You’ve finally finished up building your WordPress website.
“I’m still not done, Pauline?”
Of course, not. That’s not all.
That’s just the beginning! You just don’t build a website and leave it like the way it is.
You need to make sure that your website is optimized for your visitors and for the search engines. Also, you need to set some things up to secure your website.
You want to make it look more appealing to your audience.
You want to rank higher in the search engines, and be easily found by your target audience.
Alright, without any further ado, here are the lings of important things you should do after installing WordPress.
1. Edit Your Permalink Structure
Modify your permalink structure to make your URLs search-friendly. It’s important that you change it before publishing to make your URLs more readable - not just for humans but also for search engines. Here's an example:
- Wordpress Default Permalink Format: http://www.domain.com/?=n
- Custom Permalink: http://www.domain.com/first-post-name
See how the second URL is more readable and more appealing? Search engines love pretty and descriptive URLs as well!
To change your permalink:
- Login to your Wordpress
- Click "Settings" at the left sidebar > "Permalinks" from the menu
- Select "Custom URL" then add this /%postname%/ .. Here's a visual example:
2. Select a theme that suits your style
Browse or buy a Wordpress theme that suits your style or brand and activate it. You may opt for a free WordPress theme but paid or premium versions are way better than those free ones. They’re professionally designed and they include most important features. Also, their additional functionalities can help your website stand out.
But make sure that you purchase the theme from developers who follow the best coding practices to optimize the search engine. The use of free themes to your website can also negatively affect your SE (search engine) trust and rankings.
3. Add categories and change the default
Categories in WordPress are an important aspect to offer your visitors the best user-experience. Not only that. Some plug-ins that you’ve installed are using categories to show related post.
So, if your categories aren’t well-structured, those plug-ins will be showing irrelevant articles, which can affect your site’s bounce rate.
4. Activate Akismet plugin
Prevent spam comments by activating your Akismet plugin. It is considered by many as a spam-eater. By activating it, your email inbox won’t be clogged up with spam.
Some junks appear to be nice and you might approve them. If you do this, then you’re only telling the sender to give you more. With this plug-in, you’re triggering a message to those spammers that you’re not tolerating their attitude.
To activate this:
- Login to your "Wordpress dashboard" > "Plugins" > "Installed Plugins" > Activate "Akismet".
- Then register at http://akismet.com/wordpress/ to get your Akismet API key. Copy the given API key > go back to the plugins page > click "Activate Your Akismet Account" > click "I already have a key" > Now enter your API key. Done!
5. Install Essential Plug-ins
Add some spice on your Wordpress site! Installing these plug-ins will help your website perform better.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: This is probably the highest-rated plug-in to optimize your site for search engines. Meta titles, descriptions, XML sitemaps, canonical URLs, breadcrumbs & more.
- Auto Upgrade: With this plug-in, updates for WordPress and other plug-ins can be automatically done in the background. This means that you don’t have to worry about the time it takes for you to conduct maintenance and security updates. That said, you’ll have more time managing your content.
- Super Cache: It generates static HTML files so your web server won’t be processing heavier scripts. Installing a cache plugin will improve your site's loading speed.
- Contact Form 7: There are other contact form plug-ins but this one is the most popular. Thanks to its many useful features that’ll improve user-experience.
- WP Smushit: It runs any image you’ve uploaded and compress their bytes without losing their quality. This will help images to load faster.
- SumoMe: Add social sharing buttons to your site to make it easier for your readers to spread your blog posts! It’s free to use and there are several options that you can choose from.
- WordFence: Want to set your Wordpress security to the highest level? Then install Wordfence. This high-rated plugin helps you scan malware, core files, outdated plugins, WP versions, etc. You are also able to block certain IPs and it includes a security that allows you to lock out a "bot" user that tries to login on your Wordpress.
To install these plugins, login to your "Wordpress dashboard" > "Plugins" > Add "New" then search for these plugins, install then activate.
6. Add RSS to Feedburner
Adding your RSS to Feedburner will give your content easy visibility. It offers more features that can analyze feeds, optimize them and publicize your feeds. Your loyal readers will be able to get the latest updates delivered to their email each day.
7. Install Google Analytics
Track your performance with Google Analytics. Sign up and integrate it on your site. Google Analytics will help you monitor your traffic and analyze the behavior of your visitors. It provides details that can tell you what your visitors are looking for in your site.
If you want an easier way, you can install Joost's "Google Analytics For Wordpress" plugin at: wordpress.org/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress.
8. Change your blog tagline
Tagline is important in branding. It reinforces your site’s message and connects your ideas with your visitors.
To change your tagline: Go to "Settings" > "General" > "Tagline".
9. Change Date & Time Format
You can change the format of your date & timestamp according to your liking. Here's how I do mine:
10. Set your preferred domain URL
Set your preferred domain by pointing your domain to either www or non-www. Search engines view these as two different sites, so make sure you stick to only one version of your domain. To do this, go to "Settings" > "General" > Change the "Wordpress Address" & "Site Address" with either www or non-www. Here's how mine looks like:
11. Delete HELLO DOLLY plugins
This default plug-in has no real use. Just delete it. Remember, having too much plugins can slow down your site.
12. Remove Sample Content
After installing WordPress, you’ll find sample content that isn’t necessary. Before you go live, you must get rid of it. A default content has a “Hello World" as a title. All links and sample pages must also be deleted.
- To remove Sample Page: Login to your Wordpress dashboard > "Pages" > "All Pages" > "Trash" Sample Page
- To delete Sample Post: Login to your Wordpress > "Posts" > "All Posts" > "Trash" Hello World Post
13. Change admin user
Change the "admin" user for security purposes. The use of “admin" as a username puts your site at risk of being hacked. Everyone knows that it’s a default username and hackers can use it to get into your site. And don’t forget to choose a strong password. Combine letters, numbers and symbols to make your password tougher.
To change admin user: Go to "Users" > "All Users" > "Edit".
14. Setup Google Webmaster tools
Google Webmaster tools will help you run a healthy website and make it work efficiently. With these tools, you’re able to access statistics of your site, latest data about links, keywords you’re targeting and a lot more.
15. Create an About Me or Start Here Page
This page will introduce what you're all about to your visitors. It’ll also help you showcase your achievements and strong points. It’s an important element that must not be taken for granted.
16. Add a Contact Page
It’ll give your visitors a chance to contact you for something that doesn’t need to be published on the comment portion. If you have a business location, It’s also a good idea to embed Google Map to further help your visitors in finding your company.
17. Create Fav icon
Favicon isn’t an absolute necessary. However, if you want to improve the overall quality of your site, then you should consider it. It has a role of building your site’s brand.
18. Get Gravatar
Gravatar isn’t a necessary tool but it also plays an important role in your company’s branding. It helps in developing relationships between you and your visitors. Plus, it adds authority to your site.
19. Install broken link checker
For most web designers, link checking is a time-consuming chore. Removing broken links from your website will make your readers happy as you’re not sending them on a wild goose chase. Plus, fixing helps the search engine spiders in navigating your site. You can use Broken Link Checker plugin.
20. Update your profile
By updating your WordPress user profile, you can change how your name appears on your post and modify your contact details and your password. It’s recommended that you provide as much information as possible to maximize your WordPress site.
Go to "Users" > "Your Profile" then start filling up your profile.
Hope this helps! If you have some helpful tips you can share, please comment below!