How To Set Up WordPress – Best Settings

Now that you have WordPress installed, it's time to change the settings. In this article, we are going to set up WordPress with the best practice settings.

This article is part of the process in creating a website.

Set Up WordPress

Estimated time: 20 minutes

Website Login​

Go to your website once it's live, and login to the admin account. You can access the login page by going to the /wp-admin page (for example: www.empoweredowl.com/wp-admin).

General Settings​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Settings and then General. If you make changes, you need to save them at the bottom. Here are the recommendations: 

  1. Site Title: name of your site
  2. Tagline: text that appears on the browser tab for your site
  3. WordPress Address (URL): Here you can change from base domain or www domain (for example: empoweredowl.com versus www.empoweredowl.com)
  4. Site Address (URL): for advanced users, I keep this one the same as the WordPress address
  5. Email Address: email for your admin account where you will receive notifications for the website
  6. Membership: you can enable or disable if anyone can register for your website; unless you have a good reason, you should usually leave this turned off (unchecked)
  7. New User Default Role: if "Anyone can register" is turned on, then this is the default user role where subscriber is recommended; if you choose other user roles they will have abilities to make major changes to your website, which could be harmful
  8. Time and Date: you can set your preferences for the timezone, and format for the date and time

Writing Settings​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Settings and then Writing. If you make changes, you need to save them at the bottom. The default settings work well.

Reading Settings​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Settings and then Reading. If you make changes, you need to save them at the bottom. Here are the recommendations:

For each article in a feed, show: this is related to RSS feeds and what shows up in them, you should select "Summary" here to prevent scrapers from stealing your content and prevent affiliate links from making it into your RSS feed (assuming you don't put any in the first part of a post), which might violate certain rules.

Discussion Settings​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Settings and then Discussion. If you make changes, you need to save them at the bottom. Here are the recommendations:

  1. Default article settings: these settings determine how your site interacts with others and whether you allow new post comments. I usually disable both the "Attempt to notify.." and "Allow link notifications..." since this is a much older WordPress feature that most people do not use any more. You can enable or disable new article comments with the " Allow people to post comments on new articles" checkbox. If you already have articles published with comments, you will have to disable them manually through the posts and pages interfaces.
  2. Other comment settings: the default settings work well here; you should use the "Comment author must fill out name and email" checkbox turned on to help prevent comment spam
  3. Email me whenever: you can change if you get email alerts here for comment activity, it's your preference
  4. Before a comment appears: here you can set up authorization for comments, I prefer to enable the "Comment must be manually approved" feature to prevent comment spam or abuse
  5. Comment Moderation: you can set up more filters here to hold comments in moderation if they meet certain conditions
  6. Comment Blacklist: here you can put in keywords, URLs, or IP addresses that will send comments that contain them straight to the trash folder
  7. Avatars: you can turn on avatar icons that will show up next to a person's comment and change the settings related to those in this section

Media Settings​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Settings and then Media. If you make changes, you need to save them at the bottom. The default settings work well.

Permalinks Settings​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Settings and then Permalinks. If you make changes, you need to save them at the bottom.

A major change here that is highly recommended for best SEO practices is to change it to "Post name" under "Common Settings". This will allow you control over the URL over each post or page on your website.

Themes​

One of the best things about WordPress is that you can install a theme that will make your website look exactly how you want it to. There are both free and paid themes.

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Appearance and then Themes. On this screen, you can see which ones are installed.

If you want to add a new theme, click the "Add New" button at the top. On the next screen, you can search through many different themes. If you want to browse different options, I recommend that you select "Popular" from the menu bar, or use the search box if you are looking for a specific theme.

I personally use Thrive Themes on all of my websites because they look and perform great. You can check them out here. There are many other companies out there that sell themes too. If you have bought a theme, or have the files, you can add it manually by clicking  the "Upload Theme" button at the top and following the instructions.

If you have a fancy theme, you might want to consider implementing the WordPress speed upgrades so that your site loads fast.

Customize Appearance​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Appearance and then Customize. If you make changes, you need to save them at the top. Here are the recommendations:

  1. Site Identity: here you can add a logo icon if your theme supports it and you can also add a browser icon
  2. Colors: depending on your theme, you could choose between a light or dark color scheme for your site
  3. Static Front Page: this settings allows you to change whether a list of your recent posts appear as the front page or you can select a specific page that you have created under pages in WordPress

Menus​

In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Appearance and then Menus. To create your first menu, you need to type in a name next to "Menu Name", and then click the "Create Menu" button to start.

You can then use the section on the left to add menu items like posts, pages, categories, and custom links. You need to create categories first before you can add them to the menu.

Another setting is the checkbox for "Top Menu" or "Primary Menu", depending on your theme. This will be the main menu for navigating the site. When you are done, don't forget to save your changes by clicking the "Save Menu" button on the right side.

Widgets​

WordPress widgets are a great way to add functionality to different places on your site, including the sidebar and the footer. In your WordPress admin panel, on the left side tool bar, go to Appearance and then Widgets.

The left section has different widgets and the right section are the available places where you can put them on your site, depending on the theme.

A common thing to do is to use the "Text" widget in the footer sections to put your copyright statement, links to any policies, or affiliate disclaimers at the bottom of your website.

Once you have your settings changed, it's time to take a look at some WordPress basics so that you get your feet wet.

Leave a Comment: