How to use your WordPress Dashboard Settings

by Drew Conroy

Posted on December 1, 2018

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This post is from our video tutorial on the WordPress Dashboard Settings.


You can get to the General Section by hovering your cursor over Settings and then clicking on General in the flyout.

If you watched video#2 in this WordPress Tutorials for Beginners series. The video covered installing WordPress and setting up a database. I had stated in the installation process that we could leave the title and tagline as is because we would take care of it later on. Well, now is the time I was talking about. We can set the Title and Tagline for your website. The Title would be the name of your business and your business tagline or slogan. If you do not have anything set right now, that's okay, you can always come back to this.  

Next we have the Address URL and Site Address URL.There are a few things you can do with these, if you know what you are doing. We are going to leave them because it would be very easy to mess up your site with only a minor change done here.

The email address is the same email

address you entered during the installation process. Make sure it’s valid and you have total access to it. All your WordPress related stuff is going to go to that email address.

For “Membership” you can just leave it for now if you want. Chances are if you want to add some sort of membership feature you will use a plugin. That plugin will be used instead of that. But if you want to let people make comments on your posts, it’s a good idea to make them register first. Such as, collecting their email address for a mailing list.  In that case, you would want to check off the “Membership” box.

The “New User Default Role” I would leave it to as a “Subscriber”. It limits what a User can do on your website. For instance, if you decided to check the Membership box now to allow comments on your posts. A Subscriber can only view the dashboard, edit their profile, and comment on posts. It is the most limited role. You can always change a Users role by going into their profile and changing their role to whatever you want it to be, later on.  To change a Users role, go to Users on the side panel.

You can change the language and that defaults to English.

The easiest way to set the time zone is by selecting a city. I am near Boston but they so not list that, so I could use Detroit or New York.  I will use Detroit. Next, you can select a format for how you would like the date and time to look. I think I will leave the default settings, along with what day, the week starts on.

Click “Save Changes” and you are done with the General Section.


Next under the Settings section is “Writing” We have not defined a category yet, so for “Default Post Category” we will just leave it for now.  This will be covered in a later video when we go over Categories & Tags. Categories are used to group Posts. After you create your categories, and decide which one you will be using the most, you can come back here and set the default. The same applies for the “Default Post Format”.

For “Post Via Email” WordPress has been saying they are going to remove this feature, so this can be left alone.  In fact, it has already been deprecated we are just waiting for its removal.

“Update Services” works like this: every time you publish or update a post, by default, WordPress notifies Pingomatic. In turn,  Pingomatic notifies several other services, letting them know that you have new content, and to come check it out. The purpose of this is to generate more traffic.  

Pingomatic is the only service listed in the box here but you can potentially list many more. There are a ton of these services out there. The more you list, the more traffic you could potentially get. However, there is a down side.  When you are editing your posts you can easily click that update button many times in a 20 minute time span. The next thing you know your site gets blacklisted because you are now labeled as a Ping Spammer.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this. The easiest way for you would be to use a plugin like WordPress Ping Optimizer.  Once it’s installed, you will have nothing to worry about.

Make sure you click “Save Changes” and you are done for the Writing Section.   


There are only a few settings in the Reading Section but they are important to know. To show you how the “Front Page Displays” feature works, I went ahead and created a few pages since we already deleted the sample page.

This feature lets us change the look of our front page also referred as the cover, index and home page. It defaults to the Posts Front Page that will show your most recent posts. We also have the option of making it a Static Front Page.

The difference between the two is a Posts Front Page will have the traditional look of a Blog, with posts listed in reverse chronological order.

A Static Front Page is modeled after the traditional HTML page that is fixed.

The page will include content and sometimes may include posts.

In the drop down section we can select what page we want to use for the Static Front Page and the Posts Front Page. For I use “Home” as my Static Front Page and “Blog” as my Posts Front Page.

For the “Blog pages show at most” feature, it defaults to 10 but you can change it to whatever you want.  The more posts you have on a single page the more it can slow it down. Especially, if they are long posts that include images and video. If that is the case, you might want to only show 5 per page.

The next two features are for your built-in RSS feeds. Various RSS feeds are built into every WordPress website/blog. RSS is short for “Rich Site Summary" or "Really Simple Syndication". “Syndication feeds show the most recent” feature, also defaults to showing 10 articles and “For each article in a feed, show” feature, you can display the full article or part of the article with a link to see the rest of it.

Finally, we have “Search engine visibility”. The only time you would check this box is when you are creating your website. You do not want the engines crawling your website until you have everything put together and your ready. With that said, checking off that box does not guarantee that your site will not get crawled. The engines will do whatever they want too.

Make sure you click “Save Changes” and you are all set for the Reading Section.


Discussions Settings: you can control trackbacks, pingbacks, use of avatars, email notifications, and incoming and outgoing comments.

To Start, for the first section we have the DEFAULT ARTICLE SETTINGS These settings can be overridden for individual articles/posts. If you have linked to other blogs from your posts and you want to try and notify them of that link, then you want to check the box for “Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article." If you want your visitors to leave comments then check this box.

The second box “Allow link notifications from other blogs (via pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles” If other blogs have linked to you and you want to allow them to let you know they have linked to your site from their blogs, then check the box.

“Allow people to post comments on new articles”If you want to allow people to post comments make sure the box for this setting is checked.

image showing the wordpress dashboard

To change the settings for individual posts, go to posts, and then click the post you want to make the changes too. In our case, we only have the sample post. Then in the upper right hand corner under SCREEN OPTIONS Check off the box for Discussion.

Now below the post you will see “Allow comments"and “Allow trackbacks and pingbacks on this page” notice the boxes are checked off by default in theDISCUSSIONS SETTINGS If we want to make any changes to this specific post from the default settings we can just uncheck them here under the post.

Next, in the “OTHER COMMENT SETTINGS” SECTION, for “Comment author must fill out name and email”. Check this box if you want your visitors to have to give their name and email in order to make comments on your site.  This is a good idea for building up a mailing list. I would check it.

For “Users must be registered and logged in to comment” I would leave this unchecked. Along with “Automatically close comments on articles older than 14 days”.

“Enable threaded (nested) comments 5 levels deep” I would check this box. The “Break comments into pages with 50 top level comments per page, and last page displayed by default” Leave that one unchecked.

And finally “Comments should be displayed with the (change it to) newer comments at the top of the page”. Keep in mind these are my preferences but you can change them to whatever you would like.


“Anyone posts a comment” and “A comment is held for moderation” are both checked by default and I would leave them that way.

“BEFORE A COMMENT APPEARS” SECTION: For “Comment must be manually approved”and“Comment author must have a previously approved comment” check both of these boxes as well.

Under “COMMENT MODERATION” This will help you weed out possible Spam if the comment contains a certain number of links that you can set the threshold, and it defaults to 2 as you can see. Or if it contains certain words or IP addresses that you can enter in the box. If you enter any, its only one IP or email per line.  Be very careful when entering in words as they might match other words as well.

This will automatically trigger that comment to be held for moderation.  No matter what you have set up in the settings above.


It takes your spam protection another step further. Again using words, ip addresses as triggers along with names, URLs and email addresses. Whatever you enter in this box it will automatically get sent to spam and there is no moderation.


You can choose to display Avatars if you want. Next to the comments of the people who left that comment.  You can also allow or disallow Avatar images based on a ratings system. Anyone who does not have an Avatar associated with their email address you can assign one.

As always, do not forget to click the “Save Changes” button if you have made any changes.


Getting started with the Media Section we are able to make adjustments to the max image sizes that WordPress creates every time we upload a new image to the Media Library. WordPress will also take that image and create several other images of various sizes. They are used when WordPress needs to resize your images. For instance, if someone is viewing your website on an tablet or a mobile phone.

You will want to leave the “Crop thumbnail to exact dimensions” checked. They have three sizes that is created, the thumbnail, medium and large sizes. You can change the sizes from the default settings you see here. Leave the box checked here so you can have anything that’s uploaded to the Media Library organized by month and year-based folders.


The final section under settings on the sidebar is Permalinks. Click on permalinks. A Permalink is just a link that links to a specific post or page.

A permalink is the URL or web address you see for any post, page or other content on your site such as images. The Permalink name refers to a “permanent link”. A permalink will include your domain name such as http://www.yourdomain.combinations After your domain, it will be followed by a forward slash, then possibly the name of your post, page, a category, date and so on. You could have just about anything.

As you can see there are various options and combinations to choose from. You can even customize your own. You know the old saying “less is more”, well, the same applies to Permalinks. You want your Permalinks User Friendly and Search Engine Friendly. That is why selecting Post Name below is the best option. You are now all set with Permalinks.

Make sure sure you click the “Save Changes” button.

Don't forget to check out our WordPress Beginner Tutorials Series on our YouTube Channel.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Drew & the Crew