As anyone who reads this blog knows I’m a huge fan of WordPress. It’s the best website and content publishing platform that has ever existed.
Even though WordPress works great right out of the box there are still some important things everyone should do right after installing WordPress.
You will need to make a few changes, tweak a few settings and install some critical plugins before you launch your new website.
** For more on plugins see my post on 5 WordPress plugins you should be using**
Here are the 10 most important things you should do right after installing WordPress:
1. Change Site Title, Tagline and Timezone
The first thing you should after installing WordPress is change the site title, the tagline and the timezone. You can do all of this from the general settings page.
From the WordPress dashboard click Settings >> General and then make the changes.
2. Change Default Permalinks
The default url settings in WordPress are ugly and terrible for SEO. It’s recommended that you change them. There are several options you can choose from the recommended one is “Post Title.”
To change your permalinks go to Settings >> Permalinks and then select “Post Title” (or a different one if you prefer) and then hit Save.
3. Install SEO Plugin
You want your new website or blog to be as search engine friendly as possible right out of the gate so you can start getting traffic from Google. The best way to do this is by installing a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugin.
The one I recommend and the one widely considered the best SEO plugin in existence is the Yoast SEO plugin. I have been using Yoast for years and it’s what I’m using on this site.
Yoast is very user friendly and will take you step by step through the process of optimizing your entire site and keeping it that way.
**Be sure to read my 6 SEO tips for bloggers**
4. Setup Automatic Backups
This should probably be #1 on this list. I’ve lost so much data over the years by being lazy on this one. You need to setup your WordPress site to backup automatically so that if you’re hacked or the site gets messed up it can easily be restored.
There are a number of plugins you can install like Updraft that will take care of backups for you. My recommendation is that you host your WordPress site with a company that does it for you. Updraft is what I used before I moved to a managed hosting company that did it for me.
This site is hosted on WP Engine and they automatically back up my site without me having to do anything. My entire site can be restored with a single click.
5. Install Google Analytics
You want to be able to track the traffic that is coming to your website. You need to see what your audience looks like, how they got to your site, what content they are looking at and more. The best way to do this is by installing Google Analytics.
You can install the Google Analytics code manually after you setup your account through Google, or you can install it with a plugin.
The plugin I recommend and the one this site uses is Google Analytics Dashboard for WP by ExactMetrics (I know it’s a long name).
Not only does it install the tracking code on your site it also adds the analytics right on your WordPress dashboard so you can easily get to them.
6. Install WordPress Security
One of the reasons so many websites are built on WordPress is that it’s very secure even right out of the box. However, these are crazy times we live in and hackers are more sophisticated than ever. There is no reason to leave your site potentially vulnerable.
This is again where I recommend you go with an excellent managed hosting company like WP Engine, SiteGround, or Flywheel. They will ensure your site is much more secure and monitor for incoming attacks.
7. Install Caching Plugin
If you want your website to be as fast possible you should have some form of caching enabled. It allows your site to served cached copies of your pages to visitors instead of generating new ones every time. This cuts down on server load and makes your site load faster.
If you have a premium hosting company likes the ones mentioned above you typically don’t have to worry about it because they do this for you.
8. Setup Comments
This one is assuming you want people to be able to leave comments on your posts. If you do there are several ways to go about it. The first is simply to use the built in commenting system that comes with WordPress.
To use the WordPress commenting system go to Settings >> Discussions and setup up comments how you want them.
Alternatively, you can use a 3rd party plugin for comments like Disqus that will provide some rich features and enhancements that are very appealing.
You can also do what this site does and use the Facebook Comments. The reason I like Facebook comments is because most people are already logged into Facebook and can easily leave a comment on your site. They can also share the comments to Facebook so I feel that it makes your site extra shareable.
The Facebook comments plugin I recommend is WpDevArt Facebook comments.
9. Install A Social Sharing Plugin
The best way to get your content out there is to make it as easy to share as possible. The best way to do this is by installing a good social sharing plugin. It will add buttons to your content letting people share it to the social network of their choice.
The sharing plugin this site uses and the one I recommend is called AddToAny.
**Be sure to read 3 social sharing plugins you should using**
10. Setup Front Page And Blog Page
By default WordPress will display blog posts as the front page. However, if you want to setup a site other than a dedicated blog you will need to change the front page to a static page. Then create another page for blogs and tell WordPress to show blog posts on that page.
To change this go to Settings >> Reading and then under “Front page displays” select “A static page” and then select which page is your front page and which is your posts page (blog page).
There are an infinite number of things you can do to a WordPress site to make it better or change the functionality. There are tens of thousands of WordPress themes that will completely change the look of your site.
The purpose of this post was to share with you the 10 major things everyone should do right after installing WordPress. After you do these 10 things you can worry about choosing a theme or additional plugins for added functionality.
**Be sure to check out the 10 places you should be sharing your content for more traffic**