in Step 3 of Starting a Blog, I will descuss what settings you should change before you do anything else. These settings are important to implement as they will effect your search engine ranking as well as help you start on the right path.

by now you should already have done Step 1 and Step 2 and have a installed wordpress and chose your theme. You should see the the wordpress default page with your new theme when you go to your blog url.

So What settings We need to change:

1. Mod-Rewrite / Permalinks – this will change how your urls appear when you navigate through the categories and pages. Instead of seeing Id=333 or something like that in the url, you should see the actual post title or category title/slug. This change helps search engines to tie the content with your url and therefore you’ll have more visits because your blog will rank better.

to do this change go to Admin panel, click on Settings/Permaliinks.

although there are some default options, I chose custom and entered /%postname%/ the reason is that I don’t want my posts to have date in the url. The advantage of this is that your posts do not seem out dated to your visitors. Sometimes when I go to a blog after searching something in google, if I see the date in the url is older, I don’t even read the post. I don’t want my visitors to do the same :) lol.

2.  Add Categories - in admin section click on Posts/Categories and add as many categories as you can think of. This is important because not only search engines/visitors will start understanding the scope of your blog, but this will also keep you focused to the topics you should be writing about. In my case, I added as many categories as I could think of or could find. To get some ideas, you can visit your favorite blog in the same industry and see what categories they’re using.

3. Make Categories Visible – by default, categories will not show up until there is a post tied to it. Since you are just starting, you won’t have as many posts as categories. But there is an easy work around. I edited the defualt “Hellow World” post that comes with blog install and added it to all categories. Problem solved :) now all categories show up in my blog.

4. Change your Username – do not leave “admin” as the username of the blog as this does not seem professional and is also begging for spam/hacking attacks since it’s the default username for admin role. Also,  post author / comment author will aslso change when you do this.  I’m going to make mine to be DomainMichael. You can be more creative, :)

5. Appearance/Widgets – remove all unused or default Widgets from the sidebars. If your sidebars are empty, than your theme is using the default widgets. Add your own widgets to sidebars, only the important ones. Make sure you have Categories/Recent Posts/Recent Comments, these are great for your visitors as well as search engines. I also have Archive/Blogroll/My Brands, again make sure you edit the default Blogroll. Add the blogs in the same industry that you most often visit. Again, the idea is to help your visitors and search engines.

6. Pages - Add “About” and “Contact” pages to your blog. Just today I visited a blog and couldn’t find any info about the author. It’s good to have About section and talk about you and your backgorund. This will help visitors learn more about you and if you have something to offer, they will subscribe to your RSS or keep visiting your blog, which is the goal. Contact form is always helpful. I was surprised that wordpress does not come with default one, so I had to find a plugin for this. I will talk about plugins in another post. Delete the sample page.

7. Timezone - click on Settings/General and select your timezone. This is important as when you start creating posts, you may want delayed publish date/time and unless you do this, it’s going to be incorrect which is what happened to my first post. The time/date of the post will reflect this change, the sooner you do this the better.

8. Blog Title – you should already have done this, but just in case. Again go to Settings/General and make sure you type in something meaningful as your blog title and Tagline, again important for visitors/search engines.

9. Change Your Username – if you change your username initially when installing the blog, you no longer can change it in the admin. However, you can add Display Name and Nickname, along with url, go to Users->edit Admin and change these settings.

10. Chmod uploads directory - if you plan uploading images/files to your blog, you should change the permissions of wp-content/uploads directory to 777, so you can upload files there. You do this from your hosting control panel, read their manual on how to change folder permissions. if the folder is not there, create it.

that’s it folks, hope this was useful. More posts/Steps to come, we’re not done yet.