Just installed WordPress?
Confused what to do after WordPress installation??
Want to know how to set up your blog right from the start???
This post will guide you through all the things to do after WordPress installation for optimal performance, right from the beginning of your blogging journey.
Following is the list of all the actionable steps to do after WordPress installation that you will learn in this post:
- Configuring the WordPress settings the right way.
- Setting up a theme for your blog.
- Installing essential plugins.
- Deleting unnecessary things.
- Changing admin user.
- Update your profile.
- Creating an about me/us or a start page.
- Creating a contact me/us page.
You might feel like you have a lot of things to do but believe me, doing it once will save you a lot of time and efforts in the long run.
So as you’ve got an overview of what we will be discussing in this post, let us move on to the details.
Here, we go!!!
What to do on your new blog after WordPress installation ??
1. Configuring the WordPress settings the right way
To access the various types of settings, log in to your WordPress dashboard and click on the settings tab on the left window pane.
This tab, after expansion, will display the various types of settings that can be changed for your blog.
These will include:
Let’s talk about the recommended settings for each setting type:
Here you can change or enter your blog’s Site Title, Tagline and an E-mail Address, if not done during WordPress installation.
Set up the timezone to your local time as this will make sure your scheduled posts get posted according to your own time zone.
By default, WordPress has a default post category set to a category named “Uncategorized” which is not required.
Here in the writing settings, this category can be changed. But in order to change it to any other category, the new category needs to be added to your blog.
You can go to Posts > Categories from the left panel, add a new category as shown in the image below and click on Add New Category.
Now as this new category has been added, head back to writing settings and change the default post category from Uncategorized to the one you just created.
The next thing to do here is to update your ping list.
A ping list is the list of addresses of the major ping services, which help in notifying search engines about our newly published blog posts.
You can download the doc file of the ping list, by ShoutMeLoud, here.
Add all the ping services’ URLs and click on Save Changes.
After changing the default post category, you can delete the Uncategorized category by heading back to Posts > Categories from the left side panel and clicking on Delete under the category name.
Reading Settings allow you to set the home page to display either your latest blog posts or you can set it to any other static page.
My recommendation would be to keep it to Your Latest Posts, as you might not have a static page yet, to set as your homepage.
You can set the number of blog posts to be displayed on your homepage as per your will, but my recommendation would be to keep it to 10 per page.
The most important part here is what to show for each article in a feed. I recommend to keep it to Summary as it will show excerpts on your homepage and it will get more activity done on your page in terms of the number of clicks by the viewers.
These settings allow you to change the default article settings and comment settings.
Just checkmark the fields as shown in the screenshot and click on Save Changes.
Now, if you are new to WordPress, I suggest you go to Gravatar.com, create an account, and upload an image for your email address.
This way your image will be shown on any WordPress site where you are posting, commenting, or guest posting.
This setting will greatly improve the way WordPress handles images.
By default, WordPress create multiple sizes for every uploaded image. This is not a good practice. This will load up your blog with unnecessary files and your blog will quickly become bloated.
Go to Settings > Media, and use the below screenshot to configure the proper settings.
Here you should set all sizes as “Max Width – 0” and “Max Height – 0” which will tell WordPress not to create different sizes of the same image. This will save a lot of space and confusion.
You might be wondering what a permalink is.
Permalink is one of the three things that appear in search engines for any post.
It is the URL of your blog post that appears in green. The image below shows my post on 7 Ways to Get TARGETED TRAFFIC On Your Blog For FREE, ranked in Google.
The portion in green i.e. 7-ways-to-get-targeted-traffic-on-your-blog-for-free is the permalink.
The default WordPress permalink is in the format: http://domain.com/?p=123. This format is not good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
To optimize it for Search Engines, go to Settings > Permalinks, select Post name and click on Save.
Setting it to post name will allow your permalink to contain some of your keywords in it and this will help your posts perform better in SERPs(Search Engine Result Pages).
2. Select A Theme That Suits Your Style
If you want to make your WordPress blog more attractive, then change default style to any of the best WordPress themes that suit your blog.
There are plenty of free and premium themes available for your WordPress blog.
For start, if you have a low budget, you may go for a free theme.
To install free themes go to Appearance > Themes in your WordPress admin panel and add any theme that suits your blog.
You have a plenty of options available as you can see from the image below.
You may even use the Feature Filter feature to choose the theme for your blog.
3. Install Essential Plugins
There are various kinds of plugins that help your blog perform different types of tasks.
Following are the recommended plugins for each domain you should consider working on for your blog.
- To learn the step by step guide on how to install a plugin in WordPress, check this post.
a. Automatic Plugin Updates – Auto Update Plugins
With this plug-in, updates for WordPress and other plug-ins can be automatically done in the background.
This means that you don’t have to worry about the time it takes for you to conduct maintenance and security updates.
b. SEO – Yoast SEO
This is probably the highest-rated plugin to optimize your site for search engines.
To learn more about how Yoast can help you with your SEO, check this guide.
c. Sharing – SumoMe
Sumo Me allows you to add social sharing buttons to your site, therefore, making it easier for your readers to share your blog posts.
It’s free to use and there are several options that you can choose from, including:
- List Builder – To get more subscribers.
- Share – To get more traffic.
- Heatmaps – To see where your visitors click.
And many more features.
d. Security – WordFence
WordFence allows you to set your WordPress security to the highest level.
This high-rated plugin helps you scan malware, core files, outdated plugins, WP versions, etc.
It also allows you to block certain IPs and even includes a security feature that allows you to lock out a “bot” user that tries to log in on your WordPress.
e. Anti-Spam – Akismet
Akismet plugin allows you to prevent spam comments.
Comment Spam is something that can frusterate a new blogger very quickly and easily as you get a number of them right from the start.
This is where Akismet comes to rescue through its self learning algorithm.
f. Analytics – Google Analytics For WordPress
Google Analytics will help you monitor your traffic and analyze the behavior of your visitors.
It provides details that can tell you what your visitors are looking for on your site.
To learn more about how to get most out of the data provided by Google Analytics, check out this guide by SmartBlogger.
g. Cache Plugin – W3 Total Cache
Why a cache plugin? Because it can help speed up your site. Caching helps take the load off your server and make your site faster. This is great for SEO as well as prevents your site from crashing during heavy load times.
W3 Total Cache plugin can likely lay claim to being the most powerful cache plugin available for WordPress users. It has a ton of options for boosting your site.
Be sure to check out this step-by-step guide by WP Beginner for setting this plugin up.
h. Image Optimization – WP Smush.it
It runs any image you’ve uploaded and compress their bytes without losing their quality.
This will help images to load faster.
i. Improve User Experience – Contact Form 7
There are other contact form plugins but this one is the most popular, thanks to its many useful features that’ll improve user-experience.
j. Bonus Plugin – JetPack
This is one of those plugins that can get many things done all by itself.
Adding it to your blog will prevent your blog from ranking low in search engine rankings by installing several plugins for various purposes.
This is a plugin developed by wordpress.com to let users increase their traffic, view site stats, speed up their site, protect themselves from hackers and many more features.
4. Delete default post, page, comment and hello dolly plugin
After installing WordPress, you’ll find different kinds of sample content already present that isn’t necessary.
These include a default sample post, a sample comment, a sample page and a pre-installed plugin named Hello Dolly.
But before your blog goes live, you must get rid of them.
- To remove Sample Page: Go to Pages > All Pages > Trash Sample Page.
- To delete Sample Post: Go to Posts > All Posts > Trash Hello World Post.
- To delete default comment: Go to Comments > Delete the default comment.
- To delete Hello Dolly Plugin: Go to Plugins > Installed Plugins > Delete Hello Dolly Plugin.
5. Change admin user
The use of admin as a username puts your site at a risk of being hacked because everyone knows that it’s a default username and trust me, HACKERS KNOW IT TOO.
So in order to prevent your site from attacks by the hackers, change it by moving to Users > All Users > Edit.
6. Update Your Profile
By updating your WordPress user profile, you can change how your name appears on your post and modify your contact details and your password.
To update your profile, go to Users > Your Profile and edit your profile.
7. Create an About Me or About Us or a Start page
This page will introduce what you and your site are all about, to your visitors.
It’ll also help you showcase your achievements and strong points.
It’s an important element that must not be taken for granted.
This page is one of the highest visited pages on any site.
You should describe yourself in terms of what can the visitor expect from your site.
8. Create a Contact Me or Contact Us page
Letting your visitors contact you makes you more approachable and helps increase engagement on your site.
It’ll give your visitors a sense of trust that they are dealing with real people and not just some automated machines.
It helps build trust and authority.
Whew!!! You and I together did it at last.(Pat your back :P)
Implementing all these 8 steps will set your WordPress blog for optimal performance from the day one. Is there any other thing that you do after installing WordPress on your new site? Let me and others know in the comment section below.