Before you get started, many of the settings have a default value. So unless you feel comfortable adjusting the settings I would leave it as they are displayed.
Let’s get started!
The General Tab
Make sure to add your site title and tagline. The WordPress and Site address URL should be set to your website URL.
Set your email address so you can be alerted of any new notifications or issues on your site.
If you plan to accept members tick the anyone can register membership box and assign a new user his/her role such as subscriber or contributor for guest posts.
Set the time zone, the date format and the time format you prefer. Select the day you’d like the week to start on then click save changes to move on to the next tab.
The Writing Tab
In the Writing tab, you should have selected the default post category as well as the default post format (it should be set to standard).
Under the post via email section, select the default mail category if you’re using this feature.
If you have projects and testimonials you’d like to display on your website, tick the Enable Portfolio Projects and Enable Testimonials boxes under the your custom content types section. Click the ‘learn more’ tab for each box and it will walk you through the set up.
The Reading Settings Tab
This is where you will select how you want your front page displayed. You can set it to show your latest blog post or a static page from the pages you created on your blog.
Below that, select the number of blog pages to show and how many posts to show in your syndication feeds. It’s set to 10 but you can change that if you’d like.
After that select how you want your posts to appear in the feed, full text or summary.
Note: Leave the Search Engine Visibility unticked.
In the related post section, decide how you want related posts to appear under individual blog posts.
You have the option to show a “Related” header, if you want to use a large layout and if you want to display the entry date and category/tag.
If your site has infinite scroll, tick the Use Google Analytics with Infinite Scroll box so that Google Analytics can track each scroll load as a page view. The picture doesn’t show it but I do have this box ticked.
The follower settings section where you’ll add a message that is emailed to followers. WordPress has default text but you can change it to personalize it.
If you’ve made an updates to the settings be sure to click save changes before moving on to the next tab.
This is where you will set your article and comment settings. There are no recommended settings so it’s all about your preference.
Default Article Settings
You have the option to get notified of any blogs linked from one of your articles, if you’ll allow pingbacks and trackbacks and whether or not you’ll allow people to comment on new blog posts.
Other Comment Settings
Here you can tick whether:
- The comment author has to fill out their name and email
- If users must be registered to log in
- Will comments stay open or close after so many days
- If you want to enable threaded comments
- And if you want to break comments into pages
Email me whenever
Select if you want to be emailed if:
- Anyone posts a comment
- If a comment is held for moderation
- Or when someone likes your blog posts
Before comment appears
Select if you want to manually approve comments or if the comment author has to have a previously approved comment.
Select the number of links a post has to have to hold a comment for moderation.
You can also hold comments by writing key words that could appear in the content, name, URL or email.
You can also select key words to blacklist comments.
Make sure the ‘show avatars’ box is ticked next to Avatar display.
Next to Gravatar Hovercard, tick the box if you want to show people’s profile when you mouse over their Gravatar. If you don’t have a Gravatar, and I recommend you get one, click here to set one up.
Now select your maximum rating for your audience – I have G-rating ticked.
Then choose a default avatar for commenters who do not have an avatar.
Jetpack Subscription Settings
In this section tick the Follow Blog and Follow Comments boxes if you want to show a ‘follow’ option in the comment form.
Next, type a catchy greeting text readers will see above the comments section. Finally, choose the color scheme and you’re done.
If you made any updates, hit ‘save changes’ before moving on.
This is where you will set the image settings, if you want to organize uploads into folders and set your image gallery carousel settings.
This is where you will select a custom URL structure or use one of the common settings for your permalinks and archives. If you want to change your permalink structure, read How to Change Your Permalinks by WPExplorer to show you how to do it without breaking your website.
I left the Optional settings blank but if you’d like to enter custom structures for your categories and tags, this is where you’ll do it.
There are so many plugins available to make your blog run efficiently. But did you know having a lot of plugins can slow down your site’s load and response time?
While all plugins are optional there are some ‘must-haves’ plugins you should have installed. Here is a list of plugins I recommend.
- Broken Link Checker
- Jetpack by WordPress – This plugin has a lot of extras for your self-hosted WordPress blog. There are lots of options but I would definitely activate the following:
- Enhanced Distribution
- Extra Sidebar Widgets
- Gravatar Hovercards (more about Gravatars later in this post.)
- Jetpack Comments (more about comments later in this post)
- Mobile Theme
- Related Posts
- Site Icon
And finally, be sure to install Jetpack Extras and Jetpack Popular Posts to get the widget to display your most popular posts.
Other plugins I recommend are:
- Maintenance Mode
- Online Backup for WordPress
- Wordfence Security
- SEO Yoast
- WP Edit
- WP Smush
- and WP Super Cache
Over To You
Well that’s it for part one. I hope this post was helpful. Stay tuned next week for part two. I will walk you through a review of your site’s SEO settings, widgets, pages, layout and more!
Before you go, I would really appreciate it if you would share this post with other bloggers. Thanks!