As you have seen in our in-depth tutorial about installing WordPress, the total installation process takes only 5 minutes or less. However, your actual work begins once the installation process is done.
Because you have a brand new site ready, it might be very tempting to start publishing your awesome contents right away. However, before you do that, there are some essential things you need to take care of. In today’s article, I will show you the top 7 things you need to do after installing WordPress.
1. Remove Dummy Content
By default, WordPress creates some dummy content in your website. Delete them right now before you forget to do so. There are four pieces of default content in WordPress –
a) Sample Comment: There will be a sample comment. To remove the comment, click the ‘Comments’ link on the WordPress website dashboard. Hover over the comment body and click ‘Trash’.
b) Sample Post: To remove the sample post, go to Posts -> All Posts. On that page, you will find a post titled ‘Hello World!’. Hover over the post title and click ‘Trash’. This will remove the post.
c) Sample Page: There will be a sample page too. To remove the sample page, go to Pages -> All Pages. Hover over the page titled ‘Sample Page’ and click ‘Trash’.
d) Hello Dolly Plugin: WordPress will also install a dummy plugin.
To remove the plugin, go to Plugins -> Installed Plugins. Find out the plugin titled ‘Hello Dolly’ and click ‘Delete’. In the next screen, click ‘Yes, Delete these files’. This will delete the plugin files.
2. Change The Title, Tagline, Time and Date
These are some common things that are neglected by most newbies, at least initially. You shouldn’t make the same mistake. You can change all these settings from the same page. To do that, go to Settings -> General.
You will find several options for each of these settings. In the ‘Site Title’ field, try to provide a unique, short title. You can use more words in the ‘Tagline’ field, but don’t use a long tagline.
Below, you will find several time and date related options. Change them according to your location/requirement. After making all the changes, click ‘Save Changes’.
3. Configure the Reading Settings
By default, WordPress will show the blog posts on your home page. If you want to show a custom home page and assign another page for the blog posts, you need to make some changes.
First of all, create two new pages titled ‘Home’ and ‘Blog’. Then, go to Settings -> Reading. In the ‘Front page displays’ option, choose ‘A static page‘.
For the front page, select ‘Home‘ and for the posts page, select ‘Blog‘. You can name the pages anything you want. Just make sure that you are assigned the pages correctly.
4. Change your Permalinks Structure
Permalinks are the addresses for the posts and pages on your WordPress site. The default permalinks structure of WordPress is not perfect for regular bloggers. To get a good amount of search traffic and to make the URL’s easier to remember, you need to change it.
To change the default permalink structure, go to Settings -> Permalinks.In the resulting page, you will find different permalink structures.
While ‘Post name’ and ‘Month and name’ are both popular choices, I prefer the ‘Post Name’ structure. The month name is not needed in the URL as there are separate archives pages for the months.
5. Add New Categories
WordPress lets you categorize your posts by adding different categories and tags. The ‘Uncategorized’ category is created by default. If you don’t create new categories, your posts will be automatically included in the Uncategorized category.
Adding new categories will improve the user experience and allow the visitors to browse your website more quickly. To create a new category, go to the post editor and find out the meta box titled ‘Categories’. Click ‘+ Add New Category‘. Provide the category name and click the ‘Add New Category’ button. You can create as many categories as you want.
6. Install your Theme
A new installation of WordPress comes with three themes – Twenty Fifteen, Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Thirteen.
You will find the themes in the Appearance -> Themes page.
While these themes are not bad by any means, they don’t come with advanced features and the necessary customization options. That is why you need to install third-party themes. You can choose either free or premium themes for your site.
If you are feeling confused about how to choose the perfect theme for your website, here’s a detailed guide for you.
Once you have chosen (and purchased, if premium) your theme, download the theme file on your computer. Then, go to Appearance -> Themes and click ‘Add New’. In the resulting page, click ‘Upload Theme’, upload the theme and then activate it.
7. Install Necessary Plugins
Plugins are one of the main reasons for WordPress’ huge popularity. By installing WordPress plugins, you can do almost anything with your WordPress site. While the necessary plugins will vary depending on your website type, there are some common plugins that are required for all WordPress sites.
Now, I will introduce you to some must have WordPress plugins that you should install in your website right now. Yes, you read it right; you need to install these plugins before you do anything else with your site.
a) Backup Plugin: Using a backup plugin is the one thing that most website owners recognize as one of the most crucial tasks for their website, still procrastinate on it. You shouldn’t be one of them. Installing and configuring a backup plugin will not take more than 30 minutes, but it will save you countless hours if something unexpected happens to your site some day in the future.
A quick search in the WordPress plugin repository will reveal lots of backup plugins. However, you shouldn’t use just any backup plugin. You need to find out a reliable and reputed backup plugin for your site. You can safely choose any one of these plugins – UpdraftPlus, BackUpWordPress, BackWPup or WordPress Backup to Dropbox.
b) Security Plugin: While WordPress is already a secure platform, there are some additional security steps that you should follow. After all, when it comes to website security, there is nothing called ‘Complete Security’, right?
If you want, you can perform most of these security tasks manually, but that is not a smart approach. Rather, you should use a reliable security plugin that provides an organized interface to take care of all the security-related tasks.
c) Anti-spam Plugin: The default installation of WordPress comes with Akismet, a very popular plugin for protecting your blog from spam comments and suspicious trackbacks. For most beginners, this will work perfectly.
To use the plugin, go to Plugins -> Installed Plugins. Find out ‘Akismet’ and activate the plugin. You will be asked to activate your Akismet account. If you don’t have an account, you can create a new account for free.
d) Caching Plugin: Caching means saving the static content of your website in the visitor’s computer. By saving the contents, you can make your website load a lot faster. While modern web browsers keep some cached content by default, dedicated caching plugins make them use the cache in a smarter way.
Like any other plugin type, the official WordPress plugin repository includes lots of caching plugins. However, not all of them are worthy of your time. For the beginners, W3 Super Cache could be an excellent choice. Some SEO plugins also include caching service.
e) Social Sharing Plugin: Social Sharing is now an official factor in getting better search engine rankings. Besides, more social shares also show the popularity, authority and reliability of your content. The more social shares you can get for your content, the more visitors you will get for your website.
While some premium WordPress themes are provided with social media features, you will find more options in dedicated plugins for that purpose. Some popular social sharing plugins include Share Buttons by AddToAny, AddThis Sharing Buttons, DiggDigg etc.
f) SEO Plugin: Though Google and other leading search engines are emphasizing more on better content and user experience; on-site SEO is still important. You still need to take care of the basic SEO settings to get better search engine ranking.
By using a dedicated SEO plugin, you can make sure that you are following all the SEO best practices without having to check them manually. These plugins will also help you in optimizing your blog post titles, meta description, social media sharing options, etc.
Wrapping It Up
To make your website popular among the visitors, it is crucial to ensure a solid start for the site. And by following the tips provided above, you can make sure that your website performs well and delivers a premium user experience.
So, what do you think about the seven things I discussed? How important are they? Lastly, did I miss any other thing that one should do after installing WordPress? Let me know in the comments.