Understanding the Settings: General

Settings include date and time

© Shane Lin, Oris Artelier Small-Second Pointer Date, via Flickr

In the excitement of creating a new blog, after coping with all the upselling tactics that WordPress.com throw at you to get you to spend money with them (they don't really like you having a free blog), the poor old Settings section is rarely bothered with a visit.

Yet this is an area that should not be neglected. There is a lot going on here that could make a big difference to your blog and how it performs.

I like to think of the Settings as being the boring but necessary bits of looking after an engine, such as how to check the oil or where to put the windscreen wash. Anyhow, at least knowing that the Settings exist and what it contains won't do you any harm.

Let's start at the first page

Today I'm concentrating on the 'General' page. But first, you need to get to the Dashboard of your blog (which I like to think of as a foyer of a hotel, which leads to all the different rooms that make your blog happen).

Find and mouse over the words 'My Sites' in the top left of your blog to activate a drop down menu:

My Sites drop down menu

And I only want you to click on the 'WP Admin' link. This will send you to the Dashboard, where you can access all the action!

Once in the Dashboard, search the left hand sidebar, near the bottom, to find 'Settings':

Finding Settings General in Dashboard sidebar

When you mouse over 'Settings', a drop down menu will appear on the right. Click on 'General' to start your Settings journey. I'm going to go through it systematically.

What is your blog called?

Site Title and Tagline

Chances are what you see entered here is the same as the first part of the web-address or URL you had to enter in to create your blog. And this probably was a series of words with no spaces (since it's becoming more difficult to find a suitable name nobody's used before).

So here in the Site Title field, you can type in your blog's proper name. Please choose something more interesting than what I have called my blog!

The tagline is a brief descriptive sentence of what your blog is about. You could also call it a Strapline. Make it informative, but not too long. Anything is better than WordPress's default version, which is usually 'Not another WordPress blog!'.

What time is it, Mr Wolf?

Changing the timezone

Blogs are international, and are therefore created in different timezones. The default is UTC-0, but it would be better if your blog recognised your nationality.

So in the drop down menu, if you are British like me, search for Europe to eventually find London. This means that your blog will now be in the correct timezone and will also change to or from British Summer Time whenever this happens.

The reason why this is necessary is for when you schedule your posts to go out at specific times. Your blog may not do this accurately if you haven't adjusted the timezone correctly.

And the date will show up under your post's title, like this:

Showing the date under the headline

Let's make it a date!

Changing the date

I don't know about you, but I hate seeing dates in an American format. Why do they have to have the month first?

To change this, copy the formula above in the Custom field. If you don't want the day to show, leave out the 'l' (lower case L) at the beginning.

But if you're happy to have the year or month first, choose one of the other options.

Synchronise your watches

Changing the time to suit you

I'm happy to select the first option here, but what you choose is up to you.

On what day do you start your week?

Day and language

The option here to choose which day you want your week to start on affects the Calendar widget (which I mentioned in an earlier post). If Monday is selected, then the calendar begins with Monday:

Simple calendar widget

What language do you write in?

Choosing your blog's language

Here is where you can choose which language you wish to blog in. I searched the drop down menu to see if I could choose between UK English and US English, but this was not an option. This means your spelling can't be regulated. Apparently where you adjust which kind of English is used, is via your computer or other operational device, not WordPress!

And don't forget to click on the big green 'Save Changes' button when you've finished, or nothing will happen and you'll have to do everything all over again!

In the next post in this series, I will focus on the Writing page in the Settings section.

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Alice Elliott writes the Beginner Bloggers blog for beginner and post-beginner bloggers to “explain things really simply” about blogging and WordPress. She specialises in simple, easy to understand, highly visual courses and tutorials using ordinary, everyday words. Why not also visit her award winning Fairy Blog Mother blog to learn some more.

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  • Martin Ricky says:

    Nice tips for beginners! I wish I would have seen this when I first started out. I basically built my blog all on my own!
    Martin Ricky recently posted…5 Ways Writing Can Change You For the BetterMy Profile

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