Every blogger has their own favorite plugins and setting for their WordPress blogs and most have their own checklist they’ve put together over the years. While all of these checklists are different, they do have several things in common. Here are eight things to do after installing WordPress.
Install your theme
Some bloggers leave this step for last but I don’t like to take chances. You can go through all that trouble changing permalinks and tags and such and then it all reverts back to default settings sometimes when you install a new theme. So I install the theme first, before I make any other changes.
Change username and password
Depending on who you’re hosting with you may have had one-click installation for WordPress. If that’s the case, your user name is probably set at the default setting – ADMIN. This leaves your blog vulnerable to hackers so it’s important to change your user name and password right away, before you go any further.
Install an automatic backup plugin
Never leave anything to chance. Your blog is about to become your source of income and if it comes crashing down for some reason you need to be able to get it back up and running – quickly. Install a plug in that performs automatic database backups. WP-DB Manager WordPress plug in is popular.
Before you start blogging away, restructure your permalinks. Go to your settings menu and select permalinks. Then, select “custom structure” and type in:
/%postname%.html . This sets your permalinks into a word format, as opposed to numbers or symbols or characters. It makes it easier for the search engines to scan your post and page URLs.
Remove all sample content
Every WordPress theme has a sample blog post and page. Delete these before you start blogging or you’ll forget. And then visitors will come to your blog and see that malarkey and think, “Hmmmm. What a Noob!” At this point I also go in and delete the links that WordPress is showing and pull out most of the widgets, too.
Create a contact page
Every blog must have a contact page and you’re going to be linking to it from all over your blog. Get it over with and set it up first. You’ll need to install a plug in for a contact form. I like Contact Form 7, which can be configured to add additional tables and even allow file uploads but you might find others that you like better.
Install a sitemap
Installing a sitemap helps clean up your site and make it easier for the search engines to find their way around. There are several sitemap plugins available for WordPress, depending on your application. Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress is a popular one and there’s also a Google Sitemap plugin or two.
Control comment spam
Comment spam is the worst and personally I think Akismet does a horrible job of guarding against it by itself. I’ve been using it in combination with the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin (GASP) which you can access from your WordPress dashboard. This plugin combination has reduced my comment spam to almost zero.
I have lots of other steps I take, too. I check the privacy setting to make sure my blog is visible to the public, I install a broken link checker plugin, I set up a privacy page and so on. But let’s open it up and hear what you do after you install WordPress? Do you have any little tricks, or do you just start blogging?