You just installed Wordpress and are now wondering what to do. Here is some suggestions to make your site more secure, SEO friendly, and useful for your visitors.
Wordpress Installation Checklist
Install in another directory
Planning for the layout of your website is extremely important in the early stages. It is highly recommended that you do not store your wordpress installation in the root of your website. The reason is, someday your site may require additional features that are not just blog related. It is better to place Wordpress in its own folder to give you better file organization.
In the General settings, change the Wordpress address URL to the new location. For example if you decide to store Wordpress in a blog folder off the root, do this:
Set the Site address url to be the root of your website:
With your FTP client, move all your Wordpress files to the new blog folder.
In the root of Wordpress, there are two files:
Move these files to the root of your website.
Finally, with a text editor make the following change to the index.php file:
You should now be able to surf to your website and Wordpress will kick in. Remember, that because you changed your file locations, you will need to get at them differently. For example the new login URL is:
Remove Sample Data
Delete the following from your site:
Hello, World post
Hello Dolly Plugin
Drag and drop the Meta, Recent comments, Recent posts and Archives widget off the page/li>
Setup your Permalinks
Set your permalinks to /%category%/%postname% to make it SEO and user friendly. This will make your links look like:
By default Wordpress will use ?p=33453 which is really not nice to look at, nor easy to remember.
Go to the Settings | Permalinks area and choose custom, then type in the permalink.
Setup your default category
Unless you like everything you write to be associated with the infamous Uncategorized category, its best to create some categories your site will be based on and set a default category.
Go to Posts | Categories. Type in the name of the category. For the slug use the same name. If you have a category with two or more words, name-it-like-this with hyphens in it. Always type in a description. That will help search engines and with search engine optimization (SEO). Finally click on the Add New Category button.
When you finished go to Settings | Writing and select a category other than Unauthorized from the drop down.
Create a new administration account
Usually what people do is type in the username "admin" or something obvious when they install. The problem is, that just makes it easier for hackers to guess your username and password. In addition, in the database, the first record will be dedicated to the first record id. You want to keep them guessing just in case they try to do some clever SQL Injection.
Go to Users and then click the Add New button. Enter in all information and give the user the Role of Administrator. Now click the Add New User button. Log out and then login as the new Administrator. Next, go delete the original administrator. You are now done.
Change the tagline
Go to Settings | General Settings and modify the tagline entry. There are too many sites just about Wordpress :O)
Synchronize your time zone with the Universal Time Clock (UTC) setting
To find your setting, zoom in on the UTC map. Everything is an offset from UTC 0. For example, if you are in the western United States, it is UTC +8. If you are along the United States East coast, it is UTC +5.
Create your pages
Go to Pages and click on the Add New button. Type in the title of the page and then fill in it's content. If you are using a custom theme, you may see in the Page Attributes metabox a drop down to choose a Template. Pick on that looks good if you have the luxury. Finally click the Publish button.
Create a top menu for navigation
If you followed the instructions above, you should now have four pages but you will not be able to click to see them.
To create your own menu, if you Wordpress Theme has enabled the menu maker, you can go to Appearance | Menus. First thing to do is create a Menu Name, say "Top menu" then click the Create Menu button.
These pages will now appear in the "Top menu" tab. Along the right hand side is a drop down arrow. Click on it and fill out your information. Now, go visit your site and if you did everything correct, you will see your new menu.
Turn on or off commenting
Turning on comments is sometimes more hassle than its worth. The reason is, throughout the years i've received way too much comment spam on my websites and they are a real pain to deal with. However, if you are game, you can enable comments in your Wordpress installation by going to Settings | Discussion.
If you do want comments, perform these steps:
Check "allow people to post comments on new articles"
Check "comment author must fill out name and e-mail"
Check "users must be registered and logged in to comment"
Check "email me whenever anyone posts a comment"
Check "email me whenever a comment is held for moderation"
Check "an administrator must always approve the comment"
Then, enable the Akismet plugin too.
If you dont want comments, perform these steps:
Tick off every checkbox in the discussion setting screen
Turn off media settings that automatically organize your stuff
Go to Settings | Media and tick off the "Organize my uploads into month- and year based folders". For the life of me I don't why anyone would feel this is useful. There is no way in Hades you are going to remember when you uploaded a picture so why even try. Besides, what if you want to reuse media? It makes no sense to organize according to time and date.
Because Wordpress is very weak at organizing uploaded content into categories (isn't that what its supposed to do?), everything will just have to go into the wp-content/upload directory by default. However, my suggestion is to not even use the Media Manager. The reason why I say that is because you still need to get at the URL link location of the image to use it in your posts and pages. Also, Wordpress creates three sizes of your images (thumb, medium, large) requiring you to take up more disk space.
So its best for you to arrange your media in their own categories like this:
Then, just use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client to upload and download content to the right location. You're really going to be doing that anyway.
Ping A Larger List
Pinging is a way to notify websites of new content that has been posted on our website. By default, Wordpress only has a few but its better to let more of the world know so that you can get additional visitor traffic.
Lee Hodsen at Journal Xtra keeps a good list of pingable websites.
My suggestion is to take aggregate the list and go to Settings | Writing. Look for the Update Services box and cut and paste into the box. Make sure you don't leave any blank lines. Then, hit Save changes.
If you don't want to have do cleaning up of the list, just cut, copy and paste the links listed here:
Turn on or off search engine indexing
Go to Settings | Privacy Settings and choose the "Allow search engines to index this site" if your website is publicly available on the Internet and you want search engines to list your pages. If you are behind a firewall, have an intranet, and/or using your Wordpress blog for personal reasons, tick the "Ask search engines not to index this site". You will still have to block access to your website, however.
Turn off showing full text when using a RSS feed
Go to Settings | Reading Setings and tick the "for each article i a feed show Summary". If you write lengthy articles, having RSS clients download your entire text can result in a lot of bandwidth use. Besides, you want people to come to your Wordpress blog, so only give them a Summary, not the full article.
By default Wordpress will stick some widgets in the sidebar. You may not need most of them so go into Appearance | Widgets and drag 'n drop those you wan't, and those you dont need. My suggestion is to only use widgets that don't dilute the SEO on your pages and posts.
What I mean by this is if you place a recent comment or post widget on all your pages, that will just create more of the same kind of information on all your pages. When a search engine looks at the value of your page, that information dilutes the pages value.
It is best to refrain from using too many widgets also as they can make your website slow.