Lately I’ve been installing WordPress a lot as part of The 42nd Estate’s network of sites. I’ve developed a list of things to do after installing wordpress to a server. As a reference point for you and me, here are the first five steps you should take after completing a new wordpress blog installation.
- Delete admin account
- Pick www or no-www
- Change the permalink structure
- Change the uploads folder to something simpler.
- Show less posts per page
First off, delete the default admin account to make it just a little bit tougher for hackers to guess you username and password.
Is it absolutely required?
Still, it gives me a little peace of mind and ensures I won’t accidentally post as admin thus avoiding confusion for everyone. If you are adamant (or lazy) about not deleting the admin account, then please for the sake of your readers change the “Display name publicly as” field to your name so readers are not wondering who or what admin is.
If your wordpress url has access to your htaccess file (pun not intended) you can set your preference for your site’s address by filling in WordPress address (URL) and Blog address (URL) under General Settings. Make sure both fields have the same address. While there is no real difference between the two I’d suggest using www as it’s become a bit of custom and most users expect the www in front of your address. While there, add a tagline too.
While wordpress is relatively search engine optimized out of the box, one big step to improving your SEO is to change the default permalink. Though we don’t use it here (but will likely switch at some point) I recommend including the category and postname in your permalink. Assuming your categories are keyword rich (meaning they include a word you want to rank for), including the categories in your permalink will help you rank for those words.
In the permalinks section, choose custom structure and paste the below:
WordPress should just default to one of the nice permalinks but until then setting a custom one is important. We went with just the postname here as an experiment in making shorter and cleaner permalinks but are highly considering adding the category.
Under miscellaneous settings, instead of using “wp-content/uploads” to store images and other media, I use a simpler folder, for instance images or media. For one, I think it makes it a tiny bit tougher for hackers but also it makes it easier to browse any uploaded media and makes the urls look nicer. Plus it gives your permalinks a valuable keyword instead of the generic uploads.
I also uncheck the “Organize my uploads into month- and year-based folders” as it’s always been annoying having to browse by time instead of just seeing all my media. Not necessary but recommended.
By default, wordpress is set up to show your latest ten posts on the homepage. As Google and other search engines value fresh content, it’s not wise to leave your older posts on the homepage for too long. Thus, under the reading section in wordpress settings, we change the “Blog pages show at most” option to 5 or less posts.
Any figure between 3-6 is better than ten. It’ll make your homepage load a little quicker and make it easier to scroll through. All of your content will still be on your blog, but less of it will show per page. It’ll make your homepage seem like it’s updated more often and give your readers an easier reading experience.
Most of these steps are simply the steps that I’ve found I take post wordpress installation. I’m sure many of you have different steps, so let us know in the comments below.