This WordPress tutorial looks at the Settings menu.  When you are setting up your site for the first time,  you need to look at how you want your site to perform.  The settings can be adjusted to make you site easy to use for your readers and easy to maintain for you.

 Show Notes

The demo site that was used for this training can be found at


00:11     Introduction
01:12 General Settings
02:27 The Writing Menu
03:35 The Reading Menu
04:49 The Discussion Menu
07:12 The Media Menu
07:24 The Permalinks Menu
07:41 Wrap-up

Video Text

In the last tutorial, we covered the post editor.  I’d like to jump to the settings menu. When you’re setting up a WordPress site for the first time,  it pays to take a look at the settings and set them up to provide a good user experience for your readers. To get to the settings menu, we will go back to the WordPress dashboard and scan down about three-quarters of the way to the settings item. Hovering over the settings menu, we can see that there are six items that need to be addressed.

In the General Settings, we set the name and tagline of the site, time zone, date format and those kinds of things.

In the writing settings, we’ll decide the default post category and do some general housekeeping.

The Reading Section is important especially if you want to set a static page for the front page.  This is also where we’ll choose to display full posts or post excerpts in our blogrolls. 

The Discussion Setting is all about communicating with your readers and how they’ll interact with comments. The media section usually never has to be adjusted, but, this is where you’ll set your default image sizes.

Finally, the Permalink Section is where you’ll set your post name structure. Your post name structure is very important to your search engine optimization; you will want to get this right as it can have a significant impact on your website rankings.

General Settings

Jumping up to the general settings, you see the first line is site title.  This is where you insert what your site is to be about site title will appear in the header of your site and is typically the first thing people will see.  Often this can be turned off so that it doesn’t display but it’s important to put it in anyway.

The tagline, in the next box, is displayed under the title and can be a good enhancement to explain what your site is all about. 

The next part, the email address, should already be filled out as you determined what this was when you set up your WordPress installation.

The membership box should be unchecked.  You don’t want people to join your site without you knowing. If you’re using your site for membership, you will want to install a more powerful plug-in that handles your membership. 

Next is the default user role.  This should be set to a subscriber for security purposes.  A subscriber has the lowest level of authority on your site.  If someone breaks into your back-end, allowing them to join as a subscriber will have the lowest level of risk. 

Next is the time zone.  This can be set up using your country in a drop-down, or often you can find a city in your time zone to select.

Finally, choose how you like the day to display on your site.

The Writing Menu

Moving down to the writing menu item, the first two checkboxes should be checked. The second choice correcting the XHTML automatically can be important in the background of your code. 

The default post category defaults to Uncategorized.  If you have created categories choose one that is not Uncategorized. Displaying uncategorized as your post category looks unprofessional and indicates to people that you’re new to WordPress. 

You can leave the default post format as standard.

The post via email section will set up a way that you can automatically post content that comes in from a specific email. If you have writers that you hire to write content, this can be a helpful way to have the content posted to your site. 

The update services will notify the search engines when you have new content. 

Finally, the title WPautoP can be chosen to update for posts and pages or neither. The wpautop filter preserves linebreaks in your code. When turned on it will add a break code, which is a line break. When turned off,  it will filter out this line break.

The Reading Menu

The Reading Menu item is where you’ll set up how your pages and posts will display. By default, WordPress is set up to have front page as a blogroll.  The first part of this can change that to a static page. You would select your static page, choose your front page, and then choose a page that will contain your posts.  Your post page needs to be set up as a blogroll.

Next, we can choose how many blog pages show up on your blogroll this defaults to 10 posts. 

You can also set up the syndication feed, which is your RSS feed, to show the most recent number of items. You can set the number of items in this field. 

Next, you can show full-text or an excerpt of your blogs.  This is where you will set that if you set the summary you’ll show an excerpt. You can set up an excerpt in your post editor after you’ve created your content for the post. 

The final checkbox search engine visibility can discourage the search engines from finding your site.  If your site is live, make sure that this is unchecked. In my case, I’m doing a demonstration so I don’t want the search engines locate the site.  Therefore, I checked the box. Under normal circumstances this box will be unchecked.

Be sure you save the changes when complete.

The Discussion Menu

The Discussion Settings is a place where you’ll set up how people can interact with your comment stream.

Pingbacks and Trackbacks used to be important, but now they are viewed as spam, unchecked that box.  There’s no reason to notify blogs that are linked to from the article.  This appears spammy  to other web owners.

You will want to allow people to comment on new articles. This can be overridden in the quick editor with a checkbox on individual blog posts.

Moving down to the next  Other Comments section, typically, you want the author to fill out their name and email this will allow you to be able to contact them in the future. 

I don’t require users to be logged in to comment.

Most of your commenting will be done when your post is created, so you can close comments on articles over the 14 days if you’d like.  I usually will leave this unchecked and allow commenting throughout the life of the post. 

I do like to see threaded comments. This means that if someone replies to a comment it will indent that comment. So that people can realize that there is a conversation going on.

I don’t see a need to break comments into different pages.

In the next section, Email me whenever, I like to check anyone post a comment and any time a comment is held for moderation.  Although all of my comments are held for moderation so that would be redundant. 

In the next section, I must manually approve all comments before they show up on my website.  I suppose if your website is gigantic and you get thousands of comments a day, you may want to rethink checking this.  Typically, to catch all spam and remove any offensive comments you want to manually approve all comments before posting. 

And of course,  often spammers will add links into their comments.  So if I have a comment that contains one or more links,  often people will set this to two or more links,  it will be held for moderation.  Since all of my comments are held for moderation, this is just a second backcheck.

There is a place to put a comment blacklist if you’re getting lots of spam from a specific person.  You can either put their words in the content, or even the IP of your spammer.

Down at the bottom, you can set an avatar as a default if someone does not have a Gravatar. Make sure you save when you complete.

The Media Menu

In the media, you can set up the thumbnail size, medium size images and the large size images, so these can be rapidly selected for display on your website.

The Permalinks Menu

Under Permalinks,  you will want to select post name, which is the same as the custom structure here, percent-post name-percent, make sure you save when you’re done. You can also add custom structures,  if you like.  Typically for SEO purposes, you just want to have your post name in your URL.


This tutorial should have provided you with the best settings and an overview of what you need to set up. Changing the settings should only need to be done one time when you set up your site for the first time. In the next tutorial I’ll talk about choosing a theme for your WordPress site and I’ll discuss what a theme is, how to select a theme and how to install a theme.

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