The Settings Menu Item is located at the bottom of the Dashboard. Click on it to expand the sub-items that can be edited: General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, Privacy, and Permalinks. Some of the most important settings and options for your site are controlled in this section. Some of these settings won’t make much sense until we begin to create content, so we’ll revisit this area later in the tutorial. It might be helpful to print out this handy table of all WordPress Dashboard Menu settings to see how this section relates to other WordPress settings.
In this article, we want to select and edit some of the preferences that we know we’ll want to set.
Settings | General
Site Title — The preferred name or title of your site.
Tagline — Not required, but if you have a tagline or sub-title, add it here. Otherwise, remove the default value.
WordPress address and Site address — Leave the default values for now.
E-mail address — Use an address you often check to make sure you know when someone has requested to become a member, or when you need to approve a comment. This address does not have to be tied to your new WordPress domain name. You can use your current email here.
Membership — Check the box to allow anyone to register, unless you have a reason to limit your readership to a predetermined group.
Timezone — Find a major city in your time zone to set the correct number of offset hours to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).
Date and Time Formats and Week Starts On — This isn’t critical, but some calendar and scheduling plugins may use this information.
Settings | Writing
The “Writing” settings relate to you and your other authors who will be creating content for your site.
Size of the post box — This value is the approximate number of rows or lines that will appear in your editing window when you compose or edit a post or page. Depending on your own display preferences, you’ll probably want this value between 20 and 30. If it’s too tall for your screen size, you’ll have trouble managing the scroll bars.
Formatting — Check the first box if you want to display emoticons graphically. Unless you plan to be editing your posts and pages primarily using the HTML editor, you can leave the second box unchecked.
Default Post Category — Leave as is for now. After you’ve created your Post categories you may want to come back and change this. The default category ensures that every post is assigned to at least one category.
Default Post Format — Leave as is. Standard refers to a typical post format. An Aside post is a short, untitled, uncategorized posts that is somewhat similar to a Facebook status update. A Gallery format post is used when multiple images are displayed within a post.
Default Link Category — Leave as is. Again, later on you may wish to create other Link categories and this setting can be easily changed.
Press This — Depending on how often you blog and how much you depend on online sources, you may be interested in this advanced feature at some point. Here is a screencast video from WordPress that describes how it functions. For now, leave as is.
Post via e-mail and Remote Publishing — Leave as is for now.
Update Services — This is a very important item to update if you want your site to be found by search engines.
1) To get started, click on the “Update Services” link to access a WordPress Codex page that explains Update Services.
2) In the middle of the page, there is a highlighted block of links under the title “XML-RPC Ping Services.”
3) Copy the entire block of links (highlight then File | Copy, or use CTRL-C on a PC or CMD-C on a Mac).
4) Use your browser’s back arrow to get back to your WordPress page, then replace the one link in the “Update Services” block by pasting (File | Paste, or CTRL-V on a PC or CMD-V on a Mac) the block of links.
Settings | Reading
The “Reading” settings will affect what your visitors will see on your site.
Front (or home) page displays — This selection is very important because it will determine what your readers will see when they first access your site. Is your site going to be a regular blog exclusively? If so, then you’ll probably want to leave the default value as Your latest posts, since blog readers expect to see the latest post first, then previous posts in reverse chronological order.
However, if you’re going to use your WordPress site more as a regular website, or if you have a specific landing page you want everyone to start at when they go to sitedifferent.com, you’ll want to select A static page and then select that desire page from the dropdown menu.
At this point, you haven’t created that page yet so you can either leave the default value as it (Your latest posts) or change it to the only available page, Sample Page. We’ll come back to this setting item in the Use: Pages article.
Blog pages show at most — This value indicates the number of posts that will appear on the blog summary page.
Syndication feeds show the most recent — Leave as is for now.
For each article in a feed, show — Unless your posts are usually short, you’ll probably want to select Summary here rather than the default Full text.
Encoding for pages and feeds — Leave as is for now.
Settings | Discussion
The Discussion settings relate to the comments area and how you prefer to manage comments.
All of the default settings on this screen are acceptable for the time being. Depending on your own preferences in terms of how you want to manage reader Comments, you may want to consider who can post comments and whether or not comments have to be approved. The different options should be self-explanatory.
Avatars are small images that identify individual users as they participate in various commenting forums throughout the Internet. Some people use a small photo, while others prefer to create or choose a cartoonish image. Depending on how much user interaction you expect to have on your site, you may want to revisit these settings later.
These settings will be discussed more fully in Section 3.0, Use: Comments.
Image Sizes — When you upload photos and other images using the WordPress Media Uploader, WordPress automatically creates three copies of each photo or image in three different sizes. This gives you formatting options in terms of using the same photo, for example, as a small thumbnail or as a full-sized feature image.
If you’re familiar with photo editing and have a good idea of the sizes that might serve your needs, you can enter your desired values in pixels for each of the three designated sizes: Thumbnail, Medium, and Large. Otherwise, go with the default values until you have a reason to change them.
Embeds — Unless you have a specific need, accept the default values. This will allow you to embed an actual image or video from another site (like YouTube or Flickr) in your posts, rather than simply providing a link.
Uploading Files — By default, WordPress uploads media to a sub-directory called uploads within the wp-content directory. Within the uploads sub-directory, files are further organized by year (4 digits) then month (2 digits).
Therefore if you uploaded a file called graphic.jpg in September 2011, the full path to that file would be: http://sitedifferent.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/graphic.jpg.
This only becomes important if you’re managing a lot of media files via FTP. In many cases, it’ll be enough for you to know that your media files are contained in the WordPress media library.
Settings | Privacy
Site Visibility — While you’re developing your site, especially if you’re creating, deleting, and moving files around as you get your site as you want it, it might be better to not have the search engines index your site. If that’s the case, select the second option to block engines. Just make sure to change it back to be visible to everyone, including search engines, once your design and content creation has settled down.
Settings | Permalinks
The pages and posts that you create in WordPress are not stored on the server as individual files like an HTML web page. They’re stored instead in a database. So what you think of as the file name or the link address of a WordPress page is actually more like a pointer to a database location rather than a fixed name.
The default format for a WordPress page would look something like: http://sitedifferent.com/wp/?page_id=327. A post would look like: http://sitedifferent.com/wp/?p=1234. You’ll notice this type of format is the Default format on the Permalinks Settings page.
There are several options listed that provide a more intelligent and even ‘prettier’ naming convention. One of the most common formats isn’t listed, and that’s the format I’m using. If you’ll notice the url address for this page, it’s: http://ndividuate.com/2011/settings/. This naming convention is based on the domain/year/post title scheme. When I created the post, I manually chose the settings page name so I would easily recognize it and understand what it contains. (Note that identifiers cannot include periods or blank spaces.)
If you’d like to use this naming scheme, select the Custom Structure and in the box enter: /%year%/%postname%/
Or select one of the other convention options, or accept the default. Be advised that you can run into problems later on if you change your mind, so give it some thought before you start generating a lot of content.
For more about permalinks, read this WordPress Codex article on “Using Permalinks.” Generally, you can think of the permalink as an alias for the actual database identifier, like an aka or dba (“doing business as”). Either address will work.
So in the case of this article, its address is:
aka or dba
Video Review of Setup: Settings (13:14 )
This video review covers each of the Settings options, as well as:
- Demonstrates context-sensitive Help for User Roles.
- Demonstrates how to add more Update Services to alert search enginess when your site is updated.
- Demonstrates how to set a Custom Permalinks format and edit a Permalink on a page-by-page basis.