Fresh WordPress Install – What Next? General Settings, Permalinks, Media, Privacy, Profile Picture, etc

If you’re reading this guide then I’m going to assume that you’ve successfully setup your WordPress site and can now login and start blogging/posting content.

First though, I recommend tweaking some of the default settings, as well as installing a few plugins and maybe changing the theme.

What a fresh WordPress install looks like

Right now, your site probably looks something like you see above. The “Hello world!” default placeholder article is included as part of your initial WordPress installation and can be deleted. It’s just meant to signify that you site is all set up (for the most part) and ready to have some content added.

So, where do you start in terms of naming your site, setting up your privacy policy, image uploads, posts, settings, and everything else? Let’s dive in!

Login To The Admin Area

The administration area for your site will be located at www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/ (for now – we’ll change that URL for security reasons I’ll explain). You can login using the details that were provided earlier in the installation process, and that you hopefully recorded down! Here’s how the admin area looks once you’re in.

The default WordPress admin area

Delete Default Post & Pages

Delete the default posts (“Hello world!” and “Sample Page”) by going to the menu level indicated in the screenshots below and clicking on the “Trash” text that will pop-up when you hover over the post or page. Leave the “Privacy Policy” on the “pages” page as we will come back to that later.

The “trash” option will appear when you hover over the post title with your mouse
Deleting the placeholder page on your new WordPress blog

Now is also probably a great time to mention the differences between posts and pages in WordPress. It’s best to think of “posts” as blog posts, regular articles, news, guides, products, etc – whatever content you will be adding regularly to your site.

“Pages”, on the hand, should be things like your terms and conditions, privacy policy, contact form, etc – content that is fairly static.

Settings

General Settings

Now, let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. You should see a screen similar to that below, all with default values.

The WordPress general settings screen

Change your “Site Title” to what you are going to call your site, eg “Hostt” or “Smart Reviews” or “Taylor’s Travel Blog” or whatever.

While you may not have a tagline as such, it’s also good to fill something in there too – if you don’t have a catchy phrase then just describe whatever you site is about, eg “My experience travelling through Europe” or “Reviewing the latest drones”, etc.

Otherwise you can just check the “Administration Email Address”, site language and other timezone/location settings are correct and hit “Save Changes”. If something needs tweaking then feel free to alter it to suit.

Writing and Reading

These settings can be left as-is for now. Feel free to take a look and familiarise yourself though.

Discussion

In the Discussion settings menu there is too many changes to make to list them all here in words, so please just make sure your Discussion settings page look like that below and then hit save.

The comment settings that I recommend you begin with in WordPress

While we are keeping commenting on (for now), we are requiring that users have at least one comment approved by you before their additional comments become public. This is because of spammers, but even then, some will be sneaky and make one or two seemingly legitimate comments before dropping in their spam, so you need to watch out for that too.

If you don’t want commenting on your posts enabled at all, then just untick “Allow people to submit comments on new posts”.

In the “Comment Blacklist” box you can write or paste in a list of words that will automatically mean a comment that contains at least one of those words goes straight to the trash. For example, lists of swear or other rude words.

Media

When you upload images into WordPress (ie to insert and show them within your posts), WordPress will automatically create several different sized versions of the image that can be used in different situations.

I like to tweak the default sizes though, as below.

The media settings I recommend for WordPress

Permalinks

Permalinks means how your post URLs will look. Your domain might be hostt.com, for example, and your site might be found at www.hostt.com (as is mine). Then if you select “Post name” for your permalink setting, whatever the title of your article or post is will automatically become its URL too.

So if you have an article titled “My Favorite Moments of 2020” then the permalink that is automatically created for you for that particular post would be /my-favorite-moments-of-2020/ and to access the post the full URL would be www.yourdomain.com/my-favorite-moments-of-2020/.

So just make sure that “Post name” is selected and then hit “Save Changes” to confirm.

Privacy

It’s important that you setup a privacy policy for your site, not just for legal reasons, but because Google also likes to see you have one.

The WordPress prompts explain it better than me so please follow them. All you need to know from me is that you should click the “Edit” link as part of “Edit or preview your Privacy Policy page content.” and then edit the default privacy policy that WordPress provides to suit your purposes. Then click “Publish”.

Nginx Helper

You don’t need to change any settings under here.

Users

Next head to “Users” –> “All Users” and click the “Edit” link next to your name.

Here you can choose to display your full name next to your posts, a nickname, or whatever you want. Just complete the relevant fields and then choose the setting you want in the “Display name publicly as” dropdown. You can also include a biopgraphy and link a profile picture from the Gravatar service, if you wish.

To get the profile picture working, head over to https://en.gravatar.com/ (which is a site run by WordPress) and create an account using the same email as your administration account on your WordPress site (but with a different password). Then upload whatever image you want to use as your profile picture as your “avatar” on that site.

Once you’ve done that, within a few minutes that same image should appear as your “Profile Picture” within your WordPress site.

Plugins

Which plugins I use deserves a guide of of its own and I have done that separately.

Appearance (Themes)

The themes section of your administrative backend is another area that deserves a guide of its own.

Categories

The final area we are interested in at this stage is Categories. You can find this section under the “Posts” menu towards to the top of your administration panel. Head there and you should see something like the below.

The WordPress categories page

All you need to do at this stage is click the “Edit” link that will pop-up when you hover over the name “Uncategorized” and then change the name of your default category to whatever you want.

You should make this category based on the type of posts that you will be making the most number of. It might be “News”, “Guides”, “World News”, Car Reviews”, “Recipes” or “Opinion”, etc. We can also change this setting later on without doing any damage so don’t stress too much about it – the main thing is to change it from the default “Uncategorized”.

Make sure you also change the “slug” to the lowercase version of whatever your category name is, and if your name has spaces, then just put a dash instead within the slug. So “World News” might be the category name and it would have the slug “world-news”. We won’t actually be using slugs, so this setting is somewhat irrelevant, but I still recommend changing it just in case.

Summary

That’s more or less it for now. We’ve covered the absolute basic settings that you should have for your WordPress site. The real fun begins when we start adding and playing around with plugins though, and of course choosing what theme we are going to use, and tweaking how our site looks.

By Sean Robinson

My name is Sean Robinson and I’ve been building and running my own blogs and websites since 2004, and have been doing it full-time for over a decade. If you'd like to know more about my story, please click here.

9 comments

  1. I recently started using WordPress and was lost on what to start with in terms of setting it up. I was looking over guides and everything and nothing was done in a way to help me understand what I was actually doing. This is the first post on general settings I read that made sense and helped me get somewhere. Thank you!!

  2. Nice guide! I’ve looked up Redis object cache but I’m not sure if I have to do anything other than install that plugin. I’ve followed the rest of guide almost exactly as posted except under discussion settings, I like to have nested comments 2 levels deep. They seem to get pretty messy otherwise.

  3. Super handy for new users to WordPress! I always have a great time when setting up a new website, looking through all the plugins and themes is fun. Speaking of themes, what are some of your favorites? I’m a big fan of GeneratePress myself, been using it for years on almost every WP site I create.

    1. Funny you should mention that, I am literally trying out Generatepress on another site :). I have used Avada, Bimber and a number of others from Themeforest. Editing the default WordPress templates like TwentySeventeen is also a good way to get a nice clean, and fast, template.

  4. I’m stuck on my privacy policy. I know it’s important these days so I want to get it right. My website accepts payments, collects names and addresses (it’s a Woocommerce store), stores IP addresses and so on. I don’t know what to put, is there some kind of template I could use or perhaps a website where I can fill in a form?

  5. Good suggestions, I follow all of these every time. One thing that bugs me though is that it’s super difficult getting profile pictures to work across all plugins. I have separate membership and forum plugins that don’t play nice together with avatars, it’s really frustrating. I don’t like Gravatar either as it is usually quite slow.

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