Customizing WordPress Dashboard settings is the first thing you must do, after you install your WordPress blog. You want to change some of the default WordPress settings to your own, personalized settings. It is really necessary to make some of these modifications before you start blogging.
The functions in the WordPress Dashboard Settings allow you to customize the overall (behind the scenes) settings of your blog. This is important not only for the human visitors to your blog but also for search engines (search engines are programs which help people find websites that deliver answers to people who look for answers online).
In the last section of the WordPress Tutorial we explored the dashboard and you discovered that WordPress Dashboard has a large menu and sub-menu (Images 1. and 2.). In this section we will concentrate on customizing WordPress Dashboard settings of your newly installed blog.
Image 1. Dashboard Menu
The first thing I always do when I set up a new blog, I expand the Settings and configure and customize the essential elements within the Settings.
Image 2. Sub-menu of Dashboard Settings
How To Customize WordPress Dashboard Settings
As you can see, there are 6 different settings within the Settings menu in the blog dashboard (Image 2.).
We will go through each of the settings individually.
1. Configuring General Settings
Image 3. Configuring General Settings
►Title – It is important to enter short but descriptive title. The title will be visible in your header, if you will not mask it by a logo or a header image.
Most importantly, irrespective of whether your title is masked or not, the title will be visible to search engines. A title is one of the primary elements that search engines use to determine what your site is all about.
In general, for title use only a few words that pertain to the topic of your blog. You can also use more than one topic descriptive words separated by the vertical word separator ” | ” on your keyboard.
For example, my site’s title is Blogging Spree | Blogging Tips | Blogging Basics. The title of my site is masked by a header image, but the search engines can see it.
►Tagline – This needs to be a short but comprehensive description of what your blog is about. Tagline is also an important element for search engines and it will also show in your header if you will not mask it with a header image. On this blog the tag line is: “Basic Blogging Tips For Internet Marketers“.
If you are not exactly sure about these two elements, don’t worry about it at the moment and write something there for now. You can always change it later, just make sure not to delay it for too long.
►Email Address – this should be your forwarded email. As instructed in the blog installation part How To Start A Blog Guide, you would have entered a forwarded email in your WordPress installation.
This is necessary, so that the general public (including scammers) are not privy to your personal email address when they are contacting you. If you have not forwarded your email yet, please do so now, it is very simple to do. (See section on How To Set Up Email Forwarding).
►Membership – leave unticked
►User Default Role – that’s you, set it up to Administrator otherwise you will not be able to make certain changes within your WordPress platform
►Timezone – set your timezone. Click on the “down” button and you will be given many choices. Select one that is the same as your timezone or the time zone you want to choose.
When you are done click on the button SAVE CHANGES!!!!
Always save the changes you make, even if I forget to tell you to do so!!!
2. Configuring Writing Settings
Image 4. Writing Settings
►Only one item is essential in the Writing Settings. It is the last item on the page, under the headings: “Update Services”.
When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies Update Services that you posted something new. Update Services then notifies search engines that there is something new on your blog. This is important because you want all search engines know that you published something. They will remember that and will come back to index your new post, so that it can be found in search.
On occasion this field is empty. If that happens please copy the URL below and place it in the Update Services field.
►The other field I marked red in the Writing Settings, is the default Post Category. You can change this to whatever you want, but I generally leave it for a category that contains random posts, in other words post that don’t fit into any of the categories I assigned to my blog. We will go through categories in detail, later in the guide, so don’t worry much about it now.
3. Configuring Reading Settings
Image 5. Reading Settings
Reading settings are very important to configure. These settings relate to how your blog is seen by others online.
1. Front page display – Generally, bloggers want to show excerpts of their newest posts on their homepage. If you want to do that then leave the Front Page Display settings as they are.
Should you want another page (not a post) show as your home page, then tick off Static Page and from the scroll down list choose a page that you want to show (right now you only have one default page but later in the guide I will show you how to create new pages).
Note: Just in case you are not sure what a Home Page is, it is the page that visitors land on when they input your blog URL in the address bar of their browser. If you are still bot sure, just click on http://bloggingspree.com and the page you will see is this blog’s Home Page.
2. Blog pages show at most – With respect to how many blog posts to show on your home page, I usually leave it on 10. I believe 10 posts is a good idea as it gives your readers a quick overview of what is new on your site. Later I will show you how to make sure that your blogs posts on the Home Page only show as excerpts, with an option to “Read More”. This you will learn in the section on writing posts and pages.
3. Syndication feeds – leave at 10
4. Search engine visibility – make sure that Search Engine Visibility is not ticked off. Should you by any chance have it ticked off your blog would not be indexed by search engines and no one would be able to find your blog trough search queries.
4. Configuring Discussion Settings
Image 6. Discussion settings
This section mainly deals with comments and how they are handled. The settings I am showing you are the best settings for my blogs. I would suggest you follow the same pattern.You can always adjust this section later on.
Noticed I circled the before a comment appears on your post, it has to be approved. Firts, it is very important that you build relationship with your readers, second this will help you weed out spammers who got through your spam control (we will talk about this later).
I just want to advise you to be ruthless when weeding out commenters. Many are just spammers, some are not even human, that are looking for a link. If someone leaves you a lousy comment like “Great Post Man”, kick him out!
5. Configuring Media Settings
Image 7. Media Settings
These setting deal with the way the images are shown on your page. Most themes have their own settings. You can adjust images right in the WordPress editor or in the Media files themselves after you upload an image to your server.
At this point I would not change the settings. The settings, particularly the Thumbnail settings (usually shown with excerpts of your posts are set as squares. If you want to change them to rectangles, do so. But you can play with these settings after you start blogging.
6. Configuring Permalinks Settings
Image 8. Permalinks Settings
This is a crucial setting because it sets the way post links are displayed.In other words it show how the URL of your post is displayed.
You want to show your post links as legible and meaningful words or phrases that tell the reader what your post is about. This is very important also from search engines’ perspective. Setting the links right is an important element of search engine optimization of your blog. Make sure to choose the option Post Name and then click Save Changes.
Now that you have completed customizing your WordPress Dashboard settings, you are ready to go. You could start blogging now.
Next Tutorial: How To Customize Blog Sidebar