WordPress is a jungle. Seriously. When I first planned to write this series of WordPress posts, the idea was to get some essential WordPress topics published on my blog so that I could link to it from related blog posts and can supplement few upcoming blog posts as well.
And then I realized it’s not easy. I mean, it became a struggle to keep it short and simple as there are a lot of things surrounding even a tiny WordPress option or a menu.
It’s kind of difficult to decide what to include and what not to. So, make sure that you take enough time and explore each feature/settings by yourself — especially if you have zero experience with WordPress.
Now as you might have already imagined, this is the second part of my WordPress Settings & Features That You Should Know series. Just in case, if you missed the first one, here you go:
I split this series into 3 levels as the idea is to explain all the WordPress settings that you see when you first login to your WordPress-powered site. Today, I’ve picked only two settings and it’s all about two menus (and its submenus).
There’s every chance that you won’t have to visit these menus often as they’re like “set and forget” kind of options. And do keep in mind that you shouldn’t play with these options unless you know exactly what it does to your WordPress site.
WordPress Settings lets you control several technical aspects of your blog. Let’s just explore one by one.
“General Settings” is the default Settings screen and it lets you configure/change your blog title, description, URLs, admin email, time zone, etc. Do not change the “WordPress Address (URL)” or “Site Address (URL)” unless you know its usage and purpose.
You can publish content either from the WordPress Dashboard (using the WordPress Editor) or can use 3rd-party tools like (Blogo, Windows Live Writer, etc.) or even via email. “Writing Settings” lets you change the default post category, post format, and link category.
There’s also a section called “Update Services” where you can add custom site update services so that WordPress will notify them when you publish a new blog post.
You do not have to do anything there as WordPress already prefills it with an universal update service called Pingomatic (http://rpc.pingomatic.com/).
“Reading Settings” lets you customize your homepage content and RSS feeds. That is, you can either show all your latest blog posts or a static page (whether it’s your about me, or an archive page, or a custom page) as your frontpage.
For instance, if you check my homepage it’s a static page and not a list of my latest blog posts, but then I have created a separate “Blog” page to display my latest blog posts.
So my reader settings looks like:
Also, you can change the number of blog posts shown per page on your blog and on your RSS feeds. And you can also choose whether to show only an excerpt of each blog post or to show its full content on your RSS feeds.
Finally, if you do not want search engines to index your blog (or show your website on search results) then you can check “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”
“Discussion Settings” lets you change several options related to the default WordPress comment system.
For instance, you can by default turn off comments completely for all blog posts by unchecking “Allow people to post comments on new articles” or can even choose to automatically close comments on blog posts older than X number of days.
Again, you can also control the way comments are approved and organized. That is, you can approve a comment automatically as soon as you get it or can hold it for moderation (I do it).
Finally, there’s another section called “Avatars”.
An avatar is an image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on avatar enabled sites.
Here you can customize the avatars of people who comment on your blog. If you want to know more about all the available Discussion options, go here.
“Media Settings” lets you change the thumbnail sizes of images that you place in a blog post and usually you don’t have to edit these settings as they’re automatically set by the WordPress theme that you are using.
You can also control how your uploaded files are organized. WordPress by default organizes your uploads by month and year.
That is, if you upload a file in August 2015, then WordPress will place it in http://www.example.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08 folder (by automatically creating the folders: “2015” and “08”).
If you uncheck “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders” then all your uploads will be placed in http://www.example.com/wp-content/uploads/ (in an unorganized way).
“Permalink Settings” lets you change the format of the permanent URLs of your blog posts and pages. The default permalink format of WordPress is either lengthy or not so user/search friendly.
In fact, WordPress itself officially calls the default permalinks as “Ugly”. And it’s usually of the format http://www.example.com/year/month/day/post-name/ or http://www.example.com/?p=123.
So you can customize it the way you want by using a custom format like http://www.example.com/post-name/ (if you want to keep it short and search engine friendly) or something like http://www.example.com/archives/post-number/ (if you like numbers). You can go here to learn more about the available permalink formats.
You can also change the URL structure of the categories and tags on your blog. The default permalink format of a category archive page is: http://www.example.com/category/category-name/ and the default permalink format of a tag archive page is: http://www.example.com/tag/tag-name/.
In fact, I just realized that I changed the default tag base name long time back and I don’t know exactly why I did it. So, it means if I change my tag base URL name once again (back to default) then it can create a lot of error pages.
Tools gives you some handy extensions and plugins to improve your productivity and also to import (from another blog or publishing platform) and export blog content (to another blog).
7. Available Tools
“Available Tools” includes a web browser bookmarklet that lets you create a blog post using an excerpt from a web page.
You can use it to clip a paragraph or even an image from a web page and can then edit and add your own content and publish it.
Again, you do not have to try this tool unless you really need it.
Import lists a handful of plugins that you can use to import content from another blogging or publishing platform.
For instance, you can easily migrate your blog content from another WordPress blog or Blogger.com blog in just few clicks. Just make sure that you know what you’re doing or you don’t touch these tools at all. :)
It also lists a “Categories and Tags Converter” that you can use to convert your categories to tags or vice versa.
Export tool can be used to create an XML version of your blog content so that you can archive it or can use it to export your content to another WordPress blog.
You can either export your posts and pages or export all your content (including posts, pages, comments, categories, tags, custom fields, etc.).
Again, you do not need it unless you want to create backup copies of your blog or want to copy/move your blog content to another WordPress site.
The sidebar menus and its submenus are different for different WordPress sites as it depends upon the Theme and Plugins that are active.
It basically means that your sidebar menus options can increase or decrease as you activate and deactivate plugins and themes. However, the default WordPress sidebar is obviously the same for everyone.
As always, you can make use of the “Help” pull down tab available on each WordPress admin page to get additional information about the various settings available on that particular page.
Got questions? Let me know of them as a comment below or I will soon be back with the Level 3.0 settings and features. ;)
Happy Blogging! :)