What Are WordPress Settings For?

WordPress Settings

If you have spent anytime creating a WordPress site using the WordPress Dashboard, you will have noticed a Settings section with multiple pages. There are a lot of options in this part of the WordPress Dashboard and it can be confusing to a newer WordPress user what they are all for.

The WordPress settings allow you to tailor your WordPress website. One of the things you will want to do early on is to select and change these settings to fit the need of your website.

To go to the setting area, log into your WordPress Dashboard. Hover over Settings in the Administration Menu and click on General. The Settings section of the Dashboard is organized into different areas. Here are the settings you will want to review and potentially change. The others not outlined below are not as important and usually can be ignored.

In General settings:

  • Change the title and tagline of your site. It is a good idea to include keywords that your visitors will search on in your tagline if you can do so naturally. This will help them find your site easier.
  • Make sure the email address is a working email—when your WordPress site applies updates, it will email this address with information.
  • Update your prefered date and time zone settings.

In Reading settings:

  • Select what you want to use for your Home page (front page displays).
  • If this is a blog site, you may want to leave the front page at the default—”Your latest posts”.  You can also choose a static front page, which will display the content of the selected page.
  • If you want your front page to be a landing page, you’ll want to change it to a static front page, which you need to create first. After you create the page, come back to make this change. (Note: Some themes do this automatically, customizing your front page with a specially designed layout.)
  • Select how many posts you want shown on your post listing pages throughout your site;  somewhere between 5 and 10 is a good option.
  • Last, do you want search engines to index your site? If this is a public site, the answer is “Yes!”.  Make sure this is unchecked.

In Discussion settings:

  • Since WordPress is a great blogging site builder, it includes options for conversations via comments. Here you create the default blog settings (which can be overridden on a single post).
  • Allowing link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles has become a way for spammers to get more links. Probably best to uncheck this option.
  • One decision you want to make is whether you want to allow visit to post comments on your posts. If not, uncheck “Allow people to post comments on new articles.” Allowing comments on posts will not turn them on for your pages.
  • If you do allow visitors to post comments, leave the option to require users to register to leave a comment unchecked. Unless you’re a private site for registered users only, you do not need this.
  • You may or may not want to receive emails each time there is a comment to one of your posts.
  • You may or may not want to manually approve a comment before it is shown.

In Media settings:

  • Here you define the default image sizes. There are three settings:  thumbnail, medium and large.
  • You can also have WordPress organize how your media library folders are organized on the server. The recommended default is by month and year.

In Permalinks settings:

  • Permalinks are the URL of how your new posts and pages will be created.
  • It is recommended that you change the default setting to “Post name”, although permalinks with year, month and day are fine too. This structure makes URLs easier for your visitors to read and can boost your search engine optimization.
  • It is not recommended to use the “Plain” setting. It is not the best for your website’s search engine optimization.

An excerpt from the Getting Started with WordPress ebook.

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