Ten IMPORTANT things to do after installing WordPress

10 Things to do After Installing WordPress
Originally Published by: Michael Martin

I recommend Michael’s article to ALL of my clients and I scrupulously follow his advice to my great benefit!

The WordPress 5-minute install is great, nothing complicated about getting your blog up and running (most of the time). But once you install WordPress there are a number of other steps that you need to take in order to get the most from your blog.

Use the following as a to-do checklist for your future installations and you’ll keep yourself right.

  1. Change the Admin Password and Manage Your Authors:  WordPress gives you some random concoction of a password that you’re *never* going to remember so the first thing you need to do is change this to something memorable. Manage your user settings via the Users panel, and you can add any additional blog authors here.
  2. Edit Permalinks:  By default your articles’ urls will look something like www.leemunroe.com/?p=396. This url structure is poor for SEO and poor for usability (makes no sense to your users). [use keywords in your permalinks, it really helps!]   By changing your url structure to something like www.leemunroe.com/25-hot-female-web-designers you can include the post’s keywords in the url and it makes more sense to your users
    1. Go to Settings > Permalinks
    2. Under ‘Common settings’ choose ‘Custom Structure’
    3. Enter %postname%/ in the field
    4. Or if you prefer to have the category in the url as well, enter %category%/%postname%/
  3.  Upload Your Theme and Activate It:
    1.     Download a theme or design your own
    2.     Unzip and upload it to wp-content > themes
    3.     Activate it via Appearance > Themes (then just click on your theme)
  4. Add Your Categories and Change the Default:  When you install WordPress the default category is ‘Uncategorized’ and this just looks ugly. Assume at some point you’re going to post an article and forget to select a category – what would you want that post to come under by default? I tend to use News or something general like that.
    1.     Go to Posts > Categories
    2.     Click on ‘Uncategorized’ to edit it – change it to ‘News‘ or similar
    3.     Add your other blog categories
  5.  Activate Akismet:  For $5 a month this gets rid of spam posters. Akismet is a plugin that blocks comment spam and if your blog allows comments then trust me, you’re going to get spammed.  Fortunately Akismet comes with WordPress, you just need to activate it.
    1.  Go to the Plugins page in the admin area and activate Akismet
    2.  To complete Akismet activation, WordPress requires an API key. You can get this by registering on WordPress.com then viewing your profile.
    3.  Now go to Plugins > Akismet Configuration, and paste in your key.
    4. pro-akismet is available too.
  6. Install Google XML Sitemaps:  Google XML Sitemaps generates a compliant XML-Sitemap for your site, allowing the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN) to easily index your site. Every time you edit or add a post, the sitemap will modify itself.
    1. Click here for Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
    2. Now go to Google Webmaster Central and log in with your Google Account. On the first page, there will be a link to “Verify” your site. Follow the instructions there.
    3. Once that’s done, you can then click the “Add Sitemap” link from the first page and put in the URL to your sitemap, which will be http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml
    4. pro-sitemaps
  7. Install WordPress Database Backup:  Always good to have a backup in place. Things may go wrong with your server, or you could even make a mistake yourself.  WordPress Database Backup will backup your WordPress blog, and you can even set it so it will email you a backup on a weekly basis, so you don’t have to do anything yourself but activate it.
  8. Test Your Blog With Dummy Content:  You’ll not know what your blog will truly look like until you have thoroughly tested it with multiple posts and all types of formatting applied.
    1. Save yourself some time by using this sample post collection from WP Candy.
    2. Import the sample post collection (Tools > Import > WordPress) and your blog will compile with sample posts including comments, parent/child categories and formatting, allowing you to thoroughly test it and make any theme alterations.
  9. Add your RSS feed to Feedburner:
    1. First edit your RSS settings. Settings > Reading and you can edit how many posts you want to show in your RSS feed and whether they should show the full post or not.
    2. Now you want to burn your feed with Feedburner. Feedburner will provide you with stats on your feeds and automatically ping services so your new content is updated immediately along with a whole host of other services.
    3. Once you have signed up to Feedburner, change your feed subscription link in your theme. Place the following code between the head tags.
    4. <link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”Feed Title” href=”YOUR FEEDBURNER URL” /> pro-feedburner
  10. Activate your Analytics:  Use Google Analytics to monitor your traffic, conversions and keywords
Because if you don’t how do you measure your success? Making money is one thing, knowing what your money terms are and where the money comes from it another. [for my web clients, I provide this at no extra charge, since I can’t be effective in my work unless I know what hits are coming in, from where, and most importantly, based on what search string.  Google analytics is very straight forward to deploy in WordPress and the service from Google is free, but more importantly, most insightful.]

 About the author: Lee Munroe is a freelance web designer from Belfast. You can see his other writings on web design and WordPress at his blog, or follow him on Twitter.