Understanding the Settings: Writing

Writing a list

© the Italian voice, Grocery shopping list, via Flickr

In my previous blog Understanding the Settings: General  I introduced the Settings section and helped you to:

  • name your blog properly
  • give your blog a strapline
  • set the correct timezone for your blog
  • customise the date and time of when you post
  • explain the week start option
  • make sure you're using the right language

and it's now time to move onto the Settings: Writing page.

Let's go to the Settings link in the Dashboard sidebar (see my previous post linked above to find out how) and let's select 'Writing':

Find the Settings Writing from the Dashboard sidebar

Now I'm only going to bother with the stuff at the top of this page. And I also note that there is a lot here that I've set that I have yet to explain to you in other How To posts.

What a great start!

Where to set emotion graphics and enable comment nesting

Nothing like how to confuse a beginner blogger! If you're worried about this, don't be. WordPress has placed these here because they didn't know where else they could put them, and obviously 'ticked' these because they deemed them to be important. The option is here for those more advanced bloggers to uncheck them if they want to.

Which is your most common subject?

Showing the default category

If you don't have any categories yet, you'll be given a default category called by the most unimaginative name (and spelled with a 'z') Uncategorized. Find out about categories here, how to create them and what they do, and this is where you can choose your default category.

If you click on the drop down menu, it will display all the categories you have created. Select the one you are most likely to post under:

Selecting the default category Just Me

At the moment I tend to use this blog to talk about myself, so the default 'Just me' is more appropriate here.

This function comes into play when you save your post as a first version. After you've clicked the 'Save Draft' button:

Saving a post as draft

WordPress automatically ticks your default category. It is up to you to change this to another one that is more suitable.

Default category checked after saving

What kind of post do you usually create?

Default post format

This affects this particular list you find in the right sidebar when you write a post:

Post formats

Now, WordPress.com have given you a chance to create a series of different kinds of posts depending on the kind of media you wish to use.

I will be exploring these at a later date. Meanwhile all you need to worry about is that this should be set to 'Standard' and leave it as that.

What on earth is a blogroll?

Showing default link category

Exactly! It comes from the American word for list, which is roll. This is essentially a list of blogs you are happy to share, reference or publicise, and this is generally placed on your sidebar.

Now, since I hate the word Blogroll, I changed it to something else:

Alternative category name to blogroll

And I can show you how to do this in this How To post about blogrolls. Now when you see this particular widget on my sidebar, it has a nice title which looks so much better!

How blogroll looks on sidebar

Some help for touchscreens

Enables Markdown in your posts

WordPress has made it easier for people who use touchscreen devices. Without the use of a mouse, accuracy, deftness and precision has been compromised (which I absolutely hate!), so a solution has been created to enable extra facilities and functions when writing your posts. This is done through a special use of punctuation rather than fiddly buttons or links or coping with code.

It's actually quite clever, and I cover it here in one of my Fairy Blog Mother posts. I shall be writing another version for this blog a bit later.

Meanwhile, leaving its box checked will not affect you in any way as a beginner blogger.

What about the rest of the page?

I would leave it alone. These extra bits are there for advanced bloggers to play with, who like to have fancy systems in place when posting in their blog.

But you should not ignore this:

Save changes button

Or all the changes you made will have been lost, and you'll have to begin all over again!

The next post in this series will be looking at the Settings: Reading page.

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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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