This is a talk about local guide compiled by Nicky Getgood using Chris Unitt’s My standard changes to a free WordPress.com blog.
Standard changes to make to a free WordPress blog
The following are just a few steps someone with a new WordPress.com blog might want to make to their site.
A couple of notes first:
- There’s no single ‘right way’ to set up a blog. If you want to do things differently then great, go ahead.
- This is for the free WordPress.com, not the self-hosted version of WordPress
- We’ve assumed that you’ve already signed up to WordPress and created a blog. If you haven’t the talk about local guide on how to Create a simple website with WordPress.com may be of help.
List of possible changes
These are the changes someone with a new WordPress.com site might want to make:
- About page – update the content and disallow comments and pings on this page
- Delete the ‘Hello World’ post
- Links – delete WordPress.com and WordPress.org in the Blogroll and add a some of your own
- Change the blog tagline
- Add Stumbleupon, Delicious, Digg and Reddit icons to posts
- Free up comment publication
- Disable Mshots
- Hide ‘related links’
- Update profile details
- Add some sidebar widgets
Making the changes
Here’s how to make the changes to your site via the WordPress dashboard.
Updating Profile Details
- Select Users on the left-hand menu.
- Click Your Profile (just below Authors & Users).
- Go to the Name section underneath Personal Options. Insert your First Name and Last Name (unless you want to be anonymous) and a nickname. Choose what you want your name to be displayed as (at the bottom of posts and in comments) from the drop down menu.
- Click on Update Profile at the bottom of the page.
- Go to Settings – the bottom option on the left-hand menu.
- In General – delete the existing tagline that says ‘Just another WordPress blog’ and replace it with something more suitable for your site such as ‘Newport news and events’, or just leave it blank.
- In Reading – Ensure the Comment count box is ticked.
- You can also tick the boxes to add Stumbleupon, Delicious, Digg and Reddit icons to posts. This will make it easier for readers who use these social bookmarking services to bookmark and share your posts.
- Remember to click Save Changes at the bottom of each page where you alter settings.
Themes and widgets are really a matter of personal preference, although it can be a good idea to remove Snap Shots (the link previews that pop up when you hover a cursor over some anchor text) and ‘related posts’ (the rarely relevant list of posts on other wordpress.com blogs). Both can be irritating for readers.
- Themes – if you want to change the theme of your blog and customise it, the talk about local guide How to change the appearance of your WordPress blog may help.
- Widgets – these will be dictated by personal preference and the particular aims of your blog. To alter the Widgets go to the Widgets option under Appearance in the left-hand menu of your dashboard
- You can add widgets and change the order by dragging the displayed boxes and placing them in your preferred position. A good basic layout is (from top to bottom) Pages, Text (with a brief explanation of what the blog is about), Recent Comments (apparently placing this high up encourages commenting), Categories, Links and Search.
- Go the Extras options underneath Appearance. Untick ‘Enable Mshots on this blog’ if you do not want these to appear. Tick ‘Hide related posts on this blog’ to remove these.
Manage Posts, Pages and Links
- Go to the Posts menu option – Put your cursor over ‘Hello World’ post in the list that appears and click delete on the options that appear under the blog post title. This will delete the Hello World! post.
- Go to the Pages menu option – click on About and change the text to something more relevant. Also scroll down to the Discussion box underneath the blog post body text box. Untick Allow Comments and Allow Pings if you want to disallow them both on the page.
- You can also add any extra static pages that are needed by selecting Add New underneath the Pages menu option. If you’re unsure about the difference between a page and a post, read the talk about local guide What’s the difference between a page and a post.
- Go to the Links menu option. Put your cursor over the two existing links to WordPress websites and click delete on the options that appear beneath them. Then click on Add New underneath Links and insert links of your own, such as a local community, venue or council website.