Understand the WordPress settings page and dashboard

The WordPress dashboard is the place to manage your blog and edit anything you want. But, sometimes newbies can be confused about some settings and how to do them.

As an example, the Blog URL structure and the blog permalinks can be edited with easy clicks, but you need to learn the recommended settings to help yourself and Google crawlers understand your blog.

Today, I’ll show you how to edit the WordPress settings page and what you need to do exactly to avoid mistakes.

The first link when you click the “Settings” menu is General settings, from there, you have to add a title and a tagline to your blog.

The blog still works without that tagline, but no one can understand what your bog talking about.

The blog tagline appears at the top of the browser when visiting the blog. At the same time, if someone bookmarks the blog, the link will name will be the blog tagline, so make sure to add a title that describes the main blog topic.

Understand the WordPress Settings and Dashboard

The “WordPress address (URL)” is the place where you’ve installed WordPress. You don’t need to edit that, the same thing applies for the “site address”, it’s the URL for the blog.

The “Membership” option is the most important part if you have a membership website. You should enable the user registration function checking “anyone can register”, and make sure to select the “subscriber” as the new user’s role.

It’s better for your security, then you can change the role depending on your users’ trust and how you see them.

The “timezone” is also important, just make sure to select the right time that you want to use for the blog. All times and dates can be set from there.

If you have the Jet Pack plugin installed, statistics will be refreshed depending on which time zone you have selected.

In the “writing settings” you can check the two options, to correct XHTML and convert :) to a smile. The last part is necessary if you want to publish posts from email. In general, you don’t need that section, to create a blog post from your dashboard is better.

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In the “reading” settings you have to select the homepage. For classic blogs, your home page will be your latest posts, you can set the number of pots to be shown on the home page.

Please remember that you need to make your home page fast, as possible with less than 10 posts in general, the other posts will be in the next pages. The syndication feeds is can be set as you want, no recommendation here.

The “discussion” settings are the most important part of your blog. A blog needs to have comments and interaction, and that’s what a blog is about.

You create posts, help people, but let them ask questions and add their comments so make sure to understand these settings.

The recommended settings are making comments hold for moderation, enable threaded (nested comments), the comment author must fill out the name and email, this will avoid spam comments as possible.

The “permalinks” settings let you select the structure of your blog posts. This is important and you need to select “post name” as permalinks, this is the most popular structure.

It’s good for people and search engines, it makes the posts URL clear, clean, and easy to understand. Let the “category base” and “tag base” blank, you don’t need to edit them in general, and make sure to click the “save changes” button.

This is for the settings menu, now let’s take a look at the other option in the WordPress dashboard. You need to edit your profile, and add some information directly from the “users”, and “Your Profile”menu. If you have users, you can manage their profiles also.

If you want to add categories and make the blog organized, you need to edit the “categories” page and add some descriptions and information for each category.

It’s not a simple option, but will really help the blog to get indexed for the right topics, an organized structure is what Google and the other search engines are looking for.

I recommend to install the JetPack plugin, it replaces dozens of plugins for the same function, it’s developed by WordPress and they are adding new function from time to time.

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The best part about this plugin is that you can see how many visits you have and what pages people visits.

It’s like Google Analytics but easy to understand and won’t make your blog slow like other plugins. To find the statistics page, click “Jet Pack” at the top-left dashboard, then “site stats”.

There are many functions that you have to enable including, subscriptions, which allow people to subscribe to your blog when they comment. The sharing option is also important, you don’t have to install a social sharing plugin.

It does the work for you, and add the popular social buttons, or links at the top or the bottom of each post, there is a settings page for that.

You can also enable the “contact form” which is a great function to let people contact you, directly from a page. Make sure to create a contact page for that, and add the link to the menu. It’s important and looks professional than a blog without a contact page.

Another good option with Jet Pack is the custom CSS that lets you edit and modify the theme directly from your dashboard without the need to edit the theme itself.

This is good, especially, for newbies who don’t need complicated CSS codes and can’t risk the theme code being broken for any mistake.

If you have a news blog or website, you may like the infinite scroll option that makes the navigation easy, and looks professional. But, it’s recommended only for news websites and not the others, it can slow down the blog if you have lots of images, videos, and content, so make sure to test it.

The dashboard can be used to organize what you want to see when you log in. In general, comments and statistics are what you want, and you have the option to organize the screen options at the top page.

These are the basic WordPress settings, you can edit them as you want, but some of them are very important like the permalinks and discussion pages. When you install additional plugins you will add more settings to your dashboard.

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About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of Trustiko.com. He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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