When WordPress is first installed it gets setup with some default settings. These settings are intended to get you started, however if you want to give your new WordPress blog/website the best starting point it is best to make a few changes.
Here are 10 things I do with every new install of WordPress:
- Block search engines from indexing: This is to keep them from indexing my site before it looks good. I want to get a theme installed and at least some content up there before the search engines come snooping around.To change this go to Settings > Reading. Towards the bottom is a checkbox, make sure it is checked!
- Change Permalink Settings: By default WordPress displays your links in a way that is easy for WordPress to understand, but does not look so great for your users or the Search Engines. Change it to the %postname% setting to get something that everyone will love! Again do this before you get indexed so the right links get indexed!To change this go to Settings > Permalinks. Select the Postname radio button and then hit the save button at the bottom.
- Change admin username: This is a big one. WordPress is hands down the most popular CMS for building a website. Because of this many people try to hack into others sites and inject malware code. One step in avoiding this is to change the default admin username to something not so easy for them to guess. Using your full name ie: JohnSmith as the username is a good option, or anything else you would remember but someone else would not figure out so easily.To change this you will need to create a new user with admin privileges and then log out and back in with the new account and deleting the old one with the username Admin.
- Change date and time settings: Be sure that the date settings are correct for your time zone. This will help when posting so people know how old or new your content is.To do this visit Settings > General. About halfway down is where you can select your time zone. After you update it be sure to save the changes by scrolling to the bottom and saving.
- Update WordPress: Sometimes when you do a fresh install of WordPress you may have not downloaded the latest version. It is extremely important to always be up to date as a lot of the new releases come with not only new features but also security patches. This will happen a lot when you do a one click install from hosts like hostgator or blue host. They sometimes do not update there install to the latest version, be sure you do it though!If there is an update for WordPress it will show in Dashboard > Updates. Be sure to backup your site before following the on screen instructions!
- Delete “Hello World!” Post: When first installed WordPress creates a sample post for your blog. It is called “hello world”. Delete this post and create a new one for your first post on your new blog. The reason for this is spammers know about these default posts so they can do a search for any blog that still has it and leave a comment.To delete this go to Posts > All Posts. Hover over the “Hello World!” post and click on trash. The post is no more!
- Delete “Sample Page” Page: WordPress also comes with a sample page. Delete it and create your pages that you will need. I usually make at least a blog, about, and contact page.Pretty much same steps as above. Visit Pages > All Pages and hover over the “Sample Page” and click on trash.
- Check Admin Email Address: Inside the general settings is a place for the Administrators email address. Double check it and make sure it is correct. If you forget your password this being correct will make the password recovery process a lot quicker. This email address is also where WordPress will send all comment notifications.To check go to Settings > General and make sure your email address is the one for the field “email address”. If not update it and remember to save using the button at the bottom of the page!
- Check Display Name: When you write a post and someone views it they will be able to see the name of who wrote the post. Make sure it displays your first name, or first and last and not your user name. You do not want to give that out to the entire world!Click on Users > All Users. Select your username (should not be admin!). Scroll down to the name section and the last option is how you want your name to be displayed publicly. Select the option you want (tip if you want something different set a nickname and then select that from the dropdown). Be sure to save using the save changes button at the very bottom.
- Install Google Analytics: It is important to have as much data about your visitors right from the start. Installing Google analytics on day one will only help with this information gathering. I would suggest using this plugin to install the tracking code. This will ensure that if you change themes the tracking code remains in place.
Write Your First Post: Now that everything is configured it is time to start writing! Once you get a post or two written be sure to unblock the search engines.
To write your first post go to Posts > Add New. Create a title, write some content and hit that big publish button in the right sidebar. Congratulations on your first of many!
To unblock the search engines just follow the steps from tip #1, but uncheck the box this time and hit save!
The above tips are a great way to give your new WordPress site the best chance. There are many more ways you can customize and modify WordPress, these are just the ones I find myself doing most often on new WordPress installs. Be sure to bookmark this page for reference the next time you are installing WordPress. Once you have started your site be sure to check out our tips for improving your WordPress website.
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