Once you have finished installing WordPress there are a number of measures that must be taken if you want to get the most from your blog.
Use the following list as points to follow for future installations or just to double check if there are something that you have not done yet.
1 . Change the Theme
If you want that your blog is appreciated by your readers you will need a professional and original theme. Searching with Google you can find plenty of WordPress Theme, both free and fee.
WooThemes are wonderfull if you want to have a professional looking blog or if you just want to differentiate from the most part of traditional available WordPress templates. The blog theme I use is called Fresh News, and it’s from WooThemes. I highly recommend them and their themes are definitely worth investing in. You can check WooThemes site, because there are always new themes.
2 . Modify the Structure of Permalinks
Permalinks are simply the address with which to store each individual post or page of your blog.
To make sure that this will not be saved only by a number (the default), you can modify the structure, so that it appears at least the title of the post, under the menu Settings> Permalinks.
I use ”day and name” :
3 . Change Title and Tagline
Use your keywords in Title and Tagline may help you improve your SEO rankings.
Under the menu Settings> General in the field, you can simply change your Blog Title. After blog title, there is the tagline, that is your blog subtitle.
You should find an appealing sentence !
I use : “Free MAKE MONEY Advice - Your Money Maker Device” . Is it enough appealing in your opinion?
4. 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.
Here’s mine : http://freemakemoneyadvice.com/sitemap.xml
Once you have created your sitemap you should submit it to Google and other search engines.
5 . Register your URL to Google Webmaster Tools
This is something useful, it will take few minutes and will inform you about how many of your pages are indexed by Google, the loading speed of your site with relation to others, tell you about errors and you can submit your sitemap. Here the link of this nice service : Google Webmaster Tools .
When you register, you need to prove that you are the owner of your site : you can choose between few options on how to do it.
6 . Install Google Analytics
This is another nice tool from Google, and above all for FREE. It takes only few minutes to register and to install the code into your Theme.
Google Analytics will give you a lot of useful information, as the number of unique visitors, the pageviews, the time on your site, the bounce rate, the new visits and a lot of juicy information that will help you improve your site. If you decide to monetize with Google Adsense, using Google Analytics will help you also in increase your earnings, checking a lot of interesting data. See ”How to Make More Money with Google Adsense here”.
7 . Install a Cache Plugin
You should install a Cache Plugin, so it can cache pages and deliver them without accessing the database, making your site much faster. As you surely know, the loading speed is a factor that Google consider in search engine results.
I use “W3 Total Cache” : it is considered as the highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.
8 . 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. All the popular websites have a favicon (I have it also !).
With my theme site, Fresh News, is easy, because there is a setting and you have just to insert the link to your favicon (mine is similar to my logo).
9 . Add widgets to the sidebar
Widgets are a real magic of WordPress. Select, drag and drop, and in a moment you can create a sidebar full of great features for your readers.
With WooThemes is easy, as they have personalized and useful widgets, already installed in the theme.
I use :
- “Popular Posts,Tags,Comments” Widget, that Wootheme give only to their users;
- “Social Media Widget“, where you can insert the details of your Social Presence around the web;
- “WordPress Popular Posts“ plugin, that let you put a widget in your sidebar, and show your most important posts, listed per views or comments;
-”Top Commentators Widget” plugin, that rewards your Top Commentators, by giving them a link in a widget in the sidebar of your homepage.
10 . Make a contact page
It is certainly important, that your readers and visitors may contact you easily. I use ”Contact Form 7” WordPress plugin.
With a “Contact” form, easily accessible on your blog, people may contact you for consulting and business opportunities.
See my About page : I suggest you to fill it up with your personal information, description and goal of your blog and at least a real picture of you.
11 . Update Services of your PING List
“Pinging” : it is a notification to some sites/services for each time your blog is updated. By default every installation of WordPress has at least one entry.
Go here and to get a BIG ping list. Select this list of 170 sites, then copy and paste into your WP-Admin page : “Settings->Writing->Update Services“.
12 . Install a Database Backup Plugin
It is strongly suggested to have a system that automatically backup all the content and settings of your site and save it in a database : you do not want to work day and night to your site and may be for whatever reason, lose forever everything !
There is a nice system : install “WordPress Database Backup” plugin to make copies of your MySQL database and get it emailed every week.
13 . Install a Spam Filtering Plugin
The most popular way to prevent spam comments is trough “Akismet” : it is used by millions of bloggers, this plugin will protect your blog from comment and trackback spam.
All you have to do is to install this plugin, sign up for an Akismet API key and save it in the configuration page of the plugin.
I use it in combination with “Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin”, also know as G.A.S.P. : it will add a client side generated checkbox to the comment form, requesting that the user check it in order to prove that they are not a spammer. Bots will not see it, so their SPAM comments will be discarded.
14. Integrate your Blog with Social Media
Social Media is a must for your online business and even for a simple blog, you always want to give an wasy opportunity to your readers, to share the content and your articles.
I use “SexyBookmarks (by Shareaholic)” : it adds a list of social bookmarking icons below each of your posts, so people can easily “share the love”.
In my list of social bookmarking icons there are Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, LinkedIn, but also many others and you can choose which ones are the most suitable for you.
15 . Add your RSS Feeds to Feedburner
FeedBurner is a service platform that will manage and distribute your feeds, helping you optimizing them.
Depending on the Theme you will choose, you will have to insert your RSS Feeds link in different fields.
Subscribe to my RSS Feeds here ! And good luck in increasing your Subscribers !
16 . Install a Related Posts Plugin
At the end of each post, you should let your reader know about related articles, that he should be interested about. In this way, the bounce rate of your blog will decrease.
I use “WordPress Related Posts” , that will generate a number of related posts, below each of your article, with relation of the tags that you will use.
17 . Set your 404 Error URL
If someone digit incorrectly some of the URL of your site, you should help them redirect to some of your content.
I use “Smart 404″ plugin : when content cannot be found, Smart 404 will use the current URL to attempt to find matching content, and redirect to it automatically.
18 . Take Care of SEO
You know that SEO is so much important for your site and you want to optimize your site, in order to attract a lot of Organic Traffic.
A good plugin is “All in One SEO Pack“ or “Yoast WordPress SEO” , that 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.
Using one of the WooThemes is easier, because they are already SEO friendly and arranged in order to make things faster.
But I can suggest you to use “SEO Smart Links”: it is a plugin that I have installed and will provide automatic SEO benefits for your site, in addition to custom keyword lists, nofollow and much more.
I use and I suggest you also to install “Broken Link Checker” : it checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard if any are found.
19 . Be Mobile !
With the smart phones and tablets, we are in the middle of a mobile internet revolution.
You should then set your site in order to be viewed easily by a mobile gadget, also because your site may take too long to load and may be it can be difficult to be consulted on some smart phones.
I use “WPtouch” : this is a very popular plugin, that will format your site with a mobile theme for visitors on Apple iPhone / iPod touch, Google Android, Blackberry Storm and Torch, Palm Pre and other touch-based smartphones.
20 – Publish Your First Post
Remember to remove the “Hello World” default post, set the categories of your topic and create your first post !
Most Important Suggestion = E-mail Marketing !
If you want to start an online business or set a blog, that can generate money in the future, then you should start now building your e-mail list.
Make it easy for people to subscribe to your blog, both via email or RSS Feeds.
I use Aweber to manage my email subscribers. Aweber gives you a lot of flexibility. In addition to automatically emailing your subscribers when you have a new blog post, it lets you email them any time, for any reason.
This helps you build a deeper relationship with your community by sending special emails.
You can test it for 1$ dollar here : the account is just like a normal Aweber account and includes unlimited email campaigns, newsletter, broadcasts and follow ups. It is a wonderful way to test drive Aweber to see if it can be suitable for you.
The satisfaction is guaranteed and if you decide that email marketing is not for you, contact Aweber within 30 days and they will give you the $1 back.
Do you have any other suggestions ? Thanks !