Your initial setup includes several things you should do prior to posting anything on your new WordPress site. If you’re not already there, log on to your site’s dashboard.
First thing, check your updates (just under the “Home” tab – upper left). By clicking on the update tab, you’ll see if you need to update WordPress, any plugins or any Themes. If so, follow directions to complete updates.
Then do the following:
Turn Off Search Engine Visibility
Go to Settings–>Reading
Find search engine visibility and click the box next to “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”
When you get your site all set up and have some content, you’ll come back and un-check this box to encourage search engines to index your content.
Go to Settings–>General
Find Membership and un-tick the box that says “Anyone can register”.
After your site is up and running, you may want to change this and allow everyone to register, but for right now you don’t need the extra headache – with no content about all you’ll get is spammers.
Set Time Zone
Go to Timezone and set the proper timezone for your location.
Go to Settings–>Permalinks
Choose the 4th choice, Post name
This is one area where the WordPress default just doesn’t make any sense, but, fortunately, it’s easy to change. Your permalink is the address of your content – the posts and pages you will install in the future. The WordPress default is a page number – like “/p-126”, which offers no information to a search engine at all. The change you made here will cause the permalink to end in the title of your post/page – like “/welcome”, or whatever.
Some people like a custom permalink (the bottom choice), with something like “/%category%//%postname%/ because it offers a little more information to the search engines.
Then Some Setup You Might Want To Do . . .
Change Your Site Title & Tagline
You don’t have to name your website the same name as your domain name. Let’s say you had a brainstorm for the perfect website and bought the domain name “www.castironpuppies.com”. Then, after some discussion with your significant other, you decided your new website needed to be “Peggy’s Pretty Pets” – what to do?
Go to Appearance–>Customize
Choose “Site Title & Tagline”, click on the little arrow to the right of the title and you’ll see the actual place to change them. You can type in “Peggy’s Pretty Pets” in the site title space and then maybe something like “Lovingly made in cast iron” in the tagline space. Make sure the “Display Header Text” box is checked, then click on the “Save” button, then the “Close” button at the top of the form.
You should now see your new site name and tagline in all it’s glory!
Kinda . . bleah! isn’t it? You need an image there behind your site title & tagline to give it some contrast and umph. So . . .
Add a Header Image
Go back to Appearance–>Customize
And click on the expansion arrow to the right of “Header Image”. Notice the first thing is that your theme recommends a certain size of header image. The theme we’re working with, 2013, recommends a 1600 x 230 pixel image, so the first thing you need to do is use your favorite image editor and create a pleasing (to you) image with those dimensions. Save it somewhere handy, then use the “Add New Image” button to bring it into WordPress. You should now see your new image in the pane on the right with your site name and tagline superimposed on top of it. Click on “Save”.
So, is it hard to read your site title/tagline – maybe the colors are wrong? We can fix that!
Change Site Title & Tagline Colors
Click on the expansion arrow on “Colors”, then click on “Select Color”. You can click on the little selection circle, hold your mouse button down and drag it around until you find a color/contrast you like – the pane on the right will give you real-time feedback. Once you find something you like, click on “Save”, then “Close” and you should be back admiring your newly designed website.
Remember: if it’s not what you really want (or expected) you can repeat the steps above ’til you get it right. Oh yeah – as an addendum – there’s another place you can change the “Site Title & Tagline” – go to Settings–>General and you’ll find a place to change them. Just the words – not the colors or the header image – but it’s a quick shortcut, I suppose.