This is one of the most common questions people ask after installing WordPress on their domain. To make your WordPress site fully functional and make it 100% SEO-optimize, one must finish these 16 essential settings.
WordPress is an open source content management system which was initially associated with blogs, but today it has become a powerful platform for building great websites.
Now more than 28% percent of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress. A site portrays the company’s personality and reinforces the message that logos convey.
Essential Settings To Do After Installing WordPress
The key factors which resulted in the popularity of this tool are the flexible, diverse, and easy to modify website design. There are numerous themes available for free or at affordable rates for business owners to choose for a WordPress website, making it a huge hit for startups.
It’s easy to use interface that encourages people to build their own website. But many people find themselves stumped right after they installed WordPress. Once you have installed WordPress there comes a crucial question as to what steps have to be taken next.
Here are the best 25 essential things to do after WordPress installation:
1. Change Your Permalink Structure
Permalink setting is the first thing you should do after installing WordPress on your website. There are various types of link structure, but to make it simple and SEO-friendy better to choose the post Name option only.
- Go to Settings > Permalink and select “Post name”
- Click “Save”.
You can also choose a custom one and with numbers in the end if you have a plan to submit your website to Google News approval.
2. Delete Default Post, Comment & Page
By default yo,u will find a Hello World post, a dummy comment, and a sample page is created. You must delete them as soon as you are done with your WordPress installation.
- Go to Posts > All Posts and delete the default “Hello world” post.
- Go to Pages > All Pages and delete the default “Sample Page”.
- Click on “Comments” and delete the default comment.
3. Edit the 3 T’s: Your website’s Title, Timezone, and Tagline
Websites with every small detail help to give a company more professional look. Make sure to check and change the three crucial T’s for your WordPress website. You can change them from the “General” menu in the “Settings” option.
Go To Settings>>General
- Title: Add your company’s name in the title field so that visitors can identify your website tab in their browser.
- Tagline: Tagline is one of the most critical components of marketing, it can help you shine and stand out of the crowd. Describe your business or your website in a short, concise yet witty manner.
- Timezone: Add your timezone to the website to get accurate time reports and notifications.
4. Enable/Disable User Registration
By default, this option will be disabled only. But if you want to allow people to create author accounts on your website then you can enable this option. Generally, websites with multi-author have this option ticked.
Go To Settings>>General
- Tick/Untick the “Anyone can register” box as per your need.
In case you tick this box, you have to change the “New User Default Role” option also as a Contributor or Editor or Administrator as per your plan.
5. Add a Contact Form to your website
Websites are one of the most significant platforms to engage with customers or potential clients. A Contact Form helps visitors connect with you easily and quickly. WordPress does not come with a default built-in Contact Form. Hence, there is a need for a good and reliable plug-in.
Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins
- WPForms [Paid Tool @ $49 / year]
- Jetpack Contact Form [Free]
- Contact Form 7 [Best Free Contact Form Plugin]
- Ninja Forms [Premium @ $29 / year]
- Everest Forms [Free]
I use WPForms lite, the free version of this plugin. It is enough for me, as I only need a basic contact form. If you want to design an advanced contact form then you must go for WPForms paid version only.
This drag and drop WordPress Form Creator is a user-friendly plug-in. The forms that are created with WP Forms are mobile responsive and have instant notification feature so that you can attend to potential leads quickly.
6. Setup Google Analytics to stay on top of the trends
Google Analytics can be a huge help here. It captures all data about your website’s visitors — the number of visitors on your site, the time they spent on any particular page, which part of the world were the visitors, and when and what time they visited the website.
- From Theme Options: If you are using any of the StudioPress Themes, then you can find a header section where you can simply put the analytics tracking code. That’s why Genesis themes are so handy to use and set up your website SEO is really quick.
- Edit Theme File: In case your theme doesn’t have that option, you have to edit the HEADER file and add the tracking code.
- Use A Plugin: If you are not comfortable touching the theme files, then use a Google Analytics plugin to make this job done.
Personally, I simply kept the tracking code in one of my footer widgets>> HTML code box.
Best Google Analytics Plugins For WordPress
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
- GA Google Analytics
- Google Analytics +
- WordPress Google Analytics Plugin
- WP Google Analytics Events
- Enhanced Ecommerce Google Analytics Plugin for WooCommerce
- Google Analytics Counter Tracker
- Better Google Analytics
7. Install A WordPress SEO Plugin
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is great to generate more traffic for your website. It helps you find the relevant users on your site easily. WordPress is one of the most SEO friendly platforms available today, providing users with a foundation to build their SEO plans around.
You should ideally install an SEO plug-in just after installing WordPress so that you can optimize your articles for popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.
What is the best free SEO plugin for WordPress?
- Yoast SEO Plugin
- RankMath SEO by MyThemeShop
- All in One SEO Pack
- The SEO Framework
- Premium SEO Pack
- SEO by Squirrly
RankMath is growing as one of the best Yoast SEO Plugin alternatives, especially after many websites suffer for Yoast SEO bug. My friend Satish Kumar Ithamsetty wrote an awesome detailed guide on RankMatch SEO Plugin. Make sure you read that if you are installing this plugin.
8. Add a WordPress Cache plugin
This is pretty straightforward, you need a cache plugin so that your website can load faster. There are many good free cache plugins. But if you are ok to spend money, then try WP Rocket. Besides that, here are the best WordPress cache plugins in 2019.
Do you know that my website is loading less than 1 seconds?
I use W3 Total Cache Plugin + SiteGround SG OptiMizer + SiteGround Supercache to make my website load faster. Your web hosting company plays a major role to make your website faster. I have realized these facts after using a couple of popular hosts like Bluehost & HostGator.
9. Remove unused WordPress Themes
Creating and customizing a website design is easier with WordPress. You can choose from a number of themes, paid or free of cost, available online.
But once you decide which theme is to keep, remove all the unused themes. But keep a default theme to fall back, in case any trouble occurs in the future.
To delete the theme, Got to “Appearance” and then click “Themes”.
Trust me, using a free theme is good to save money. But the premium themes are really very cheap and it is the best investment you can do for your blogging journey. Here are my favorite WordPress Themes.
- GeneratePress Pro [Without pro version you can’t use their awesome templates like I use for this website]
- Genesis Child Themes
- MyThemeShop Themes
- WP Astra [Drag & Drop Theme Builder]
10. Install A backup plugin to capture the scheduled backups of data
Data loss is one of the harsh realities of the digital world today. Each year, millions of dollar lost, due to data loss. This can be prevented by taking periodic backups of the website so that the data can be retrieved in case there’s any trouble.
When you are running a business, it is not possible to take manual backups of the website daily; this is where the backup plugins save the day. You can use plugins such as UpdraftPlus or save your backups on the cloud. I am using this awesome free backup plugin.
Best WordPress Backup Plugins
- VaultPress (with Jetpack)
11. Secure your website with the best security plugin
While WordPress is quite secure on its own, it is recommended that additional security measures should be taken to prevent any cyber attacks.
Some of the traditional yet critical steps include setting up strong, unpredictable passwords, investing in a VPN to avoid hacking. I am using iTheme Security free one for few of my websites.
Best security plugins available for WordPress.
- BulletProof Security
- Sucuri Security
- iThemes Security
- Acunetix WP SecurityScan
- All In One WP Security & Firewall
12. Setup WordPress Comments
Comments play a crucial role in building a community for your blog. You can receive instant feedback via these comments, and also engage with the readers and visitors, adding to the entire user experience.
Go to Settings >> Discussions and make sure that the option “Allow people to post comments on new articles” has been selected.
Do you know that you can use an additional plugin to spice up your comment system? I used CommentLuv plugin for a few days, but that plugin is discontinued now.
Best WordPress comment plugins for your content-based website.
- Thrive Comments
- Disqus Comment System
- Jetpack Comments
- Facebook Comments
- Livefyre Comments
13. Add a Favicon
Have you ever noticed that how can you see the website logo before the website title in the browser tabs? Known as a favicon, this tiny image can prove instrumental in improving brand recognition.
Go to Appearance >> Customize >> Site Identity to add a favicon. Here, you can upload a file with 512 X 512 pixels size in png, jpeg, or gif format.
14. Change the default Category
The default category will be in the name of Uncategorized. You can’t delete this, so you have to rename it. Make sure you change the slug also.
- Go to Posts » Categories, hover on Uncategorized and click Edit.
15. Create a home page for better conversion
A custom homepage layout is a must to tell visitors about your website’s message clearly. You can easily create a landing page like my website using Thrive Architect plugin. You have to create a separate page and then follow the below settings to change the home page.
- 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
There are a couple of good page builder plugins for WordPress.
- Thrive Architect [My Best Pick]
- Beaver Builder
- Elementor Pro
- Visual Composer
16. Install A Sitemap Plugin
If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin, then you can generate an XML sitemap. But personally, I don’t like their sitemap URL structure. So, I used the Google sitemap plugin to generate a clean sitemap.
- Yoast SEO Sitemap: yoursite.com/sitemap_index.xml
- Google Sitemap Plugin: yoursite.com/sitemap.xml
Best XML Sitemap Plugins for WordPress
- All in One SEO Pack
- Yoast SEO
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Simple Wp Sitemap
Building a great website is an ongoing process which would require constant attention and frequent updates. But getting most of the essentials right in the first step can provide a great start to your website.
These steps can help you attract a large audience which can further assist in generating more leads. But as you implement these, make sure that you do not lose sight of your content which is a critical aspect of any website.