7 WordPress Settings You Should Change

WordPress is great. It’s my favorite blogging platform. It’s relatively easy to set up and use. After you’ve got it all up and running, you should change these 7 things in your dashboard before you do anything else.

1. Change your username

Your default username will be admin. It looks like you don’t know what you’re doing when it says “posted by admin”. Go to Users > Add new. Then make one that is your name or something. Then log out of admin, log in with that user you just made, and delete admin.

2. Deactivate WP Super Cache

I’m not saying WP Super Cache is a bad plugin, it’s actually pretty helpful. It generates static HTML pages from your dynamic WordPress site and caches them. This helps lower loading times, but if you just edited the CSS, your site won’t reflect these changes. It just shows you the cached copy. So while your designing your blog, unless you want to get really frustrated, deactivate WP Super Cache.

3. Set the correct time zone

I think this one’s pretty obvious.

4. Give your posts/pages cool addresses

By default, the URLs for your posts and pages will be http://example.com/?p=874. That just doesn’t look good. To change it, go to Settings > Permalink Settings. To make the URL look like this, http://example.com/name-of-post-or-page/, choose “Custom structure” and enter “/%postname%/”. Day/Month and name look fine too if that’s what you like. But I’m pretty sure everyone agrees that /?p=345 is just plain ugly.

5. Limit the number of posts shown on home page

In my opinion, between 5 and 8 looks best. If you have too many full posts all listed on the home page, it makes it extremely long, and takes forever to load.

6. Show the full text of an article in a feed

Under “Reading Settings”, make sure to choose “Full text”. If not, in your email newsletter (if you [are going to] have one) it will only show an excerpt of the post.

7. Install Akismet

An easy way to not have to worry about spam. Akismet.com.

Photo credit: WordPress logo, and Mac OS X System Preferences application icon.

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  1. Dude this is genius. I’m sharing this on Twitter. You stole my thunder for #4 – I was going to do that one! 😀

    Got to confess, I need to change my username. Right now I’m pretty hackable.

    I agree with #2. I’m sure it’s a cool plugin for some folks, but most of us shouldn’t mess with it. It was actually messing up my .htaccess file (not sure why) and that was crashing my site.

    As far as Genesis goes, don’t customize anything inside the framework. You want to edit the child theme (or create your own child theme). Whenever Genesis comes out with a new version, you’ll lose your customizations.

  2. Thanks, Martyn. haha, sorry. Good idea though, maybe I should have done separate posts for some of these. I’m going to run out of ideas too fast this way.

  3. This is good stuff, Daniel! I really like how you designed this post’s thumbnail, especially with the iPhone’s setting icons, did you make it yourself got it from the web?

  4. Thanks Harrison.

    I put it together myself. It’s actually the System Preferences app icon from my Mac. You can get any app’s icon from Applications>right click and choose “Show package contents”>Contents>Resources>open App.icns>save a copy of it as a .png. Then I just put it on top of the WordPress logo with Photoshop Elements.

  5. Nice solid article Daniel.

  6. Regarding number 7 “reducing the number of posts”. This is easy enough, but how do you stop wordpress / Genesis Framework from limiting the number of lines of text on the homepage posts?

    It’s limited to 4, can this be changed or show the full page if desired? On other themes I’ve used, you normally add the break line in the post, but on Genesis it seems to be defaulted to 4 lines and I can’t find how to change it anywhere.

    • I’m sorry, I’m not sure exactly what you’re referring to. Do you mean how on the home page it just shows an excerpt of the post and you must click to read the full article? Unless there’s a special PHP function going on in your particular theme, the WordPress default is to show the full post on the blog/home page. The normal way to specify the cut-off point for the home page is putting this in your post: <!–more–> (might be hard to tell in this font, but those are two hyphens, just like an HTML comment)

      Does this help?

  7. Hi Daniel,

    yes it’s just showing the excerpt, using Genesis and your child theme. Doesn’t matter where I add the function, it caps it at 4 lines. Not seen this before because as you say it normally defaults to the full post, but this isn’t the case.


  8. I’ve found it. Under the theme settings, the ‘content archive’ was set for excerpts which affected the homepage. I can’t remember changing that but heh, I’ve found it now.


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