Change WordPress Settings

WordPress has a lot of customizable settings.  They all come set in a default manner, but that default is not always the way that you want them to be set.  We are going to start at the top of the menu on the WordPress Dashboard and work our way through the options.  Please remember that this is how I set my sites up and you may find that you want to do things differently.  if so, have at it!  That’s why they are called options.

WordPress MenubarPictured to the left is the WordPress menubar.  This is the control center of your website and changes that you make to your site are controlled here.  Your content is not created here though.  That is done elsewhere and we will get to that in a few posts.

The item that we are interested in is the Settings category, which is located all the way at the bottom of the list.  We will step through each of these categories one by one.

The first option in the Settings menu is General.  Under the General settings I change five things.  The Site Title, Site Tagline, timezone and the day that the week starts on.  The fifth thing is that I allow anybody to register.  Should this turn out to be a problem down the road you can always restrict access later.

The second option in the Settings menu is Writing, but I leave the defaults alone.

Reading is the third option in the list.  If you want visitors to your site to be greeted with a static webpage, click the radio button for that option.  I prefer to have my posts on the front page, because people do not like to have to click any more than is necessary to find the information that they are searching for.

The Discussion option has some settings that are worth adjusting.  I currently leave discussions open for a month, so I close comments on articles at 28 days.  I also change the maximum rating to “R”.  If somebody posts something offensive I can remove it, but I don’t want to limit the flow of ideas any more than I have to.

Media I do not touch, it works for me as it is.

Privacy has one setting, and it is important to change.  You want search engines to index your site.  If you ask them not to some of them will anyway, but since you are creating something on the internet the whole point is for the whole world to be able to see it, right?  The best way for the world to know that you exist is to be found on a search engine.  To be found on a search engine, it helps if you allow them to index your site.  Now if you want to request that they do not index it while you are building it that is fine, just do not forget to change it later.

Your WordPress permalink settings are important for getting found on search engines.  When you post something WordPress automatically creates a web address for your post.  If you leave the default option clicked, your post’s address will be something like  So the world sees the address as page 12.  This works, but page 12 is not very descriptive.  What you want to do is select the radio button next to the “Custom Structure” label, and type “/%postname%/” in the box.  This means that the address to your page will include the title you give the page.  Being much more descriptive, this will help people find you and understand what your page is about.

The rest of the options you do not need to worry about.  I have some plugins that have added lines to my Settings menu so there is nothing critical for you there.  Speaking of plugins, we have arrived at the point where we can start installing some.


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