Blog start – step 5 – basic settings in WordPress

WordPress

Today’s 5th part of the blog start series is about the most important settings that you should make immediately after installing WordPress.

After you’ve reinstalled WordPress, you could basically start blogging. However, WordPress offers a number of settings that should be adjusted before the first post.

There are various reasons for this, such as higher security or better search engine optimization.

WordPress basic settings

I will now go through the settings step by step that I consider important and also explain what you can set there and why you should do it.

Most of the setting options can be found under “Settings” on the left.

I will now go through the individual sub-items.

  • General
  • There are 3 things you should set here. On the one hand, it’s the “slogan”. This should still contain a standard text after installation. Give your blog a suitable slogan that also contains the 1-2 most important keywords. The slogan shouldn’t be too long. The second setting on this page is the item “Membership”. Make sure there isn’t a tick here, otherwise it will allow your blog readers to register and do things that you don’t want. Thirdly, it is important to check whether the “time zone” is correct. You can select the time difference directly as well as a city that is nearby. For German bloggers this would be Berlin. If the time zone is set incorrectly, blog posts may appear at the wrong time.
  • Write
  • There are also 3 things to look at here. On the one hand, you can set the standard category for your articles here. So create the most important categories in your blog beforehand (under the item “Articles”) and then select the category in which most of the articles will fall (e.g. news).You can also activate the XML-RPC interface here. If you use a desktop blog tool or want to blog from your iPhone, for example, this interface must be activated. At the very bottom, and not visible on this screenshot, there is still a field for the ping services. There are two URLs by default. However, there are other ping services that may be worth entering here. More on this in the newsletter archive of my traffic newsletter (edition from April 6, 2009).Simply subscribe to my traffic newsletter and you will also have access to all previous issues.
  • Read
  • In the reading area, the settings for the RSS feed are of particular interest. But let’s start at the top. Here you can choose whether you want to display the last X articles chronologically on the homepage or a static page. As a rule, the first option will remain. You can then set how many articles should be displayed in the news feed. I like it when there are a little more articles and not just the last 10.In addition, you can set here whether complete articles should appear in the feed or just a specially specified short text. Full feeds are very popular , but they also have one or two disadvantages. (Note: In a follow-up article I will present a plugin that allows further setting options.)
  • discussion
  • The discussion area is mainly about user comments and spam containment. Actually, all settings are important here and you should think carefully about what to choose. Because it depends, among other things, on how the daily work with your blog goes. But SEO decisions are also made here. The first area should remain active, as comments and especially trackbacks are important for marketing your own blog. In the second area you can set the conditions under which readers can comment and how these comments are displayed. You should get your email address and name. In addition, you can set here that old articles (x days) can no longer be commented on. Mostly old articles are only given comments by spam bots. But it can also annoy readers. The third area is important because WordPress informs you about new comments and comments that have not yet been activated. I use this service because otherwise I could overlook spam comments or activate new comments much too late. The fourth area is then a matter of discretion. I’ve set it up so that a reader’s first comment must always be moderated.
  • privacy
  • The first point must be selected here, otherwise the Google Bot and other search engine crawlers will not be allowed into your blog. And then of course you can’t appear in the search engine results.
  • Permalinks
  • It is controversial whether permalinks provide a better search engine position. But it definitely doesn’t hurt. Permalinks replace the article number in the URL with the title of the article. For example, “www.url.de/?p=123” becomes “www.url.de/2009/07/28/sample-post/”.Such a permalink URL is not only easier to read for users, it also contains important keywords. That’s why you should enable permalinks. I usually use the Tag and Name option. WordPress tries these permalink settings to automatically enter the “.htaccess” file. If this is not available in the main directory of the blog or is write-protected, you have to manually enter the code (this is below and cannot be seen on the screenshot) in a normal text file with the name “.htaccess”.

other important settings

There are other settings that you should make after installation.

  • Remove admin user
  • By default, WordPress creates a user “admin”. He has all rights. The problem is that attackers know this and “only” have to guess the password. Therefore, you should first create a new user with administrator rights. You should give this user name something other than “admin” and also assign a complicated password. Then you log in as this new user and delete the user “admin”. This has already done a lot for the security of your blog.
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • It’s a matter of taste. A lot of people like the WYSIWYG editor, I hate it. It’s best to try it out and write a new article. If you want to have more control over how your article is formatted, then under “User -> Your Profile” check the item “Visual Editor”. This deactivates the WYSIWYG editor by default.
  • Akismet registration
  • Akismet comes with every WordPress installation and I think the plugin works great. However, you still have to enter a code and you can get it on the WordPress website . Log in there and select “Please only one username” at the bottom. You will then be shown the “WordPress.com API key” which you have to enter in the Akismet settings (under “Plugins -> Akismet configuration”) in your blog. And your blog is already protected from spam.
  • Categories
  • Lots of new blogs make the mistake and just start blogging. With each new article some new categories are invented and at some point you have a confusing number of categories. Instead, you should think about the most important categories beforehand and create them under “Article -> Categories”. This ensures more clarity and clarity in the blog.

Further settings in the blog are made by plugins that I will present in one of the next articles in this series.

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