WordPress is simple, but powerful. With power comes complicatedness, and that’s not even a word. For many of these settings, you’ll simply be accepting the default settings for most of the screen, but you’ll need to make changes to almost every one. In the meantime, you’ll be learning where things are so if you ever want to make any adjustments in the future, you’ll know where to look. Or, you can just refer to these posts.
These steps will probably take 15-20 minutes, again, depending on how comfortable you are and how fast you go. So, let’s get started. On the left navigation bar, click on Settings, and you’ll see the following selections in the sub menu. We’re going to click on each item, go to each screen, and make the necessary changes.
- General – accept defaults, note time zone
- Writing – accept defaults, unless you want to be able to post via email. If so, you must know your mail server, login, password. Generally, this functionality – posting via email – is outdated, since WordPress makes a great app for iOS and Android, but it still works.
- Reading – accept defaults, except for “Follower Settings.” Change these messages to what you actually want to tell someone via email when they follow your blog or subscribe via email to your blog. Make it a nice message, consistent with your personal brand or personality.
- Discussion – Under “E-mail me whenever”, choose when you want to be notified via email. You can change this anytime if you get bombarded with emails. Otherwise, accept defaults, except for Avatars. View people’s profiles when you mouse over their Gravatars. Choose “Maximum Rating” as “G”. Choose “Gravatar Logo” as the default. That’s what will appear if someone does not have a gravatar. Under “JetPack Settings”, choose whether or not you want to allow people to follow blog posts, comments, both or neither. Sometimes people want to be informed via email when someone comments after they have commented. That’s a great tool if you have a lot of discussion on your posts.
- Media – accept defaults, and check “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders”. Doing this helps you find images from past posts easily.
- Permalinks – Choose “Post Name” under “Common Settings”, so your posts will appear nicely, e.g., www.yourname.com/nice-post-name/
- Click to Tweet – Enter your twitter handle so you’ll get mentioned when someone clicks to tweet something from your site.
- Limit Login Attempts – this helps keep people out, but also remember that YOU can get locked out if you forget your password. Accept the defaults here, understanding that if you forget your password, you’ll be locked out after 4 tries.
- Sharing – Connect your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Path, and Google+ accounts here. You obviously don’t have to connect to all of them, but you should connect your blog to the social media channels that you plan on using the most, and where your audience is (or will be). When you publish a blog, you will automatically share that blog post to the social networks that you connect here. This feature is very powerful because it means you don’t have to manually share to each of these networks. Under “Sharing Buttons”, choose which services you want your readers to be able to share your blog to, and how you want the social buttons to appear on each blog post.
That’s it. Your basic WordPress settings are complete, plus now you know where and how to make changes when and if you need to. Wasn’t that easy? Good, because now it gets really fun. Ready to start writing? Good. Get another cup of coffee, and come back tomorrow to walk through how to create your first WordPress blog post.