10 Things You Should Do After Installing WordPress - step by step instructions!
Congratulations on installing WordPress, one of the most robust and popular content management systems for websites on the Internet. You’ve taken a great leap forward in your website setup. By choosing WordPress, you’re providing yourself with a strong foundation to support and advance your website. But, your setup isn't complete. There is a list of things you should do after installing WordPress, and we're going to walk you through those step-by-step.
While installing and configuring your WordPress website is rather simple and straightforward, you won't want to miss any items on the top 10 list of things you should do after installing WordPress. Why? Because they are easy to tackle and because they'll go a very long way to ensuring your website maintenance is as easy as possible.
Enough of the chit chats though. Let’s dive in.
1. Edit your Admin Account Username & Password
If you didn’t already ensure your username and password meet standard security guidelines, definitely take the time to do so as soon as possible after installing WordPress.
Navigate: Users >> Your Profile
If your host auto generated an unsafe username like “admin” you might consider making a new username account with a more secure username. Once your new account is made…
- Logout of the auto account
- Login to your new account
- Delete the original host-generated account
If your host didn’t generate an unsafe username (hooray), just ensure your password is safe.
2. Complete Your Profile
While you’re under your profile adjusting your username and password as necessary, take the opportunity to fill in basic information about yourself, including your social profiles, email, gravatar, and more. It’ll take you just a few minutes.
One of the first thing’s I always do is ensure my name appears as my full name (as in First Name Last name) rather than my username. You’ll be able to change this under the dropdown titled “Display name publicly as…” It’s not recommended to keep your username as your display name, because this provides hackers and bots with valuable information to tap into your account and steal your website credentials. Best practice wise, keep your username as private as possible.
3. Update General Site Settings
First thing is first – you’ll need a site title/tagline. I usually keep site title the same as the Domain and change the tagline to be a phrase (with a relevant keyword/phrase) that describes the overarching theme/purpose for the site.
Navigate: to change your title/tagline go to Settings >> General
4. Change Permalink Structure
When you first install WordPress, your permalink structure won’t be ideal. The default looks something like this: http://yourdomain.com/?p=123. You’ll want to change this immediately. For one thing, keeping your default permalink structure doesn’t clue in potential readers to the topic of your post/page. Likewise, the search engines will have a hard time parsing and indexing the content of your site correctly with this permalink structure.
There’s an easy fix.
1. Simply go to your left-hand WordPress Dashboard and choose settings >> Permalinks
2. Select "Post Name" which will look something like http://yourdomain.com/smaple-post/
This simple change allows your readers to get a glimpse into the content of your page and will allow search engines to easily understand and rank your material.
5. Setup a Traffic Tracking Tool
While this may be number 5 out of 10 on the list of things you should do after installing WordPress, don't misguide yourself into believing it's not as important as as anything else. Understanding your website stats by using a comprehensive analytics tool is absolutely mission critical. My suggestion is to go with Google Analytics on this one. All you need is a Google account and a website, and (best part) the cost is free.
Right about now you might be thinking, “I have no traffic, why do I need traffic analytics?”. Well, stop thinking that!
An analytics tool is an incredible asset to have for monitoring your website growth.
An analytics is an incredible tool that will allow you to monitor your website's growth and provide you visibility into what areas of your marketing efforts are proving most successful. You’ll be able to see what blog posts perform best, what social media posts bring in the most traffic, and even which guest posts brought in the most referral traffic. You’ll be able to monitor how your traffic increases with time, and where you need to focus your efforts. The information to be gleaned from monitoring your traffic analytics is literally endless. So, go on now, get your Google Analytics account setup!
Click to open Google Analytics in a new window.
6. Install an SEO Plugin
I’ve said this before but I’m a true Yoast SEO fan. Yoast makes Search Engine Optimization simple by providing easy-to-follow guidelines that’ll help you ensure your content is highly optimized for search engine success. Yoast will rank on your keyword optimization and your readability with traffic light scores. If you get the “green light” from Yoast (which you can get simply by following their bulleted guidelines) you’ll increase your chances of receiving high search engine rankings. Super simple, and worth the 30 seconds it will take you to install the plugin!
Click to go to Yoast SEO (will open in a new browser window).
7. Edit Categories Section
WordPress will leave you with the awful category name as “uncategorized”. Unless you add additional categories, all of your posts will default to “uncategorized”. Yuck.
To add a new category:
- Hover over “Posts” in the left-hand dashboard panel and click on “Categories”
- Fill in the "Add New Category" prompts
You'll need to name the category (can be something like “Blog” or “News”), add a slug (which is how it will appear in the URL for that page), write a brief description for the category and decide whether you want the category to redirect to a specific page.
Regarding redirects, if you don’t fill this out, the category will automatically display all posts that have been placed within the category. I usually create a “blog” template page that is ready to display all of my blogs, and then redirect my blog category to my predesigned blog page.
8. Get Rid of Default WordPress Content
When you first install WordPress, oftentimes you’ll have a default post (aka blog titled “Hello World”) already created for you, or a default page created for you by WordPress. You’ll want to go through and remove all of this default WordPress content.
To ensure you remove all the default content, click on
- Posts >> view all – delete all sample posts.
- Pages >> view all – delete all sample pages
9. Install a WordPress Premium Theme
Your website theme will provide you with the tools to create a beautiful and attractive design for your site. This will be what your traffic sees when they land on your website. WordPress has an incredible community filled with people who make it their lives to create amazing themes with robust capabilities. You can choose from a library of free themes or opt for a paid-premium theme. I’m a proponent for premium themes. I won’t rant about it here (you can read my dedicated blog on the topic if it interests you) but to put it simply, I think premium website themes are worth the value and provide you with the foundation for website success.
Read: Top Premium WordPress Themes for your Next Website
My favorite WordPress theme is Divi (which comes from Elegant themes). Honestly, anything that comes from Elegant Themes will be good, but I have to say I’m a hardcore Divi fan. I’ve built a ton of sites on that theme and just haven’t seen any others compare. X-theme is great, too. I’ve also worked on Avada theme, which has a great drag, and drop builder if you’re looking to build a website without any experience. You’ll be able to design a stunning site without writing a single line of code. The same is true for Divi, and X theme as well.
For guidance on how to install a theme on your WordPress site, check out my beginner’s guide to setting up a website.
10. Create a Logo & Favicon
Before starting my first website, someone told me these wise words, “Don’t spend all of your time worrying about your logo design, your website design, or graphic design. Worry about creating worthwhile, relevant, helpful content first. Everything else is secondary.” It was good advice. I spent a short while creating a basic website design and an even more basic logo.
I really believe you shouldn’t spend too much time on the visual aspects of your site. Your website appearance should be clean, consistent with your brand, and easy to navigate. The website design trend of today is very simple and minimalistic, which is great because we don’t want our viewers to be distracted by our web design. We’d rather them be engaged with our content. The best web design is the one you hardly notice. At least that’s what I believe to be true.
So, to draw my longwinded point to a close, don’t spend crazy amounts of time or money designing your logo. Outsource the job for cheap on Upwork, or create your own on Canva for free.
Oh, and if you're not sure what a Favicon is, it's that little icon (mini logo) in the browser. Here's what Facebook's looks like.
Check out Upwork or visit the Canva website (free).
Your to-do list when creating a website is likely longer than this one. That said, these items are among the few, easy-to-tackle important items that you'll want to accomplish within the first few minutes or hours of setting up your site. Gets these mundane tasks of your list immediately so that you'll be ready to tackle the bigger projects, like content generation and bringing in that traffic!
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Thoughts? Do you see anything missing from this list? Let us know in the comments below 🙂