WordPress settings for beginners, a simple walk-thru. The best WordPress Settings to use when you start your website project and are setting up your website for the first time.

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The Best WordPress Settings to Use When Setting Up Your Website

You bought your domain. You linked it to your hosting. Then you installed WordPress. 

Now what do you do? What are the best WordPress settings to use?

Basically, what’s next?

Table of Contents

Best WordPress Settings for Each Section

WordPress is a great tool to build your website, but there are a few things you need to do before building your website.

I get it! Setting up your WordPress website can be an intimidating process, but with the right settings and configuration, you’ll be up and running with a professional-looking website in no time. 

WordPress offers a range of settings that you can use to customize your website, but how do you know what settings to use? Will the default settings work? That’s where this article comes in. 

Here, you’ll learn the best WordPress settings to use when setting up your website so you have a secure website, that loads quickly and is set up right on the back-end.

Specifically, this article walks you through each of the settings and what to use. You’ll discover how to make sure your site is secure with HTTPS, your image settings are correct, your permalinks are set up correctly, and how to make sure you have enabled search engine indexing for your website. 

So, if you’re ready to get your WordPress settings out of the way, let’s get started.

Add a few pages–without any content yet

Put in at least 2 of the pages you want to have on your website. Specifically, your “home” page and your “blog” page (if you plan to have a blog).

Go to Pages, click “add new” at the top, type the title “home”, then click “Publish” on the right side.

Note: you can name your homepage anything you want–it doesn’t have to be called “home”.  For example, I named my homepage “Website Design for Coaches” because that is what I do. This part is totally up to you.  However, for simplicity, most people name their homepage “home”.

Repeat this process for “Blog.”

You will need these 2 pages when defining the settings in the “Reading” section later on. You can go back and design those pages and add the content to them later. As you will see, you just need to have those pages as you go through all the WordPress settings.

Find Your WordPress settings on the dashboard under “Settings”

Login to your new WordPress website. Then look on the left side for “settings”. Below are the settings you need to update. Be sure to click “SAVE” after each one.

Wordpress Dashboard page with arrow pointing out where "settings" is located

1. GENERAL

WordPress Dashboard reading settings
WordPress Dashboard General settings
  • Change your site title and tagline to be your own website.
  • Be sure you have SSL turned on from your hosting provider (most offer this service for free). 
  • Once this is turned on, be sure your URL is set to HTTPS (not just http). This is what helps to keep your website secure.  (Note: if you need to update to https, often you will need to login again).
  • Make sure admin email address is yours and one you check often.
  • Update the site language if needed.
  • Set the timezone to nearest city.
  • Set date and time format (I recommend using the first option) and set your “week starts on”.
  • SAVE

2. WRITING

  • Don’t make any changes here
  • Later, once you have added in blog categories, you can go back and change the “default” category to whichever one you use most often

3. READING (this section is the reason we needed to add your Home and Blog page in the beginning.)

WordPress Dashboard reading settings
  • Under “homepage displays” select “A static page”. Then under “homepage” choose “Home” (or whatever you called your homepage if you named it something different).
  • Under “Posts page” select “Blog”.
  • Under “Blog pages show at most” & “Syndication feeds…” change to the max number of blogs you want to show at a time on your blog page. I recommend either 12 or 16 (otherwise your page gets really long!)
  • IMPORTANT: Be sure that “discourage search engines from indexing this site” is NOT checked if you want your site to be found on Google and other search engines.
  • SAVE

4. DISCUSSION

WordPress Discussion settings
  • This is where you decide if you want people to be able to comment on your blog posts.  If you do, uncheck the first and second options, and check the last one.
  • Otherwise, uncheck everything in “Default Post Settings”
  • Note: if you decide to allow comments on your blog articles, you will want to add an Anti-spam plugin like Anti-Spam Bee. You will also want to make sure you are checking your comments regularly and responding to them.
  • SAVE

5. MEDIA

WordPress settings for Media
  • Leave thumbnail size at 150×150
  • Set Medium size to 480 x 9999
  • Set Large size to 1024 x 9999
  • SAVE
Best WordPress settings for Permalinks
  • Make sure “Post Name” is selected.
  • NOTE: If you have had your website for any length of time, and something else is selected–if you change this option here, it will change all your current links. If this is the case, I recommend you either leave as is or be ready to set up re-directs from the every page and post on your website to the new link. This setting is best done BEFORE you have many pages or posts on your website.
  • SAVE

7. PRIVACY

  • Once you create a Privacy Policy, come back to this page and make sure Privacy Policy is selected.  (Here is a link (affiliate) to a free privacy policy generator I use myself and recommend.

Now that you have all your WordPress settings set-up and saved, you can then go in and add the theme of your choice, add plugins, etc. and start actually designing your website.

If you need a little help getting your foundations in place before building your website, take the free Website Planning mini-course!

Website planning mini-course, before you build it, plan it. Cover image

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