things to do after installing wordpress

List Of Key Things To Do After Installing WordPress

After installing a new WordPress blog, the installation comes with default settings which need to be changed. In this tutorial I will give you a list of key things to do after installing WordPress. I will show you which settings you will have to customize or configure right away, so that your new masterpiece looks good and runs well.

Please bear in mind that this “list of things to do” is only a checklist of the key things to do after installing WordPress and to serve you as a reminder of all the key things that must be done right after installing your WordPress blog and before you start publishing your posts (or pages).

All the items I will mention here are very important things you have to do after the installation and originally I was going to prioritize them. But in retrospect, as I went through all these things, I changed my mind. All of the things I will mention are a priority!

Some of the key things I mention have to be done in order for search engines to recognize that your site exists. In other words, these modifications or settings need to be customized in order that the bots will be able to index your website after installing it and writing a few posts.

Think of indexing as registering your blog’s and posts’ existence. Or, filing the information in the vast sea of servers and making your posts available for showing in search pages, after someone searches for terms related to your topics.


The Most Important Things To Do After Installing WordPress

Just to remind you, all these “things to do” have already been described in detail in the WP Tutorials.

1. Change Title And Tagline

After installing your site the most important things you have to take care of are the title and the tagline. Give both of them some thought. They are very important for search engines. Both can be changed any time and as often as you want, but it is better if you won’t have to do it.

  • Access General Settings from the Home Dashboard
  • Add a title of your blog into the Title Box – make sure that it represents the main topic or a theme of your site
  • Add a tagline into the Tagline Box – add a short description of the topic of your website. You can think of it as a subtitle.

2. Edit Permalink Structure

  • Access Settings in your dashboard
  • Click Permalinks
  • Tick off “Post Name”

It is important you do this right after installing your new site. This is because choosing a permalink structure that is descriptive serves well not only the bots, but your readers too. To see the detailed instructions and explanations for items 1 and 2: Click on this link for more instructions

3. Add Categories To Your Posts

You need to create categories even before you start writing articles and posting them. Having categories helps you sort your topics in a meaningful way, helps the reader navigate through your site better and helps the search engines understand what your website is all about. Please read the tutorial about categories and follow the steps as described in the article.

4. Install Must Have Plugins

You have to install these plugins to ensure that your new website loads fast, is free of spam, it is search engine friendly and secure. These plugins will help your blog run effectively and efficiently. To refresh your memory read these instructions about must have plugins.

5. Create A Contact Page

A Contact page is a must for any serious blogger. If a website does not have one, it reeks of unprofessionalism and untrustworthiness. It suggests to the reader that a blogger has something to hide, And, indeed, if you scan through various blogs, only the ones that seem unscrupulous do not offer a Contact information.

6. Create About Page

An About page is also an important piece of information to be published. It is also in keeping with being professional about your blog and it creates a sense of trust. It does not have to be a long page but it should say something about you and about the mission of your website.

To understand the importance regarding the About and Contact pages, please read the post I wrote about the subject here

7. Delete Default Content

When installing WordPress, the default installation comes with certain elements you don’t want to keep.

  • Hello World post
  • Hello Dolly plugin
  • Sample page
  • Extra default themes
  • Default widgets in the sidebar

With the exception of the theme you use, delete the rest of the themes. They are of no use. You may question this practice, but don’t worry, you can get any one of them back by simply going to the “Add New Theme” tab in your theme dashboard. To read more about the WordPress sidebar and about how to get rid of the default sidebar elements go to the sidebar tutorial

8. Change The Look Of Your Blog

Take a few minutes to change the look of your blog and make it more appealing to your readers. Even if you just change a few things like the title and title tag colors and change the background, it will make a difference. Further reading about this topic


9. Create an XML Sitemap

I recommend a Google XML Sitemaps plugin by Arnie Brachhold which will help you create an XML Sitemap. It is very important that you don’t forget to configure this plugin. This will ensure that every time you will publish a new post or a page, it will be added to the XML sitemap and submitted to the main search engines, such as Google and Bing.

Here is my XML sitemap, if you want to have a peek at how it looks:

10. Register Your Domain (Blog’s URL) With Google Webmaster Tools

You absolutely have to take this step immediately after installing your site. Don’t leave it for “tomorrow”, which will never come! Take a few minutes to follow the instructions in the Webmaster Tools. Don’t think of it as a chore but rather as a gift from Google to us. You can access Webmaster Tools directly from the Google XML Sitemaps plugin or you can accesses the website here

Once you enter your URL into Webmaster Tools do the following things:

  • verify your site – follow the simple instructions on how to do it, right there on the Webmaster Tools’ page
  • submit your sitemap

This lets Google know about your newly installed blog and helps Google find it so that it can be indexed and recognized by their search engines.

You can do the same with Bing.

11. Turn Off XML Sitemaps In WordPress SEO by Yoast

If you have followed the “Must Have Plugins” suggestions, you might have installed WordPress SEO by Yoast (which is great!) as well as Google XML Sitemaps plugins. Although Yoast plugin generates XML sitemaps, it is known to not submit them consistently. Hence, for consistency, the second XML sitemaps plugin. But you must make sure to turn off Yoast’s XML sitemaps. You do not want to have duplicate submission.


In summary, the list I have created for you here represents the key things to do after installing WordPress site. Please do not take shortcuts as you will not do yourself any favors. I know, some of these seem like a nuisance but they have to be done, so you may as well plug along, grit your teeth and do them. They will help you in the long run and you blog will run well.


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4 Responses to List Of Key Things To Do After Installing WordPress

  1. Cararta March 23, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

    Hi Dita,

    Most of this important list I do, but didn’t know about Yoast…will have to check my plugins when I do my updates !
    Was looking for some information on when to use Categories….Seldom did them in the past except occasionally in the menu bar and then not quite correctly as I often put a post in more than one category…eg: traffic and blogging…
    Cararta recently posted…Review: How to Create an Infographic in an Hour!My Profile

    • Dita Irvine March 25, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      Hi Cararta,

      so nice to see you here. I imagine that by know you would know what to do. Yeah, the Yoast thing was news to me too and because it is so important to have a good and accurate XML sitemap, I’ve decided not to use Yoast. But I love the rest of his plugin
      Dita Irvine recently posted…3 Simple Steps To Increase Productivity And ProfitabilityMy Profile

  2. Michel Snook March 10, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    Hey Dita!

    Great post touching on all the important things to do with WordPress after installing it. Also in the Settings section under Reading, you want to make sure that search engine visibility is not checked so that search engines can index your WP site.

    Also, it’s funny you made a mention about WordPress SEO by Yoast and the XML sitemap – I recently found out my site wasn’t being found by Google (analytics) because of the sitemap issue with Yoast. In fact the plugin creates a series of sitemaps (one for pages, another for posts, categories, even comments) ridiculous! So it is a awesome thing that you included this issue in the post! 🙂
    Michel Snook recently posted…Maximizing Your Web TrafficMy Profile

    • Dita Irvine March 11, 2015 at 9:54 am #

      Hey Michel, I am glad you liked it.

      Thank you for the reminder about visibility. I thought about it but WordPress has visibility opened by default. A person would actually have to go into the settings and tick it off to make the site invisible in search engines and I doubt someone new to blogging would do that.

      With respect to Yoast, isn’t it just interesting. I was really surprised that this issue has not been addressed by him as there are a number of users of his plugin that report on this issue. Go figure!
      Dita Irvine recently posted…How To Create A Table Of Contents In WordPressMy Profile