Use WordPress to Create a Website or Blog

Set Up WordPress

When you first install WordPress, you’ll be faced with many choices. Don’t be overwhelmed. Some you may change as you get some experience with your site and visitors. I’ll guide you through some of the key ones below

Note: When you make changes to your settings or content, be sure to click on “Save” or “Update” before going on.

WordPress Settings

First, on your Dashboard, go to Settings.WordPress Settings

General Settings:

  • Enter your Site Title and Tagline. These are important, as they show up at the top of your website and in the description when your site shows up in Google (or other) searches. Incorporate some Keywords potential visitors would use in searching for you in it if possible.
  • Don’t change the WordPress address and Site Address.
  • Do you want anyone to be able to register to participate on your site? If so, it’s suggested that you set the New User Default Role to “Subscriber”. (You will be able to designate specific users as Administrators, Editors, Authors, Contributors as well.)
  • Put in your email address, Time Zone, Date and Time Display preferences.
  • When finished, save your changes.

Writing Settings:

Skip this for now. Go back later, if desired and select Formatting options, Default Post Category and Update Services.

Reading Settings:

This is how your site will appear to readers.

  • Front page displays: WordPress’s default is to have your blog show up on the front (Home) page. If you want yours to appear as a regular website, change that to a “static page”. Reading Settings
    • On the Dashboard, go to “Pages”. Click on “Add New”.
    • At the top of the Page, enter “Home” as the title. Go over to the right and click on “Publish”.
    • Go back to “Reading” under “Settings”. Select the “Static Page” button and set the front page to your “Home” page.
    • If desired, add a “Blog” page following the directions above, and select that as your “Posts” page.
  • Blog posts: To prevent long loading times, keep it to 10 or fewer
  • Syndication feeds: If you plan to use this, indicate the number you’d like shown (ex. 100 items).
  • Blog feed appearance: Select whether you want to show the full text or just a summary of articles in the feed.
  • Search Engine Visibility: If you want to be “found”, make sure the box discouraging search engine indexing is UNchecked.

Discussion Settings:

Make your choices regarding discussions on your blog. For instance:

  • Notifications: Do you want to notify any blogs linked to from articles?(Probably, yes. It’s an acknowledgement to the author giving them credit.) Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)? (Perhaps not.) “Pingbacks” and “Trackbacks” interconnect different blogs. A “pingback” notifies an author that you have linked to their blog article. A “trackback” notifies another author that you have written something related to their blog, even if there isn’t a specific link to the article. (Note: This allows links from other sites to show up in your comments section. While this might provide good information, spammers may use this for links to spammy sites. If spam becomes an issue, you may want to disable this.)
  • Allowing Comments: Do you want to allow comments on all new articles? (If not, you can allow them on specific pages or posts later – see directions in the “Add Pages” section.) Do you want to approve comments or a commenter before their post is shown? Do you want to receive an e-mail when a comment is posted?
  • Comments Format: Do you want to require the comment author to fill out their name and e-mail or register? How many comments do you want to be displayed? Oldest or newest comments at the top? Do you want to receive an email when a comment is made? Do you want to approve comments before they show up on the site?
  • Comment Moderation: You can hold comments for moderation that include words you specify or more than a certain number of links. This can help you cut down on spam on your site. (Suggestion: Hold comments in queue if they contain more than 2 links, as a common characteristic of spam is having a large number of links.) You can also “blacklist” comments that contain specified words.
  • Avatars: Do you want to display an avatar when you comment?
  • Media: This sets the default sizes for images inserted into the body of your pages and posts. Suggested: Leave the defaults for now and alter them later if desired.

Permalink Settings:

This feature allows you to determine how the url will appear for blog posts. This can be an important factor in search engine optimization. You can choose to leave the default, which will create a url with a number in it, or your can choose from several other options which might include a date and a post name. For best search results, I suggest Choosing “Post Name” or “Custom Structure” with /%category%/%postname%/

(Note: Permalinks apply only to blog posts. The url for Pages will be http://domainname.com/page-title.)

Next, Add Pages (or Posts) and Set Up Your Layout and Menus.