You’ve installed WordPress and are ready to start focusing on writing great content. Before you hit publish, let’s NOT to forget the 35 most important things you should do after installing WordPress and before you start a blog.
These simple things will ensure that you get your WordPress blog started on the right foot. Follow along and let’s get your WordPress ready so you can start blogging.
Read this is you’re still trying to install WordPress.
The tasks are not setup in any particular order of importance.
35 Things to Do After Installing WordPress
1. Modify Your Permalinks
By default WordPress has ugly permalinks that are not SEO friendly. I always use the “post name” structure.
This means that at the end of your URL you will see the name of the post name.
This not only makes your URL prettier than the default structure WordPress setups up which looks like:
This is how mine looks.
2. Change Site Title and Tag Line
On the general settings of your main dashboard, you can find the Site Title and the tag line at the very top.
Add an SEO friendly site title that lets people know what you’re WordPress blog is about. This is also what people will see when they find your site in the organic search engines.
Directly below the site title, you will see the tagline. Change it from “Just another WordPress site” to something more catchy. Consider the tag line kind of like an elevator pitch.
You’re telling people what your business is about in one sentence.
My tagline: Learn WordPress While Starting Your Own Blog.
This lets people know that I am sharing basic WordPress tips that will help a beginner start their own blog.
Related: Check out my JumpStart WordPress guide
3. Update the Timezone
Since we are on the main settings page, scroll down till you see the timezone. You can see that the default time zone is setup as:
Setting the timezone on your WordPress blog.
This will be extremely helpful when you’re setting up your blog posts in advance and want to publish them at a later date.
4. Delete Sample Page and Sample Post
WordPress comes pre-installed with a Sample page and a “Hello World” post. This is dummy content gets installed with every WordPress installation.
Delete these pieces of content or anything else that is not related to your WordPress blog.
5. Install A Premium Theme
If you’re setting up your WordPress blog or website to build an online business, I recommend using a premium theme. If you need help choosing a theme, read this.
While you can start with a free theme, I am not a huge fan of free themes. They don’t give you as much control as a premium theme.
I use this theme for a lot of my clients, it allows them to make changes quickly without having to worry about messing with code.
I currently use the Centric Pro for this website.
Both themes I recommend are mobile responsive, so you won’t have to worry about getting penalized by Google for not having a mobile friendly website.
6. Delete Unused Plugins and Themes
Once you’ve decided which theme you want to use, delete the ones you’re not using. Don’t leave any themes or plugins on your site if you’re not using it. I’ve written a complete guide to using WordPress plugins, in case you missed it.
Inactive themes on your blog makes you vulnerable for hackers. If you’re NOT using it remove it.
7. Install Your Essential Plugins
When you’re first starting your WordPress blog, you’ll realize there are several types of plugins that you can use.
It’s easy to get caught up in all the confusion of which plugins you should be using to start your blog. There are tons of plugins that you can get started with.
The most important thing to remember is to only use the plugins you need.
I recommend starting with a few then adding more if you need them as your blog starts to grow.
8. Install A Cache Plugin
If you’re using shared hosting a cache plugin will make your website load a little faster. Having a website that takes forever to load is NOT good.
You will lose visitors and Google won’t be happy.
If you’re looking for a free cache plugin, I recommend the W3 Cache. I currently use it on clients websites and it’s easy to setup.
9. Install an SEO Plugin
I’ve learned my lesson about putting all my eggs in one basket when it comes to website traffic. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use SEO for your website.
I’m just saying don’t rely on just one traffic strategy for your website.
The plugin that I recommend and use is Yoast SEO. This plugin makes it easy to determine if your content is optimized correctly.
This plugin also eliminates the need of having to add an XML sitemap to your website. This is the sitemap it created for my site:
10. Install a Social Media Plugin
Whenever you publish new content, you want to make it easy for people to share. There are several social sharing plugins you can install.
The one I use and recommend on this site is the Social Warfare plugin. This is how the social icons look on my website.
If you’re looking for a free social sharing plugin, a great one to consider is the SumoMe plugin.
Related: Check out my JumpStart WordPress guide
11. Setup Related Posts Plugin
The related posts plugin will help keep visitors on your website longer, by showing them related content.
As you start creating more unique content they will browse the related posts. This in turn will improve your bounce rate.
I personally haven’t used any of these plugins, but I’ve heard good things about them. Both of these options are free so test them out and see which ones you like, Related Posts for WordPress or Yuzo Related Posts.
Take a look at how my related posts look like on my blog.
12. Internal Link Checker
I use and recommend the Broken Link Checker to automate the process.
It scans your blog, and if it detects any type of broken links or images. It notifies you via your dashboard and email. You can then take action and correct the issue.
13. Automate Your Backups
You never know when disaster will strike. The last thing you want to do is work hard on your WordPress blog only to realize one day that all your hard work is gone.
Many hosting accounts will provide nightly backups. I personally like having control of my own backups. I currently use and recommend BackupBuddy to automate your backups.
This plugin can easily be setup to create nightly backups. You can even go so far as to store the backups remotely. If you missed it, I wrote a complete tutorial how to use the BackupBuddy plugin.
If you are looking for a free option, I recommend the updraft Plus plugin. I currently use it for a few of my clients sites and it does a great job.
14. Harden Your Security
If you’re using WordPress you need to take WordPress security seriously. Most of my clients never think they will get hacked. Guess what, one of them recently got hacked.
While there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent hackers 100%. We can take some steps to ensure that our site is setup properly.
Whenever I start a blog, I take precautionary steps to ensure it is setup securely. Don’t wait until it’s too late to think about security.
It’s your blog, so make sure you do your due diligence and decide which one you want to use.
15. Change The Admin Username
When you set up your WordPress blog, you may have used the username “admin” because it’s easy to remember.
This is one of the worst things you can do if you want to install a secure WordPress blog. If you did use “admin” as your username. Stop reading this and change it. I’ve written a post that will walk you through step by step on changing your admin username.
16. Modify Your Footer
Depending on the theme you choose to use, you can modify your footer.
As you can see from mine, I’ve added a copyright date as well as links to my affiliate disclaimer and privacy page.
You can also add footer widgets to your blog. Dress your blog up the way you want, you can always make changes as you grow your blog.
17. Install Google Analytics
This won’t matter much at the beginning. When you first start blogging it seems like no one is reading your blog posts.
However, as you start promoting your blog and driving traffic to it, you will want to know vital information and statistics about your blog. I’ve written a step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to get analytics installed on Genesis. Here’s the ultimate guide to Google Analytics where I show you which reports I pay attention to.
Google Analytics provides details like:
- number of unique visitors
- bounce rate
- page flow people use to enter and exit your site
- bounce rate
- time spent on website
You can then use this information to improve your WordPress blog.
18. Setup Google Webmasters
This is a very useful tool to see if your website has any type of crawl errors and security issues.
Google will even show you how many pages are indexed in the search engines. I recommend setting it up even if your WordPress blog is new.
If you set it up at the beginning, you won’t have to worry about it later on. Head on over to Google Webmasters and create an account.
You will be asked to verify your domain to prove you are the owner. Choose your method of verification and follow the prompts.
19. Add RSS to Feedburner
Really Simple Syndication or RSS is way to syndicate your content. This makes it easy for people to read it in their mailboxes, feed reader or other devices.
I use and recommend Google Reader, it’s a free service and extremely easy to setup.
This is the link to my RSS feed.
20. Setup Your Gravatar
Make sure that you are using a gravatar with your image. If you’re trying to build your WordPress blog and grow an audience, then you need to show your face.
People want to know who’s behind the computer. This is especially important if you’re trying to build a following online and grow your blog.
Remember, people love doing business with people they trust. It’s hard to build trust with a website that has a blank gravatar. It doesn’t take long and WordPress makes it easy to do.
21. Optimize Your Images
If you’re adding images to your posts, you want to make sure they are optimized so they won’t slow down your website.
22. Create A Favicon
You may have seen the favicon on my website. It’s a small 16×16 image that shows up at the top of the browser.
23. Create A Logo
Your unique logo is the branding of your website. Take the time to create a logo that matches the colors of your website.
You don’t have to be a graphic design artist to create a logo. Many bloggers use Canva as their go to source. I use both Canva and Photoshop.
24. Choose A Color Palette For Your Blog
This can be a difficult task, but you want to find colors flow well together. When I chose my color pallete, I basically played it by ear. I just went with colors I really like.
Once you have a hex color code in mind, go to the Adobe Kuler site. Paste your hex code into the box and hit enter.
By default the Adobe Kuler will show you an analogous color palette. If you don’t like the palette, play around wit it until you get something that like.
25. Setup the Akismet Plugin
WordPress is known to get a lot of spam comments. As your blog continues to grow you’re going to wake up to comments you don’t want.
It does a great job of blocking spam comments. I just installed mine when I wrote this blog post and it’s already blocked some spam.
Download the plugin from the back of your dashboard.
Then head Akismet to create your account. Choose your plan and follow the prompts to start combating spam on your blog.
26. Create Your About Me Page
When you start blogging no one knows who you are. It’s up to you to show them, this is where the about me page comes in.
You can check out my about page.
It’s still a work in progress. I explain the goals of my blog and talk about why I setup this blog.
I’ve also asked people to subscribe to my email list, and gave them several methods to contact me.
Don’t forget to add some pictures of yourself. People want to get to know you and find out if you’re trustworthy.
27. Create A Contact Page
You want to make it easy for your readers to contact you. I currently use the Gravity Forms plugin for my forms.
You can check out my Contact page.
If you’re on a budget and don’t want to spend any money, check out the “Contact Form 7”.
If your contact form is easily accessible, people may contact you for business opportunities or advertising opportunities.
28. Create An Affiliate Disclaimer
Maybe you’re starting your blog in hopes of making money with affiliate marketing. There’s no shame in that.
However, before you begin promoting any type of affiliate marketing, you need to be sure you add an affiliate disclaimer to your page.
If you’re confused about this, I recommend you spend some time reading the FTC guidelines for affiliate marketers.
You can see how mine looks like below.
29. Create A Privacy Page
The privacy page allows people know what you’re going to do with their data. A privacy page is important to add to your WordPress blog.
Check out my Privacy page.
There are several plugins you can use to create a terms of service and privacy page. I’ve used this free plugin from the WordPress repository in the past. After you create the pages, delete the plugin as you won’t need it anymore.
30. Install Login Limit Plugin
Another great thing you can do for your WordPress blog is to install the Limit Login Plugin. This plugin will block hackers from continually attempting to login to your site.
It will lock out anyone who is unsuccessful of logging into your account after a certain number of times.
31. Create A Child Theme
Before you start making any real changes to your WordPress blog, be sure you create a child theme. A child theme will protect your WordPress blog from losing any of the CSS styles you add to it.
If you’re using a Genesis theme, you won’t have to worry about creating a child theme. You can easily update the software and you won’t ever lose your personal styles or PHP functions.
32. Start Building Your Email List
Anyone who’s been online for awhile will tell you that their biggest regret is that they didn’t build their email list right away.
Don’t wait until you start getting traffic. If you start creating great content, you will eventually start getting visitors and you want to give them the option of signing up to your email list.
33. Change Or Delete Post Revisions
By default WordPress is setup to keep all your post revisions. I always use my WordPress calendar to populate it with content I am going to publish.
Before I publish the content, I go back and make a bunch of revisions and tweaks to the post. If I left my WordPress revisions as default, I would literally have hundreds on my blog.
34. Let The Search Engines Know Your Blog Is Live
If you’ve followed my steps on installing WordPress, then you may have turned off the search engine visibility.
Don’t forget to turn it back on to let the Google Bots know your content is ready to be crawled.
Head on over to your Settings >> Reading and uncheck the box when you’re ready to go live.
35. Publish Your First Post
After you’ve completed all these steps, you’re ready to publish your first blog post. Create some epic content share it with the world.
If you need some guidance on starting your blog, read this.
Final Take Away
I’ve created this as a simple checklist that you can refer to if you are new to WordPress. These steps are important to follow and implement after installing WordPress. Don’t forget to get my JumpStart WordPress guide which will walk you through on getting started on the right foot.
If you feel that I’ve let something out, then let me know by commenting below.
What steps do you take whenever you install WordPress? Have you started your WordPress blog?