You’ve just installed WordPress and you’re excited to get started writing. Before you begin, there are some administrative tasks that should be done first.
7 Must-Do Action Items
1. Update Your User Profile
Under the Dashboard on your WordPress.org account, you’ll see a tab labeled Users. Inside this tab, you will find your profile information. Some of these items are optional, but do update the following:
- Your display name – If you don’t update this, your username will be the default. To keep your site as secure as possible, it’s best not to make your username public knowledge. There’s no reason to risk the security of your site. This username is displayed on all blog posts, so if you want your name to be displayed instead, you’ll need to add your name to the name field (you can post just your first name or both your first and last name) and change the default setting to your name.
- Upload your Gravitar- If you click on the the Gravitar link, it will take you to the Gravitar website where it will ask you to upload a photo of yourself. This is very important because it’s the photo other people will see whenever you leave comments on other blogs. You want this photo to be consistent across all your accounts, such as your About Me page and your social media accounts. This helps people recognize you no matter where you pop up on the world wide web.
- Password- If your password is too simple, you may want to take the time to change it to something more secure.
2. Update Your General Settings
Under your Settings tab, there is a sub-tab named General. It’s important to go into this tab to update your Title and Tagline.
- Title- Update this to show the domain name of your site.
- Tagline- Update your tagline to give readers a description of what they can find on your site. Updating this can help with SEO.
3. Create and Upload Your Site’s Favicon
- Favicon- The Favicon helps identify your website. It’s the image that shows up next to your site title in browsers. Not updating this can result in the default being the WordPress image or something else that doesn’t reflect your site.
- Sign up for Canva.com and create an image that is 512X512. You can use your logo or something similar.
- Once your image is created, go to your WordPress Dashboard>Appearance>Customize>Site Identity.
- Upload your image and select Save and Publish.
4. Change Your Permalinks
What is a permalink? It’s the permanent link to a particular page or blog post. It attaches to the end of your domain name. The default permalink in WordPress is set to FUNKY. This can create a problem in Google or anytime you want to share a link with your audience or social media. Instead of something clean like www.thebubblegumbooth.com/how-to-blog, you will get www.thebubblegumbooth.com/2017/06/13/blogpost. Don’t let this happen to you. Changing it is as simple as saying your name.
Just go to your WordPress Dashboard>Settings>Permalinks>Select Post Name. This is the best option because it is the most user-friendly.
5. Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the top-rated tool for tracking website traffic. Why is it important to know what’s happening with your traffic? Even though you may not have any traffic yet, it’s important because eventually, you will grow and you’re going to need a way to assess your growth. By treating your blog as a business, you’re going to try different strategies in regard to your traffic. You’ll try different e-mail marketing, different social media strategies, and others. In order to set yourself up for success from the very beginning, you need to begin looking at your data right away. It gives you all types of information such as the number of users visiting per day, their geographical locations, and the times they visit. This can help you detect patterns in your traffic.
To sign up for Google Analytics, you’ll need to create a Google account. If you already have a Google account you can head straight to Google Analytics. Follow the steps to sign up. After entering your personal information, Google will provide you with a tracking code. This tracking code will need to be added to your site in order for Google Analytics to work.
The easiest way to add this tracking code to your site is through the plugin, MonsterInsights.
How to Install MonsterInsights
There are two ways to install the MonsterInsights plugin. The first way is to upload it directly from WordPress.
- Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
- Click on the Plugin tab.
- Click Upload Plugin at the top of your screen.
- Scroll down to the Search box and type in MonsterInsights.
- MonsterInsights should pop right up. Click Install and then Activate to complete the install.
The second way to install MonsterInsights is to download the plugin from their website and upload it onto the plugin tab on WordPress.
Once you have installed the MonsterInsights plugin, it will create a tab on your Dashboard labeled Insights. Click on Insights>Settings. In Settings, click on Authenticate Google Account. This is where you’ll enter your Google code given to you when you signed up for Google Analytics. Complete the registration by selecting your website.
6. Install SEO Plugin
So, first of all, what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Why is it important? It’s important because search engines have the potential to bring a huge amount of traffic to your site. What’s the point in writing all that content if nobody is going to read it? The cool thing is that there are tools out there that can help you improve SEO on your site. I’m only going to recommend one plugin for SEO and that’s Yoast SEO. It’s the most widely used SEO plugin and the most complete. Learning SEO and using tools to help you manage it, is the best thing for you and your business. Again, you can either download the plugin straight from their website Yoast.com or upload it from the plugin tab on your WordPress account.
With over 1 million installs, you can’t beat the functionality of Yoast.
7. Install a Cache Plugin
What is a cache? A cache is a temporary storage area for files. What happens sometimes is that your website stores cache files and when you make updates to your website, the updates don’t show. You get frustrated because the changes you spent so much time making, aren’t there. The problem may be that you need to delete your cache. The simple explanation is that by not having a cache plugin installed, your website server (through your host) is having to work harder because it is forced to work harder and use more resources loading each page. When you have a cache plugin installed, it creates a static page (that is, a page that remains constant), and doesn’t require as many resources. The result is an improved loading speed and better overall efficiency.
What Cache Plugin Should I Install?
The best cache plugins out there are WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. These are both free to use and have really good speed results. What’s the difference? W3 Total Cache is a little more complicated to set up but offers more advanced options if you’re patient enough to take the time to learn how to use them.
W3 Total Cache
The most important thing about cache plugins is that they help improve your site’s speed. Speed is important because search engines consider it as an important factor in search rankings.
What do you do once you have it installed? Use this tutorial by wpbeginner.com to help you set it up.
This list is not all inclusive. These are just a few important things you’ll want to accomplish as soon as you get your WordPress account set up. Tracking your data and optimizing your site for SEO are the most important tasks you do for your business. Make these a priority and they will help set your site up for success as you continue to add new things to your to-do list.
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Kelly is a veteran, former teacher, and blogging business owner who left her career in the corporate world to start a blog. Her research and time invested in blogging have developed into a passion for helping others realize their potential and successfully follow their passion of building a successful blog.