WordPress first settings

There’s a short list of things of things I do immediately to every WordPress install.  I’m not talking about plugins or themes, just simple settings changes. Some of them I strongly recommend to everyone, some are optional, but I’d recommend you at least look through them.

 1. Turn off Comments

Even if I know I’m going to want them later, if left on it’ll take about 20 minutes for spammers to find your site and start leaving garbage.  (Settings -> Discussion)

2. Turn off Gravatars

This is optional, but I hate gravatars.  It’s Automattic’s home built spyware and slows your page loads.  (Settings -> Discussion)

3. Set Permalink structure

The default structure is not SEO friendly, nor humanly understandable.  I like “day and name”, but anything beside post id’s is good. (Settings -> Permalinks)

4. Set the Time Zone

The default timezone is UTC, and it’s unlikely that your site is based in that timezone. (Settings -> General)

5. Set the day the week starts on

The default is Monday.  Every client I’ve ever had wanted Sunday.  (Settings -> General)

6. Set Tagline

The default tagline is “Just another WordPress site”.  Occasionally this will remain in the html on the site, but get hidden by CSS or something.  This looks bad to google and other nerds looking at your code. (Settings -> General)

7. Delete the default page and post

WordPress comes with one Page and one Post in there.  It can be ok to re-use the page, but the post needs to go, or you’ll look a little silly when people go to the first post in your blog.  If you don’t rename the first page, or delete it, it also looks bad.

What are some of your initial settings?

7 comments

  1. Luke says:

    I like year/name for pernalinks, or even category/name, though I have heard pernalinks without a number slows performance.

    I turn on Akismet, and actually loosen the moderation settings to encourage discussion.

    I never understood the day of the week thing, so I leave it alone.

    Can’t think of much else without starting into plugins…

  2. Chad Warner says:

    I do a lot of the same: set the permalink structure, set the time zone, set week start to Sunday, set the tagline, and delete default page and post. Here are a few more I do:

    Writing settings:
    Check WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically
    Add Update Services from WordPress.org.

    Reading settings:
    Set Front page displays, if the site isn’t a blog and has a front page.

    Media settings:
    Uncheck Crop thumbnail to exact dimensions, depending on how the theme displays thumbnails.

    Privacy settings:
    Select I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors until ready. I change this when the site is ready to be indexed.

    Permalinks settings:
    I’ve usually chosen day & postname because WordPress performed better when permalinks started with numbers, but with WordPress 3.3, this isn’t supposed to matter. I’ll probably switch to simply postname.

  3. Silly Q – It seems like there should a simple dialogue somewhere for the two major options:

    Comments on Page: False
    Comments on Posts: True

    Am I missing the simple options here?

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