You can install WordPress in few easy steps through your hosting company’s auto-installer or can use famous WordPress 5 Minute Install. But just like any other software WordPress also needs some simple tweaks to work at its peak performance and Security.
In this article we are going to go through the list of tasks that you should consider doing right from the beginning to improve your website’s performance. For the most part, once they’re done you won’t need to stress over them ever again. So let’s have a look at Essential Things You Should Do After Installing WordPress.
Check Your Admin Username
When you create a new website using your hosting company’s quick WordPress installer, make sure that you don’t have an account with ‘admin’ as username. If that’s the case then you can create a new user account with administrative privileges, login to this new Administrator account and remove this old account.
Also make sure that you are not using your administrator account for performing non administrative tasks such as publishing content. For this you can create a separate account with Author/Editor privileges.
Change Title, Tagline, Time zone
These three things can be combined into one since you will be making changes in the same area of your WordPress Admin Dashboard.
To change these things go to Dashboard >> Settings >> General. Now change the title and tagline of your website to something that suits its purpose.
Now scroll down on the same page and update your timezone. This is important to show accurate dates on your website and for scheduling posts.
You can also configure things such as date format, time format, week starts on and site language on same page.
Change the Permalink Structure
Out of the box the permalink structure of WordPress is quite ugly. Permalinks on new WordPress Website look like http://www.yourdomain.com/?p=123, this works well for the computers but is of no use for humans and SEO.
To change this, go to Dashboard >> Settings >> Permalinks. There you will have options for setting permalinks structure. You should either set it to ‘Day and name’ or ‘Post name’. It will make it easier for your website readers to know what a page or post is about before they arrive your website, and it will also help your site to rank higher in search engines.
Configure the Reading Settings
By default WordPress shows posts in reverse chronological order on front page of your website, but you can change that from Reading Settings
To change that and to have a custom homepage go to Dashboard >> Settings >>Reading. Here you can set any page of your website as homepage. You can also set Posts page here, which will show your latest blog posts.
Delete Unused Themes and Plugins
Most WordPress users tend install and try couple of themes before finalizing which one they will be using for their website. Now if you leave those unnecessary themes installed in your website then you will have to update theme regularly which is quite a pain. Also if you if don’t update those themes regularly then this can be hazardous to your website’s safety, as it can give hackers a way into your website.
Same goes with the plugins, you will have to regularly update them too. So you should consider deleting all unused themes and plugins that you are having in your website.
Install Caching Plugin
A caching plugin is used to boost the speed of your WordPress website. A typical cache plugin creates a static copy of the dynamic website and saves it on the server, so when a user again visits your website it is served immediately from the cache. A faster website not only attracts more visitors but is also loved by search engines. Here are some of the popular caching plugins for WordPress.
WP Super Cache – WP Super Cache plugin is recommended for WordPress beginners or general users, since it is relatively easier to configure compared to W3 Total Cache. Even thought WP Super Cache is easier to configure it is quite advance plugin, you will not feel that your site’s performance is lagging. When you go to the configuration screen of WP Super Cache there it clearly states the recommendations. So if you are not sure what will work for your website, then you should just stick to the recommendations.
W3 Total Cache – W3 Total Cache is recommended for more techie users and WordPress Professionals. The plugin offers many features along with in-depth settings for each. Only technically adept users can configure each type of cache features. Moreover, such comprehensive configurations are required only for very advanced sites, which get a huge traffic every day, and where more users play the role in managing a site.
Improving WordPress Security
First and foremost step for securing your WordPress website is taking regular backups (We will get to that later.). These backups will help you in the event of your site getting hacked or deleted.
Second thing that you should do is securing the WP Admin area from unauthorized access, for that you can install Limit Login Attempts plugin.
By default WordPress allows unlimited login attempts through the login page, but Limit Login Attempts blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit on retries is reached, making a brute-force attack difficult or impossible. It also keeps a detailed log of failed attempts along with IP Addresses.
For advance security features you should consider using either iThemes Security or Sucuri Security Plugin. Both of them are quite advance plugins and if you don’t use them properly they can even break your website, so you should use them carefully or consider consulting a Professional before using them.
Install an Anti-Spam Plugin
One of the biggest headaches for any WordPress website owner is spam comments. Not only they are bad for your website’s SEO, but are also irritating. There are two ways to deal with these problems, either you can completely remove comments, trackback and pingbacks from your website or you can install an anti-spam plugin in your website. Some of the popular anti-spam plugins are:
Akismet – It by far the most popular anti-spam plugin available for WordPress. It is actively used by more than 1 million WordPress sites. It is available as individual plugin or as a part of Jetpack. It is quick and easy to install and with Akismet it is almost guaranteed that you site will be spam free. Akismet is completely free for personal use but can be upgraded to paid version for commercial blogs for just 5$ per month.
Antispam Bee – Another popular free plugin that you should consider is Antispam Bee. It validates the IP address of the commenter, with an option to block or allow specific countries. Its strength is in combating blog spam.
Install SEO Plugin
You can have a great website with great content, but it’s of no use if you don’t get enough visitors on your website. That is when SEO comes into the picture; Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps you in getting more visitors to your website via Search engines. For WordPress SEO two plugins that you should consider are Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack.
All in One SEO is a great plugin to start with if you are new to SEO and want to get up and running quickly. It is straight forward and easy to use.
While Yoast SEO introduces whole new level of complexity but also offers a greater control over your website.
As well as optimizing your content for the search engines, you should also have a strong focus on creating a better user experience. Truthfully, this should always be your top priority anyway – a great user experience means visitors are more likely to come back.
Integrate Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a great way to get detailed information your website’s traffic. It is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics & reports about the visits to your website. It is the most widely used website statistics service. To integrate Google analytics in your website you will need an Analytics account with Google, if you don’t have one then you can sign up here.
There are number of plugins available in repository to integrate your WordPress website with Google analytics and track its performance. I will recommend you to use Google Analytics Dashboard for WP, because it is easy to use and enables you track your website using tracking code only.
It allows you to view Google Analytics reports, in-depth Page reports and in-depth Post reports. In addition to that it also allows further segmentation of your analytics data, which in turn provides performance details for each post or page on your website.
Start Scheduling Regular Backups/Automate Your Backups
Now that you have your WordPress website in place with content and necessary customization you wouldn’t want to lose any of this right? Well for that you should creating regular backups using plugins such as VaultPress, BackupBuddy, BackWPup and BackUpWordPress.
So there you have it a list of Essential Things You Should Do after Installing WordPress. All steps that I have mentioned above are vital for any WordPress website. Obviously this list doesn’t cover everything but these are the critical steps that you must take in order to ensure security and performance of your website. If you believe that I have missed anything important, please add it to the comments below