What to do after you install WordPress
So you’ve just bought yourself some web hosting, installed WordPress, high-fived yourself for this kick-ass accomplishment and then thought: What the hell am I supposed to do next?
If you are an impatient chicken like myself, you’re probably itching to get creative and design your site or write some content.
But to save yourself some headaches later on you need to do a few boring (but important) things first.
In this tutorial I’m going to show you what to do after you install WordPress.
The 3 things you need to do after installing WordPress
- Change your WordPress settings
- Add 7 must-have plugins
- Install a WordPress theme
It’s easy to do, I’ll walk you through it.
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Starting a blog
If you haven’t started your self hosted blog yet, you can learn how to set one up here or sign up for my free course: Kickstart Your Money Making Blog, in which I’ll walk you through every step of starting a blog.
These WordPress settings are for self hosted WordPress sites on WordPress.org. If your site is hosted on WordPress.com or blogger.com and you want to have a self hosted site, please read: How to transfer your free blog to wordpress.org
What To Do After You Install WordPress
Change your WordPress Settings
A good way to familiarise yourself in the WordPress Dashboard is to change a few settings. This is very important for the wellbeing of your site so please follow along with the next steps:
Step 1. Change the Site Title and Tagline
On the left side in the sidebar, hover over Settings and click General.
Here you can change your site title and tagline.
The Site Title and the Tagline should be changed to your business name and tagline. If you don’t have a tagline, just describe in a few words what you do. Click Save Changes.
In the top left you should now see your Site Name. (You click on this to take you to the front end of your site.)
Step 2. Create a new user name and Password
When you first login to WordPress it will be with the login credentials that your web host has provided you with. If the username is admin you’ll have to change this asap. Every hacker tries to login with the user name admin so get rid of it fast!
When you first login your username will be the only user in the database so you can’t delete it. You’ll have to create a new admin level user fist:
Go to Users > Add New > fill in your new username (not your name or blog name, make it hard to guess) and your email address. Then click on password and change it to a sentence that you can remember but is impossible to guess. Make sure it has a few $ymbo1s and use UPPER & lower case. Four or five words is good. (I like to be able to remember my password so I don’t have to look it up all the time, this is why a sentence works better than just random characters.) Write your login details down and keep them safe.
Next to Role you select Administrator from the drop-down.
Make sure to save your settings by clicking > Add new user.
Now log out of WordPress: Top right corner > Click on Howdy Admin > Log Out.
Now you can log back in with your new username and password.
Next you have to delete the old Admin username. Go to Users > All Users, hover over the old admin and click delete.
One more thing you should do: Go to Users > hover on your username > click edit.
Scroll down to Nickname > fill out your first name. Underneath Nickname it says: Display name publicly as > from the drop-down choose your first name. Scroll down > click on Update Profile to save your settings. This will be the name that is visible on your blog (you wouldn’t want your login username placated all over your blog now would you?)
Step 3. Change your Permalinks
WARNING: Never change your Permalinks once you already have blog posts published because it will break all your links. These instructions are for brand new blogs only.
Hover on Settings and click on Permalinks.
Day and Name might be selected but scroll down and select Post Name.
This will make your urls look clean and they will have the title of the post name in it:
which looks better and is better for your SEO.
Step 4. Delete Sample Content
Delete the Hello World post and Sample Page page. This automatically created content that will only attract spam. Go to Posts > All Posts, and Pages > All Pages, hover on the titles and click Trash.
Step 5. Delete pre-installed plugins
To stop your site from bloating with unnecessary content, delete the Hello Dolly plugin. Go to Plugins, find Hello Dolly, click deactivate and then delete. If Jetpack is installed I recommend deleting this too.
Step 6. Delete pre-installed Themes
For the same reason as above it is smart to get rid of all the themes that you won’t be using. They serve no purpose and only slow down your site. Go to Appearance > themes, here you’ll see WordPress themes from the past 3 years installed. These are free themes that you could build your site with but might cause you to have a mental breakdown…haha no offence WordPress but I’m serious. I suggest you delete all the these themes and buy a good theme that will save you tons of work (and that mental breakdown).
Click on a Theme, it will open a pop up and in the bottom right click delete and then ok. Repeat for all themes.
Ok, congratulations, you’ve found your way around the WordPress Dashboard and changed some settings. Now it’s time to install some must-have plugins.
Install these must-have plugins
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. So pretty much if WordPress doesn’t offer a certain functionality, it’s very likely that there is a plugin available that does.
To install a plugin go to the left side bar, hover on Plugins and click Add New
Type the name of the plugin in the search box
Select the plugin you want by clicking Install Now. Next click Activate. Once activated you’ll have to go to the settings and configure them.
Install the following free plugins.
1. iThemes Security
Many WordPress sites get hacked each year, so a security plugin is the first one to install. iThemes Security stops automated attacks, enforces password security and blocks users who have too many failed login attempts.
2. Updraft Backup Restore
If your site ever happened to get hacked, you’d better hope you have your site backed up. This easy to use plugin performs complete manual or scheduled backups of all your WordPress files, databases and plugins.
3. Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode Lite
While you’re building your site you don’t want anyone snooping around in your half baked site. The easiest way to prevent this is setting up a Coming Soon page or Maintenance Mode page. If anyone types in your url all they will see is this page.
4. Yoast SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, this plugin will help you optimise your blog with keywords so you can be found in Google. Once you’ve installed and activated it, you’ll find a Yoast section at the bottom of every page and post, this is where you’ll add your keywords.
5. Antispam Bee
To stop your blog getting overloaded with comment spam you need a spam blocker. Antispam Bee is easy to use, ad-free and GDPR compliant.
This plugin is vital for speeding up your website’s loading times. No one likes a slow site, if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load you have a good chance that your visitors leave before they’ve even seen your site. Now that’s not what you want! Smush is a free plugin that reduces your image file sizes for quicker loading and increases your site’s overall performance.
7. Social Warfare
To make it easy for your readers to share your blog post you have to install a social sharing plugin. Social Warfare is easy to use and adds customisable buttons to your blog posts. Social Warfare has a free version with basic functionality. If you want to customise what your posts look like when someone shares them you can upgrade for $24 per year.
Ok then, after installing all these plugins you must feel like a bit of a WordPress pro!
The final thing to do before you can start designing your site is install a WordPress theme.
Install a WordPress Theme
Buying a premium theme might seem unnecessary when you first start your blog. But let me tell you: this is when you need it the most. When you start a blog the learning curve is kinda steep so my advice is to give yourself a break and make an investment that will save you tons of time and headaches.
The absolute best thing that happened to me in my WordPress learning curve journey was someone recommending a WordPress theme to me. It literally made me go from: “I hate WordPress!” To: “Oh this is actually pretty easy…” 😆LOL
I’m going to recommend three themes to you now so you don’t have to scroll through tons of themes wondering if they are any good.
Theme 1: Divi
Divi is probably the best theme for beginners. It has a drag & drop builder that makes it super easy to get the look you want. No coding needed, just front-end bliss. It even comes with more than 20 pre-made layouts that you can kick off your blog design with.
For $89 you get a year access to all themes and plugins on the Elegant Themes site. They offer a 30-day-money-back guarantee, so it’s risk free!
Check out the Divi Theme here.
Theme 2: Enfold
This theme was recommended to me, and I’m still using it today (for this blog). Enfold is the best rated top selling theme on Themeforest (over 9000 users have rated this theme 4.82 stars! ) It comes with 38 demo sites or you can start building from scratch with the (back-end) drag-and-drop layout builder. It is a well maintained theme and they constantly improve it and add new features. The best thing about this theme is their dedicated support staff, no question is too big or small they always help you out.
You can buy Enfold for $59.
Check out the Enfold Theme here.
Theme 3: Bluchic Themes
If you are not much of a designer and you would like a gorgeous feminine design for your blog, you have to check out Bluchic Themes. They have a huge selection of beautifully designed themes that literally will allow you to just replace their content with your own.
The themes come with “how to” videos, that help you set up your theme and make it look exactly like the preview.
How to install your Theme
There are 2 ways to install your WordPress theme.
- Through the WordPress dashboard.
- Through your web host’s cPanel.
The easiest way is through the WordPress dashboard, but sometimes this doesn’t work and then you’ll have to upload it manually in your cPanel.
Install a WordPress theme in the WordPress dashboard
In the WordPress dashboard go to Appearance > Themes and click on Add New and then on Upload Theme. Click on Choose File and navigate to your zipped theme file, select it and click Install Now.
To activate your theme go to Appearance > Themes. Hover on your theme and click Activate.
Install a WordPress theme in your cPanel
Installing a theme in your hosting manager is little bit more involved so I’ve created a step by step guide that you can read here:
Ok, now you know what to do after you install WordPress!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful, if you have any questions please let me know in the comments below.
If you feel like you need a bit more help showing you around WordPress, you should take this this super affordable WordPress Course that shows you how to edit and update your WordPress blog.
If you’re starting a blog and could use some guidance, feel free to grab my Ultimate Blog Planner Workbook below.
Did this post help you with your WordPress settings?
Let me know in the comments below!