WordPress can be a powerful platform for your website if you know how to use it. One thing that makes it so useful is the amount of control you have over your website through the settings. And although a high level of control is nice, having so many options can feel overwhelming if you are new to the platform.
If you want to get the most out of your website, you need to understand how the settings work. Once you do, you’ll be able to make changes when you need to and set up your website without much external help. Here is your guide to WordPress settings.
Before you begin digging into your settings, it’s important to take several steps. First and foremost, make a backup of your website. There are plenty of ways to do this, including plugins. Hosting platforms like Bluehost’s WordPress hosting often have a backup feature, as well. You’ll need this backup if you mess something up and need to restore your site.
The second thing you need to do is make a note of the settings on your website. Some of these settings are crucial, and you will need to know what they were so you can restore your website. Write everything down or take screenshots before you make changes so that you have all of the information you need.
When you open the settings tab, you’ll see seven basic settings categories. If you have other plugins and features installed, you may see more. The first section is for general settings, which setup basic features and functions of your website. The most important ones are outlined below.
Site Title and Tagline
When you set up your website, one of the first things to do is define the site title and tagline. These are both important for SEO, functionality, and marketing purposes. The site title is the overall title of your website and is usually displayed on the browser tab. The tagline is often used to describe your website quickly and is used in marketing operations. Set both as soon as your website is online.
The site address is the URL for your website. The vast majority of people don’t, and should not, touch this setting at all. If you do change it, your site could be broken until you go into your database and fix it. The only time you should change the setting is if you are moving your website to a new location.
WordPress can let people create membership accounts, so they can subscribe to your posts and gain access to other features that you can create. The membership settings control how these accounts are created. The most important membership setting is the default role that controls how much access new accounts have. It should be set to “Subscriber,” unless you want to give people more control right away.
Time Zone and Site Language
Go into your settings and change the time zone and site language for where you are. This makes it easier to manage communications for the region you are in. Plus, it’s critical that they match your current time if you are going to schedule posts for future releases.
The next section is the writing setting that controls how you create posts. Most people use the default setting, which makes it easy to create new blog posts. However, there are several circumstances where you may want to change the settings. You can even add settings to help you improve and create content, like using google analytics.
The post category chooses the default category for each post. It’s set to “Uncategorized,” by default. Categories can be a powerful keyword and organizational tool if you can get them organized. Change this setting to whatever category you designed to be your default option.
The post format option can change how your posts are structured by default. It is traditionally set to optimize writing, but you can change it if you often use different media types.
The reading settings control how people see your posts. Most of the settings should be left alone unless you have a specific reason to change them. However, there are a few worth noting that can make your site more customized.
The homepage settings choose your homepage. Usually, every WordPress theme has a homepage template; but you can make any page in your site the homepage. This can be useful for special sales, or if you have something to highlight.
Search Engine Visibility
In most cases, you want your website to be found by the search engines. However, there are many behind the scenes websites that don’t want to be found. The search engine visibility option can hide your website if you don’t want it to be found.
If you want to have comments and discussions for your posts, then take a look at the discussion settings. They let you control things like allowing comments, when comments are automatically shut off for posts, and how the comments are organized. The default settings work for most situations. However, knowing how to control comments is important if you write about controversial topics or have a problem with harassment.
The media settings are mostly unseen and should be left as their defaults. You can control things like what size pictures should be by default. If you work with different media types often, then you should take a look at how WordPress handles different types of media and how it can work with your theme.
The permalink settings are the most crucial to your website and should be left alone unless you have a reason to change them. Permalinks are the URLs for your posts, and you can change how they are formatted. Many of the available options make them shorter or easier for people to read. However, you should make any changes before your site becomes popular, and you have a lot of posts that are shared. Changing the permalink structure breaks all of the old links unless you have a way of updating them through a plugin or going to the places where they have been shared directly.
WordPress settings can be a good way to change how your site works. Just make sure you understand the settings before you make any changes to them. Whether you want to change your WordPress settings to optimize your website through google analytics or you want to add in a contact form, there are unlimited ways to take advantage of your WordPress settings. You can also work with your hosting provider to make changes as you see fit. Their customer service representatives should be able to walk you through the process.