One of the first things I encountered when I finally finished installing WordPress is the question, “Well, what do I do now?”.

Naturally I wanted to jump in, make things pretty and start ripping out posts on everything under the sun. But I knew that there must be a little more to it. Some hidden tricky stuff that I hadn’t read about yet.

Some things I figured out quickly. Others came after some major catastrophe. Looking back, I kinda wished that I had spent a little time researching some of the things I needed to do to get set up properly, right from the beginning.

Looking back, I kinda wished that I had spent a little time researching some of the things I needed to do to get set up on #WordPress properly, right from the beginning.

Click to Tweet

And, honestly, there are some things that you should take care of right away after you install WordPress. And I really wish that I could have found a magical list to help me get through it all without almost throwing in the towel. (Which I almost did two weeks in!)

So, without further ado- here is my list of to-do’s right after you install WordPress!

Update Site Title, Tagline and Time Zone

The first thing you should do is go to the Settings in the sidebar and change your site title, tag line, and time zone.

To do this, go to: Settings>General

The site title will be your blog’s name and if you have a tag line (which you really should as it helps people and Google figure out what your blog is about), update it here.

You’ll also want to update your time zone so that when you are scheduling drafts to publish, they will post in your time zone. It stinks when you were sure something was scheduled properly only to realise it’s not posting until a time zone 5 hours difference. UGHHHH. Been there.

Install and Remove Essential Plugins

It’s super easy to install, remove and manage any plugins that you might have or want to have in WordPress. Just click on Plugins>Installed Plugins on the sidebar and the list of everything you currently have will be listed. You can deactivate, remove and update them all here.

To add a plugin from one of the 50,000 plugins available on WordPress, simply click on Add New and you an search for almost anything.

Although adding fun plugins might seem novel at first, try to only pick ones that you really need and that will help you with your blog. Plugins can quickly slow down your website and a slow site means higher visitor bounce rates.

Plugins to Remove

WordPress comes pre-installed with a whole bunch of recommended plugins that, if you don’t need, can slow down your site. So, the best thing to do is remove the ones you won’t be using or don’t need after you’ve become familiar with the ones you will use on a regular basis.

One you DO need to keep is Akismet as it will block any comments that appear to be spam on your account. This includes anyone that leaves fishy comments, spammed links or inappropriate material.

Don't Start Your Blog Without Fixing These 12 Things On WordPress

Plugins to Install

Yoast SEO – Yoast SEO will help you maximize every potential to get your post to rank on Google and other searching sites. The free version will walk you through each area of your post and give you a green, orange and red signal if your post is SEO maximized and offer tips and suggestions to improve.

Wordfence – Wordfence is plugin that will protect your site from hackers around the world. This is definitely a must-have.

Shareaholic-  Shareaholic will allow you to place social share all over your site. This is really important as you want to give as many opportunities for your readers to share your posts to their social media outlets and maximize your exposure.

Shareaholic also is great because you can customize the designs to match your theme and it’s FREE! I recommend placing floating shares on each post as well as static ones both above and below.

Fix Your Permalink Structure

Permalinks are what your post web address is. For example, in the link http://www.everydayshessparkling.com/installing-wordpress, “installing-wordpress” is what makes up your permalink.

WordPress defaults to setting your permalink to the date you posted, followed by your blog title (unless you change it). Keeping the date in your permalink can hurt your popularity as if someone sees the date, they may choose not to view the post if it isn’t current.

So instead, you’ll want to change the permalink structure to default to the blog post name instead. You can change this here:

Settings>Permalinks>Change to Post Name

One note of caution… Once you change this, be aware that if you change your mind and want to change it in the future, it will break all your links that you shared with the old permalink. This is why I suggest making this change before you create any posts.

Delete Sample Posts and Sample Page “Hello World

WordPress comes with some pre-populated posts to show examples so that you can preview your theme. But, while you are building your blog and creating posts, you don’t want the default WordPress posts to show should anyone find your blog.

The best thing to do is to go to the Posts section in the right sidebar, find all the pre-populated posts and delete them. Then head over to Pages and delete the Hello World Page.

It’s better to have nothing there than some generic examples. Even a “Coming Soon” or “Check Back Soon” notice is better.

Install and Verify Google Analytics

Although Jetpack does come with build in stats, they aren’t consider really accurate by industry standards so you’ll want to install and verify Google Analytics.

Google Analytics will be critical in watching your blog grow and being able to ensure that you are adjusting to your reader’s needs. This is the most trusted stat collector and is used by almost every blogger I know. To install this:

  • Go to Google Analytics from your browser
  • Create an account by clicking on “Start for Free”
  • Set up your “property” (website address)

Follow the instructions to add the tracking code to your website. Although it’s not difficult to do, if you are not tech savvy, I would suggest asking a techy friend or even hiring someone to do this for you.

Once you have everything installed, make sure to add the Analytics app to your phone so that you can access and track stats on the go.

Install a Theme

Installing a theme and making your blog pretty can be a really fun and sometimes agonizing time lol. There are thousands of themes available, both free and premium in all kinds of styles to help you find the perfect fit for your brand.

A few of my favorite free feminine WordPress themes are Anissa, Marlin Light and Ashe. To install and find a theme:

  • Click on Appearance
  • Click on Themes
  • Click on Add New
  • You can type in some search words like Pretty or Feminine in the search bar to filter your results

Some things to keep in mind when choosing a new theme are easy navigation, appearance (of course), and options for customization – especially fonts and colours.

Any theme that matches your search description will show up. You have an option to view how the theme will appear before installing it in a live preview. Once you decide which one you like best, click Activate and the preview will go live.

Some themes are offered for free and then have an upgrade available for more customization later. This is a nice option so that you don’t have to upgrade to a whole new theme that you might not be familiar with and that you might spend days trying to tweak (ugghhh. again. learning. lesson)

Once you have established yourself as a blogger and figured a few things out, you may want to upgrade your theme to be more customizable. You can find thousands of themes on places like Etsy, Creative Market, and StudioPress for less than $100.

This theme is called Maggie from BluChic and I LOVE IT.

Set up Publisize in Jetpack

Publisize is one of those things that most people aren’t taking advantage of very often and I think it’s a great addition when you are starting out.

Every time you publish a blog post, you will need to market it to various social media sites in order to get it seen. There is no way that you can just throw out a post and expect it to generate it’s own traffic. I WISH!

A really simple way to do this is to set up your Jetpack plugin that comes with your WordPress installation to automatically send out your post to the major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter when your post publishes.

I love the set it and forget it options!

It’s super easy to set up! To do this:

  • Go to Jetpack in your WordPress sidebar
  • Click on Settings
  • Click on Sharing
  • Change the toggle to Publicize Connections
  • Connect your social media accounts

Create a Contact Form Page

A contact form is necessary for visitors and even potential sponsors to contact you. I used Contact Form 7 which is a plugin that came installed with my theme and you can download it for free from the WordPress widget gallery.

I have heard that it’s not as easy as some of the others to install, but I didn’t have any issues. Another option is WPForms Lite, which has a drag and drop editor.

Create a Killer About Me Page

This is a place to tell your story and give your viewers some insight into why you are blogging and what you are all about.

Don’t be afraid to add some personality here along with some of your sparkling personality. My husband calls this my “Sparkinality”. LOL

Make sure to include a great picture of yourself so your readers can put a face to a name.

Set Up Your Cookie Notification

As part of the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commision) privacy and use of information mandate, you will need to make sure that you have a cookie pop-up installed on your site. You’ve all seen them before.

That somewhat irritating pop-up that appears at the bottom of EVERY website you visit. Well, that is required by law and you have to have it too.

Luckily, the Jetpack plugin that already comes with your WordPress installation will have one that you can customize to suit your blog.

Create Key Legal Pages

There are a few key pages that you will want to set up immediately, before you get any traffic to your blog (don’t worry- there’s time! Until you tell anyone or start marketing, there won’t likely be any visitors). The first thing is to set up your legal pages.

Privacy Policy

All blogs are required to have a Privacy page which will outline how you are collecting and using your viewer’s information through subscribing, cookies, comments and contact submissions. Having these three pages will help to protect you from lawsuits and legal liability.

Disclaimer

A Disclaimer is also important as it will inform your visitors that your published content is only for informational and educational purposes and that the information is only the thoughts of the blogger, not to be seen as professional advice.

You also need a Disclaimer if you intend on having affiliate links within your blog. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires a that you disclose your relationship with affiliates and any potential financial or compensated items that you may receive if a visitor clicks on or purchases from those links.

Terms and Conditions

The third really important legal page is Terms and Conditions. This helps to lay out the rules for visiting your site and for utilizing your services (should you have any). It also spells out that you own your content and that reusing it will be considered a copyright infringement.

The best thing is, you don’t need to be a lawyer or hire one to get these legal pages. My good blogging friend Amira is a lawyer and offers them all as a bundled template that you can tailor to your blog. She also has an amazing affiliate high-paying affiliate program that you can register for!

Download Apps in Your Phone

One of the best things you can do for helping you create quick content is to install the WordPress app on all your devices. That way, if you have an idea for a new post, are stuck in traffic or commuting from work, you can work on a new post and have it all handy.

BUT, make sure to use the three vertical dots to save your ideas and posts in Draft mode, otherwise, you will publish a half-done post. (I may have done this a couple of times and then had to quickly retract it lol)

Make sure to check out my list of over 50 Blogging Resources to help you grow your blog!

You’re all set up! Now on to write some fabulous blog posts!

Sasha Lassey signature