How to Customize Your WordPress Niche Blog
Maybe you know how to find and install a WordPress theme, which ensures your blog’s design better fits your niche. Now that you’ve changed the form of your blog, let’s move on to changing the function of your blog.
If you really wanted to, you could start blogging right this moment. However, you’d likely soon find that your blog doesn’t function the way you want it to function. That’s why you should take a few minutes today and tomorrow to customize it.
Your first step is to log into your blog’s dashboard (typically http://yourdomain.com/wp-login.php). Next, click on “Settings” on the main navigation menu on the left side of your screen.
Now let’s go through some of the options…
This is pretty self-explanatory. This is where you change options such as site’s name, your email address and your time zone. You may not have to change anything here. If you do, then click the “save changes” button when you’re finished.
Now click on the “Writing” link (under the “Settings” menu on the left side of your screen). Again, these are basic settings, so the default options should suit you in most cases. However, if you plan to do any blogging via email, then you’ll need to enter some information about your email account (check with your web host to get this information if you don’t know it).
When you’re done, click on “Save Changes.” Then click on “Reading” on the left side of your screen (underneath the main “Settings” menu).
Here you decide if you want the front page of your blog to always show the most recent posts, or if you want your visitors to see a static page (such as an introductory page). For now, keep the default of showing the last ten posts.
Now click on the “Discussion” link under the “Settings” menu.
This is where you decide how comments from your readers are handled. For starters, you should allow comments. People will spam your blog, but you can reduce that using a plug-in called Akismet (which you’ll learn about next time).
To encourage discussion while reducing spam,
be sure these options are checked/enabled:
- Allow people to post comments on new articles.
- Comment author must fill out name and email.
- Email me whenever someone posts a comment.
- Email me whenever a comment is held for moderation.
- Hold a comment in the queue if it contains 2 or more links.
You can also add words that will send comments into moderation or on a blacklist, such as: “porn”, “Viagra”, ”casino”, “gambling” and similar “spam-like” words.
You can choose settings for the rest of the options according to your preferences. Then click on “Save Changes.”
Task: Customize as described above. More customization tips coming tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Ideally, you should choose a special structure for how your links will appear, as doing so will make them more search-engine friendly (rather than the default “yourdomain.com/?p=123, which doesn’t even give you a clue what the link is about). The “Month and Name” option is one such options.
Tools -> Plug ins
You’ll see the option to activate a plugin tool called “Akismet.” Go ahead and follow the onscreen instructions to do so. That’s because this tool will help “catch” the spam so that you don’t. It’s well worth the effort.
You’ve changed the main and necessary settings to make your blog perform well. Generally, the other settings can stay in the “default” mode. Nonetheless, if you’d like to further tweak the function of your blog, then go to http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page to learn more.
Now you’re ready to post!
Click on “Posts,” then click on “Categories.” Now set up the main categories for the types of posts you intend to create.
Example: A weight loss blog might have categories such as:
Nutrition Cardio Weight lifting Supplements Motivation
As you set up each new category, click on “Add New Category.” When you’re finished, return to the main “Posts” menu and select “Add New.”
Task: Go ahead and put a sample post on your blog, just to see how easy it is to add a post, edit it and delete. In other words, familiarize yourself with posting, because you will indeed start posting on your new blog in a couple days!