Installing the WordPress blogging platform is relatively simple, especially if you use a website host that lets click a few links or buttons, type in some information, and voila, you’re ready to go. But what do you do next?
The steps below are suggestions of what to do from the WP admin panel after you’ve installed WP. The order of steps is approximate.
- Change admin password. Make it as strong as possible. Use a combination of digits and letters (upper and lowercase). Change the password regularly.
- Create other author and/or admin accounts. This is an optional step. If you have more than one administrator, give each person their own username set to “admin” status. Make sure that all authors and admins use a strong password – especially admins.
- Change permalinks configuration. Permalinks are the URLs for each blog post. WordPress gives you a variety of options, but the default (mydomain.com/?p=31) is not very user-friendly. It’s also a missed opportunity for better search engine rankings. Use something like the “/%postname%/” option. It’s easier on the eyes, and if you’re using keywords in your blog post titles, then they’ll show in your URLs – which for some search engines translates into higher potential search rankings and higher potential traffic.
- Change settings such as time zone, comments enabled or disabled, trackbacks, whether people can subscribe as members, privacy (whether you want to search engines out), etc.Change other settings. For example,
- Pick a theme. Before you start installing plugins, pick a theme you’ll be happy with for a while. (Some themes are just not compatible with some plugins.) Free WordPress themes are all over the Internet. However, if you extra bells and whistles (optimized, extra features, widget-ready), you might have to spend a little for a premium theme.
- Install plugins. Which plugins you install depends on what you’ll be doing with your WordPress blog. At the very least, install some sort of comment spam fighter. E.g., Akismet (since Spam Karma is no longer being supported). Also consider installing some SEO plugins to improve your blog traffic and to help visitors find what they want.
- Customize theme. Now you can start adjusting your theme, replacing banners, adding feed subscription buttons and so on.
- Add any ad codes. Will you have advertising on your blog? Opinions differ, but displaying ads when you launch is one way to go. It makes customization easier, instead of having to readjust later.
- Add categories. You don’t necessarily have to add all possible categories for your blog all at once. However, do add a few to start, and add more as necessary. Use mixed-case letters. For example, instead of “search engines” use “Search Engines”.
- Add some fake content to your blog database to test the theme. It’ll show you if ads are displaying properly, whether your “more” links for posts are working, as well as page navigation, amongst other things. When you’re finished, don’t forget to delete all the fake content. You don’t want this content indexed by search engines, so make sure privacy is on first, then set to public after testing.Import some fake content. Most bloggers don’t bother, but if you have the time and patience, it’s worth
- Add Google Analytics code. If this is just a hobby blog, you don’t need to bother. If it’s something more serious, you WANT to track your web traffic and the behavior of your visitors. Google Analytics is one of the best web metrics packages available and it’s free.
- Add widgets. For example, you might want to integrate Twitter with your blog, to display your latest tweets or even tweet from your blog’s sidebar. Or you might simply want to display a calendar.
- Start posting. Time to start publishing content to your new blog. You can set the frequency, though you might find it easier to start with several small posts or articles per day. Others prefer writing longer posts fewer times per week. Whatever you do, try to be consistent.
- Monitor your stats. You have web metrics installed, so check your statistics, monitor traffic growth. Where are your visitors coming from? That is, from which websites? Are any of them returning? Are they finding what they want on your blog or are they leaving pretty soon after coming?
- Start using social media. Try driving traffic with Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. Fact: there are a lot of blogs out there and unless you use multiple methods of building your traffic, it doesn’t matter how good your articles are.
This is not a comprehensive list of steps that follow your installation of WordPress. However, it covers the basics. Firewall blog will go into other steps in more detail. Keep visiting, and don’t forget to subscribe.