June 29, 2017

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How to Configure WordPress

Now that you have your wordpress blog installed, it’s time to get the blog configured with the basic settings so that it acts and looks how you want it to. I find it best to configure it as soon as possible, even before making a first post, so that when Google begins indexing the site it indexes it in the right way. I’ll explain more later on that.

Configuring WordPress

When you have your WordPress blog installed, the next step is to log in to the wp-admin area of the site. Do this by going to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin and then enter the username and password that was provided to you at install.

When you are in the admin area, hover over the Settings menu item and then click “Permalinks”. In this section you’ll be able to control the structure of the site and how people load up sites. By default visitors will go to http://www.yourdomain.com/?p=123 with 123 changing depending on what post is being viewed. This is classed as being unfriendly for search engines. A better option would be http://www.yourdomain.com/how-to-configure-wordpress/. This is more friendly for the user to read and also more friendly for some search engines which struggle with the former version ?p=123 format. To make this change, select the custom structure box and paste in “/%postname%/” without the quotes. Hit save and that’s your permalinks sorted.

Next, go to Settings > General. Here, you set the title of your site along with a tagline. Most other options can stay the same although you are more than welcome to test changing to see if you can further refine your settings.

Next step is to visit Settings > Writing. At this point you’ll set the site of the post box. I have mine set to about 30 lines on most blogs. Experiment with this setting and do what you can to fill most of the screen with the text editor for when writing posts. It’s far easier to work with a larger area than cram it in to a small area although I prefer to keep it within the limits of the screen to prevent more scrolling. I uncheck both formatting options on my blogs as I prefer not to use smilies such as :) :p etc… If you want to use a 3rd party tool to connect up to your admin area from an iPad for example, check the XML-RPC box so that you can connect in.

Settings > Reading is where you specify how your home page will work along with how many posts to show per page. I opt for Full text with about 10 posts usually although sometimes I go for less posts. I also choose “Your Latest Posts” as my home page although depending on your blog, you might want to specify a different page here. Note that you’ll need to create a page before selecting it on this option.

Settings > Discussion is fairly self explanatory. If you allow default WordPress comments then you use this section to set the rules on how people post, what is held back for moderation as well as avatars that are set.

Settings > Media is an interesting section. When you upload images in to your posts, WordPress actually creates 4 or so copies of the image so that several different sizes are available. The smallest is default at 150 x 150 and is classed as a Thumbnail image. My own personal settings keep the 150 x 150 thumbnail. I then create a 300 x 600 max size image so that if I upload an image that is 350 x 400 pixels it is squashed down in size to 300 pixels wide at the most. Specifying 300 x 600 simply means that the X and Y axis cannot go over the specified limit. All images resized maintain their aspect. The 300 wide images are used to embed in posts with content wrapped around (like seen above). I then choose a 650 x 1000 ish (or 600 x 1000) depending on the width of my post column on the blog. This size of image is often used to break up content. Text doesn’t wrap around these, so I usually put them between paragraphs. The max size is the original image size which can be embedded but would mess up your site layout if you haven’t accounted for that. Generally you don’t need to use the actual size image.

Settings > Privacy can often be left alone. I opt to let Google see my site. For those who are just making a private blog, this option may have some value although note that Google still might index the odd page here and there. Leave it as default by standard so that Google and other search engines can index your content.

Basic Settings Now Complete

This menu comprises all the basic settings of your blog. If you install plugins then more menus will become available and you will need to configure those plugins as per the instructions provided by the developer.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to make these changes at the beginning so that you start off on the correct foot. If you have already started and want to go back to make changes, it really isn’t a huge deal, but I often find it easier to work with the correct settings from the start.

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