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Congratulations on installing WordPress and taking a big step in the digital world! Your website is now up and running (Yippeeeee……) and believe me I know the excitement. But before you set out to rule the world, here are top things to do after installing WordPress.

These are the most important steps that will kick-start your online journey, set you on a right path and save you 100’s of hours of efforts later.

This post is part of “10 Minute Digital Marketing course” where you learn digital marketing in ten minute small snippets, everyday.

Checklist of things to do after installing WordPress

  1. Set up Site Title, Tagline
  2. Setup timezone, date and time format
  3. Change Admin email address
  4. Set Your WordPress and Site Address URLs
  5. Install and activate your theme
  6. Update your permalink structure
  7. Install recommended Plugins
  8. Delete sample content
  9. Remove sample post, page and comments
  10. Update WordPress ping list
  11. Complete your profile
  12. Update Sample Category and change default one
  13. WordPress Media Settings
  14. Disable Directory browsing
  15. Add a contact form
  16. Create custom Menu
  17. Set WordPress discussion and comments setting
  18. Disable default plugins
  19. Add other authors
  20. Delete Unused theme
  21. Change Default widgets and sidebar
  22. Create a homepage and set reading settings
  23. Upload Favicon
  24. Get a Gravatar
  25. Brand-up your login page

Important things to do after installing WordPress

A. Configure General Settings

1. Set up Site Title, Tagline

The most important thing.

The first thing you need to is provide your websites Site title and add a tagline. If you go to your live website you might see something like this.

Just another wordpress site example - change this after installing wordpress

Chances are that you may not have updated your site title and tagline. Site title and tag lines help your customer identify your website, built trust.

You can easily change this by navigating. Update your Site Title and Tag line carefully as it is the first thing your customer will read.

Go to your websites WordPress Dashboard >> Settings >> General

honest digital guy site name and tag line setting

Update the Site Title and Tagline. Save.

Check and confirm on your live website.

2. Setup timezone, date and time format

Now scroll below in the general settings. You need to setup the timezone. This will help when you schedule your posts in the near future.

Path: WordPress Dashboard >> Settings >> General

Time Zone setting after wordpress installation

Save changes.

3. Change Admin email address

This is your fail safe setting. Update your admin email address immediately.

Path: WordPress Dashboard >> Settings >> General

admin email id update

Save changes

4. Set Your WordPress and Site Address URLs

If you happen to be using WordPress in a different directory than your web root (for example, if you installed WP in a blog directory), then you’ll need to let WordPress know that by modifying these two options (Settings » General).

In the WordPress Address (URL) enter the full URL of the directory containing your WordPress core files. Following the previous example, if you installed WordPress into a directory called blog, then the WordPress address would be http://example.com/blog (where example.com is your domain). If you installed WordPress into your web root, this address will be the root URL: http://example.com.

In the Site Address (URL) enter the address you want people to type in order to reach your WordPress site. The Site address (URL) should be identical to the WordPress address (URL) unless you are giving WordPress its own directory (as explained above).

Save changes.

5. Install and activate your theme

If you’re not going to use one of the themes that get installed by default, you’ll need to install and activate your desired theme.

When using an external theme, one you downloaded or purchased outside of the WordPress themes repository, you’ll need to upload it by following one of these options:

a. Upload through WordPress: From the WP menu go to Appearance » Themes » Add New » Upload Theme. Then, choose the [theme-name].zip file.

b. Upload through FTP: Unzip the [theme-name].zip file and upload the theme folder using your preferred FTP client into the wp-content/themes at your domain.

Once you have uploaded the theme click Activate (Appearance » Themes » Your uploaded theme).

Another option is to look for a theme in the WordPress Theme Directory, which has a collection of themes you’ll be able to install right from your dashboard. Navigate to Appearance » Themes » Add New, and you’ll see the available themes from the repository. Just select the one you like and click Install.

6. Update your permalink structure

One of the most important elements in WordPress sites. Permalinks are the permanent URLs to your individual pages and blog posts, as well as your category and tag archives.

The default structure is “Plain”, meaning that your pages and posts URLs will look something like yourdomain.com/?p=123. That’s not something you want and, for sure, that’s not something search engines like.

So let’s turn those ugly Permalinks into pretty Permalinks. Navigate to Settings » Permalinks and select the structure that suits your site the most. If you don’t like any of the provided options, you can build a structure of your own. But make sure you include the post name for better SEO love. Here are the available tags for you to use.

permalink structure for wordpress

7. Install recommended Plugins

Just like apps on your smartphone, plugins are available on WordPress to help us.

If you are a beginner and just installed WordPress, download the following. Do not look for any other plugins. These are all that you would need:

PluginUse For
Yoast SEOPage / Post Analysis
Meta Data control
Robots.txt
Breadcrumbs
Canonical Errors
301 Redirects
and more
W3 Total CacheIncrease page load speed
CDN & Brower Cache
SmushCompress images and lazy load
All in one WP Security
& Firewall
Checks for vulnerability
Site Kit by GoogleXML Sitemap
Google Analytics
Search Console
Google PageSpeed
Google AdSense
Tag Manager
A3 Lazy LoadImprove page load speed by delaying
loading of BTF images

Check out the post Top 10 Free WordPress SEO plugins to boost your Google ranking for more information.

8. Delete sample content

When you install WordPress on your domain, you’ll notice it comes with a sample post (the famous “Hello World!”) and a sample page created. That’s so you can already see something in your site instead of seeing it kind of empty and broken. But you won’t be using those.

So instead of leaving them there and taking a chance on forgetting they even exist when your site is ready, go and trash them right away.

To remove the sample post: go to Posts and hover on the Hello World post. You should see the Trash link. Click on it, and then go to “Trash”, hover the same post and hit Delete Permanently.

To remove the sample page: go to Pages and hover on the Sample Page page. You should see the Trash link. Click on it, and then go to “Trash”, hover the same post and hit Delete Permanently.

9. Remove sample post, page and comments

WordPress comes with some default content to be used as the placeholder items. This includes a blog post titled ‘Hello World’, a sample comment, and a sample page.

Simply go to Posts » All Posts page. Take your mouse to the ‘Hello World’ post and then click on the ‘Trash’ link.

default pages to be deleted

Next, go to Pages » All Pages page and then delete ‘Sample Page.

Lastly, visit the Comments page and then delete the default comment.

delete default comments

10. Update WordPress ping list

Now, go to Settings > Discussion.

By default, WordPress only pings one service. But you can notify many more services by extending the ping list.

Go to Settings > Writing and add in more services to the ping list.

11. Complete your profile

Make your WordPress profile match who you are. Go to Users » Your Profile. There you’ll be able to enable/disable the Visual Editor when writing posts and pages, to select an Admin Color Scheme, to decide if you want to show or not the Toolbar when viewing your site (I personally hate having the toolbar on the frontend, it’s the first thing I turn off when working on a fresh install).

And more important, you can fill in your details and decide how to show them. Insert your first and last names, and then select a “Display name publicly as…” option. This will apply to every place in your site where your name is displayed: author archive page, author name in posts, user name in forums, etc.

You can also add your Contact Info and a Biographical Info. Depending on the theme, these may show up in different locations.

12. Update Sample Category and change default one

The default posts category when you install WordPress is called Uncategorized. If you don’t set a specific category for the posts you create, they will automatically be archived under the default category.

To change the default category name go to Posts » Categories, hover on Uncategorized and click Edit. Don’t forget to change its slug as well.

If you have already in mind some of the categories your blog will have, it’s a nice idea to go and create them now. That way you’ll be able to plan the editorial categories in advance, and won’t need to figure them out while writing a new post and the time to assign it to a category comes.

For that go to Posts » Categories and add them right there. If you want, you can write a description for each one. Some themes will display that description in the archive page, and it’s also a good thing for your SEO.

13. WordPress Media Settings

This setting will greatly improve the way WordPress handles images.

By default, WordPress create multiple sizes for every uploaded image. This is not a good practice. This will load up your blog with unnecessary files and your blog will quickly become bloated.

Go to Settings > Media, and use the below screenshot to configure the proper settings:

wordpress media settings after installation

14. Disable Directory browsing

For this setting, you will need to edit your WordPress .htaccess file. Don’t panic; it’s actually pretty easy. You can follow this guide to learn about editing your WordPress .htaccess file.

Add this line of code to your .htaccess file (at the bottom):

15. Add a contact form

All websites on the internet need a contact form. It allows your website visitors to quickly contact you by simply filling out a form on your website.

By default, WordPress does not come with a built-in contact form.

This is where WPForms comes in. It is the best WordPress contact form plugin and allows you to easily create beautiful contact forms for your website.

16. Create custom Menu

By default, most themes will take the existing pages on your site and place their links in the navigation area in your site. But we all know that’s not the prettiest way to build a navigation menu for your website.

The Menus screen found under Appearance » Menus enables a user to create custom navigation menus and place them in different locations over the site. Many themes come with more than one location for menus, but most of them come with at least one and that is your site’s header.

Creating a Custom Menu instead of leaving the default page links in your header will let you:

  • Drag, order, reorder and rename menu items.
  • Create sub-menus.
  • Create menu items that are not pages, like custom links, posts and categories.
  • Use, afterwards, the same menu on different places, like widgets.
  • Customize the menu items by playing with the Link Target, CSS Classes, Description.

17. Set WordPress discussion and comments setting

Comments play an important role on most blogs. They are a good indicator of user engagement and allow you to build a community around your blog.

Simply go to Settings » Discussion page to setup comments. From here you can enable or disable comments, setup comment notifications, and enable comment moderation.

18. Disable default plugins

WordPress comes with two already installed plugins: Hello Dolly and Akismet. We’ll get to Akismet in a moment. For now, and even if it’s really nice to have random phrases from Louis Armstrong’s Hello, Dolly in your dashboard, I’d say you should delete it.

19. Add other authors

You know your site is going to have other authors? Navigate to Users » Add New and create the profiles for them. You’ll be required to fill in Username and Email. A Password will be automatically generated for you, but I recommend you to click on “Show Password” if you want to grab it and copy it to a data file with all your site’s credentials.

In the same screen you can decide if you want to send the new user an email notification about their account and the role he/she is going to have in your website.

Remember the email address you set is the one that brings the person’s Gravatar, so you may want to use for your authors the email that they use for their account at gravatar.com. Or you can use another email address but then remind them to add that email to their Gravatar account.

20. Delete Unused theme

WordPress comes with its own default themes known as the Twenty-Something series. After you install and activate the theme you’re gonna use, why leave the others occupying space in your install?

Or maybe you’ve tried installing several themes before you decided which one to use for your site.

Old themes and plugins that are not regularly updated put your site’s security at risk. So just remember to later delete those themes you won’t use.

Go to Appearance » Themes, click on the theme you want to remove. It’ll open a lightbox, and on the bottom right corner you’ll find the Delete link.

21. Change Default widgets and sidebar

Most themes usually come with at least one widgetized area that is usually the main sidebar displayed next to your posts. Other themes may come with more sections for widgets like the footer. By default, WordPress places some widgets on the main sidebar: Search, Archives, Recent Comments, Recent Posts and Categories widgets.

Don’t forget your sidebar may appear in some locations in your website (sometimes is on an archive page that you even forgot it exists), so go ahead and decide if you’re going to keep those widgets or what exactly you want to put there. For that, navigate to Appearance » Widgets.

22. Create a homepage and set reading settings

WordPress powers now 26% of the Web and there’s no need to say that its usage is far (FAR!) away from being just a blogging platform. If you’re not using your WordPress site mainly as a blog, then you’ll probably want to create a homepage that is not your latest posts.

Go to Pages » Add New. Create a page called “Home” (or the name you wish). Now navigate to Settings » Reading. In the Front page displays section choose A static page, and then select the Home page you’ve created.

23. Upload Favicon

favicon is an icon that represents your site across the web and devices. It’s a part of your site’s visual identity and helps people to easily and quickly recognize your website.

Since WordPress 4.3, you can add a favicon (or a Site Icon) from the WordPress dashboard. Go to Appearance » Customize » Site Identity tab. Click on the select file button and upload the image you want to use as site icon. According to WordPress, icons must be square, and at least 512 pixels wide and tall.

24. Get a Gravatar

Your name, contact info and bio are set up. But what about having a profile picture?

WordPress uses a specific type of avatar called Gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar). Gravatars follow you around the web and automatically appear when you post a comment on a WordPress site or sign up on a WordPress site with your email account.

To create your Gravatar go to gravatar.com. You’ll be able to register an account based on your email, and upload an avatar to be associated with the account.

Bonus: Brand-up your login page

If you’re working on a site for a client it’s a good thing to tune up a little the WordPress login page and make it look like part of your studio identity. Changing the WordPress logo above the login form in the /wp-login page may be a good idea for that. It’ll remind the client who you are and who built his site everytime he enters the dashboard.

There are many ways to do that:

a. If you’re using one of our themes: Go to Appearance » Theme Options » General » Branding section, and upload your “Custom Login Image File“.

b. With a plugin: Uber Login Logo or Custom Login may be good options.

c. Through custom code

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