In this guide, I will show you how to set-up the essential WordPress settings.
We will go through some of the General Settings available in the WordPress Options menu. These are the basic settings you need to get started with your website. We will then go over other WP options in future guides, as we build our website.
At this point you should have already installed WordPress through your Siteground account. If not please go back and do this, as I show you in the ‘Installing WordPress On Web Hosting Provider’ Guide.
Just like my other WP tutorials, below is a Summary of all the Steps we will be taking. These are explained in more detail in the rest of the article.
- In web browser type www.[yourdomainname].com/wp-admin
- Login using your email and password
- If WP starter Wizard comes up, press EXIT
- Go into settings (on left) and press General
- Change Site Title to your Domain name
- Change Tag Line
- Remove the ‘www’ from WordPress address and site address
- Adjust to https in WordPress address and site address
- Save Changes (You will be logged off)
- Log back in
- Go to Permalink option under ‘Settings’
- Ensure that ‘POST NAME’ is chosen under common settings
- Press Save Changes
- Click on PAGES option in WP Side Menu
- Press ‘ADD NEW’ (button at the top next to Pages title)
- Change title of Page to ‘Home’ and press PUBLISH.
- Confirm by pressing PUBLISH again
- Go back to WP dashboard and press SETTINGS > READING. Decide if you want Homepage to be static page or latest post blog page.
How to log into WordPress Admin
To login into your WordPress Admin dashboard there are 2 methods.
First way is by going through your SiteGround dashboard.
Login to your SiteGround account and click on the ‘WEBSITES’ section in the top menu. This will open the list of websites you have hosted on SiteGround.
For each site you get 3 options, click on the ‘WordPress Admin’ button and this will take you directly to your WordPress Dashboard.
The second way how to log into WordPress is directly through the URL. Type in your website URL in the web browser and add /wp-admin at the end. So, the specific URL for the WordPress dashboard will be www.[yourdomainname].com/wp-admin.
Try it out. Go to your web browser and type in your full domain URL followed by /wp-admin.
For example, in my case it would be: www.wpwebsitewiki.com/wp-admin
Sidenote: if your site is on a different top-level domain (TLD), such as .net or .org you should replace .com in the example above with whatever your TLD is.
Once you type the URL, you will be directed to the login of your site’s WP admin page.
Insert the email and password that you created when you installed WordPress from Siteground (remember I had told you to keep these in a safe place).
Press the login button and you will be taken to a WordPress starter Wizard that is offered by Siteground as a service for newbies.
You can decide to follow the steps as they show you there, or alternatively just click EXIT and follow the steps that I explain below.
WordPress Options for Basic Settings
When you press ‘Exit’, you are taken to the WordPress dashboard for your site. The dashboard has all the options you need listed down on the left side of the page in a grey column. The options available from the start are:
- SG Optimizer
- SG Security
Don’t worry about trying to understand what each of these does for now as you risk getting confused.
We will be exploring each of these functions in detail as we progress through creating our site. This way you will understand better the use of each WordPress option.
Adjusting the General Settings in WordPress Dashboard
The first thing we will be working on is the WordPress General Settings.
How do you go to Settings?
To open General Settings in WordPress, go to the right-hand options column of the WordPress dashboard and click on SETTINGS.
You will be shown a drop down with other setting options, including General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media Permalinks and Privacy.
First we will be going into Settings > General and do the following changes:
- Change Site Title to whatever your Domain name is. So, since my domain name is www.wpwebsitewiki.com, then I set my site title to ‘WP Website Wiki’.
- Change Tag Line. You can either remove this completely or come up with a catchy tagline for your site.
- Remove the ‘www’ from WordPress address and site address. The ‘www’ was common to have in the past but nowadays most sites are removing it as it makes things simpler, and people are not used to typing in www anymore. I you prefer to keep it in then it’s also fine.
- Add an S behind the http part in the WordPress Address field and Site Address field, so it now shows https.
Here are the before and after pictures of my settings page so that you can get a better idea of the changes I made.
Once you have made all the changes, scroll down to the bottom of the page and press the blue button that says SAVE CHANGES.
At this point WordPress will log you out because we have now changed the URL when we removed the ‘www‘. All you need to do is log in again.
When you login again you will notice that the www was removed from the URL.
WordPress Permalinks Settings
Next we will go into Settings again in the right column of the WP Dashboard and this time we go into ‘Permalinks’ option.
Settings > Permalinks
In here, make sure that within the Common Settings section, the ‘Post Name’ option is ticked, and the URL ends with /sample-post.
This will ensure that your pages will show a simple URL with your post title and not random words and number which is confusing for visitors and not optimal for SEO purposes.
Now click on SAVE CHANGES at the bottom of the page. Even though you might not have changed anything, just to be sure that the settings are kept this way.
WordPress Reading Settings
Next, we need to create the Reading settings for our website. Before going into this however we need to understand the difference between a Page and a Post in WordPress.
Posts vS Pages
It is important not to get confused between the two because I remember that it took me a few days to understand this when I got started.
For people visiting your site, Pages and Posts look like the same thing, i.e. another page on your website.
The difference is that when you choose to write a Post this will be automatically added to your blog page as soon as you publish it.
On the other hand, when you create a Page this will be accessible on your website when you link to it from the menu bar of your site or from other areas, such as footer, widget, sidebar, or link to it within another article.
So, if you look at my website, some example of Pages are, the main Home Page, the About Me Page, and this article you are currently reading, is also set up as a page.
On the other hand, the article I wrote about WordPress GIFs is a Post.
How did I choose which articles to set as Pages and which ones to set as Posts?
There is a whole guide dedicated to this in Site Structure Guide, however the basic concept is that backbone content and legal requirements of my website are set up as Pages, such as the Homepage, the Guides, the T&C etc.
These pages are evergreen, meaning they will always be there and make up the main essence of my website.
On the other hand, when I create an article that is not part of the main guides, but rather a recent finding, or interesting tool I use, or some tips for specific cases, etc. then I use a Post instead of a Page.
The post will automatically feature in the Posts section on my Homepage in order of the most recent posts. Which means that the older posts will then disappear.
On the other hand, the links to the Guide Pages, had to be set up manually and they are fixed.
Some websites, known as Blogs, are mostly made up of Posts.
Blogs usually do not have many fixed pages, apart from T&C page and ‘About Us’ page. The home page of a blog usually shows a list of the most recent articles published. Examples of blogs can be found in various niches, such as travel, education and fashion.
A News Site would also be mostly made up of Posts. With the home page showing the most recent news posts published on the site.
So, if you are setting up a simple blog site, then you can leave the default Reading settings as they are. Meaning your front page (Home-Page) would be your Blog page and all your Posts will be automatically added there, usually in order of latest published.
On the other hand, if you want to create a more functional website then I suggest you set up a tailored Front Page. As an example, my WPWebsiteWiki Homepage explains what the site is about and is structured in a way to welcome visitors and guide them to the priority pages, which in my case are the Guides.
If you want to set up a tailored Home Page, then you will need to adjust the Reading settings on your WordPress dashboard.
The first step to do this is obviously by creating our first page on WordPress. Let’s do this now.
Create a Page
Before we can start amending the ‘Reading Settings’, we need to create a Page that will serve as our Static Home page.
At this stage we will not go into the design of the Page. We are just creating the page to be able to set the settings in the Reading section of WordPress dashboard.
Follow these steps.
Go into the PAGES option on the left-hand column of the WP dashboard and click on the ADD NEW button at the top.
Since it’s your first time you will be met with a WP Starter Wizard that explains how Gutenberg Block Editor works. Feel free to go through this or just press on the x to get out. I will be explaining the Gutenberg Block Editor and show you how to use it in much more detail in later guides.
In the ADD TITLE section of the page just click on it and write HOME. Now go to the top right and press on PUBLISH button. A slider box will come out from the right asking you to confirm. Press PUBLISH again.
That’s it. You have just created a Static Home Page in WordPress. This will serve as a temporary placeholder until we design the actual homepage, but it needed to be created in order to adjust the remaining settings.
Speaking of which. Let’s go back to our Settings.
Go to the WP Dashboard by pressing the WordPress Logo at the top left corner of the page.
We are back in our dashboard, and we are now going to click on SETTINGS again on the left column and this time we will click on the READING option.
Settings > Reading
In the Reading Settings page, the first items says: Your Homepage Displays. This is probably set on ‘Your latest posts’. We are going to change this to the option ‘A static page (select below)’.
Now in the Homepage dropdown we will choose the page we just created which we called Home.
Once done just press on the ‘SAVE CHANGES’ button at the bottom of the page.
That’s all we need to do in the WordPress settings for now.
In the next guide we will take a look at How to install a WordPress Theme and Website Builder that will help us make our site look outstanding and very professional.
If you’re looking for other tutorials, then check out my list of WordPress Guides.