Small modifications with big impact are, first and foremost, those hard little changes that, if left undone today, can have long-term consequences.
These are listed in no particular order as I make sure they are all complete before plugins are installed or published.
What To Do After Installing WordPress?
1. Update Your User Profile.
I mention this first because some of the following actions will require you to log back in and update your profile.
Before you do anything else, change the password to something you can remember.
You may then log back in without referring to the email they provided you if you get thrown off (which you will for some of these settings).
2. Modify Your Blog’s Tagline.
If you leave it to how WordPress makes it, you will be labeled a newbie from the start.
By default, WordPress uses the slogan “Just Another WordPress Blog”.
Change it now.
You should say something other than “just another WordPress blog”, such as explaining your purpose, encouraging thinking, or posing a question.
Think beyond the dashboard box.
This is one of the first things your guests will notice.
WordPress will provide a link structure for your articles that looks like this: YourDomain.com/?p=101
This is meaningless to you, your visitors, and Google.
Remove it from your WordPress site.
There are five different options out there, and although this isn’t a discussion about optimal search engine optimization practices, I will point out that using day and name or Month and name doesn’t do anything for SEO.
I don’t think I need to tell you that the numeric option doesn’t work either.
I use a custom structure that allows me to use the category name (as part of the URL) as well as the post name.
4. Decide whether or not to use WWW.
WordPress includes your blog’s domain name by default.
If you plan to be giving out your link as MyDomain.com, you’ll need to update your blog today.
It is advisable to do this ahead of time as it affects your tracking statistics.
Please note that doing so will log you out.
Simply log back in using your password.
5. Discussion Setting.
We could write a book about this, but I’ll only talk about the highlights.
You want people to leave comments on your blog.
You just don’t want pill pushers and porn queens to have free reign.
I have 3 or more links set up for comment moderation (I use Commonluv, which inserts a link, and their site URL is a second link, so 3 if they provided a link in their comment).
If you are not going to use CommentLuv, Change it to 2.
In the box below this option, you can additionally provide a list of “suspicious” words.
Any comment containing such wording will be moderated. (Moderation only blocks comments until you return to approve or delete them.)
I spend most of my time blacklisting comment boxes.
I have a list of words on my site that I don’t want to see, such as viagra, gender, extension, and the names of some major drugs.
Believe me, this is beneficial.
6. Activate (Turn on) Akismet.
This often-overlooked step can be the difference between receiving 384 spam messages every day and not receiving any.
Akismet is a great “anti-spam” plugin that comes pre-installed with WordPress.
Make good use of it.
However, there is a caveat: an API key is required by WordPress, which you can only obtain by enrolling on the WordPress.com website (profile only, no blog required).
After you have registered they will send you an email with your API key.
In your dashboard, put this in the relevant place. (Unless you deactivate Akismet, it will appear at the top of every dashboard page.)
7. Disable Post Revision.
Post revision is a brilliant notion that WordPress takes to its logical conclusion (in my mind, you may disagree).
This is the basic notion.
WordPress will create a backup of your articles every X seconds.
Isn’t it wonderful?
Here’s the catch: When you try to update a post, WordPress has the unpleasant tendency of presenting you with a comprehensive list of every change you make.
If you blog using a desktop client like me, you already have a backup of your articles.
So, edit your wp-config.php file in Notepad or something similar and add this line somewhere around the second definition to disable this obnoxious function: define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false);
8. Setup Categories.
At least one category must be established.
No, you don’t need to know the entire group structure at this time, but it is beneficial to understand which categories you will be using most.
Change the default category to your most often used category once you’ve established it.
9. Setup Ping Services.
This is not technically a “before-do-nothing” modification, but it will help you get the traffic you want.
WordPress adds a ping server to the list of servers you can use by default.
As a result, I set out to find some of the top servers.
I paste the list in the place where the other update services are located.
10. Install Google XML Sitemaps If You Haven’t Already.
Google XML Sitemap generates a custom XML-sitemap for your website, making it easy for the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN) to index it.
Unless you specify otherwise, the sitemap will change each time you update or add an article.
This is an optional element, however, it is strongly encouraged!
Log in to Google Webmaster Central using your Google account (you have one, right?)
The first page will have a link to “verify” your site.
Follow the on-screen instructions.
After that, go back to the initial page and select the “Add Sitemap” option to enter the URL for your sitemap, which will look something like this (non-working) link: YouDomain.com/sitemap.xml.
11. Install A Database Backup Plugin.
WordPress is database-driven software, so you will need to install the Database Backup plugin.
The database stores all your posts, pages, and links.
If it fails, your entire “blog” could be destroyed, so take a minute to protect yourself by installing a backup plugin.
I’ve tested three or four, but the WP-DBManager plugin is the one I love (and use on all my sites now).
Simply go to Dashboard.
Select the database (at the bottom) and the DB option after it is installed and enabled.
Set the auto-email option and the maximum number of backups to keep on hand.
Your database backup will be compressed and sent to your email address.
12. Modify Media Settings.
WordPress will (partly) auto-size your content depending on when and where you include it in the post.
If your theme’s content width is 400px and your max-width for a huge image is 1024px then you have a problem.
You can resize any photo manually, but trying to change these media settings before you start can save you time.
13. Change Plugins And Themes Location.
Don’t worry, it’s easy but a bit more complicated.
First, let’s look at the logic behind it… WordPress is a free and open-source platform.
It is managed by a group of community-minded individuals who are always working to improve it and add new features.
As a result of this bustling activity, you’ll need to update your WordPress software from time to time (and yes, it’s still free).
However, without the right plugin, the update process can be a bit stressful and time-consuming.
You can also move your static (non-changing) files to a separate folder to avoid accidentally overwriting your plugins, themes, or unique settings.
It can be found anywhere on your web server.
To execute this method, simply move the entire directory (wp-content) to a new location and tell WordPress where to locate the files.
14. Prevent Visitors From Exploring Your WordPress Folder.
Well, some are curious, and then others are malicious.
I don’t want any of them to be accidentally rolling around on my WordPress installation.
For some reason, there are a few things you can do to avoid this.
One is straight, while the other is not.
Choose the method which is most convenient for you.
Method 1: Create an index.php file from an empty text file.
This file must be uploaded to wp-content (wherever you saved it), wp-admin, and wp-includes.
When users browse to that address and see a blank white page instead of a list of your files, they will read the empty file.
Method 2: In the main WordPress installation directory, add the following line to your.htaccess file.
Option All-Indexes :- This disables the auto-feature which will “list” the files in the directory without the default page.
15. Make Your Site More Difficult To Hack.
Along the same lines, I want to make it more difficult for hackers to uncover flaws in my setup.
Knowing my WordPress version may give hackers enough information to attack my blog, I remove the temptation. (And no, it doesn’t happen very often, but it does.)
I get rid of that little code that shows up in practically every theme.
While this may be enough to put most people off, you can disable the functionality entirely by adding this line to his theme’s function.php file.
16. Change The Location Of Your Uploads Folder.
WordPress will automatically save any photos you upload to the wp-content/uploads directory.
To start, uncheck the box that says “Organize my uploads into month and year-based folders.”
In the real world, it doesn’t make sense, and we prefer to work in the real world.
You can instruct WordPress to use any folder on your webserver as the default location if you wish, but if you do, provide a “path” to your folder as well as the full URL Make sure.
17. Add Your RSS Feed To FeedBurner.
You can use the built-in RSS feed installed by WordPress, but why would you want to when FeedBurner is such a great feed content delivery and tracking system?
Install a feed plugin that will force all your feeds to the URL of your FeedBurner account, or change the topic header.php file.
18. Turn On Your Analytics.
Track your visitors and users.
You can learn a lot about who visits your site, how they found you, and where they go from there.
Google Analytics, Woopra, Firestats, and Psychic Search are some of the tools I recommend.
Mint and StatCounter are two more excellent analytical services.
Here you have some options.
Plugins (always recommended for the value they provide to your site) or manual theme adjustments are the first two options.
For example, Google will offer you a code sample.
Simply open the footer.php file and paste the code directly above the closing body tag.
I recommend using a good plugin like Ultimate Good Analytics.
Psychic Search and Firestats are also plugins.
Woopra is a service that also has a plugin available (optional).
19. Custom 404 Page.
Mistakes happen… Individuals enter the URL incorrectly, or you migrate a page.
They are reached through a link that no longer exists in search engines.
Bam! 404 Not Found. (It’s a fancy non-geek way of telling that it’s just gone.)
You can either pray it doesn’t (it will happen), or you can prepare for it now and value that page.
Do you have a product to sell?
On your 404 page template, include a mini-sales letter that contains a link to the entire message.
To give people options to consume your content, add something like your top posts or most actively discussed items to the 404 page.
A 404 page doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
If you provide options to the visitor, he will be less likely to leave your blog.
20. Make Google Love Your Blog.
It’s a sad reality that most bloggers don’t take this step until they’ve been blogging for a long time and find that there are certain things they can’t find in their search.
Search engine optimization can help to bring organic traffic from search engines like Google.
Installing All In One SEO plugin like rank math right away and filling in the additional fields they provide will keep you ahead of the game.
I won’t go into depth here (that’s for another topic), but on the new posts page, they each have fields for title, description, content, and keywords.
All of them must be completed.
Be sure to include your key keywords at least once in the title and description, and use keywords 1-5 in the Keyword box.
21. Create A Contact Me Page.
This is an important step that should not be overlooked.
You want to be accessible.
You want people to believe that you are a real person they can communicate with.
If you don’t provide them with a means to do so they won’t connect.
Then they will leave, never to be seen or heard again.
22. Create A Visitor Site Map.
This is not the same as the one you made for the search engines… it’s a page that gives visitors a fast overview of everything on your site.
Don’t take it for granted that your navigation is functioning for your visitors (it might not be).
The more options you provide people for finding your quality material, the more likely they are to do so.
The above-mentioned three steps will help you create a professional WordPress blog.
With this knowledge, you can create a blog that is attractive and user-friendly, while providing the content you want.
Do you have any questions about these processes?
I’d love to hear them!
Please leave them in the comments section below.
Thank you for reading!