WordPress has come a long way since its release back in 2003. Today, around 20% of all self-hosted websites are powered by WordPress, making it one of the Top Content Management System in the world. However, as evolved as WordPress is at the moment, it is still growing thanks to its robust as well as local communities.
It’s not just the start ups but top companies as well as many Fortune 500 companies too have been powered by WordPress. It’s growing popularity, easy installation and fair maintenance is the reason many techies have been making a lucrative career out of it. Web Designer, Developer, Graphic Designer, Content Manager are some of the job opportunities for a WordPress professional.
But is it as easy as it sounds? Installing WordPress on your server is quite simple, especially if you have signed up for a WordPress Hosting Plan. With a single click and a few seconds, you’re ready to start posting content on your new shiny blog.
But, what makes a skilled WordPress professional different from a novice? The answer is - WordPress Settings that needs to be put in place before your website is ready to go. These settings are vital because they set the configuration of your site, its speed, optimization, load time and so on.
So, take a good look at these settings, fine-tune them for your specific site and be prepared to launch the new site!
The General WordPress Settings
For most websites, the default WordPress settings could just work fine, yet you'll still want to review these settings for your specific site, and make the necessary changes. To access the WordPress General Settings, log in to your WordPress dashboard. In the left sidebar you’ll see Settings → General.
1. Site Title
The site title is the identity of your WordPress website. It must reflect the true name of your brand as it will display in several place like the header, title bar which is the first thing that gets noticed by the visitor, so it is essential to be changed.
The tagline of a website is another brand identifier that provides a short description of what your website is all about. Make sure you add a catchy and meaningful phrase as the tagline of your website rather than the default one.
3. WordPress Address [URL]
URL of a website is the actual location where it resides. For most sites, the site address as well as the WordPress address is the same, unless you have installed WordPress files in a different directory, there is nothing to be changed with this one.
4. Site Address [URL]
This is the address that visitors would type in the browser's address bar to visit your website. For eg., google.com is the site address to visit Google.
5. Email Address
This field is very important as WordPress sends all system messages to this email. The email entered here receives all of the important information like new comments on a blog, plugin update notifications, contact form submissions among many others, so please make sure to add an accurate email address here.
It's unchecked by default, but if you are going for a website that allow visitors to register for an account, then go ahead and check it off.
7. New User Default Role
If you're hiring a professional WordPress designer to help you with your website, it's not really a good practice to share your credentials, and this is why the new user role is an essential setting. You can assign roles like Subscriber, Admin, Moderator depending on what role you're outsourcing, and still keeping the reigns of the website in your hands!
8. Site Language
The default language is English, but there's a long list of languages to choose from, and you can pick the one you're most comfortable with.
Choose either a city in the same timezone as your city and you will be shown your local time.
10. Date/Time Format
You could either keep these settings as default or set a formatting that you're most familiar with.
11. Week Starts On
The default setting is "Monday", but if you are using a calendar plugin or a widget that displays a weekly format, you can edit the day depending on when you'd like the week to start on your website.
The Media Settings
12. Set up Media Sizes
The next important step is to define the media sizes within your WordPress dashboard. Images are a very important part of your website, they make the blog posts look good, they increase engagement on your pages, and makes it more readable for the visitors. But, there's a downside to it, the large size images can considerably slow down your website so you must specify the image size properly and save on that badwidth.
13. Set up Permalinks
A Permalink determines the URL of a post created within WordPress. Having an optimised URL also plays an important role in the SEO of a website, so ensure that your blog post URLs have the essential keywords making sense to the readers too. Permalink Settings can be accessed from Settings > Permalinks in the WordPress menu.
The Appearance Settings
Once you've installed your required theme for your website, it makes sense to delete the ones that you don't need. At the time of WordPress installation, a bunch of themes and plugins come pre-installed, and you should delete the ones that you don't use. Go to Appearance > Themes. On the Themes page, click on the theme that is inactive, and click Delete.
Changing the logo and Favicon of your website is essential, as it adds a personalization to your WordPress website and creates brand identity users can relate with. Favicon too, is important, it is similar to a logo, only much smaller in size. To change these settings, head over to Appearance > Customize > Site Identity. Upload both icons under Logo and Site Icon respectively, and click Publish.
Widgets are like the "blank-slate" areas within your website, you can add an image, text box, or even a subscription form in these areas. In order to get the maximum out of it, these areas should be filled with appropriate content. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance and then click on Widgets.
A menu is one of the most important place on your website, users can navigate through the website using Menus. It must include all of the prominent pages you want the users to glance at. Your entire website should be structured as per the items placed on its menu.
18. Theme Editor
This option is relevant only for advanced WordPress designers, who would take an extra step to tweak the .php files within their theme. If you end up modifying these files incorrectly, you may end up with a broken site!
19. Installing Plugins
A WordPress website's performance is visibly affected by its plugins. There are several plugins that you must install in order to optimize your website. To install a plugin, from your WordPress dashboard, click on Plugins then Add New.
Here are some of the recommended plugins:
20. Deleting Plugins
Just how important it is to add relevant plugins to your WordPress website, it is equally important to get rid of the plugins that you don't need. Having a bunch of extra plugins on your WordPress dashboard, decreases the speed of your website, and we know what happens to slow-loading websites! So, delete those pre-installed extra plugins that you are not using.
And that's a wrap up! These are some of the most basic but important WordPress settings that anyone can change. Even if you're working on the WordPress platform for the first time, following these simple steps will not be a challenge for you. We hope you find it useful and apply the same while configuring your website for the first time.