How To Configure WordPress Post-Installation
Over the past few years, I’ve done quite a number of WordPress installations. When you’re installing WordPress from scratch, there are a number of tweaks you need to make before your blog is ready to use.
I thought I’d share some of my post-install tips. Some of them are necessary and others are purely my personal preference, but hopefully you’ll find them useful:
- Change the default admin password. The default WordPress password is very difficult to remember, so make it something you’ll be more comfortable with.
- Fill out your profile. I recommend you fill out your first and last names, and website address if it’s different to your blog address. You can use these parameters in your WordPress theme to display your name and website alongside posts written by you.
- Set the tagline for the blog. The default tagline reads “Just another WordPress weblog”. Not very professional. You can change this in Options / General. From an SEO perspective, make sure your tagline includes relevant keywords, as these will be included in blog search engines like Technorati.
- Clear the default blogroll. Much as I like and respect the WordPress developers, their links don’t belong on every blogroll! Click on the Blogroll menu (used to be called Links in previous versions) and delete the entries in there. Feel free to replace with a list of friends/family/colleagues…
- Delete the “Hello World” post. WordPress starts you off with one post and a comment from Mr WordPress. You should delete these straight away and consider replacing with your own introductory post saying who you are and what the blog’s about.
- Edit the About page. WordPress automatically creates an About page for your blog. It’s recommended that you fill this in, because it provides basic information to your readers about the topic of your blog.
- Configure discussion options. This controls whether blog comments are left automatically or if they’re held for review. The default settings are pretty good, but you can enforce stricter rules by selecting “An administrator must always approve the comment”. You can also add watchwords to the comment moderation area so that comments with certain words are automatically held for moderation.
- Configure Permalinks. WordPress handles URL naming automatically so you don’t have to. Basically, you decide the format for your URLs, set it and forget it. Permalink formats are a hot topic, and subject of much debate. My preferred format at the moment is
/%post_id%/%postname%/which gives the post number and then the title (obviously). Some people are taking it a step further and just having
yourdomain.com/%postname%/which is even cleaner.
- Create Categories. This is an important step, as your categories will help organise your content for years to come. Choose appropriate category names, do some keyword research to identify popular terms – even your category names can help with SEO!
These are some of the basic post-install procedures I use for WordPress. Once you’ve got these things out of the way, you’ll want to focus on customising your WordPress theme and installing plugins to give your blog extra functionality. I don’t think it’s fair to recommend a standard set of plugins, as these will vary according to your blogging needs.
Of course, I have my own stock of standard plugins that I use for most WP installs. I’ll share those in a future post.
If you want more information on post-installation tips for WordPress, Download Squad has a more in-depth list. I think some of their steps are unnecessary, or are decisions to be taken when theming the blog. What I’ve included here are the basic post-install tips for WordPress. Enjoy!