In a new WordPress site, we first want to twiddle a few knobs and enter some settings that will make your blog engine run smoothly.

Now that we have gotten comfortable with popping the hood to access our WordPress Dashboard, let’s start tinkering by entering key settings.

Keep in mind these can be modified at anytime, but for a few of them, it’s better to do this before we start writing anything.

General Settings

In your dashboard find the Settings link in the bottom of the left menu.

The WordPress Settings menu reveals other settings as submenus- General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, Permalinks, and Limit Login Attempts

WordPress Settings

Clicking that link opens your General settings, but for future reference, you can hover over the settings link to directly access any of the other ones.

Below we review the most important ones to update now,

Under General settings:

  • You can change the site title and tagline at any time. These are used in many places to describe your blog, so make sure they are accurate.
  • The only other important setting for now is Timezone. By default, this is set to UTC+0 which is appropriate if you are at the same longitude as London. From the menu, pick a city name (e.g. Toronto) that is in the same time zon as you (or the time zone you wish it to publish in). This becomes important because all content is time stamped for when it was published.

Under Reading settings:

  • If you do not want search engines to visit your site and have your content show up in search results, check the box for Discourage search engines from indexing this site.

Under Permalinks settings is where you can decide how the web addresses for your blog will be formatted.

  • The default selection is the last one on the list, which includes your blog category in links. We think that makes for long URLs, so we suggest using the second to last option Post name.

Obviously there are many more settings, but changing them is not critical at this time. We wil point now that WordPress has contextual help on every screen; look for the Help tab in the top right, below your user name. Clicking this opens a drawer with some quick explanation of the current screen, plus links to more detailed WordPress documentation:

A sreen shot of the wordprss help screen for the Permalinks settings.

Changing Your Settings

Now we will edit the settings on our on account. In the top right of the WordPress Admin bar, you are represented by a generic icon and a link that says “Howdy admin”. Hover over that o open the menu, and select Edit My Profile

Screenshot of the user menu, which opens a menu including the link to Edit My Profile

In your User Profile settings, you can choose a different color palette for the WordPress Dashboard.

The settings we want to add now re our first and last name, as well as a “nickname” – for his site, Alan has entered his twitter handle. But the important setting is the menu for Display Name which tells wordpress how you should be listed on the web site any place it refers to you. Most people do not want to be known as admin so select the option that first you best.

Some WordPress themes (like this site, see the bottom footer) will use the content in Biographical Info when it displays your posts.

Many themes will use an icon or avatar to represent you. If you want this, you need to create a Gravatar account that associates an image with the email address listed in your settings. It’s a handy thing, as it will also be used when you leave comments on other people’s blogs.

Wrap Up

We’ve looked at a few of the settings worth changing now. Next we will create a few categories for our blogs and review how to use them, and tags, to organize what we write.

See Also

Extending with WordPress Guide

Featured Image: Public domain US Navy photo found on Naval Aviation news story Producing Ready, Relevant Learning for Sailors