A friend of mine recently reached out to me for SEO advice on a new site he was working on. Taking a quick look, I saw that he hadn’t yet put the main keyword/keyphrase into the title! Naturally, we all know this is the single most important step you take to identify your site as wanting to rank for a particular keyphrase. Despite Google rewriting our title tags, they’re still the defining statement that your site makes. Surprisingly, he didn’t know how to change the site title in WordPress, despite using the platform for over a year!
In addition to lacking the keyphrase, the title was too long. Google and other search engines only show the first 66 characters or so of the title. It shouldn’t be any longer than that. So I thought I’d make a tutorial with two clear methods for changing the site title, along with screenshots to make it clear.
Method 1: The Old-Fashioned Way
The simplest method of changing your WordPress site’s title is to go to the “General” section in the “Settings” like this:
On the resulting page, the first thing you can do is modify the site title as shown here:
Save your changes, and you’re done!
Why is this Method “Old-Fashioned”?
The above method has been the traditional way of changing your WordPress title for a long time. However, it’s outdated because there’s no way to preview the way your site looks with the new title. There may be space constraints (as I’ll show in the example below), and you might need the title confined to a small area. In such situations, it’s best if you see the site title in real-time so you can be confident in the change you want to make.
The “New” Method of Changing the Site Title in WordPress
With the introduction of the theme customizer, you can now modify most GUI elements and get a preview of how it looks before committing the changes. To access the theme editor, select “Customize” in the “Appearance” menu in the WordPress dashboard like this:
This will open the theme settings customer page, where you can see several options for modifying various GUI elements. The site title is located in the section called “Site Identity” as shown here:
Click this, and you’ll see a form where you can change the site title:
As you can see above, you can modify the site title with the preview immediately next to it. This way, you can see how it’ll look before you make the change. You can even change the tagline next to it. In the screenshot above, my theme is such that the site title is tucked away into a little corner, with limited space. This makes it even more important to see the result before finalizing the change. Other themes with full-width titles might not care as much and can get away with longer titles. But always keep the SEO aspect in mind, and make sure that the entire title can show up in the SERPS without getting cut off.
Having the theme customizer next to you while brainstorming, allows you to try out various titles and suggestions while having the final result right next to you. It’s a great way to test out a huge number of titles at the same time, compared to the older method where you had to save your changes and reload the page each time.
This is the more modern technique and the one I recommend to everyone if they can do it. If for whatever reason, your site customizer isn’t working, you can always use the older method instead!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!