The WordPress dashboard can be a bit overwhelming when you see it for the first time. All those options and settings can be a bit confusing. Rest assured, the dashboard is very intuitive and you’ll soon know it like the back of your hand. The best way to get used to the dashboard is to click on the options down the left-hand side and play around with the WordPress settings. You won’t break it and you haven’t posted any content you could accidently delete.
This post is part of the Blog Cogs Start Blogging With WordPress Today tutorial.
- Start Blogging Today with This WordPress Tutorial
- Choosing the Right Domain Name for Your Blog
- Registering for a Bluehost Web Hosting Account
- How to Install WordPress on Your Domain
- Optimizing the WordPress Settings
- Installing WordPress Plugins
- Install These WordPress Plugins Now!
- Choosing and Installing a WordPress Theme
- SEO Optimize Your WordPress Blog Posts
- Improving Your WordPress Blog Security
Step-by-step Guide to Optimizing the WordPress Settings
Trial and error will get your WordPress settings right, but if you want to hit the ground running, the guide below with take you through the WordPress settings and show you how to optimize them for optimum money-making potential.
- Log in to your WordPress account. The URL will be www.yourblog.com/wp-admin.
- This is an overview of your dashboard. Before we start optimizing, let’s delete the sample post, page, and comment.
- Click on posts, and then send the sample post to the trash.
- Click on pages, and then send the sample page to the trash.
- Click on comments, and then send the sample comment to the trash.
- General settings is where you can change the name and tagline of your blog. Once you’ve set them, try not to change them; this is like your name and if you change it too often you’ll confuse your visitors. Set date to a format you like and select your time zone so your scheduled posts publish when you expect them too. Membership is where you can select if people can join your blog as contributors, editors etc. If you’re going to publish a lot of guest posts this might be a good idea, but leave it unchecked for now to avoid unwelcome spam. Remember, you must save changes before you leave the page or your changes will be discarded.
- Writing settings can mostly be ignored for now. You can set default post category and format when you know what you want them to be. The important one is Update Services, also known as ping servers. These are tools you can use to let other people know you’ve updated your blog which of course increases traffic. By default WordPress only sends updates to one service. Here is a WordPress ping list you can copy and paste into the box.
- Reading settings can be ignored for now until you know what type of front page (a list of latest posts or a static page that has things like what your site is about, services, contact details etc.) you want. Make sure there’s no tick in the discourage search engines from indexing this site if you want your site to show up in search engines (which you certainly do if you want to make money).
- Discussion settings (top) need to be set to encourage discussion. The settings shown here are a good start.
- Default article settings: Pingbacks and trackbacks (more on these in a future post) and discussion (comments) are all good for spreading your content so tick them all.
- Other comment settings: You want to know who is commenting so tick the top box. You want people to be able to comment on older articles so don’t tick the automatically close comments box (unfortunately, you’ll have more span to deal with). There’s no need to break comments unless you’re getting hundreds per post.
- Email me whenever: If you get a lot of comments you probably won’t want an email every time you get a new one, but you will want to know when one is being held for moderation so you can mark it as genuine or spam as soon as possible.
- Before a comment appears: If you get a lot of comments it’s best to keep these unticked to save you a lot of approving.
- Comment moderation: The default settings are fine.
- Discussion settings (bottom) give the people who post comments an identity, so click show avatars to show the photo linked to their accounts. A default avatar will show for people who do not have a custom photo. Choose any default avatar you like.
- Media settings change the default sizes of your images and can be ignored for now.
- Permalink settings are set by default to plain. This is terrible for SEO. Change it to post name. If you’ve migrated a WordPress.com blog following my guide (How to Migrate a Blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org), you should leave the permalink structure as Day and Name.
You’re All Set
That’s it, your settings are done. You’ll probably want to tweak them once you start publishing posts and receiving traffic and comments, but these settings should serve you fine for a while.
Next: Installing WordPress Plugins
You’re almost ready to start writing posts, but first, there are a few plugins I recommend you install and activate. Plugins? Don’t worry, I’ll explain what they are in the next couple of post. Click the button below to get started.