Last updated on January 24, 2018

Fresh WordPress Install

You just installed WordPress. Before you play around with the theme and plugins, let's make the right initial settings.

Correct initial settings for a fresh WordPress Install

Okay, you just set up your WordPress site and you want to make sure you're making all the right choices.

Now what?

Well, this guide will walk you through, step by step, on setting up everything the right way.

If you're ready, let's get going.

Okay, here's the Admin screen from a fresh WordPress install.

Fresh WP Admin Screen


And Here's the correct sequence



All WordPress installs come with a sample post. We're going to add a new default category then delete the post.

First, select “Categories” and create at least one new category that you will probably use on your site. Let's say “Product Reviews.” Next, go to the “Hello World” post, click on this new category and then select “update” to publish the post with a new category. Then, go down to “Settings” and “Writing” and change the “Default Post Category” to the new category you just created. Make sure to click on “Save Changes.” Finally, go back to “Post” “Categories” and hover over Uncategorized and delete it.

Amazing you have to do that much work to get rid of the automatic uncategorized category – but you do. And you can end up pulling you hair out to get this default deleted and set up correctly, if you don't know the correct sequence.

This is a small item but nothing looks more unprofessional than having posts automatically categorized as Uncategorized.

Okay, everything else is simpler and more straightforward.

Wordpress posts menu

Hover over “Hello world!” and a submenu will appear. Click on “trash.” Then click on “Trash (1)” just above and hovering over “Hello world!” again, click “Delete Permanently.” Note: if you did the first step correctly, you should see the new category you created under “Categories.”


There's nothing to do here, just leave it alone for now.


In the Pages menu, you'll do the same thing you did in Posts by deleting and permanently deleting “Sample Page.”

Next, to give yourself a head start, click “Add New” and create the following pages:

  • home
  • blog
  • about
  • privacy policy
  • terms and conditions
  • affiliate disclosure

Depending on your theme, you may or may not end up using all of these pages, but having them will make structuring your site initially a bit easier, and you can always delete them later if needed.

These pages will also help in creating your site's menu but that will come about later when you go to appearance and customize your website. Just a heads up.


Like the Media option, just pass for now.


In Appearance click on themes. You will probably be presented with the latest three default WordPress themes – Twenty Fifteen, Sixteen, and Seventeen.

Granted you will probably be installing a new theme but what I suggest is that you keep one as a backup theme and delete the other two.


There are three areas that you will continually be updating on your site – WordPress itself, plugins and themes. These are updated to enhance functionality and to shore up any security issues. As such, any theme you allow to remain on your site will have to be monitored and updated to ensure you are secure from security issues. The fewer the themes, the better.

So, delete the two older themes by clicking on the theme to open it up. At the bottom right-hand corner you see “Delete.” Click on that and then hit the return key. Do the same for the next theme.

Under Appearance and Theme, you'll see five other menu options. Customize, Widgets, Menus and Header will be important when you actually customize your theme which you'll do later. Leave the “Editor” alone unless you really know what you're doing.


Sometimes you'll be given some default plugins like “hello dolly” and “akismet.” Delete the hello dolly and keep the akismet. You'll add other plugins later and you can review my post on what plugins I use here.


Under the Users menu, you should see your name and email as an Administrator.

Select “Your Profile” and make the following choices:

  • Admin Color Scheme – you can choose whatever combination you like.
  • Toolbar – I deselect this option because I like to see a clean site preview window without a WordPress toolbar. You can do what you like here.
  • Username – this can't be changed and was derived from the WordPress install, but you're not stuck with this (see nickname below.)
  • First Name and Last Name – you can fill out this information. It's not a big deal.
  • Nickname – here is where I like to add my first name or initials, @, and the name of the website. For example, I will change this to “thad @ NewWPSite.”
  • Display name publicly as – Here I'll use the drop-down menu and choose the name I've just created in Nickname above. This is just a good way to customize your author titles on posts etc.
  • About Yourself – the space for “Biographical Info” can be used with many of the author boxes so fill this out if you are going to use author boxes. You can enter HTML here so you can include an optin in your author box.
  • Profile Picture – Set yourself up on Gravatar, or if already established, make sure you're linked up correctly.
  • Account Management – just keep this in the back of your mind – this is where you'll come when you want to change the password for your WordPress Admin screen.


Nothing really here unless you want to import some old posts etc., from another web account. You would go to Import and set up the appropriate tool and then import the “xml” file.


Here's where most of the initial setup settings occur.

  • General – 
    • Correct the Tagline if you have one since that's sometimes automatically pulled. You can also just delete it if you're not going to use a tagline.
    • URL – all sites should be SSL – https: but you can do this later so just leave the url alone for now.
    • Email address – make sure you are using an email address that works so you can make changes – this should have been done on the install.
    • Timezone – pick your website's geographical time zone – you can select a major city in your timezone. For example, Chicago for Central.
    • The remaining options are fine or not critical.
  • Writing – The only item you need to change is the “Default Post Category” which you did in the very first step of this post.
  • Reading 
    • You will typically select “a static page” and use the drop-down menu to select the home page you created above. This, however, may change depending on your theme but, you now know where the controls are.
    • Posts page – you will usually select the blog page you created but that may change, again, depending on your template.
    • Search Engine Visibility – make sure you have this disabled so the various search engines can bot your site. Don't worry about allowing this too early, it will take them some time to find you.
    • Again, select the “save changes.”
  • Discussion
    • Turn off “Allow link notifications from other blogs” to reduce spam.
    • You need to decide whether you want comments or not by allowing people to post comments on new articles. You may want to close this off until your site is more developed. Up to you.
    • You can also decide if you want email notification when someone posts a comment. This may seem fun initially but as the site grows it may be an inefficient way to monitor comments and should be turned off.
  • Media – Here you want to ensure your sizes are what you really want on your site.
  • Permalinks – this one is big for SEO, and should be a default setting (but it's not!) Change to “Post name.” That's it.


There you have it, a simple walkthrough of all the critical initial settings on your new WordPress site. Once this is completed you'll work on installing your theme and the necessary plugins. After that, you'll be customizing your theme and creating your website. At least though, all the basic settings are correct and you know where to find some of the more problematic and sometimes hidden features.


You now have the basics to setting up your website and know where are some of the hidden features.

Good luck!

thad @ resolute blogger
Thad is a former executive with several multibillion-dollar investment advisory firms, who has developed a series of strategies that captivates interest, conveys confidence, and converts alliances for website ventures. For a free PDF on How to Structure Facebook Ads Successfully, download here.

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