So you’ve finally made the decision to start a brand new blog! That’s great news, congratulations.
Since you’re on a roll, I’d like to share with you my top 8-point checklist for starting a new blog, just a few essential things you need to do after installing WordPress.
Note: If this is your first ever blog, the tips will be of great use to you. If you’re starting a fresh blog but not necessarily your first blog, hopefully you can use the tips below as a refresher as well.
Just to be clear right from the word go, I’ll assume that you’ve already purchased your domain name and that you have some web hosting sorted out, (If you don’t have any of these things yet, click here to get set up quickly). I’ll also assume that you’ve finished installing WordPress and that you’re ready to rock!
So you’re all set to go, and you’re ready to start writing the first post for your brand new blog right?
Nope you’re not ready just yet! Before you start writing anything, there’s a few extra essential things you need to do, so let’s check them out below.
Starting a new blog? What to do after installing WordPress…
Tip #1: Delete the sample page and “Hello World” post – If this is your first ever WordPress blog you might not know to do this.
When starting a new blog with a fresh WordPress installation, by default you’ll usually be greeted with a “hello world” post and sample page that’s already been published.
What you need to do once you’ve logged into your WordPress dashboard, is to immediately delete both the sample post and the page, you really don’t need them. See image below.
Simply hit trash and then head over to the trash folder and delete them permanently.
When you’re ready to start writing your first post, just head over to Posts > Add New.
Tip #2: Delete the default plugins – The next thing you want to do is head over to Plugins and delete all the default plugins that came with your WordPress installation, except maybe for the Akistmet plugin, you’ll probably need that one for much later on when you start getting a few more comments on your blog. For now though you can just deactivate it if you wish.
Tip #3: Change the permalink structure – This one is entirely up to you, however I would highly recommend that you consider changing the permalink structure to a more simple format.
To change your permalink, simply head over to Settings > Permalinks and change from the default permalink to either ‘date and name’, or ‘month and name’.
The setting I’d personally recommend using is just ‘post name’, as this is a more ‘human’ and ‘search engine friendly’ structure.
Once you’re done, hit save changes. See image below.
Note: On latest versions of WordPress, the “post name” is already selected by default, so you don’t have to make any changes. But just double check to be sure.
Tip #4: Install your preferred plugins – After deleting the plugins you didn’t need in tip #2, it’s time to install the plugins you do need.
If this is your very first blog and you’re not too sure what a plugin is, or what they do, let me briefly explain. If you don’t need to read this, just skip this part entirely and move onto Tip #5.
What are plugins for WordPress? – WordPress plugins are simply add-ons that you install into your hosted WordPress site. The purpose of plugins is to extend the functionalities of your WordPress website. For example, adding the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin will enable you to accurately optimise your site, pages and posts, for better search engine visibility and performance.
Adding the WooCommerce plugin will enable you to turn your WordPress site into an eCommerce platform, where you can sell products.
All you have to remember is that if you want to add a functionality to your WordPress blog or website, the simplest way to do it is to install a plugin. The WordPress plugins repository has over 34,000 plugins to choose from.
Alternatively if you don’t wish to use plugins on your site, you can hire a developer to hard code anything you need to add to your site to add functionality. However this option usually takes time and costs money.
OK so here is a list of top plugins I’d personally recommend installing.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast (Joost de Valk) – For all your on-page and site wide SEO needs.
- Google Analytics for WordPress (Joost de Valk) – For installing Google Analytics tracking code.
- Google XML Sitemaps (Arnold Brachhold) – To create SiteMaps to submit to Google Webmaster Tools, but please note that WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin includes built-in SiteMap feature.
- WordFence Security (WordFence) – Secure your WordPress site from brute force login attempts.
- BlogVault Real-Time WP Backup (BlogVault) – Professional WordPress backup solution.
- Better Delete Revision (Galerio and Urda) – Useful tool to help you delete unwanted post and page revisions.
- Social Warfare – The most advanced social sharing plugin for WordPress on the planet.
- Better Links Pro – Affiliate link cloaking and management tool.
- WP Super Cache (Donncha O Caoimh) – Website cache plugin.
How many plugins should I install? As far as how many plugins you should install goes, it greatly depends on what you want your blog to do. As a rule, I don’t usually add more than around 15 plugins to any blog installation, that’s my top number personally.
Remember the more plugins you add, the more your page loading time will be affected. I would also recommend only installing plugins that are regularly updated, and avoid any plugins that haven’t been updated for the last two years or more.
Premium plugins are great because they’re well coded and regularly updated.
Tip #5: Disable user registration – For a new blog you don’t really want anyone to be able to subscribe, perhaps later on if you decide to accept guest posts or create membership pages. For now though this setting can be left un-ticked.
With new versions of WordPress, as default this is disabled in any case, but do double check this. Go to Settings > General and check that the membership box is left un-ticked. See image below.
Tip #6: Change discussion settings – You can choose whether you want to accept comments on your blog or not, and also make any other changes to your preference.
Perhaps you don’t want anyone to comment on your blog, or you only want registered users to comment. To change your preferences go to Settings > Discussion.
Tip #7: Install WordPress theme of your choice – Again if you’re starting a new blog for the first time and aren’t too sure what a theme is, or where to get one even, let me explain briefly. Skip this part if you don’t need to learn about WordPress themes.
What is a WordPress theme? – A theme is simply a skin that you install into your WordPress site to make it more personal to you and your brand. There are dozens of free and premium themes available online. I’d personally recommend checking out Genesis Theme Framework or Thrive Themes. I’m currently using a Thrive theme for this blog, with a custom built homepage.
To install a theme simply go to Appearance > Themes. For a more in-depth tutorial on installing a WordPress theme check out this video.
Tip #8: Install your Google Analytics tracking code – In point #4 I recommended a list of useful plugins to install into your WordPress blog. One of those plugins was the Google Analytics for WordPress.
This plugin makes installing your Google Analytics tracking code, a lot easier than trying to paste the code manually into your Header.php file of your theme’s file yourself.
Once you’ve installed the GA for WordPress plugin, simply go to your Google Analytics account and generate a new code. Then come back to your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings > Google Analytics and add just the UA-XXXXXXX-XX part of the script provided, into the box as shown below.
You may need to tick the “Manually enter your UA code” box first before pasting your code in the box provided.
You’re ready to blog ‘n’ roll!
That’s it, you’re done, eight simple but very essential things to do after you’ve installed WordPress on a brand new blog.
You can now start writing your first blog post. Best of luck with your new blog, once again I do hope this post has been useful to you, whether you’re new to blogging or just starting a second blog.
I’m always adding new tutorials to the site, so if you’d like to receive updates from my blog, please consider joining my community via email here. I look forward to connecting with you.
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5. How To Start A Successful Blog In 1-Hour (Amazon Link)