Setting Up WordPress For The First Time

With the WordPress finally installed, there are just a couple of things left to tweak to ensure its maximum performance. To start with, log in to your WP dashboard.

On the left hand side, click on a column entitled »Settings«:

1) The »General Settings« window should now be opened:

Here you can enter your site’s title and tagline, modify your access URL, insert your e-mail address and change the date settings.

The Site Title and Tagline is what the WordPress shows as the header of your homepage (depending on the theme you’re using), so make sure it is short but descriptive.

For example:

Site Title: Mark’s dating advice

Tagline: Learn how to become successful at dating!

If you want your website to have a (www.) prefix, then you can change that in the WordPress Address and Site Address fields. Just add (www.) before your URL.

Once you’re done, don’t forget to hit the »Save Changes« button!

2) Now click on »Reading« to open up the »Reading Settings«:

By default, WP will have »Your latest posts« checked, which is fine if you’re running a simple blog, but if you want to build a real website, you should select »A static page«, and from the drop down menu of Front Page, choose »Sample Page«.

The sample page is just a page that was automatically generated with your WordPress installation, and you can edit it and change its name to »Home« later on if you wish.

Don’t forget to save changes before moving on to the next step!

3) Open up »Discussion Settings«:

Since WordPress is primarily a blogging platform, comments are an inherent part of it. You can either choose to enable or disable comments on your website and modify their settings.

If you do not want people to comment on your website, uncheck the box that says:

»Allow people to post comment on new articles«

Other options are pretty much self-explanatory, so we’re not going to get into that in details right now, but if you wish, you can play with them more later on.

4) Click on »Privacy Settings«:

Here you can choose whether you want search engines (like Google, Yahoo and Bing!) to index your website (so others can find it) or not.

In my opinion, it is always better to leave this as it is, unless you really do not want to get traffic from Google (for some weird reason). However, even if that is the case, note that it is up to the search engines themselves to honor your request – so there are no guarantees.

5) Finally, open up »Permalinks Settings«:

This is where you decide how your URL looks like when opening a new page or post on your website. Since the default option looks really ugly, I’m going to show you a nice little trick which makes it look much better:

– Select »Custom Structure« and enter: /%postame%/

Now, when accessing a new page on your website, instead of having a URL that looks like this: www.youriste.com/?p=123, it will look like this: www.yoursite.com/new-page

Much better, agreed? Don’t forget to save your changes!

Widgets – What Are They And How To Use Them?

Widgets are one of the best features of WordPress in my opinion (along with plugins). There are literally a thousand ways you can use them + they give your site a fresh & unique look.
So what are they?

They are individual programmable parts of your website. Now before you go all »This is way too complicated for me…«, let me tell you that it’s much more simple that it sounds!

On this image, you can see that the basic WP template comes with 5 default widgets installed automatically: »Recent Posts«, »Recent comments«, »Archives«, »Categories« and »Meta«, and all of them are embedded in the right sidebar of your website theme.

You can substitute these with different widgets, like images, videos, graphs or whatever your current WP theme supports. To do this, click on the »Appearance« tab and select Widgets:

Notice that there are over 10 default widgets available at your disposal. You can have as many of them as you like, and some themes even come with their own pre-programmed widgets.

On your right hand, you can select where you want to put your widgets (main sidebar, showcase sidebar, footer, etc.)

To install them, simply use the drag & drop technique. For example, if you wanted to add the »Calendar« widget, you would click on it in the »Available Widgets« area and drag it all the way to your »Main Sidebar«.

Then, you can set it up and configure as you like and it will be shown across all pages on your website. You can also install custom widgets of your choice through the use of plugins!

Plugins – What Are They And How To Use Them?

Plugins are basically addons for your website and there are virtually thousands of them to pick from. Some are free and some you have to pay for, but none the less – they are a must-have.

Almost everything you need for your website, there’s a plugin for it. I once had a website that needed to have weather for my city displayed, so I simply found a plugin that does just that!

Took me about 2 minutes to install and set up. If I had been using a regular HTML website, I’d have to hire a good programmer to do that for me. Think about the money I saved!

To access your plugin area, click on the »Plugins« tab of your WP dashboard:

Here you can search for, upload and set up plugins. I won’t go into details right now, but you can read all about that + some cool plugins that I recommend in another tutorial here.

That’s it – we’ve pretty much covered all the important parts that need to be set up once you install WordPress. It’s pretty easy and takes about 5 minutes once you get used to it.

See you in the next tutorial!

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