Site Set-up (Workings)

Setting Up Your Website (The Workings)

One of the key areas to modifying settings on your site is to make it work for you.  WordPress has a multitude of settings that can help adjust things to your liking.  Of course this means more decision making on your part.  Lucky for you, you have this book to help you along.  While in an earlier chapter I discussed each of these areas, I’ll now go through all of the settings in each area with you in this chapter.  Some of what is written below was copied from the Help area under settings.  I’ve added my touch to them, but I could not see re-writing everything.  Thank you to WordPress for having help areas to understand how to do these things.

General

The General link takes you to the page where you set the;

-Title – that shows at the top of you page:  Enter the name of your site (or blog) here.  Most themes will display this title, at the top of every page, and in the reader’s browser title bar.  WordPress also uses this title as the identifying name for your syndication (RSS) feeds.

-Title Tagline – that appears under the page title:  In a few words, explain what your site is about.  Your sites slogan, or tagline, might be entered here.  A tagline is short phrase, or sentence, used to convey the essence of the site and is often funny or eye-catching.  As an example if the title is ‘Jay’s Woodcrafts’ the sub-title may be ‘Making Wood into Goods’ to have a little more description and a little ‘tag’ that help people recognize your site.

-WordPress address – Enter the full URL of the directory containing your WordPress core application files (e.g., wp-config.php, wp-admin, wp-content, and wp-includes).  For example, if you installed WordPress into a directory called “blog”, then the WordPress address would be http://example.net/blog (where example.net is your domain).  If you installed WordPress into your web root, this address will be the root URL http://example.net. WordPress will trim a slash (/) from the end.

-Site address – Enter the address you want people to type in their browser to reach your WordPress site.  This is the directory where WordPress’s main index.php file is installed.  The Site address (URL) is identical to the WordPress address (URL) (above) unless you are giving WordPress its own directory. WordPress will trim a slash (/) from the end.

-Email notification address – Enter the e-mail address to which you want WordPress to send messages regarding the administration and maintenance of your WordPress site. For example, if you allow new users to register as a member of your site then a notification will be sent through e-mail to this address. In addition, if the option, ‘An administrator must always approve the comment,’ is set in “Administration/Settings/Discussion,” this e-mail address will receive notification that the comment is being held for moderation. Please note this is different than the address you supplied for the ‘admin’ user account; the ‘admin’ account e-mail address is sent an e-mail only when someone submits a comment to a post by ‘admin.’ The address you enter here will never be displayed on the site.

-Membership authorization – ‘Anyone can register’ – Check this checkbox if you want anyone to be able to register an account on your site.

-New User Default Role – This pull-down box allows you to select the default role that is assigned to new users.  This default role will be assigned to newly registered members or users added via the ‘Administration > Users > Users’ Screen.  The valid choices are: Administrator; Editor; Author; Contributor; or Subs.

TIP:  You may also add new members by creating them manually under ‘Users/Add New.’

-Timezone – From the pulldown box, choose a city in the same timezone as you.  For example, under America, select New York if you reside in the Eastern Timezone of the United States that honors daylight savings times.  If you can’t identify a city in your timezone, select one setting of the GMT list that best represents the number of hours by which your time differs from Greenwich Mean Time.  Click the ‘Save Changes’ button and the UTC time and “Local time” will display to confirm the correct Timezone was selected.

-Date Format – The format in which to display dates on your site.  The Date Format setting is intended to be used by theme designers in displaying dates on your site, but does not control how the date is displayed in the Administrative Screens (e.g. Manage Posts).  Click the ‘Save Changes’ button and the ‘Output’ example below the selections will show the current date in the format entered.

-Time Format – The format in which to display times on your site. The Time Format setting is intended to be used by theme designers in displaying time on your site, but does not control how the time is displayed in the Administrative Screens (e.g. Write Post edit of timestamp). Click the ‘Save Changes’ button and the ‘Output’ example below the selections will show the current time in the format entered.

-Week Starts On – Select your preferred start date for WordPress calendars from the drop-down box. Monday is the default setting for this drop-down, meaning a monthly calendar will show Monday in the first column. If you want your calendar to show Sunday as the first column, then select Sunday from the drop-down.

Save Changes – Click the ‘Save Changes’ button to ensure any changes you have made to your Settings are saved to your database.  Once you click the button, a confirmation text box will appear at the top of the page telling you your settings have been saved.

Writing

The Writing Link takes you to the page where you set the;

-Basic Writing settings – Choose how large, in number of lines, you want for the post content textbox (within the editor).  Selecting a size does NOT limit the size of the actual post; if you write a post that is longer than the size of the textbox, the textbox will generate a scrollbar.  A small textbox means everything will fit nicely on your screen, a large textbox means you won’t have to scroll as much when writing longer posts.  (I suggest right around 50 lines)

-Formatting – You can use these checkboxes to control some of your blog’s formatting.

–Convert emoticons such as 🙂 and 😛 to graphics on display – Checking this tells WordPress to convert all of the emoticons in your posts into graphical smilies.

–WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically – Checking this helps make sure that what you write in your posts is valid XHTML code.  You should probably check this box since invalid code sometimes causes problems with web browsers.  Note: some Plugins may not work correctly when this feature is turned on.

-Default Post Category – The Category you select from this drop-down is called the default post Category. The default post Category is Category assigned to a post if you fail to assign any other Categories with writing your posts. If you delete a Category, the posts in that Category will be assigned the default post Category. If you have several Categories, but use one of those Categories more frequently, select that Category here to make your life a little easier.

-Default Post Format – The Post Format you select from this drop-down is called the default Post Format.  Post Formats are used by themes to create different styling for different types of posts.  This setting is only visible if the current activated theme supports Post Formats.  The WordPress TwentyEleven theme is an example of a theme that supports various Post Formats including Standard (no special format), Aside, and Gallery.

-Default Link Category – The Category you select from this dropdown will be the default Link Category checked when you create new Links.  If you have several Categories, but assign one Category more frequently to Links, select that Category.

-Press This – ‘Press This’ is a bookmarklet: a little app that runs in your browser and lets you grab bits of the web.

Use ‘Press This’ to clip text, images and videos from any web page.  Then edit and add more straight from ‘Press This’ before you save or publish it in a post on your site.

Drag-and-drop the following link to your bookmark bar or right click it and add it to your favorites for a posting shortcut.

-Post via email settings – With this option, you can set up your blog to publish e-mails as blog posts.  To do this, you would send an e-mail to a specific address you’ve established for the purpose.  More than likely, you will need the help of your web host and/or your e-mail provider.  This feature is 100% optional; you can still publish posts from the Posts Add New Screen if you don’t want to post via e-mail.  The Blog by Email article describes this feature in greater detail.

This message is displayed at the beginning of this section:  “To post to WordPress by e-mail you must set up a secret e-mail account with POP3 access.  Any mail received at this address will be posted, so it’s a good idea to keep this address very secret.  Here are three random strings you could use: FKZXx8EK, P6snQ5Lq, YcrfBw03.”

Complete the following fields to post by e-mail:

Mail Server

A mail server receives e-mails on your behalf and stores them for retrieval. Your mail server will have a URI address, such as mail.example.com, which you should enter here.

Port

Servers usually use port 110 to receive requests related to emails. If your mail server uses a different port, enter that port number here.

Login Name

If, for example, the e-mail address that you will be using for the writing by e-mail feature is wordpress@example.com, then ‘wordpress’ is the Login name.

Password

Enter the password for the above e-mail address here.  Three possible passwords are displayed by WordPress in the introduction section of this Screen.

Default Mail Category

WordPress will assign this Category to all of the posts published via the Post by e-mail feature.

Note: You can create new Categories in ‘Administration/Posts/Categories.’

-Remote Publishing settings – To post to WordPress from a desktop blogging client or remote website that uses the Atom Publishing Protocol or one of the XML-RPC publishing interfaces you must enable them.

Atom Publishing Protocol

Checking this enables the Atom Publishing Protocol.

XML-RPC

When checked, enables the WordPress, Movable Type, MetaWeblog and Blogger XML-RPC publishing protocols.

-Update Services – When you publish a new post, WordPress automatically notifies the update services of the sites listed in the box.  For more about this, see Update Services on the Codex.  When entering services, separate multiple URIs with line breaks.  If your Privacy Settings Blog Visibility is set to “I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors”, the message “WordPress is not notifying any Update Services because of your blog’s privacy settings” is displayed.

-Update Changes – Click the ‘Save Changes’ button to ensure any changes you have made to your Settings are saved to your database.  Once you click the button, a confirmation text box will appear at the top of the page telling you your settings have been saved.

Reading

The Reading Link takes you to the page where you set the front page display, how many post to show per page, etc.

Front Page Displays

Use this setting to determine if your posts or a “static” Page displays as your blog’s front (main) page.  This setting displays only if you have one or more Pages defined.  Please note static front page plugins and other ‘posts display’ control/restriction plugins may affect how these features work!

-Your latest posts – Check to radio button so your latest posts are displayed on the blog’s front page. Remember, the number of posts you display is controlled by the “Blog pages show at most” setting.

-A static page (select below) – Check this radio button to cause a “static” Page to be displayed as your blog’s front page. At the same time, choose the Page that will display your actual Posts. The Front page and Posts page cannot be the same value.

–Front page – Select in the drop-down box the actual Page that you want displayed as your front page. If you do not select a choice here, then effectively your blog will show your posts on both the blog’s front page and on the Posts page you specify. If you would like to create a static home page template file, do not name it home.php, otherwise you will encounter problems when you try to view the “blog”/”posts” section of your site. To get around this, just name it anything but home.php, for example, myhome.php

–Posts page – Select in the drop-down box the name of the Page that will now contain your Posts. If you do not select a Page here, your Posts will only be accessible via other navigation features such as category, calendar, or archive links. Even if the selected Page is Password protected, visitors will NOT be prompted for a password when viewing the Posts Page. Also, any Template assigned the Page will be ignored and the theme’s index.php (or home.php if it exists) will control the display of the posts.

Blog pages show at most – [X] posts – Enter the number of posts to be displayed, per page, on your site.

Syndication feeds show the most recent – [X] posts – Enter the number of posts people will see when they download one of your site’s feeds.

For each article in a feed, show – Determines whether or not the feed will include the full article or just a summary.

–Full text – Click this radio button to include the full content of each post

–Summary – Click this radio button include a summary of the post. This could save bandwidth.

Encoding for pages and feeds – Enter the character encoding to set the choice of languages in which you, the other authors, and your commenter’s, can write.  The default (and safe choice) is “UTF-8” as that encoding supports a wide variety of languages.  If you wish to use some other characters encoding (for example you have imported or will import articles written using a different character encoding) then specify that here.  Caution should be used when changing this field as it may change the way information is displayed on your blog.  For a more in depth article on character encoding see Wikipedia: Character Encoding.

Save Changes – Click the Save Changes button to ensure any changes you have made to your Settings are saved to your database. Once you click the button, a confirmation text box will appear at the top of the page telling you your settings have been saved.

Discussion

The ‘Settings Discussion’ Screen allows you to set the options concerning comments (also called discussion).  It is here the administrator decides if comments are allowed, if pingbacks and trackbacks are acceptable, and what constitutes Comment Spam.  On this Screen you also control the circumstances under which your blog sends you e-mail notification of certain events at your site.

Default Article Settings – Note:  These settings may be overridden for individual articles.

-Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from the article – If you check this box, WordPress will send out a ping to a site or article you have linked to in your post.  Your mention of their site or article will show up in the comment section of their site, if that site allows pingbacks.  The notfication occurs during the process of publishing your article to the internet.  An article with many hyperlinks will slow the posting process as WordPress contacts all of the sites before the post is published.

-Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) – Check this box so WordPress accepts or declines the pings from other sites which may reference your site or an article on your site.  If this box is checked, pingbacks and trackbacks will appear in the comments section of your posts.

-Allow people to post comments on new articles – Check this box if you wish to allow comments to your posts. Remember that this can be overridden for individual articles.  Comments can also be controlled by making an article PRIVATE, which requires the appropriate password before a comment is allowed.  If you don’t wish to allow comments uncheck this setting.

TIP:  I suggest you check all three radio buttons

Other Comment Settings – There are five areas to make decisions on in this section.

-Comment author must fill out name and e-mail – Check this box as a way to force spammers to do a bit of extra work. In reality, the name and e-mail address are not verified in any way prior to the comment being submitted.  Most legitimate commenter’s are more than willing to fill out a name and e-mail address.

-Users must be registered and logged in to comment – If this checkbox is checked, only logged in registered users will be able to write comments on your site.

-Automatically close comments on articles older than [X] days – Check the box and enter the number of days (e.g. 14 days) after which WordPress will automatically flag eligible posts so that no more comments are accepted.

-Enable threaded (nested) comments [X] levels deep – Check this box to enable threaded comments, then from the drop-down box, select the number of levels deep (maximum of 10 levels) you will allow for nested comments.  Note that themes need to be specially coded to properly display threaded comments.

-Break comments into pages with [X] top level comments per page and the [last/first] page displayed by default. Comments should be displayed with the [older/newer] comments at the top of each page – Check this box to cause comments to display in a paginated format with the specified number of comments per page.  In addition, specify if the pages should be ordered “first to last” or “last to first”, and within each page, whether the oldest, or newest, comment is to be displayed first.

Email Me Whenever – These two settings give you control of when authors and administrators receive notification that comments have been made, or that comments are held for moderation. Please note that the use of “me” refers to either a post author or the administrator (person whose email address is used for admin purposes).

-Anyone posts a comment – Check this box so that every single comment posted will generate an email to the author of that post.  Be warned that if your posts receive a large number of comments, post authors may find a very full email Inbox.  If you wish to micromanage comments, then by all means, activate this setting by checking the box.

-A comment is held for moderation – Check this box if you want WordPress to send notification that a comment is being held for moderation.  The email notification is sent to the E-mail address listed in the ‘Administration/Settings/General Screen.’  This is useful if your blog has multiple authors and each author is authorized to allow or decline comments. That way, you, the owner of the site, can review what comments are being allowed or denied.

Before a Comment Appears – These settings provide you even more control over the instances of when and how comments are posted.

-An administrator must always approve the comment – Select this option to force comments to be approved by a blog user or owner having the proper Role to approve comments, even if the comments appear to be spam . See the Comment Moderation options below regarding spam.

-Comment author must have a previously approved comment – Check the box to insure comments are only posted if the comment authors’ email address matches the address of a previously approved comment, otherwise, the comment is held for moderation. Comments from blacklisted email addresses (those listed in the Local Spam Words Text Box) are held for moderation regardless of whitelist status.

Comment Moderation – In the Comment Moderation section you specify these options to help you deal with Comment Spam.

-Hold a comment in the queue if it contains [X] or more links (A common characteristic of comment spam is a large number of hyperlinks.) – Not too long ago, comment spammers would have five, ten, or more hyperlinks in their comment spam.  This made it very easy for bloggers to quickly screen comments but spammers recognized that and commonly use only one or two hyperlinks.  You can enter a number in this box to tell WordPress how many links you allow in a comment before holding it for moderation.

-When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be held in the moderation queue.  One word or IP per line, it will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress” – In this text box you can add your own spam words which will filter the comments when posted.  For an extensive and updated list of frequently used spam words and phrases click the link to the article on Spam Words; consider adding these to your own list.

Comment Blacklist – When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be marked as spam.  If the comment lists one word or IP per line, it will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress”.  This text box acts the same as “When a comment contains any of these words…” except comments which match these words will be deleted without warning. You may want to use this as a last resort, as genuine comments can end up deleted (WordPress 1.5 and later)

Avatars – An avatar is an image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on avatar enabled sites. Here you can enable the display of avatars for people who comment on your blog. By default WordPress uses Gravatars – short for Globally Recognized Avatars – for the pictures that show up next to comments. Plugins may override this.

Avatar Display

-Don’t show Avatars – Check this radio button to suppress avatar display in comments.

-Show Avatars – Check this so comment author avatars are displayed along with the comments.

Maximum Rating

This setting controls (or limits) the ‘highest’ level or rating of gravatar you allow to be displayed.

  • G – Suitable for all audiences
  • PG – Possibly offensive, usually for audiences 13 and above
  • R – Intended for adult audiences above 17
  • X – Even more mature than above

Default Avatar

For users without a custom avatar of their own, you can either display a generic logo or a generated one based on their e-mail address.

  • Mystery Man
  • Blank
  • Gravatar Logo
  • Identicon (Generated)
  • Wavatar (Generated)
  • MonsterID (Generated)

Save Changes – Click the ‘Save Changes’ button to ensure any changes you have made to your Settings are saved to your database. Once you click the button, a confirmation text box will appear at the top of the page telling you your settings have been saved.

Media

The ‘Settings Media Screen’ controls the various settings related to images and other media that are used in writing posts and pages.

Image sizes

The sizes listed below determine the maximum dimensions in pixels to use when inserting an image into the body of a post.

Thumbnail size – Enter the ‘Width’ and ‘Height’

–Crop thumbnail to exact dimensions (normally thumbnails are proportional) – check box

Medium size – Enter the ‘Max Width’ and ‘Max Height’

Large size – Enter the ‘Max Width’ and ‘Max Height’

Embeds – It’s super easy to embed videos, images, and other content into your WordPress site, using what are known as Embeds.  To embed something into a post or page is as simple as putting the URL to that video into your content area. Make sure the URL is on its own line, and is not hyperlinked (clickable when viewing the post).

-Auto-embeds – Attempt to automatically embed all plain text URLs – check box

-Maximum embed size – Enter the ‘Width’ and ‘Height’.  If the width value is left blank, embeds will default to the max width of your theme.

Uploading Files – Default settings used for during the media upload process when writing a post.

-Store uploads in this folder – Enter the folder (directory) to where you want to upload files with the ‘Administration/Posts/Add New Upload’ function. You must enter a folder relative to your WordPress address (URI) folder.  WordPress suggests an upload directory of wp-content/uploads. Use the suggestion, or modify it to a relative path of your choice.  If your wp-content folder is writeable, WordPress will automatically create this folder when you do the first upload using the ‘Administration/Posts/Add New Upload’ function.

-Full URL path to files (optional) – Enter a URL path to your uploaded files.  This is optional only if the setting ‘Store uploads in this folder’ remains at its default value of wp-content/uploads.  Otherwise it must include the full path to the upload file directory that a browser would see.

-Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders – Check this box if you wish to organize your uploads into folders based on the year and the month of the upload.  Assuming that you have specified wp-content/uploads as your upload storage folder, if you check this box, a file uploaded in June of 2010 would be placed into the wp-content/uploads/2010/06 folder.  Note: At the time of the actual upload, WordPress will automatically create the folders, such as wp-content/uploads/2010 and wp-content/uploads/2010/06, as long as your wp-content folder is writeable.

Save Changes – Click the ‘Save Changes’ button to ensure any changes you have made to your Settings are saved to your database.  Once you click the button, a confirmation text box will appear at the top of the page telling you your settings have been saved.

Privacy

The Privacy Settings control your blog’s visibility to search engines, such as Google and Technorati.  You can decide if you would like your site (blog) to be visible to everyone, including search engines like Google, Bing, Technorati, or not.  If you don’t want your site available to the search engines you can block search engines, but allow normal visitors to see your site.

-Site Visibility

–I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Bing, Technorati) and archivers – Check this radio button so WordPress does not restrict search engines.

–I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors – check this for these results:

Causes “<meta name=’robots’ content=’noindex,nofollow’ />” to be generated into the <head> </head> section (if wp_head is used) of your site’s source, causing search engine spiders to ignore your site.

Causes hits to robots.txt to send back:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /

Note: The above only works if WordPress is installed in the site root and no robots.txt exists.

Stops pings to ping-o-matic and any other RPC ping services specified in the Update Services of ‘Administration/Settings/Writing.’  This works by having the function privacy_ping_filter() remove the sites to ping from the list. This filter is added by having add_filter ('option_ping_sites', 'privacy_ping_filter'); in the default-filters.  When the generic_ping function attempts to get the “ping_sites” option, this filter blocks it from returning anything.

Hides the Update Services option entirely on the ‘Administration/Settings/Writing Screen’ with the message “WordPress is not notifying any Update Services because of your blog’s privacy settings.”

Save Changes – Click the Save Changes button to ensure any changes you have made to your Settings are saved to your database. Once you click the button, a confirmation text box will appear at the top of the page telling you your settings have been saved.

Permalinks

By default WordPress uses web URLs which have question marks and lots of numbers in them, however WordPress offers you the ability to create a custom URL structure for your permalinks and archives. This can improve the aesthetics, usability, and forward-compatibility of your links.

A note about performance: Permalink structures beginning with %category%, %tag%, %author%, or %postname%, require more server resources to resolve than structures such as, Day and Name, Month and Name, and %post_id%-%postname%.

For a more in depth description of the way this structure is specified, see the Using Permalinks article. For an introduction to Permalinks, read the Pretty Permalinks section of Introduction to Blogging.

-Customize Permalink Structure – A number of tags are available, and here are some examples to get you started.

–Common settings – Check one of the radio buttons corresponding to the correct Permalink Structure for your blog.

—Default – An example of the default structure is http://www.sample.com/?p=123

—Day and name – An example of the day and name based structure is http://www.sample.com/2008/03/31/sample-post/

—Month and name – An example of the month and name based structure is http://www.sample.com/2008/03/sample-post/

—Numeric – An example of the numeric structure is http://www.sample.com/archives/123

—Custom structure – In the box specify the custom structure you desire to use. One example is /archives/%year%/%monthnum%/%day%/ %postname%/.  Look at the Using Permalinks article for further discussion of Permalink Structure Tags.

-Optional – You may enter custom bases for your category and tag URLs here. For example, using /topics/ as your category base would make your category links like http://example.org/topics/uncategorized/.  If you leave these blank the defaults will be used.  Again, see the Using Permalinks article for further discussion of Permalink Structure Tags.

–Category base – Enter a custom prefix for your category URLs here.

–Tag base – Enter a custom prefix for your tag URLs here.

Save Changes – Click the Save Changes button to ensure any changes you have made to your Settings are saved to your database. Once you click the button, a confirmation text box will appear at the top of the page telling you your settings have been saved. After you’ve clicked this button, you should receive one of two messages depending on whether your .htaccess file is writeable. For information on how to make .htaccess writeable, see Changing File Permissions.

If .htaccess is writeable, you will get a message that says “Permalink structure updated.” You’re all set; WordPress has been able to do everything for you automatically.

If .htaccess is not writeable, you will see a message at the top of the screen that says “You should update your .htaccess now.”  Near the bottom of the screen you will see “If your .htaccess file were writable, we could do this automatically, but it isn’t so these are the mod_rewrite rules you should have in your .htaccess file. Click in the field and press CTRL + a to select all.” This means you’ll have to do one extra step yourself. In the text box at the bottom of the Screen, WordPress displays several lines of rewrite rules associated with the Permalink Structure you designated above. You need to manually copy everything in this text box into your .htaccess file to make your new Permalinks work.

Note: If you’re writing your .htaccess file on your own local computer, remember, some operating systems do not allow the creation of a file named “.htaccess” because of the initial dot (“.“). You can always name the file without the initial dot or with a standard extension (e.g. “htaccess.txt“). Once the file is uploaded to your weblog’s directory, rename it with your FTP software. Most FTP Clients should provide you a way to rename files this.

Also Note: Files that begin with a dot (“.“) like “.htaccess” are hidden on most servers by default. Consult the userguide or FAQ of the FTP software you use to find out how to have the software display these hidden files, and also how to use the software to change file permissions, rename files, etc. For more information on all of this see Changing File Permissions.

Depending on what plugins you have installed this area could have many more links for settings on specific plugins.  You should also be aware that many themes and plugins can cause problems with settings and operations of your website.  Choose them carefully.

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