Most people overlook the default WordPress settings. We are going to cover options that are not obvious and include some tips you may not know about. See the resources links at the bottom of the article for the WordPress Codex that cover all areas.
Site Title/Tagline: Set up a title and tagline or description here even if you use a SEO plugin. If the SEO plugin serves an area that you don’t have set (tags and 404 pages are often overlooked) it will pull from this area. WordPress also uses the title & tagline to for identification in your RSS feed.
WordPress Address/Site Address: If you plan to install WordPress in a sub directory, change domain names or want to force users to use SSL you can specify that here. Note: your hosting account must have SSL added for your domain which you can check by going to https://www.yourwebsite.com. If your site loads then SSL works.
Membership: Leave this unchecked if you do not have active users to avoid spam and unnecessary sign ups.
Timezone: Choose the time zone closest to you for accurate future post scheduling and time display on posts. Scroll up to your country and choose your closest city.
Post via e-mail: This option is really handy if you are on the road and want to write up a quick post or maybe you want to post items from a public mailing list. Warning: anything posted to this email will be posted so make sure it’s a dedicated email address.
Front page displays: If you want to create a custom homepage beside the template default here is where you can change those settings.
Search Engine Visibility: Always make sure “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is left unchecked. Checking this option causes <meta name=’robots’ content=’noindex,nofollow’ /> to be added in the header, changes to your robots.txt file (if the file exists), stops pings to ping services and any other updating service. .
Note: Some of these settings are irrelevant if you choose to use a 3rd party comment provider such as Disqus.
Default article settings: Uncheck ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)’. Most spammers use this to add a link from your site to their site. Uncheck ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles ‘ if you simply don’t want people to post comments to avoid comment spam.
Other comment settings: ‘Comment author must fill out name and e-mail’ should always be checked to deter spam. Check ‘Automatically close comments on articles older than’ to 365 days to deter spammers from making comments on older articles.
E-mail me whenever: Check ‘A comment is held for moderation’ so you can catch spam as it happens.
Before a comment appears: Check ‘Comment must be manually approved ‘ and ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment’ to prevent comment spam from showing on the site right away.
Each time you upload an image WordPress makes three copies: a thumbnail, a medium image and a large image. Sometimes other sizes might work better for the theme you are using. If you find your thumbnails too little or too big this is the area to make those adjustments.
You can also specify whether image should be organized by year/month based folders such as www.yoursite.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/myimage.jpg. If you uncheck this option all images will be saved in the /wp-content/uploads/ directory.
Common Settings: It’s recommended to use “Post name” for readability and search friendliness though you could also get away with a custom structure of /%category%/%postname%/. If you do use /%category%/%postname%/ make sure you make a landing page at /%category%/ that lists all sub pages beneath it. Sometimes themes do this for you and sometimes they don’t.
Category/Tag Base: If you ever wanted to change the category or tag permalink you can do that here. For instance, you can change sitename.com/category/business/ to sitename.com/articles/business/ or sitename.com/tag/google/ to sitename.com/company/google/. Be aware changing the default structure can sometimes lead to issues with plugins. If you just want to remove /category/ from the permalink see the resources below.
- From the WordPress codex: General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media and Permalinks.
- Remove Category Base from WordPress Permalinks
- Using Permalinks (and other available tags)