The settings section of the WordPress dashboard provides access to make adjustments to the way that your WordPress site functions.
The "General" page is where you define the title and tagline that appear at the top of all the pages. You can also control who can register to interact with your site and what level of access that they get (usually Subscriber). Here too is where you define the timezone offset of your location and the date and time format that you want all of the dates displayed on your posts to use. You can also define which day of the week you consider to be the start of the week (usually Saturday, Sunday, or Monday).
The "Writing" settings allows you to redefine the size of the textarea that you use for creating your content as well as the default category that posts will be placed in if you do not select one when making the post. You can also configure the site to allow you to email content to the site. At the bottom you can provide a list of update services that should be notified whenever you make a new post.
The "Reading" settings allow you to define whether the home page of your site should display your latest posts or a static page. Here you can also determine how many posts to display on those pages that display multiple posts and whether to show the full text of each post on those pages or just the summary.
The "Discussion" settings control how people can interact with your posts. You can define what information people need to supply before they are allowed to comment as well as what email notifications you want to receive when people comment. You can also define whether you want to approve all comments before they appear or alternatively how many links a post may contain before being held for moderation.
The "Media" settings controls how big images will display in posts as well as whether media content linked from other sites will be embedded directly into the page. You can also define how the files that you upload to the site through the dashboard will be organised.
The "Privacy" settings allows you to update the instructions that the major search engines read to determine whether or not they should index your site.
The "Permalinks" settings allow you to determine how the addresses of your pages will look. This allows you to provide easier to remember addresses for your pages if you want people to be able to access the individual posts directly.
What additional settings pages appear will depend on which plugins that you have installed. Where a plugin can be configured to work in a number of different ways the page allowing you to define the settings for the plugin to use will usually appear in the Settings section of the dashboard. Where the plugin requires multiple pages to list all the settings it will often install itself as a separate section in the menu below the settings.
By adjusting the values in the Settings section of your dashboard after selecting your theme and installing your selected plugins you will have full control over the appearance and functioning of your WordPress site.