Configure your WordPress blog in 5 easy steps

Last time I showed you how to easily install WordPress in under 3 minutes, in the following video I will guide you through 5 basic steps for configuring your blog. These steps ensure your WordPress install is upto date, that important information is visible and that your blog is ready to be found in the search engines.

As with all my guides no technical knowledge is required, perfect for SME’s. If you have any questions or comments please leave a note below.

Video Transcription:


I’m Sean Clark and welcome back to the second in the series of Installing a WordPress blog for Small Businesses.

No technical knowledge required.

OK, last week we showed you how to install a WordPress blog, just through a few simple and easy clicks and this week we’re going to do some basic configuration before we get started with a more complex stuff and get blogging underway.

So, just a few tidy ups and configuration to do today.

The first thing you may notice is that when you install your WordPress blog, it says there’s an update available.

This is because many of the servers will not have the latest version of WordPress installed when they provide you with it through Fantastico.

WordPress recognizes that they haven’t got the lastest install and let you know via this message.

So, we’re just going to run through and update the install.

Just click there.

Now, you should really backup your database and files, but because this is a totally clean install we have added nothing; no posts, no images, we’re not going to bother to do that backup.

But, I will show you how to do a backup in a later tutorial.

So, we click Upgrade Automatically and we let WordPress get on and do it’s thing.

It will now download the newer version and then run through a few things, and it’s done!

That’s it!

That’s how quick it will actually install and update itself.

Now, the next thing we need to do is just tidy up what we call the Dashboard.

This is you’re control panel; it shows you what’s going on in your blog…since you last logged in.

And a few things on here we don’t really need to know.

I like to keep the Right Now panel, which is this first tick box, here, and it shows a few bits of information I like to keep an eye on.

Recent Comments; I like to see if there is any new comments since I last logged in.

And, we’lll keep an eye on Incoming Links as well.

Plug Ins; now I don’t need to know what the latest Plug Ins are.

Quick Press; this little box here that enables you to quickly put up a post…I rarely use this and I usually turn that off.

I will keep Recent Drafts in case I’ve finished something halfway through and then decided I need to go do something, this will remind me that there is something there I need to finish up, so we’ll leave that there.

WordPress Development News, don’t need that and I don’t need any other WordPress News, so we’ll get rid of those things.

Now, just tidy this up a little bit.

This is all drag and drop, so I can just drag the recent comments under the recent drafts and keep the incoming links there, nice and tidy!

And then I can close the screen options, and there we are.

A nice, tidy dashboard with everything on it that we need.

OK, now we’re just going to go and do some more settings, just some fine adjustments here.

So, we click on the Settings tab, and now just open up a panel here.

General Settings, make sure we are in that area.

Blog Title & Tagline, now, we’re going to need to look at these, but I don’t want to do that just yet.

I haven’t quite decided exactly what I’m going to call the blog and exactly what the tagline or the little description is going to be.

I do want people to be able to register to my blog, so I’m going to click that there and Time Zone.

Right, let’s see if we can find London.

A little trick for this, if you continually click on the first letter for what you’re looking for in the dropdown list, it’ll actually go through them all until you find the one that you want, and just lick on it…London.

So, that will set the Time Zone to London and it’ll automatically adjust daylight savings for me as well.

Now, Date Format.

Now, because we’re in the UK, or I’m in the UK, we like to format our date with the day in front of the month, so J here stands for the day so we’ll get rid of that and we’ll just put the J in front.

Now, I like mine to show, as though it’s the eighth and the second, etc…so a capital S will allow us to do that…so J, capital S, F, comma, capital Y and that will give us 8th of January, 2010.

I’ll show you that in a minute.

OK, Time Format, that’s fne by me, and my week starts on a Monday so that’s fine.

We’ll save those changes and, as promised, you can see that the date format has changed there; 8th January, 2010.

And, you can see that it’s configured to daylight savings on the 28th of March, 2010, also, that’s good.

OK, now, next, a little thing that we need to do is check the previous settings here.

This is very important, make sure that you’ve got the top one clicked here.

I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including the search engines.

If that isn’t ticked, you’re going to wonder why nobody’s finding your site and it’s not appearing in the search engines.

Make sure this one’s ticked; important…and then save changes.

There we go.

And, then we have, just our final one that I like to tidy up and set up.

This sets, the URLs of our blog.

Now, you may have heard of a term called Friendly URLs.

By default, WordPress doesn’t have Friendly URLs and what they are, are URLs that are in words rather than these funny things that they call query strings.

Like this one here, this example here we have ?p=123; not very friendly to me, not very friendly to a search engine, the only thing it’s good for is to tell WordPress that that URL points to Post 123.

So, to make it a bit more friendly, we click on Custom Structure, here and we are going to type in forward slash, percentage, category…this will, and then percentage, forward slash, sorry, forward slash there…that will put in the category as the first part of the URL and we will put in percentage postname and then percentage, forward slash. So you will have forward slash, antiques if antiques is the category, forward slash this is a very nice and rare clock, if that was the name of the post.

A lot more friendly for human beings and a lot more friendly for search engines.

So, there we have it.

There are the few tweaks and adjustments that I just wanted to do today that gets us ready to do bits so I can install our plugins, etc,  before we begin posting.

Hope that was fine and you found that OK.

If you want to see my previous post on how to install WordPress, then nip over to SEANCLARK.COM.

You can also leave a comment on the blog there if you’ve got any questions, or you can catch me on Twitter at SeanEClark..

Or, finally, you can e-mail me: with any questions and I’ll be more than happy to help.

Speak to you soon.

Have a good day.

End of Video Transcription

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About Sean Clark

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