11 Tips to Setting Up a WordPress Blog

Blogging is wonderfully easy to start. There are great tools out there such as WordPress, TypePad, Movable Type, and many others. Your hosting company may even offer one of these tools built into your service. Even if your hosting company does not offer such a tool, installing them is not that hard to do.

Once the tool is installed, getting started is very easy. However, there are a few things that you need to setup first to get the most out of your blogging experience. This post will outline our 10 tips for setting up a WordPress blog:

  1. Customize the header color to look more like the rest of your site. You can do this by selecting “Presentation” from the Admin menu, and then “Header Image and Color”. Of course, you can do much larger customizations by selecting an entirely different theme.
  2. Change URL structure to title based. This will give you URLs with keywords in them, instead of numbers for each post. You can do this by clicking on “Options” in the Admin menu, and then “Permalink” click on the “Data and Name Based” radio button.
  3. Change default directory to /blog (instead of the default of /wordpress), or whatever you prefer. Do this by clicking on “Options” in the Admin menu.
  4. Add your logo to the WordPress template. In the default template you do this by editing sidebar.php and adding your company image.
  5. Remove outbound links that are not relevant. Most installations of WordPress come with some built in links to things that you probably don’t care about. You find these by going into sidebar.php and editing them out.
  6. Add links that you want to have in the blog template. Among other things, you should include links to other key pages on your site. You make these changes in sidebar.php.
  7. Remove the search box from the template. This is optional, of course, but go into sidebar.php, and search for “searchform.php”, and remove that line of code.
  8. When we put our blog up, the associated RSS feed seemed to want the user to get their RSS feed through feeddemon. We edited footer.php to add the following code:”>Entries (RSS) and
    ”>Comments (RSS)
  9. Add buttons to allow users to Digg, Reddit, and Del.icio.us your articles. You can think about where you would like to put it, but we wanted to put it on the right side. So in the default WordPress template, this also goes in sidebar.php.
  10. Add a challenge/response in comments.php to slow down the influx of Spam. We used a challenge response plug-in that you can find here. Read the steps for the plug-in you choose to see specific details of how to get your selected plug-in added into WordPress.
  11. Add some more descriptive text to tell people what you are looking for (no not looking for) in comments.php

This is just a starting list of customizations for your blog. Some of them, such as setting the directory and the URL structure, you really want to do before you start blogging. Others, such as spam protection and link customizations, you can do later. But we think it’s useful to do it all up front. It provides your blog with a professional feel right from the very start.

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