15 essential tasks to complete after installing WordPress

After installing WordPress

After installing WordPress

15 essential tasks to complete after installing WordPress

WordPress is a blog publishing platform that can be used to run many different types of website. Every time I install WordPress I run through the same geeky routine to ensure that it is well-functioning and easily discovered.

WordPress has a web template system using a template processor. Users can re-arrange widgets without editing PHP or HTML code; they can also install and switch between themes. The PHP and HTML code in themes can also be edited for more advanced customizations.

WordPress also features integrated link management; a search engine-friendly, clean permalink structure; the ability to assign nested, multiple categories to articles; and support for tagging of posts and articles.

So, aside from the theme (the way the website looks) and the content (what the website says) these are my next steps after installing WordPress…

15 essential tasks to complete after installing WordPress

1. Create a Favicon
A favicon is a 16×16 pixel icon associated with the website that usually sits in the address bar of your browser. There are many online favicon creators and a plugin you can download for Photoshop. No self-respecting website is seen without one. Once saved upload to the route of your website and call in the <head> of every page like so.

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="http://your-site.com/favicon.ico"/>

2. Put keywords in your URLs
One of the most important things you can do to your WordPress site in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is to get your permalinks looking pretty!

By default WordPress uses web URLs like this: www.your-site.com/?p=N. In the WordPress admin panel go Settings > Permalinks, choose Custom Structure and enter /%postname%/. Now your URLs will look like this: www.your-site.com/keyword-rich-post/.

If you are getting an error message when trying to do this or it doesn’t work, put this in your .htaccess file on your site’s route.

# BEGIN WordPress
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>
# END WordPress

3. Create an XML sitemap
An XML sitemap is a file that lists the pages of your site and gives search engines other important information, for example, how often you add content, which is helpful in getting new pages crawled quickly. Creating an XML sitemap on a WordPress site is incredibly easy. You just need to install Google XML Sitemaps plugin and follow the instructions. Once you have created your sitemap you should submit it to Google and other search engines, see below.

4. Register your site with Google Webmaster Tools
This is something that will take 5 minutes and will tell you how many of your pages are indexed by Google, how fast your site loads in comparison to others, alert you to errors, enable you to pick a geographical location, submit your sitemap… really, the Google Webmaster Tools is a pretty awesome free service.

In order to register you have to upload a file to the route of your server so that Google knows you are indeed the webmaster.

5. Create a Robots.txt file
After you’ve submitted your XML sitemap to Google you need to tell other search engines out there of it’s existence by creating a “robot.txt” text file and putting in the route of your server. Here’s mine:

Sitemap: http:// your-site.com/sitemap.xml

You can also ward search engine robots off certain areas of your site that aren’t for public consumption. So, for example, by adding Disallow: /dev/ to the file you can make sure the search engines don’t crawl or index any page inside the “dev” directory of your website.

6. Make a contact page
99% of websites require a noticeable link to a contact page which includes details of how to get hold of the website’s owner(s) as well as a contact form. There are various WordPress plugins that will help you with the contact form but the one I always use is Contact Form 7. It has an excellent default form ready to plug in and play or you can set up more complicated forms with extra fields and dropdown menus. It can also send an acknowledgment emails.

7. Install a spam filtering plugin
“Kismet” sometimes means a predetermined course of events – so take comment spam out of your destiny by installing the Akismet plugin that comes with WordPress. There are other comment spam plugins by I find this one usually does the trick. You will need a WordPress API key. You can use the same one for multiple sites. Just search your email client for “WordPress API” and you should find it if you’ve done this before.

8. Install a database backup plugin
There are two things you need to do in order to back up your WordPress website successfully: one is to back up the files on the server; the second is to back up the database. I use this WordPress Database Backup plugin to make copies of my MySQL database – you can get it emailed to you every week!

9. Install Google Analytics
Another Google service. The pro is cool website visitor stats that are absolutely free. The con is that Google gets to look at your bounce rates but that’s never bothered me. Again, registering takes five minutes, all you have to do it paste a bit of code given to you on the Analytics site into the footer.php of your theme.

10. Ensure good page titles with an SEO plugin
Search engines attach more importance to the title than anything else on a page so, for this reason, it’s necessary to get them right. A good SEO plugin like HeadSpace2 SEO or All in One SEO Pack will enable you to get the important keywords of a page at the beginning of the title as well as set the page meta information both globally and individually.

11. Install a related posts plugin
If you are using your WordPress site as a blog, one of the most essential plugins that will increase your site’s “stickiness” is the WordPress Related Posts plugin which creates a list of other articles with connected subject matter. I use a textual list here but there are other plugins that can show related posts with thumbnails like the nrelate Related Content plugin.

12. Add Subscribe to Comments plugin
Another great way to get visitors to stay – and return to – your site is adding the Subscribe to Comments plugin. This plugin enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent entries.

13. Add social networking and bookmarking buttons
And, staying with bloggy-type plugins for the moment, another great idea is to enable visitors to easily vote for your blog posts on various social bookmarking and networking sites. You may want a Twitter, Digg or Facebook button. Or you may want a plugin that displays multiple voting sites. It depends entirely on the type of blog and which type of social media it is drawn to. But without these buttons there is much less chance of traffic from social media.

14. Install a cache plugin
These plugins cache pages and deliver them without accessing the database making the site much faster. And, as speed is now a contributory factor in search engine results, it’s a good idea to install one of these. I use WP Super Cache.

15. Mobile plugin
Everyone’s talking about the mobile internet revolution and, while it may not be as seismic as some commenters will have you believe, you’d better get onboard. A normal blog or website may take long to load and be difficult to view on many smart phones. There are several great plugins that will format your site with a mobile theme for mobile visitors. WPTouch is generally considered to be one of the better ones. Source.

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Berrie Pelser
My name is Berrie Pelser, since 1999 co-owner of Ber|Art Visual Design V.O.F. Our company is been grown to a full service bureau for complete managed business internet sites that we are hosting in our own secure and fast Cloud. We are specialized in WordPress, search engine optimization, social media integration and social media strategy. I co-founded my company, Ber|Art Visual Design, in 1999 as a web design firm. It has since grown into a full-service agency for maintaining complete corporate websites hosted by Ber|Art in a secure and fastcloud environment.
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