Before you access your self-hosted WordPress blog for the first time, you would have already set it up and installed your blog on your selected web host. If you have not, head over to my step-by-step guide on how to install and setup your own self-hosted WordPress blog on a web host.
To log-in to your WordPress blog, you should access your blog’s log-in page at www.yoururl.com/wp-admin (replace yoururl with your website’s domain name). Key-in your default user name, which should be “admin” unless you have changed it, and your password at the log-in page.
WordPress Administration Panel
You will be brought to the Dashboard on the WordPress Administration Panel. The Dashboard provides an overview of some basic statistics such as the total number of blog posts, pages, categories and tags you have created to-date. You will also see the number of comments made on your posts, approved comments, comments pending your approval and spam caught. Other info on this page include the latest updates from the WordPress Blog and news related to WordPress.
For first timers, this could be overwhelming. To orientate yourself, you should look at the tabs on the main navigation menu on the left side of the page. Over time you will be more familiar with the different menu tabs and their functions. For now, you should focus on setting up your WordPress blog for the very first time.
How to change the blog name and other basic info in WordPress
The first thing you should do is to visit the General Settings page (Menu: Settings > General). On this page, you should update the basic information about your blog such as blog name (site title), domain name URL, email address and the timezone you are residing in.
How to change the privacy settings in WordPress
Next, visit the Privacy Settings page (Menu: Settings > Privacy). By default, your blog should have been set to be visible to everyone, including the search engines. Ensure that this option is activated as it is important that the search engines can discover your blog and list your blog posts on the search result pages.
How to change the permalink structure in WordPress?
Finally, visit the Permalink Settings page (Menu: Settings > Permalinks). Permalinks, otherwise known as permanent links, are URLs that points a post or page within your blog. You should customize your permalinks by typing the following line into the custom structure field:
Your URLs of all your blog posts will be transformed to this format: www.yoururl.com/title-or-keywords-of-your-blog-post.html.
Why is it important to customize permalinks structure for SEO purpose?
The default setting in WordPress simply adds a numeric value to each of your post in this manner: www.yoururl.com/?p=N (where N is the running number automatically assigned by WordPress). However, it is important to customize your post’s permalink to a format which will reflect the blog title in the permalink in this manner: www.yoururl.com/title-or-keywords-of-your-blog-post.html. This modification will ensure that your blog’s URLs are more SEO-friendly, which will help to improve your blog’s traffic and the ranking in the search engine results. Google also suggested that making your URLs end with a .html will also make your blog look more like normal websites, which will in turn encourage your readers to click on these links.