So you are finished installing WordPress on your first domain. But your job is not completed yet. There are lots of things that you should do just after successful installation of WordPress on your blog.
In today’s special guest post whom I’m writing specifically for the readers of We Blog Better, I’m going to share 10 points checklist that you should follow to get the most out of your WordPress blog.
1. Improve Your Permalink URL Structure
First of all, you need to improve default permalink structure. You can do so by going to Permalinks section under Settings from your WordPress admin panel. So how you go about improving the permalink structure:
Default Permalink Structure: http://weblogbetter.com/?p=123
If you want to include date and name use: http://weblogbetter.com/2012/09/07/sample-post/
For month and name use: http://weblogbetter.com/2012/09/sample-post/
Most optimized URL structure: http://weblogbetter.com/sample-post/
If you follow the last pattern, your post title will be used just after your blog base URL. This is how you will end up getting better and more optimized URL for your blog contents.
2. Create a Google Analytics Account
You should have Google Analytics installed on your blog from day one. You can create an account on Google Analytics from here and will need to add the java script given by Google Analytics team during sign up process in your blog header or footer section. Just after installing the script, you are ready to go and can start tracking activities of your blog readers through Google Analytics.
3. Set up an Account on GWT
Now you should set up an account on Google Webmasters Tools (GWT) by adding the meta verification code to your blog header section. You can use your GWT account for selecting the geo-targeting for your blog. You can also select the preferred display URL for your blog in Google search results. You should work closely with your GWT account if you want to generate any kind of business from your blog. You can keep track of incoming links to your blog, crawling errors and HTML errors etc. through GWT account.
4. Install Some Must Have WordPress Plugins
You cannot really survive without making use of WordPress plugins. There are plugins available for most of your feasible requirements. Initially I would suggest you install the following plugins at least:
- Nrelate plugin: for showing related posts
- Akismet plugin: for spam comments protection
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: for SEO activities
- W3 Total Cache: for improving the performance of your WordPress blog
- Contact Form 7: for adding a contact form on your blog
- Digg Digg Plugin: for Social Media icons at post level
5. Select the Preferred Domain Name
We need to make decision about whether we want to show our domain name with www or without www in address bar. We need to select one version and the other version should get redirected to selected version. Kiesha has selected non www version for her blog We Blog Better and if you try to open her blog with www, it will automatically get redirected to non www version. For standard websites, we need to make changes in .htaccess file to get this thing done manually. But in case of WordPress, there is much easier solution available. You can select your preferred domain name from General Settings section. Once you have made the changes here, required changes into your .htaccess file will be done automatically by WordPress system.
6. Select a Theme for Your Blog
If you are short of budget, you should pick a theme for your blog from WordPress themes directory. And if you can afford, you should buy a premium theme for your WordPress blog. There are some high quality premium theme providers available on internet you can give a try. My first priority will be thesis theme, but I have heard good words about genesis framework as well. Personally I’m using Thesis Theme on most of my blogs including Bloggers Passion. You can read my Thesis Theme Review from here.
7. Get Rid of Default Stuff on Your Blog
There are lots of default things available on your WordPress that need to be fixed.
- Make Changes into default categories and add new categories as per your need
- Edit or delete the default first post
- Edit or delete sample page
- Edit or delete the default Blogroll section
- Replace the default tagline with your own tagline
8. Create an Account on FeedBurner
You should burn your feed by creating an account on FeedBurner. After getting the feedburner URL for your Feed, you should update the same feed URL on your blog. You will be able to serve your blog content through Feedburner in a better way compared with the WordPress default RSS feed where you have limited options.
9. Set up an Account on Gravatar
it’s time to set up an account on Gravatar. Having an account on Gravatar has become a standard in blogging industry. You should set up your real image to look more authentic and for becoming popular in the blogging industry as your Gravatar avatar will be shown beside your name in your written posts and comments.
10. Add Titles and Meta Tags for Important Pages
By now, you have the list of some keywords you would like to target at different levels on your blog. There must be some generic keyword related to your niche that you may want to target on your blog home page. So you should add search engine friendly (as well as user friendly for higher CTR in search engine results) titles and meta tags for your blog home page first. Then you should work on titles and meta tags at pages level as per your plan of action for keyword targeting.
I used to follow this checklist after installing WordPress on my self-hosted blogs. Are you following any checklist after installing WordPress on your domain, share your thoughts in this regard in the comments section.