Tidying up your WordPress installation

Note: this post is applicable up to the version running at www.wpsymposium.com (see footer of any web page)

Branching out a bit here, as this isn’t really about WP Symposium, but more about WordPress itself. However, it will make your WP Symposium installation a little more conducive to a social network.

Changing Permalinks

By default, WordPress doesn’t use pretty permalinks, so you end up with your pages looking something like http://www.example.com/?page_id=6 – this is just ugly, and doesn’t really help your users know where they are. Far nicer would be to have something like http://www.example.com/profile.

Go to Settings -> Permalinks (on the WordPress admin dashboard). From the list of options shown, select one you prefer, except the top one, and click on Save Changes.

Now return to the WP Symposium -> Installation page and you will see that your features are installed on pages with far nicer web addresses (URLs and WP Symposium as updated it’s internal information.


WP Symposium has also updated its internal information with the new permalinks.

Adding a menu

WordPress comes with a rather snazzy menu system, ready to use. So (remembering that I’m assuming you’re using TwentyEleven theme), let’s add a menu.

Not all themes are compatible with the WordPress menu, although most are, and obviously the theme that comes with WordPress (TwentyEleven) is.

So in WordPress admin dashboard, go to Appearance -> Menus.

First of all we need to create a new menu, that we will add items to. So in the screen you’re looking at enter the name for your menu. I’m going to be really creative and call mine “Menu”, ahem. Then hit the “Create Menu” button.


Now, associate your menu (yep, you can have more than one) with the primary menu, it’s done in the top-left box. Then click on Save.


Nothing much changes after clicking save – well, nothing at all – but you can now start to add your WordPress pages to your menu. First select Members, Mail, Profile and Forum from the Pages box, and click on “Add to menu”.


The pages you selected will then appear in the larger box to the right. Drag and drop them to change their order to one you prefer, and click on “Save Menu”. Note that you can drag menu items underneath other menu items – they will be second level menus that drop down from the top level. Cool!


Now you have created a menu, and added pages to it.

You can add more pages, as you create them, to your menu at any time by re-visiting this page at Appearance -> Menus.

But for now, go back to your site to check out your new menu.


Removing the Header Image

Okay, so it’s pretty, but very soon you get to realize that the large header image takes up a lot of your screen, meaning you have to scroll down to the content. Bit of a no-no though in terms of usability.

So, to remove the header image, via the WordPress admin dashboard go to Appearance -> Header.

Lots of nice options, but to remove it simply click on the “Remove Header Image” button and job done. Visit your site to see how more content is shown.


Changing the Home Page

By default, WordPress’s home page is the blog page. Great if you are running a blog, but no so great if you are running a social network.

Let’s assume for now that you want a welcome page, a true “home page”.

First create a new page via Pages -> Add New. Put in any old content for now, you can always go back and work on it (and trust me, you will!).

Then go to Settings -> Reading.

The first option “Front page displays” allows you to switch from your latest blog posts to a static page. This is what you want. Change the Front page to your newly created home page and click on Save.

If you intend to have a blog on your site too, create a page for that and select that new page in the other drop down list.


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