How To Configure Your WordPress Settings • Blog to Biz Strategies

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How To Configure Your WordPress Settings

Make money and change lives blogging about something you love.

In this post, I walk you through how to configure the WordPress settings for your blog. The WordPress settings allow you to customize how your blog works.

This post is part of my How To Start a Blog series which includes step-by-step photo and/or video tutorials on all aspects of setting up a brand new self-hosted WordPress blog.

Blog to Biz Strategies | How To Configure Your WordPress Settings For Your New Blog

If you’ve been following along in my How to Start A Blog Series, you’ve now installed WordPress onto your hosting, and you’ve cleaned up your WordPress installation.

The next step is to configure your WordPress settings. Your WordPress settings are where you configure the display settings for various sections of your blog.

To access the WordPress Settings, click on the “Settings” link which is towards the bottom of your Admin Navigation.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Overview of WordPress Dashboard - Settings

For each of the options within the WordPress Settings menu, I’m going to show you the best settings for your blog.

For this, I’ve put together a video tutorial for the visual learners. And, I’ve created a step-by-step photo tutorial which you can use as a quick and easy reference.

Video Tutorial: How To Configure Your WordPress Settings

*If you can’t see the video tutorial please refresh the page*

Step-By-Step Photo Tutorial: How To Configure Your WordPress Settings

Before we get into the WordPress settings, there are a few things that we are going to have to do first.

Step 1. Create A Home Page And A Blog Page

The first thing we’re going to do is to create a Home page and a Blog page.

The home page is going to be the front page of our blog. The blog page will be the page that displays your recent posts.

By default, WordPress is set to display your recent posts on the front page of your blog? However, if you are wanting to build and grow an online business, then I recommend a static page as your front page. And I explain the reason why in this post.

Now if you have a page OTHER than the recent posts page as your home page, you then have to create a blog page as well.

So navigate to the pages menu, and select “Add New.”

Blog to Biz Strategies | WordPress Pages Menu

This will take you to the page editor.

Blog to Biz Strategies | WordPress Page Editor

Type in the name of your page where it says “Add Title.” For the home page, I am simply using “home.” And for the blog page, I am simply using “blog.” Once your title has been set, click on “publish” to make the page live.

Just a reminder. The pages you publish will only be visible to you. That’s because we hid your blog behind a coming soon page.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Create A Home Page

Once publish your pages, you’ll see them on your “All Pages” admin screen.

Blog to Biz Strategies | All Pages Screen

Step 2. Change the Default Category

Once you start creating content for your blog, you are going to want to organize it into categories. It’s better for SEO and better for your readers.

WordPress automatically creates one default category called “uncategorized.”

And whenever you create content for your blog, if you don’t assign it a category, then WordPress will put it into the default category. Now I like to change the name of my default category to something that acts as a catch-all category for my niche.

For example, with this blog, my default category is “blogging basics.”

To change the default category name, in your admin navigation, go to Posts -> Categories.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Categories Admin Screen

To edit your category, click on the edit link (below the category title).

Blog to Biz Strategies | Edit Category

On the screen that opens, change the category name and the category slug. The category slug is the URL friendly name for your category. Make sure you use lowercase letters and separate the words with a hyphen. Once you’re finished, click on “Update.”

Blog to Biz Strategies | Change Category Name

Step 3. Configure General WordPress Settings

We’re now ready to configure the WordPress Settings. On the admin navigation, under “Settings” Select “General.”

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - General

This will take you to the General WordPress settings admin screen.

Start by changing your “Site Title.” The site title is the name of your blog.  Next, is the tagline. The tagline is a brief statement that describes what your blog is about.

From there I leave all the default settings the same, until I get to timezone.

You’ll notice that there are two options for setting your timezone. There is UTC or by city.  I definitely recommend you set your timezone as this will ensure that if you schedule your posts to be published at a certain time, they publish when you expect them to.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - General Settings

Beneath timezone, you will see the date and time format options. I generally leave them at the default settings.

Finally, the last option is to change the day of the week you want as your week start date. Some people prefer the week to start on Monday. Others consider the first day of the week to be Sunday. Once you have finished configuring your general settings (see pictures above and below), click on “Save Changes.”

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - General Settings Step 2

Step 4. Configure The Writing WordPress Settings

Our next category of WordPress settings to change are the writing settings.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Writing

On the writing admin screen, double check that your default post category is correct. Later on, as you add more categories to your blog, you have the option of changing the default category from this screen.

Leave all the other options the same and then click on “Save Changes.”

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Writing Step 2

Step 4. Configure The Reading WordPress Settings

The reading settings section contains settings related to how your blog post content is displayed to your readers.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Reading

The first option determines what displays on your homepage. By default, the latest posts option is selected. I recommend selecting the static page option. From there, choose the home page you created earlier, to display for your “Homepage.” Then select the blog page you created to display as your “Posts page.”

The second option controls how many blog posts you want displayed on each of your recent posts pages. I like to change the setting from the default of 10 to 5. What that means is that the 5 most recent posts will show on your blog page. At the bottom of your recent posts page you’ll see links to click to older posts. Once again, the older posts will be displayed 5 per page.

The reason you don’t want too many posts showing on each page is that it can take a long time for your posts page to fully load. A page that loads too slowly can lead to you losing readers.

The third and fourth options relate to syndication feeds.  Which are also known as RSS feeds.

What is an RSS feed? RSS is short for “real simple syndication.” Readers have the option to read your blog’s content through a feed reader or receive the content through email (if you have those options set up). Under reading settings, you can set how many posts will show up in your RSS subscribers’ feed. I like to change from the default setting of 10, to 5.

You also have the option of setting whether or not your feed subscribers see the full text of your blog posts or just a summary. I like to set it to “summary.” The reason for this is to encourage your readers to visit your site.

When a reader subscribes to an RSS feed, the content is delivered to them. Either through their feed reader or via email. If they can read the entire contents of your post in their feed reader, there is no reason for them to visit your site.

By keeping the RSS feed to a summary, you ensure that if the reader wants to read the full blog post, they have to visit your blog to do so.

Our final option is “Search Engine Visibility.” Make sure that box is no selected (it usually is by default). If that box is checked, you are telling search engines that you don’t want your site to be found. We definitely DON’T want that!

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Reading Step 2

Step 5. Configure The Discussion WordPress Settings

The discussion section contains settings related to comments on your blog. To access the discussion screen, select “discussion.”

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Discussion

In the “default article settings” section, I select the first and the third option. The first one is to attempt to notify any blogs that I link to from my posts.  The third option is to allow people to post comments. If you do not have this option selected, your readers will not be able to comment on your posts.

In the next section – “other comment” settings – I only select two of the options. The first option and the fourth. The first option makes it mandatory for a reader to fill out their name and email address if they want to be able to leave a comment. This is important because it helps prevent spammy comments being left anonymously.

The fourth option relates to threaded comments. Threaded comments make it easier for your readers to follow discussions in the comments. Essentially, threaded comments mean that a reply to a comment is nested below that comment (so indented).

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Discussion step 1

If you scroll further down the discussion settings page the next section relates to whether or not you want to receive emails when people leave a comment. Now when you’re just starting out, you’ll notice that it takes time for people to start leaving comments on your blog posts. And when a comment is left, that can be really exciting. So for new blogs, I like to receive an email notification when someone posts a comment. If you prefer not to be notified, then leave the first option unchecked.

I highly recommend you select the next option which is holding comments for moderation. Spammy comments are a big part of every bloggers life. You’re going to get them. And as your blog grows, you’ll start to get a lot of them. Holding a comment for moderation means that when there is a comment on your blog, it won’t automatically be approved and published. Instead, it will be held in a pending comments folder, until you manually approve it.

To make sure that your blog is set up to manually approve comments you do have to make sure that the first option is selected in the “before a comment appears” section.

From there, the last setting I check is that the “comment author must have a previously approved comment.” What that means is that once you approve a reader’s comment, the next time they leave a comment, it will be automatically published. So for each reader that leaves a comment, you only have to approve their first comment.

The next section is comment moderation. As you can see I have set it so that if a comment contains one or more links, it’s held for moderation. Usually, spammy comments contain links. So this setting acts as a filter, to catch comments filled with links. WordPress will then put the comment into your spam folder.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Discussion step 2

At the very bottom of the discussion settings page, you’ll find settings related to how you want your commenter’s avatar displayed. I leave all the settings at their default.

The avatar is the little graphic image that shows up to the left of the commenter’s name. If the commenter has a gravatar account, their image will show up. If they don’t, then the “mystery person” icon will appear.

Now once you have configured all your discussion settings, make sure you “save changes.”

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Discussion step 3

Step 6. Configure Your Media WordPress Settings

The media settings relate to the management of images and other media within WordPress.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Media

I actually leave all the image size settings at the defaults. Then, for the “Uploading files” section, I like to make sure the box is checked. And that’s because I do want to make sure that my images are organized into month and year based folders.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Media Step 1

Step 7. Configure Your Permalink WordPress Settings

Almost there friends! We are at the second from the last settings.

Now the permalink settings are related to the URL structure of the website.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Permalink

So what exactly does that mean?  Well, every single time you publish a blog post, that blog post will live on its own web page. Each web page (aka blog post) will have its own URL. These URLs are called “permalinks.”

As you can see, there are a lot of different ways that your permalink can be displayed.

The best one to choose is the “post name” option. It’s the simplest and easiest to remember. It’s also the best for SEO.

Now if you’re interested in reading more about permalinks, check out this post by Yoast SEO. A blog that specializes in search engine optimization.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Permalink Step 1

Before we move on to the last setting, there is something super important I want to mention.

If you already have an established blog with blog posts already published – DO NOT just go and change your permalink structure. Because you’ll end up with broken links. Which is really bad for SEO.

Instead, I recommend you read this post and follow the directions there.

Step 8. Configure Your Privacy Policy WordPress Settings

The last section we are going to look at under the WordPress settings, is the Privacy Policy link. Now you may or may not see it in your WordPress settings.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Privacy Policy

One of the things you are going to need to do is to create a privacy policy page for your blog. If you create a privacy policy page you have the option of setting which page you want to use.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Privacy Policy Step 1

Otherwise, if you select “create new page,” WordPress will create the skeleton of a Privacy Policy page for you. Now it’s important to note that the privacy policy page WordPress creates is incomplete. Not all sections are complete.

Personally, I use a privacy policy page template that I purchased from an online lawyer. There are a number of different online lawyers who sell legal templates for bloggers.

Blog to Biz Strategies | Configure WordPress Settings - Privacy Policy Step 2

In Conclusion

Yay! You did it! If you followed along with this post, then you have now configured your WordPress settings.

As always, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below, and then check back for my response. I usually respond within 24-48 hours.

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