Your WordPress blog has several Settings you can adjust. The Settings menu is located at the bottom left sidebar in your Dashboard and contains a list of the areas you can control — General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, Privacy, Permalinks, and Miscellaneous. This post will provide an overview of each of those items.
If you don’t understand a particular setting, no biggie. Simply leave it the way the WordPress default has it set. As we progress into more advanced topics and learn more, you can always go back and change your settings. (Note: If you do make changes, be sure to click “Save Changes” at the bottom of each specific Settings section.)
- General Settings — Your blog’s title is normally the same as the Domain Name, but you can change that here if you want. You can also update your Tagline, URL, Email address, and set membership levels for those who subscribe to your blog. (Subscriber is the default setting and is recommended to keep spammers from joining your blog and then posting to it. You can manually upgrade the user status for those you wish to contribute posts by going to the User Settings area.) Here is also where you select your time zone and format the date/time stamp of your blog posts. The Week Starts default is Monday. I prefer to change this setting to Sunday on all my blogs, but you can pick any day of the week you want. If you add the Calendar widget, the setting you pick here will reflect on your calendar.
- Writing — Here is where you can make adjustments to the formatting, post & link categories, and select Remote Publishing choices. You can also set up your blog to accept posts via email from here.
- Reading — If you want to create a new page to use as an intro page instead of your recent blog posts, you can select Static Page and choose which page to post as your blog’s Home page. You can also adjust the number of posts to display on your blog entries page (which will be the Home page unless you choose the Static page option). The number you pick will depend upon the theme you choose. With some themes, the default of 10 posts doesn’t look as well, so you can adjust it to what looks best. You can also change your Feed settings from this screen.
- Discussion — You can pick whether or not to allow comments and pingbacks & trackbacks on your posts. Note: These are global adjustments and can be over-ridden in the individual post page.) In the next area, you can place several restrictions on your blog’s comments. (Tip: To help grow your blog, make it easy for people to comment. I usually let people post, but set the posts to go into moderation until the poster has had one post approved. Then their posts automatically show up as soon as they post. Don’t irritate real readers out of fear from Spam comments. We’ll talk about how to deal with Spam very soon — probably early next week.) You can also set up a Comment Blacklist, if desired, from this screen as well as set your Avatar choices.
- Media — This is where you can set the default sizes of images. Certain auto-resizer scripts will use this information unless the theme you’re using sets the image size via the style sheet.
- Privacy — Some people want a private blog, such as to share family or organization news within your group. If you want your blog to be found by the general public, you can make that choice here.
- Permalinks — This screen provides a link to the WordPress.org’s Codex (a great resource site about WordPress) article on Using Permalinks. You may wish to read it. As the article says, the default permalink structure is ugly. You can change this using Structure Tags. This screen has several choices. One note about Permalinks — these help search engines find your posts, so I try to keep my Permalink structure simple and use just the post title. You can do this, too, if you want, but selecting “Custom Structure” and typing this code in the box: /%postname%/
- Miscellaneous — This section of your settings allows you to organize your uploaded files. I’ve never found any reason to change it, so I leave these settings as WordPress defaults them.
I hope this overview helps you understand more about the choices you have to set up your WordPress blog.
If you have questions, please post them below or start up a conversation in the Forum.