WordPress is a fantastic way to set up and maintain your own website. WordPress is more than a blogging tool, it is a full-blown content management system (CMS.) We often build entire sites from WordPress that don’t look like a blog at all.
One built-in function of WordPress is to automatically generate titles for your pages and posts. This is a very powerful feature but needs some tweaking out-of-the-box.
Web Page Titles 101
A page title appears at the top of the browser window, not actually in the area where your web page displays. It is also listed in search results for your site. Take a look at the article listed in the resource box for screenshot examples of titles.
How Titles Work in WordPress
Before we get to the issue with titles in WordPress, let’s define some elements that you’ll see in the Admin area.
Site Name (aka Site Title) – This is one of the first things that WordPress asked you when it was installed.
Post/Page Title – This is the title or subject of an individual page or post. The title for this post is “Best Practices for WordPress Titles”
We’ll use our website as an example, because the entire site is powered by WordPress, not just our blog pages.
Site Name (aka Site Title) My Awesome Blog is Full of Awesomesauce For You
Post/Page Title Best Practices for WordPress Titles
By default, WordPress uses the Site Name as the title for the home/main page.
This works fine until someone views your sub-pages and/or posts. This may not seem like a big deal to you right now, but it can affect your traffic from organic search results.
Change the Order of the Title Components
For blog posts and sub-pages, WordPress (by default) uses the Page Title after the Site Name, with a separator in-between ( in this case a double right bracket ” >> ” )
My Awesome Blog is Full of Awesomesauce For You >> Best Practices for WordPress Titles
In many cases, it also adds the words “Blog Archive” with separators in between all of this, making the post title even longer.
Even Worse Practice:
My Awesome Blog is Full of Awesomesauce For You >> Blog Archive >> Best Practices for WordPress Titles
It’s not a great idea to have a long site title because it may end up being truncated in search results, which is not a very user-friendly experience. Users will be less likely to click on your link vs. the hundreds of others that they can actually read.
Even if you have a short title, however, we would still recommend that you switch the order so that the Post Title comes before your Site Name.
Best Practices for WordPress Titles >> My Awesome Blog is Full of Awesomesauce For You
This way, if your title gets cut short, at least the post name (which is probably more relevant to what the user is searching for) is visible.
Fear not, this is actually very easy to do, even if you’re not a web designer or developer. Check the resource box below for full screenshots and instructions.