How to Start a Travel Blog #4 – Configuring WordPress

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If you’ve been following along in this series since the first post, then you should now know the difference between and, you should now understand the blogging basics of domain selection and hosting and you should be familiar with installing WordPress.

What to Expect from this “Learning to Blog” Series

This is the fourth part of a series on the topic of starting a travel blog or really starting any type of blog for that matter.

Learning the Best Techniques for Configuring WordPress

Today, I would like to show you how to properly configure your self-hosted WordPress site and I will go over the many options available to you.

If you’re looking for a WordPress SEO Guide with detailed keyword placement tactics, then have a look at my FREE WordPress Guide on my business site.

WordPress (WP) Settings Configuration

When you first login to your WordPress admin area, which I showed you how do back in Part III, you will be taken to the Dashboard.

The Dashboard is where everything happens. The Dashboard display shows the overall picture of your website. In this post, I will be using a spare domain I own as an example:

Below is the Dashboard from my empty SEO site. Your Dashboard will look similar, minus all the cool colors. 🙂

Configuring WordPress Dashboard

WordPress Dashboard

Area 1 – Yellow

In Area 1 (Yellow), you have the WordPress logo in the upper left hand corner. Pressing this gives you a few options dealing directly with WordPress. You get a link to, a link to the Docs (Codex), access to Support forums and you can tell them what you think of WP in the feedback forums.

Next to the WordPress logo is your site name. Clicking on this name will open your site in the current window.

After your site name, is the comment icon which will show how many comments are waiting for your attention.

Add New Posts to WordPressClicking on + New will give a quick way to start new posts and pages or add media and new users.

The cool thing about this bar across the top of WP is that it stays up there when you move around to the different options in the Dashboard and will always be just a click away.

Area 2 – Red

In the red highlighted space (Area 2), you have Dashboard and Home. Clicking on either of these will take you to the main Dashboard page like the colorful image above.

When WordPress or one of your Plug-ins needs to be updated, you will see a number next to the word Updates in Area 2. The number will be the amount of updates currently available for download.

The last item in Area 2 is Akismet Stats. I will talk more about this when I go over plug-ins but for now just know that this plug-in handles comment spam. The stats show how much spam has been blocked since activating the plug-in.

Area 4 – Green

The green Area 4 is where you get a quick snapshot of exactly what is going on with your site. It shows the total number of your posts, pages, total comments, comments approved, comments pending and spam. It also shows how many categories and tags you have created with your posts.

The neat thing is you can use this area to go to any of these sections to create or edits posts or go reply to comments. It’s a great way to combine it all in one place.

Area 5 – Pink

Area 5 (the pink zone) is where you can easily see which theme you currently have installed, which version of WP you are running and it give you a quick look at your battle against spam.

Area 6 – Teal

Another cool feature is in Area 6, the Teal area, which is where you can respond to comments without ever having to leave the dashboard. Pretty slick!

Area 3 – Blue

The blue Area 3 is the REAL meat of the WordPress platform and is also where you will spend most of your time.

I will quickly discuss each area and give you some of the best practices for configuring WordPress, but if you want to get deep into Keywords, WordPress and SEO, you should check out my FREE WordPress SEO Guide.

WordPress Settings Configuration

When you click on Settings in the left sidebar, you will see the General Settings page open up to the right. This is a good place to start. Let’s make sure you have the correct info in these fields.

Configuring WordPress General Settings

WordPress General Settings

The above fields may be fairly obvious and should already be set. Even if my domain is, I can still set my title to whatever I want. The tag line is basically a slogan you should think about for a few minutes and type it in, funny or smart, whatever you want. The URLs should stay the same and the email should already be entered, but you could change that as well.

The second half of this page is for user settings if you plan to make your site a membership site or if you want to assign roles to other writers of your blog. After that, you can set your time zone, date and time preferences.

WordPress Permalink Configuration

Permalinks are very important in the WordPress blogging world. The default is set to make your pages and posts look something like this:

That doesn’t give humans or the search engines a clue about the topic of that page. Instead, it should look like this:

Now, we can figure out what the page is about and so can the search engines. If you want your site to rank well or at least have a shot at ranking in the search engines, then change the default permalink setting and use Custom Structure like below:

Custom Structure Permalinks

Showing the Custom Structure Permalinks

WordPress Themes

Now that the basic settings are taken care of, let’s move on to theme selection and installation.
Manage WordPress Themes

When you select Appearance from the side menu, the Themes page will open up and give you the option to manage your themes or install themes. You will also see a thumbnail of your current theme. My test site is using the default Twenty Thirteen theme. How about we change it up?

To get a new theme, click on Install Themes. From there, you have plenty of options and could spend hours trying out the different themes. Before swapping themes, you may want to backup your files, but on a new site like my seo site, we have very little to save at this point.

When searching for themes, you can use one of the provided filters to search by color, number of columns, features and more. You could also click one of the links at the top to get the most recent, newest themes and featured themes.

I just clicked on Newest and picked the second option. I then clicked Install and once installed, I clicked Activate.

Goto: to see which theme I choose. Don’t expect much since I have no content. Ha!

Look out for my next post coming soon which will cover publishing your first post, adding a page and installing plug-ins. SWEET!

Start a Blog That Matters

Anyone can start a blog, so if you want your blog to catch on a build an audience, then you need to Start a Blog That Matters. This means you should strive to help others with your blog, whether you’re explaining how to get discounts on travel or showing how to fix a leaking propane tank. Make your content great and make your blog matter.

After you have completed my 8-part series on starting a blog, you should try Corbett Barr’s blogging course.
Start a Blog That Matters
<--Start a Blog That Matters-->

    What’s included in Corbett’s course?

  • 13 Weekly Lessons and Action Plans
  • Over 8 hours of video
  • FAQ full of previously asked questions from 800+ students
  • 60-Day Money Back Guarantee (No Questions Asked)
  • The 90-Day Action Plan to turn nothing to a Blog That Matters

Photo Credit

What Are Your Thoughts?

Well, this post is super long! I hope you made it down this far. If you did, give me an idea of how you like this series so far below in the comments. Thanks!

Next Up: Your First Blog Post

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