Choose Your Settings

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In this tutorial, we’ll look at Settings and talk about the most important ones to consider before you begin working on your blog.

Let’s start by clicking on Settings in the WordPress Dashboard. That takes us to General Settings and you can see the other types of settings we’ll be looking at in the submenu here. Many of the default setting can be left in place but I want to point out a few that are the most important to consider. Also, remember that anything you choose now, you can change later.

So, here we are on General Settings. This is where you can edit the blog title – this is the one that will appear at the top banner area of your blog site You can also edit this tag line that appears in smaller type could be by my name. So, you have the option of using it, leaving it as is, or clearing it and having no tag line.

The rest of the options on this page are more trivial and, unless you want to make choices about how the time and date appear on each post, they can be left as is.

Before we leave this page, if you made any changes, you’ll need to click Save Changes, at the bottom.

Now let’s click on Writing. The important option on this page is the Default Post Category. This means that each time you make a post to your blog, you can assign a category to it and it will help users find what they’re most interested in. We’ll cover this thoroughly in the Create and Edit a Post and All about Categories, so for now we can just leave this as is.

Now let’s click on Reading. At the top of the page you see an option to choose what your front page is. If you’re just going to use you blog site for blogging, you can leave it as is. But I’ll briefly explain this other options – some people use their blog sites as websites with a variety of information pages that are unchanging or static. If you wanted one of those pages to be your front page, then you can choose one of those but you have to create the page first. We’ll be covering this in the Create a Page tutorial and at that point, if you like, you can come back to this setting and choose one of your static pages to be the front page for your blog site.

One of the more critical choices relates to “site visibility”. This top one “Allow search engines to index this site” is the setting that’s most open and public – so anyone can find your blog with google search. The next option means that search engines won’t be able to find your site, but anyone with a link to it will be able to see it.
Below are additional levels of privacy:
If you want to practice making posts and deleting them – playing around in a site, I suggest selecting the bottom option “I would like my site to be visible only to admins.” This means that only you and the people in UVM IT who have super-administrator roles can see your blogs.

If you choose the option above it – only registered users I add, this means that you can invite specific people to be users on your blog and keep it closed to everyone else. You’ll learn all about this in the Add Users tutorial.

So, while you’re setting up your blog, select this then choose this setting – visible only to Admins – then when you’re done, come back here and make it public. And then click “Save Changes”

Now let’s look at the Discussion Settings section. These settings relate to whether people can make comments to your blog posts and how you’ll be notified about it. The reason this is important to choose carefully is because, even though there is a spam filter, I can attest that there are still a lot of spammers who get through and try to make comments to the blogs I run and I would definitely not want comments to be automatically posted on any of my blogs.

But, the first decision to be made is this 3rd option: Allow people to post comments on new articles. If you don’t want to deal with reader comments to your posts, leave it unchecked. If you are interested in getting comments, put a checkmark here on this. And remember that even If you do check it, you still have the option when you’re publishing an individual post to turn off comments for that post only.

I strongly recommend that you leave the rest of the settings in the default state. But if you want to read more about them, click Help / then click Documentation on Discussion Settings – this will explain all these choices in more depth. Then click Save Changes.

Let’s take a quick look now at Media. This is where you can choose the size of images you add to posts or page but these defaults are fine, and you can modify them later if you like.

Finally, permalinks: What this means is how the URL or web address looks for your posts. This is important to pay attention to if you are interested in Search Engine Optimization – or in other words helping search engines to find your posts more easily.

This will probably not be important to many UVM bloggers, but if SEO is something thats important to you than just click on the help button and read the documentation about permalinks and how to use them.

And finally, Akismet is the spam filter and since we don’t have any options to change settings for it, we can just skip that one.

So if you’re following these tutorials in sequence, the next one is about Customizing the appearance of your blog.