WordPress functions for beginners – part III

Welcome to Part III of WordPress functions for beginners – if you would like to start from beginning here is Part I and Part II of the series.

Today we are gonna find out how to do basic WordPress configuration using WordPress settings, which are located under the Tools in WordPress Main Menu.

WordPress - Settings Menu
WordPress – Settings Menu

Let’s take closer look what is there:

WordPress - Settings - General
WordPress – Settings – General

General – here we can set up Title of our blog and it’s tag line – visibility of these two depends on WordPress theme we are using. WordPress Address and Site Address should be already set up for us. We should use valid E-mail Address for all the site notifications – very helpful as WordPress will send  notifications when people comment our articles. If you don’t want users to be able to register (and you should rather avoid it), please make sure the Membership checkbox is unticked. The other settings are Timezone, Date Format and Time Format – set them as you want.

WordPress - Settings - Writing
WordPress – Settings – Writing

Writing – if you don’t want WordPress to convert emoticons into graphics, uncheck the box in Formatting. You can also make WordPress try to correct invalid HTML – I don’t use this option. You can select your Default Post Category to category you use the most, Default Post Format should be set to Standard. There are options for Post via e-mail, but I wouldn’t touch them – you should write your posts using editor, with total control over how they look, not by emailing them. By changing the Update Services you can notify ping services other than default pingomatic (which is very good anyway).

WordPress - Settings - Reading
WordPress – Settings – Reading

Reading – the most important option here is Front Page, where you can define what do you want to display on the front page – is it gonna be list of latest entries or static page. You can also define how many post you want to display per blog page and how many entries should be displayed in your RSS feeds (and how: as full text or as summary). You shouldn’t change Search Engine Visibility setting to discourage indexing – it should be off, otherwise search engines may not index your site.

WordPress - Settings - Discussion
WordPress – Settings – Discussion

Discussion – lots of options here. Don’t ask users to log in to comment – nobody will bother to do it and you won’t get any comments at all. Also closing comments after period of time is not a good idea – I think number of comments is one of the factor in Google page ranking (check out SEO for beginners – part I). Initially enable WordPress sending emails when people comment – it may be annoying later on when your blog gets popular, but at the beginning it is really great feeling when someone comments your post. I would also tick An administrator must always approve the comment – some spammers are pretty smart and their first comments are fine, but the later one contain spam.  In Avatars section change Mystery Man to Identicon or Retro – this way comments will look much nicer.

WordPress - Settings - Media
WordPress – Settings – Media

Media – not many options to play with here. If you need to change sizes of images used on your blog, please remember that it is advised to do it early on, because images and thumbnails WON’T be regenerated after your changes – you will have either re-upload all the images again or use some specialized plugin to refresh them.

WordPress - Settings - Permalinks
WordPress – Settings – Permalinks

Permalinks – very important settings, regarding how WordPress generates addresses for your content. By default it is http://localhost/?p=123, which is not very user friendly. Please remember that Google prefers http addresses in human readable form, so you should change your permalink structure to Month and Name: http://localhost/2013/03/sample-post/

Do not change it to Post Name, because you may want to add another SEO for Beginners article one day and it is impossible to have two articles with same name using Post Name. Also, please don’t try to use tags or categories in your permalinks – I know from experience that categories may change a lot over time, and changing them will break your Google indexes. Don’t do it.

That would be it for basic WordPress functions for beginners – part III.

If you would like to learn more about how to use and how to setup WordPress please check out other installments of the series:

WordPress functions for beginners – part I
WordPress functions for beginners – part II

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