What do I do next after installing WordPress? Most beginners using WordPress to create their sites have asked this same question, so don’t feel like your alone.
In this guide, I show you step-by-step the important things you need to add, delete or change to get your site ready for visitors and the search engines.
Also, if you have your site hosted with GoDaddy, BlueHost, Hostgater or any other major web hosting provider, you can still use this guide.
To make this easy to follow, I will start at the top of the WordPress dashboard menu to help you customize your site with the essential settings needed.
Don’t have time to do all this? You can download this guide as a pdf.
1. Delete or Edit Default Post
The Hello World! is the default post after installing WordPress. If you want, you can edit this default page with a new title or you can delete it.
To Delete the Default Post:
- Click on All Posts -you may have only one there
- Hoover mouse over Hello World! post – Click on Trash
2. Categories – Rename uncategorized and Add a Few New Categories
Whenever you create a new post and don’t add it to a category, it will default to uncategorized. By having all of your posts in a specific category, it helps your visitors and the search engines find relevant content.
You can rename uncategorized anything you want.
Quick Tip: Under Settings – Writing- you can set your default category also.
Renaming the Uncategorized Category
- Hover mouse over Posts
- Click Categories
- Click Edit or Quick Edit
- Change the name to anything that fits your needs
- Click Update
Adding a Few New Categories
While you are still in the Categories section, you can create a few new categories to get to started. You don’t need to create a lot of them and you can add more as you write more articles.
Type in the name of your new category. Quick Tip: When adding new categories, always make your category names uniformed. For Example: News, Top News or news, top news.
Add the slug name – this will be the same name as the category usually but always lower words. For Example: top-news
Also, add a category description. I realize that many themes do not show the description but I have found out that it is better to go ahead and add one anyway. This helps save time later if you change your theme and your new one does show the descriptions. Then click Add New Category to save it.
3. Delete Default Page and Create 2 New Pages
It is easier to delete the default sample page from WordPress and start fresh.
Deleting the Default Page
- Click on Pages
- Hoover your mouse under Sample Page
- Click Trash
Creating 2 New Pages
Now, let’s add a few new pages to your website: About Me and Contact Me.
- Hoover you mouse over Pages
- Click on Add New
These two pages can help your visitors: 1. Learn a little more about you and why you created your website. 2. Get in touch with you to obtain more information about a product, service or question they may have.
4. Delete Default Comment
When you installed WordPress, this comment was put in to show you how comments appear in WordPress. You can delete it as it serves no purpose to your website.
- Click on Comments
- Hoover mouse over the comment itself
- Click on Trash
5. Pick a New Theme and Delete Unused Themes
If you did not pick a theme while installing WordPress on your domain, you ended up with the default theme. If this theme does not work for you, you can change it. At WordPress.org, you can pick one of the over 4000 free themes available.
Also, during the install process, besides the default theme, a few other themes may have been added. You should delete unused themes since you will not be updating them and keeping them could lead to potential security issues with your site.
Install a New Theme
- Click on Appearance
- Click on Add New (or WordPress.org Themes)
- Find a theme to fit your website
- Hoover mouse over theme and click Preview & Details for more information
- Click on Install
Deleting Unused Themes
- Go to Appearance
- Click on Themes – Hover mouse over the one you want to delete
- Then click Theme Details
- In the bottom right hand corner, click on Delete
6. Plugins – Adding and Deleting
On each new install of WordPress, the plugin Hello Dolly! has been installed. If activated, this plugin will display a line from the lyrics of the Hello Dolly song, which is performed by Louis Armstrong. As this plugin does not have any practical purpose, you can delete it.
Also, if you purchase a web hosting plan from BlueHost, two plugins were installed with your initial setup, MarketPlace and OptinMonster. It is your choice if you would like to keep these two plugins activated.
Steps to Delete Plugins:
- Click on Plugins
- Click Installed Plugins
- Deactivate the plugin you want to delete
- Click on Delete
If you haven’t already installed these important plugin on your site, now is a great time to do it. I use the plugins listed below on my own sites and I highly recommend them.
- Wordfence Security -Your #1 priority is to secure your website from hackers. The free version has a lot of features to achieve added security and is an easy setup.
- UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore – If you didn’t get a backup with your web hosting plan, backing up all your hard work is essential. It doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary features, which is nice. It supports backups to Rackspace, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, FTP, email, Google Drive, OpenStack, and several other storage solutions too.
- Yoast SEO for WordPress – With over a million downloads, this is one of the go-to seo plugins for webmasters. Not only is it very beginner friendly, it helps you optimized each page and post for the search engines.
- Google Analytics – This is great to track incoming traffic to your site: which keywords they used to find you, how long they stayed, as well as, which pages are getting traffic and much more.
- Contact Form 7 – Using this plugin helps your visitors contact you easily. It is a simple set up to add a contact page to your website. Furthermore, with over 1 million downloads and updated regularly, you can’t go wrong using it.
Pre-installed on WordPress:
- Akismet – Is an anti-spam plugin. Spam comments are a huge battle when you use WordPress. But Akismet helps alleviate that problem. You will need an Akismet.com API key to use it. API keys are free for personal blogs, but there is a paid subscription available for businesses and commercial sites.
Installing a WordPress Plugin
- Click on Plugins
- Click on Add New
- Search by featured, popular or type in a keyword
- Click on Install Now (installs usually very quickly)
- Click Activate
7. Essential Settings Setup
Under the Settings area, you will see General, Writing, Reading, Discussion, Media, and Permalinks. I will go through each one of the sub-menu items to help you continue to setup your WordPress site.
Quick Tip: Some of these items may already be setup correctly on your site.
General – Site Title and Tagline, Set Time Zone, Change Language
Set Site Title and Tagline
The site title tells your visitors what your site is about. You can use your domain name here or anything else you prefer.
Setting Your Correct Time Zone
Setting up your correct time is important. Especially if you plan on scheduling posts at a later time and date.
Changing Your WordPress Site Language
When you installed WordPress, you may have not changed the language to what you needed. Changing your language preference is also under Settings – General
Change Default Post Category
If you already change the name of the “uncategorized” category then it should have already changed this setting. You can make sure that it is set as the default post category or use any other category you would like as the default.
Change default Permalink to “Pretty Link”
The default permalink structure shows the date your post was created so even if you update the post, potential visitors that see it in the search engine results page, may not click on it thinking it is an “old post” with outdated information.
So while you are setting up your WordPress site, it is a good idea to change the permalink structure now and make it into a “pretty link”.
If you wait to change your permalinks down the road, it is a major undertaking and could impact your SEO.
Under the Settings area is a lot of information. I recommend you take a little time after the installation of WordPress and take a look at each of the sections.
8. Check for Mobile Friendliness
Creating a website that is mobile friendly is a very essential step.
- “The overall number of mobile phone users reached 4.43 billion in 2015” (Deviceatlas.com)
- “69% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps help them easily find answers to their questions” (Googleapis.com)
Most of the free themes are now mobile friendly but just to make sure, you can use this tool from Google to verify it.
9. Check for Website Speed
Loading time of your website is also very important. “47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less” (kissmetrics.com)
This is a good test to run as you make your website because as you add more content, plugins and images, you want to make sure your pages are not loading too slow.
Pingdom is a free website speed testing tool.
10. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is now called Google Search Console and it is free. Once you add your sitemap and verify your site with Google, you will be able to see search queries, links into your site, keywords Google found while crawling your site and so much more.
I hope this answered your question for what to do after installing WordPress. It may seem like a lot of things to do, but it really will not take you very long.
Do you think I missed anything in this guide? Leave me a comment and let me know.
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