wordpress: managing settings
Front page displays: WordPress isn't just for blogs - sometimes you'll want to use it for building other kinds of web sites as well. A great way to push the "bloggy" front page off to another location is to build a custom front page however you like, then come here and tell WordPress to use that page as the front page.
If you still want a Posts listing on another view, create a blank page in the system (which creates its URL), then select it as the Posts Page here.
Blog page shows at most: By default, WordPress will display the 20 most recent posts on the homepage and on "index" pages such as Category or Date listings. You can change that number here. The Syndication setting just beneath this option does the same thing for your site's RSS feeds.
For each article in a feed, show: People disagree about whether it makes more sense to provide full article text in your RSS feeds. RSS addicts love it, but it will probably mean less direct traffic to your site, and thus less ad revenue. However, people really enjoy getting full-text in their feeds, which may result in more positive buzz for your publication in the end. You might want to read more about this ongoing debate.
Encoding for pages and feeds: In almost all cases, you should leave this set to UTF-8 for best handling of international and unusual character sets (including those pesky special characters pasted in from MS Word documents).