In going through the Settings menu, I will show you the settings that I have for this blog and discuss the reasons for them where appropriate (if I can actually remember the reasons for any particular settings!).
Clicking on Settings > General brings up this page:
At the top is the Site Title. You can change it to whatever you want to appear in the header of your blog. As a reminder, this is what it looks like at first:
The tagline is that writing on the right hand side which describes your blog. So I’ll change those.
Which, when I click ‘save changes’ (the blue button at the bottom) immediately shows up on the blog:
Going back to the General page, I have my site address the same as my WordPress address but if you click on the link it goes to a WordPress tutorial on how to change it. For the email address, I have one dedicated to my blog called wordpress @ lizplummer.com (without the spaces – I’ve put them into this post to deter spammers). When I set my blog up, I read that comments automatically get send to an email beginning wordpress @ and since I wanted comments to be emailed to me, I set up this email address in the Control Panel of my webhost and it worked. In theory I think you can put any email address there, but I find it useful to have one email address for all blog related emails. I left the next two boxes at their default settings. I set my timezone to London and left everything else on the default settings. Remember to click ‘save changes’!
Going to the Settings > Writing section, this is where you can set up options for posting by email and things like that. This is the default page:
I kept all the defaults on this page apart from Default Post Category. This is the category that WordPress puts each post into unless you specify on. So if you haven’t set up any categories, they all go into a category called Uncategorized! This is the same for the Default Link Category – if you haven’t set up any blogroll categories, they are automatically put into the Blogroll. As I use Windows Live Writer to publish my posts I have the two boxes under Remote Publishing checked (I don’t remember doing this, so maybe Live Writer did it for me!). For Update Services, you can add links to services which will publicize your blog post. In addition to pingomatic, I also have technorati (http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping). Clicking on the Update Services link takes you to a WordPress tutorial on what benefits these have, with a list of other pinging sites. Add as many of these as you want to. I just added a load more to mine! I think it is worth checking on this list every so often, because I’m sure I had about 5 when I last looked, so perhaps WordPress deletes them if they are no longer operational.
Moving to Settings > Reading, here is what you see when you first click on it:
Once you have published some Pages, there is an option to set one of them as a static Front Page. So you could have one as your homepage and set a link to your blog in the sidebar. I don’t do it this way – I have a static page and I point www.lizplummer.com (my website address) to it on my webhost. I will go through how I do that in a separate post.
On the Reading tab you can set how many blog posts to show on each page of your blog. The default is 10 but I have mine set to 6 because I have a lot of pictures and I don’t want each page to take too long to load or people might get impatient and give up! Syndication feeds means the posts you see in a blog reader such as Google Reader. I keep the default setting on ‘full text’ for each article in a feed. This means that when people are reading in Google Reader or similar, all the content of each post shows up in the reader. It’s a personal preference, but I don’t like it when I only get a summary in the blog reader and have to click on the link to take me to the full post; I normally don’t bother and reading blog articles, I think most people would agree. I keep the same encoding as the default.
Moving to General > Discussions, here is the default page:
This is where you make the settings for readers to leave comments. The first section, default article settings, I have kept all the boxes checked. For the next section, I have comments closed when an article is 60 days old. This is because I had a number of posts which were very popular, such as the Concertina Book Tutorial, and I was getting a lot of spam comments on it and not very many genuine ones, so I decided to time limit the comments. But again, this is personal choice. I have kept all the rest of the defaults.
Media tab: this is where you organise your photo uploads, and set the different sizes that photos will appear in your blog. In general, I make my photos 400 pixels wide but sometimes, such as for this series, I have made them 600 pixels to make the screenshots easier to read. If you make them too wide, it interferes with the spacing of the sidebar. Otherwise, I have kept all the default settings. Since I write my posts in Live Writer, I make the settings within that software.
Privacy tab: in general you will want your blog to be searchable by Google unless it is a private blog for, eg. an online class. Here you can decide which setting to use.
Permalinks tab: permalinks are the permanent urls which each individual post is given. This is a screenshot of the page. I have opted for the second option, day and name. This means that the name of the blog post shows up in Google.
Those are all the default Settings links. As you add plugins, their individual settings will be given a link under this Settings menu, so if you want to change any of them, this is where to look. Do leave a comment if you have any questions about any of these settings and I’ll do my best to answer them!