Exploring WordPress Settings

From the WordPress Dashboard, locate the Settings menu. If we hover over this menu, you'll see a submenu appear with options for various WordPress settings including:

  • General
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Discussion
  • Media
  • Permalinks

WordPress General Settings


To get started, expand the WordPress settings menu. Click General Settings. The first thing you'll notice in General Settings is your Site Title and Tagline. You'll want to make sure these titles match your site because your site title will be visible in Google search results. By default, WordPress includes "just another WordPress site" as your site's tagline. You'll probably want to update this tagline to be descriptive of your site because the site tagline will also show up in Google search results for your site.

The next section is the WordPress Address (URL). For the site address URL, you can enter the URL address if you want your site homepage to be different from the directory where you installed Wordpress. In most cases, it's best to leave these two URLs alone.

Next, you'll see the Email Address that's used for admin purposes, like new user notification.

Next, are settings for Membership. With WordPress, you can allow anyone to register for your site. This is a great feature if you're running a membership site. The New User Default Role is by default set to subscriber. You'll probably want to leave this setting since you don't want to grant administrative privileges to just anyone that registers for your site.

Next is Timezone. Scroll through the list to select the city in the same timezone as you then select your preferred date format. Keep in mind, this date format will be visible on blog posts. If you have questions about this format, you can check out the documentation on date and time formatting by clicking the link below this section.

Last is Time Format and Week Starts On.

Once you've updated or changed these settings, click Save Changes.

WordPress Writing Settings


Next up are Writing Settings. From the menu on the left, click to open the Writing Settings page. All of the settings on this page apply to the writing and publishing content for your site.

The top section controls the editor within the WordPress Dashboard, while the rest controls external publishing methods.

In the first section, you'll see options for formatting and default categories and the format of posts.

The Post via email settings allows you to send an email to your site with the post content. To use this, you'll need to set up a secret e-mail account with POP3 access, and any mail received at this address will be posted. For this reason, it's a good idea to keep this address secret.

The last section is for Update Services. When you publish a new post, WordPress will automatically notify the update services listed here. For more information, check out the Update Services link in this section.

Again, click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen for your new settings to take effect.

WordPress Reading Settings


Now it's time for Reading Settings. This screen contains the settings that affect the display of your content.

Here you can choose what's displayed on the front page of your site - either your latest posts or a fixed/static page. Once we've created a few pages, these pages will be listed here as options for what's shown on your front page and for where to display your posts.

The next section is where you can control the display of your content in RSS feeds, including the maximum number of posts to display and whether to show full text or a summary.

The last section is for Search Engine Visibility. If you'd like search engines to ignore your site, then click the checkbox next to Discourage search engines from indexing this site. This might be a helpful setting if you're currently developing your site and you're not ready for it to be indexed by search engines.

Click the Save Changes at the bottom of the screen to update these changes.

WordPress Discussion Settings


WordPress Discussion Settings provide lots of options for the management of comments and controlling links to your posts/pages.

The first section is for Default article settings. The first setting deals with links you make to other blogs. The second deals with pingbacks and trackbacks, or links back to your blog. The third setting in the default article settings allows people to post comments on new articles. If you'd rather not allow people to comment on your posts, then uncheck this box.

In Other comment settings, you can choose the guidelines for how people post comments and how their comments are handled.

Next, in the Email me whenever section, you can choose to be emailed when someone posts a comment or when a comment is helped in moderation.

The Before a comment appears section deals with how comments are published. Here, you can choose if an administrator must always approve comments or if to publish automatically if the comment author had previously posted a comment.

In the Comment Moderation area, you can customize how a comment is held based on the number of links. In this box, you can also add words, names, URLs, emails, or even IPs to filter comments into the moderation queue.

Both this section and the Comment Blacklist section are great for helping to defend your blog against spam comments.

Next, take a look at the Avatar section. An avatar is a profile image you can have assigned to your email address when you comment on avatar enabled sites. Here, you can enable the display of avatars for people who comment on your site, filter by their rating, or choose a default avatar for people that don't already have a custom one of their own.

If you don't already have an avatar, visit Gravatar to upload your own.

Click the Save Changes button at the bottom of this page.

WordPress Media Settings


The Media Settings page allows you to set maximum sizes for images inserted into the body of a post. These settings are great for saving time if you always want images to be the same size or if you want to apply default settings for medium and large image sizes.

The Uploading Files option allows you to select whether or not your uploads are organized into a month and year-based folders.

Click Save Changes.

WordPress Permalink Settings


Permalinks are the permanent URLs to individual pages and blog posts, as well as category and tag archives. Basically, a permalink is the web address used to link to your content that is permanent and never changes - Hence the name, permalinks.

The WordPress Permalink Settings screen allows you to choose your default permalink structure. You can choose from common settings or create custom URL structures. By default, WordPress uses web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them. You'll probably want to change your permalinks here to another structure to improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links.

If you'd like more information on setting up your permalinks, then click the Help tab at the top of the screen. Here you'll get an overview of common settings and structures to help select your permalink structure.

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