When you set up a new WordPress site it comes with a lot of default settings. If you want to have it running smooth and sweet from the off here’s what you need to do before creating any content.
Add yourself as a new user. This way if it all goes haywire you will still be able to get back into your site as the administrator.
Dashboard > Users > New User
Enter the user name, email and password and change your role to administrator.
If there is a user called ‘admin’ delete it now as this is the user names all the hackers head for.
Change the name of your site to describe what you do not who you are.
The Incorporated Widget Company
Widgets for Doodahs
Change the Site Name and Tagline here:
Dashboard > Settings > General
Really important this one. If you are blogging then leave it alone. If you are doing anything else then select which page your visitors will see when they land on your homepage. If you haven’t created your homepage yet, come back here when you have.
Dashboard > Settings > Reading
Select ‘Display Static Page’ then choose what you want as your homepage.
This shouldn’t need any changes but if you want to fiddle go to:
Dashboard > Settings > Writing
If you don’t want people to comment then uncheck the top three boxes. If you do want them to comment then maintain control by installing the Akismet plugin.
Dashboard > Settings > Discussion
If you already have a bunch of posts or pages and want to remove the comment box go to your post/pages list, select all and chose ‘Edit’ from the action box. Click on apply and change the ‘Comments’ to ‘Do not Allow’.
WordPress saves your media by date. This results in long URLs. Uncheck the box that says to save by month and year. It makes no difference to how you use images, documents and video:
Dashboard > Settings > Media
At the bottom uncheck the ‘Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders’ box.
Use these to change the way your URLs look by updating your permalinks. This will change:
Change your Permalinks here:
Dashboard > Settings > Permalinks
If the choices listed aren’t suitable there are loads more options at: codex.wordpress.org/using_permalinks
There are thousands to choose from, some free, some paid for and all with their own features. Use a search engine to find one you like or use the approved WordPress themes here:
Dashboard > Appearance > Themes
Things to watch out for:
- The more complex the theme the less control you have over the layout.
- Not all themes are secure – make sure you fully tested the theme.
- Make sure the theme has a support site where you can get help.
If there is a feature you want on your site then there is probably already a plugin that will do it for you. You can find all the plugins here:
Dashboard > Plugins > Add New
Here’s a few useful starters:
Askimet. Comes pre-installed and once activated will block just about all comment spam. If you are using it for a business site you do need to pay.
WordFence. Excellent security plugin.
Quick Contact Form. A really easy to use contact form with more features than thing with lots of features.
Testimonials Widget. Does what it says on the tin: displays random testimonials on your site.
All in One SEO Pack. There are others but this one is very easy to use and will help your ranking if set up properly.
Every theme is different but nearly of them will have sidebar and footer widget areas. All you have to do is drag the widget in to the place you want it to appear. You can see the widget areas for you theme here:
Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets
When you install plugins that have widgets they will appear on the left. Drag the widget into the widget area and play with the options.
Nearly all themes let you create your own menus. Some have a single menu, some are set up with multiple menus. You can add pages, categories and individual posts to menus. Access them here:
Dashboard > Appearance > Menus
To create a menu:
- Enter the name of your menu and save.
- Selected which pages you want to have in your menu from the list on the left and click ‘Add to Menu’.
- Drag and drop to reorder the menu.
- Click the down arrow on a menu item to edit the labels
- Save the menu.
If you want a menu in a sidebar or footer go to
Dashboard > Appearance > Widgets
Drag the Custom Menu widget into the sidebar and select which menu you want to use.
And that’s it. Your site is now ready to go, all you have toi do now it add some content.