Starting a blog is exciting! You finally get WordPress installed and can’t wait to get your first post up and get your first comments. Before you get too far into blogging though, there are some settings you need to think about to protect your blog from hackers and to make your readers experience better.
Manually approve comments – As your blog grows this can become cumbersome, so you can make it so that a person has to have a previously approved comment first. The reason I suggest this is to cut down on spam comments. Even with Akismet some spam comments can come through. Often times these comments are full of spam links and if your readers come across one of these they may start to distrust you. Also, having spam comments make it look like you don’t monitor your blog as well as you should.
No one can register – This one is important because if you give people access to register on your blog they can change things. Even if you set it to automatically be a subscriber account, there are hackers out there who can still manage to use this to their advantage. The hackers can set up spam accounts and spam your site with comments and such. If you have a forum on your blog or feel the need to allow readers to register make sure you monitor your blog very closely.
Time Zone – You want to make sure you have the time zone set to your location. The reason for this is to help with scheduling posts. If you don’t have the time zone set correctly and you schedule a post for a specific time, it will not correspond with your local time. Some people do not mind this, but personally I prefer to have it set to my local time.
Set how many blog posts to show on front page – Under settings, in the reading section you can set how many posts your readers can view on your homepage. I suggest setting this to 10-20 at the most. If you set it to all of your posts, your readers will scroll with no end in site, especially once you get a lot of posts on your site.
Set to only show excerpt of posts on home page – Again, if your readers can read a whole post on your homepage they will scroll forever. Personally I like seeing an excerpt on homepage because I can determine if I really want to read a post. If I do, then I can click on it, if not I can easily move to the next post. Sometimes when the whole post is shown it can be hard to determine when one ends and another starts, especially when the length of each post varies.
Allow ping backs and comments – Under the discussion tab, also in settings, make sure you allow comments and ping backs. Allowing comments lets your readers communicate with you and share their thoughts on your posts. Allowing ping backs allows other blogs to link back to your site, and allowing ping backs notifies you of those blogs that are linking to you. You can delete ping backs that are from spam sites if you want.
Comment author must fill out name and email – This helps cut back on spam, but doesn’t eliminate it. It does help you determine if a comment is spam though because many spam comments do not use real names, but instead use the product they are trying to sell.
Hold in queue if more than 2 links are in the comment – This will cause any comment to be held in queue if there are more than 2 links in the comment, because this is often a sign of spam.
Change the permalink to the post name – You do not want the permalink to have the date because readers will think the post is outdated, even if you have updated the post, because you cannot change this.
These are just the settings I feel you need to change right away. As you blog, you may find that you need to adjust other settings.
What settings do you think new bloggers need to know about?