After installing WordPress it can always be confusing on what to do next. Even for people like myself that have been working with WordPress for years. There are just so many things that can be done, but where do I start? Luckily I have already mapped out my entire strategy for whenever I create a new website so that I don’t need to be left wondering what to do next or where to start. I did this with Monday.com. These 18 most important things after installing WordPress will take out all the confusion on starting your website correctly.
After Installing WordPress What Do I Do?
Before I get to the most important things after installing WordPress, first make sure you have gone through our earlier article on choosing the best Webhosting. An Internet Hosting company can make a big difference when it comes to speed, stability, security, and service. Do not get stuck with a web host that just frustrates you. Click the link and go to the best web hosting company.
1) Add An SSL Certificate to Your Website
The first one on the list of the 18 Most Important Things After Installing WordPress. An SSL certificate improves security on your website, especially on your customer’s side. It activates the HTTPS protocol to allow secure connections from a user’s browser to your WordPress website. This was mostly used in the past to secure credit card transactions on the website but is becoming a requirement these days. By requirement, I mean most people will not visit your website unless you have this certificate. It also improves security for data transfers and logins.
If your website has a SSL certificate properly applied to your website you will see a green padlock next to the URL when visiting the front end of the website. Most people these days don’t really trust visiting sites anymore that does not include this padlock. This means you will lose visitors if you don’t have this.
Google also has incorporated this into their algorithm, which means if you don’t have this, your website will rank lower in the search results. We can get even more advanced with things like bounce rates which means if someone comes onto your website, immediately sees it’s not secured with SSL, and decides to leave, Google will see this as a bounce and in return, Google will rank you lower due to visitors not being interested in a non-secure site. But this can be discussed in another lesson. For now, you just need to know it’s important to get this installed.
SSL certificates can cost lots of money depending on where you buy them UNLESS you go to our article on the best web host as they will provide you with a FREE SSL CERTIFICATE for every website you use with them. They will even install the SSL Certificate for you.
To sum up, an SSL certificate is one of the most important things after installing WordPress for the following reasons
- It keeps data secure when visitors visit your website.
- It increases your Google rankings.
- You improve trust with your website visitors.
- You also improve your conversion rate.
2) Change Permalinks
Another one of the essential settings after installing WordPress is to set up the permalink. A permalink is an entire URL you see for any page, post, or content on your website. A permalink is a structure being used for your URL. This can be anything from a number, dates, times, or even choosing whether to display a category in the URL to identify the content or not.
WordPress has the above choices to choose the permalink structure, or you could even use a custom structure to your liking. This can come down to personal preference, but as a guideline try choosing something readable that both a search engine and humans can understand. If you or any visitor wants to share the URL with someone over the phone, then it will become very frustrating when it’s just confusing numbers.
Personally, I choose just the post name option on WordPress. Yes, my articles do have categories, but I prefer not to display them in the URL as the link just becomes too long. Studies have also shown that the shorter the READABLE URL is, the better it ranks in Google.
3) Install and Activate Security Plugin
This is definitely one of the most important things after installing WordPress and something I do as fast as my WordPress website is installed. Security is very important when it comes to websites. It is scary how many websites are being hacked daily just because the developers did not care about security. Especially WordPress websites are being targeted a lot due to the easy way to get to your login page. I mean it’s no secret that you just type /wp-admin after your domain name.
Hackers will most likely use online programs to try and brute force through login attempts of different username combinations and passwords until they can get into your website. I can promise you, you will not be happy if you spend hours on your website just to lose it to some hacker.
There are a few security plugins for WordPress and you might want to play around with a few security plugins. Just always be careful with what settings you choose on the security plugins as some might break your website. Ensure you make and have backups before changing security settings.
4) Install A Theme
Another one of the First things to do for your WordPress website is to install a theme. When you first install WordPress, it can look very boring and non-creative. But luckily WordPress themes really help you to change the style of how your entire website looks. These themes do all the necessary PHP coding for you so you won’t have to. After installing a theme on your WordPress website, you can go wild with how you customize and create your website. Without a theme, you can still customize your website, but it might be a lot harder than you would like.
A WordPress theme will include a lot of settings to easily customize your website without needing HTML, CSS, or PHP coding a lot of the time. If you go to Appearance > Themes, there will be a lot of FREE themes you can immediately install for your WordPress website. Most of these themes are not as good as paid themes, but they are better than nothing and certainly better than coding.
If you would like to get something a bit more professional you might consider getting a paid theme. One of the best and MOST POPULAR themes for WordPress currently is DIVI. It is a lot more advanced than most other themes due to it giving you the capability to design a website on the front end. This means you can actually see what you are editing instead of having to constantly save the backend before being able to view it on the front end.
5) Set Auto Update
Another one of the most important things to do after installing WordPress is to set up Auto Update. This recommendation I am going to say do with caution. Updating WordPress, Themes or Plugins can cause incompatibility issues if you are using themes or plugins from developers that do not stay updated with the latest changes in the WordPress world. On the other side, if you do not update WordPress, themes, or plugins, you might be vulnerable to new hacking strategies or other security and stability issues.
I have not had any issues with updates in a very long time because most of the themes and plugins I use are from popular developers with high star rankings that try their best to stay updated with the needed things in the WordPress world to keep their add-ons working.
You have a few choices in this regard. You can either create a staging website if your web host allows it, then make the changes on the staging website before pushing it through to the live/production website. Or you can use an Auto Update plugin to keep everything constantly updated whenever a new update is released.
I personally use a plugin. It is the easiest method to use to keep everything updated. You simply tell the plugin what you want to stay updated, and the plugin will do the rest (Yes, you can specify what you want it to update and what it should ignore!). In either of the above cases, I recommend making a habit of either checking weekly/Daily or after each update if everything is still working. This is your choice, but I prefer to make my life a little easier.
6) Integrate Google Analytics With Your Website
You can not just leave your website after it’s built and hope for the best. Google does not work that way. Yes, it is true that it takes time for Google to rank your website and give you traffic, but if you are just going to sit and do nothing, Google might think your website is inactive. An inactive website will receive very little traffic in comparison to a website that’s active.
One of the tools anyone uses to study the traffic on his/her website is Google Analytics. This will show you everything about the visitor’s interactions with your website, statistics, and more. In order to improve your website, understand what works and what doesn’t, you need to start analyzing Google Analytics to understand your site’s interactions better.
Start by opening a Google Analytics account and then linking it to your website. You can use some plugins to make this a bit easier, otherwise, you will need to use one of the other ways Google Analytics recommends to link analytics to your website.
A disclaimer is to protect YOU! On top of protecting your website visitors and making them feel safer, you need to protect yourself as well with a disclaimer. This means you can state things that you are not liable for, and that certain things the visitor reads or does on your website are at their own risk.
For example, if a visitor clicks on a link on your website that leads to another website, that site might have different privacy policies that you are not liable for. You can also search up for disclaimer generators if you find this to long write yourself.
You even get things like “terms and conditions”, but this is more related to an e-commerce website that includes things like their returns policy, etc.
8) Setup And TEST Backups
Backups are definitely one of the most important things after installing WordPress its not even funny!!! You must have a backup strategy in place if you want to succeed. Luckily with our best-recommended web hosting provider, they include backup strategies for your website and easy restores. But if you are hosting with a different website host, you might want to TEST your backup strategy to confirm 2 things.
Firstly is your backup strategy actually working? For your sake, I hope your hosting provider can actually completely restore your website if something went wrong. But you won’t know until you have tested this. The best way is to test this before something happens. Before you realize that your hosting provider could not deliver on their promises.
Secondly how easy is it to do a restore from the backup made? It does not help if you made backups, but it’s very difficult to restore those backups. Find out how exactly to restore your backups, and again TEST it to see if it works the way you thought it would.
If your website host does not provide a backup strategy, there are a few WordPress plugins that can assist you with backups and restores.
9) Compress Images
Images can really slow your website down, especially on pages where you need to display a lot of images to your visitors. But if you think about it, even your logo that is displayed in your header is an image. If you can reduce the size of these images you can get your website to load faster. The faster your website loads, the happier your visitors will be and the higher Google will rank you.
But you do not need to reduce the size of these images manually and risk destroying the quality of these images. Just download a plugin to do this for you. We have tried a few and while there are some good ones, nothing compares to ShortPixel. If you click the ShortPixel Coupon, you will receive 100 images per month to optimize without reducing its quality and AN ADDITIONAL 100 images to optimize just because you clicked on the link.
ShortPixel really has a lot of settings to choose from like choosing between lossy, glossy, or lossless to optimize your images. You can even choose an option to convert PNG images WITHOUT transparency to JPEG! ShortPixel also supports converting and displaying WebP images. These are really useful for displaying on websites and smaller than PNG and JPEG images.
10) Optimize Your Website’s Coding
Luckily you don’t need to do this manually and get different plugins that can minify and optimize the code to faster load your website. You can use google’s PageSpeed insights tool to better help identify where your website can be improved to better display your web pages. This can include things like, Remove query strings from static content, Enable GZIP compression, Leverage Browser Caching, etc. Then you can just try and find the correct plugins to install and assist with these.
11) Design And Upload Your Logo And Favicon
A logo is your brand. Its the way people identify you. A website without a logo just looks wrong! But not everyone has the skills to develop a professional-looking logo or lots of money to pay a professional to design it for them. Luckily you don’t have to do any of the above.
You can use Canva. With this tool, you can easily design your logo fast as well as most other artwork you might need for your website or social media. They have lots of templates and also gives you the flexibility to choose which elements you want to use in your design, the colors of the elements, as well as the ability to upload anything you might already have and want to use in your design. Think of it as Photoshop, JUST EASIER!!!
Look if you can’t get the flexibility you want from Canva, then just design what you can in Canva, download it and further manipulate the image in Photoshop if you really want to go that far. But for most people, Canva gives the easiest experience to design something quickly without needing to be an expert. Time is money after all!
Design your Logo and Favicon then just upload it to your website using your theme or whatever other plugins you use to display your logo and favicon. (BTW, a favicon is an image you see in your tab window above your URL. I advise you to do a different design for this than for your logo to be seen clearly as it is a very small image in comparison to your logo.)
12) Add An SEO Plugin And Sitemap
A sitemap is a type of webpage that helps Google and other search engines to easier understand the structure of your website. It provides information about your pages and the relationship between your pages to search engines. An SEO plugin can easily create this sitemap for you and update it for you automatically each time you change something on your website, taking away a lot of manual work from you.
An SEO plugin also has a lot of other benefits when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. It can help you with Meta tags, Automated SEO settings and some might even give you advice on best practices for SEO. Different SEO plugins have different features, but at the end of the day, you need an SEO plugin if you want to rank better in search engines. SEO plugins just make ranking a website so much easier.
Be however sure to experiment with different SEO plugins and going through their features before deciding which one to use. But once you decide, don’t use more than one SEO plugin as they might clash with each other. Choose one then optimize your website with that SEO Plugin.
I have tried most of the SEO plugins and prefer Squirrly the most! This plugin has more than just basic SEO. It can help you with Keyword researches which not only tells you the traffic for each keyword but also how likely your website is to rank for those keywords. This is really a powerful tool when coming to decisions on which keywords to choose from.
Squirrly SEO also has more things like Focus pages, Briefcase to store keywords, a live assistant to tell you what you should be doing while writing your articles, SEO automation settings to do lots of SEO related tasks automatically, Daily SEO Goals, SEO audits to keep you informed of your performance what to improve, a ranking checker, and so much more!!!
13) Add Social Sharing Buttons
What’s the point of creating a blog post, but not showing it to people? Or even having the option for viewers to easily share it if they want?
Add a way for viewers to easily share the page or article to any of their social media accounts with just the click of a button. Viewers might not even think about sharing the page/article after reading it. Or they might have decided to open another tab, then having to copy and paste the link is a bit to much extra work. Unless you make it easier for them.
Not only are you making it easier for viewers to share your content, but if viewers see it is easy to click buttons that will copy the link for them automatically to the social media platform and share it. They might reconsider giving you a share.
This is important because the more the content gets shared on ANY social media account, the more exposure you get and the higher Google will rank you. Yes, Google does actually look at how many social shares you have. And the best part is you don’t even have to be on those social media accounts yourself. You just need to make it easier for your viewer to share on whichever social media account they have.
The best and easiest plugin I use is Monarch. You get this plugin when you purchase the Divi theme from Elegant Themes. They have a few useful plugins that they also give you after purchasing their theme, like the Monarch plugin that gives stylish easy to click social share buttons for viewers.
14) Get Spell Check And Grammer Addon For Browser
When designing a website you will be writing a lot of things. Even if you have a dedicated article writer or someone that knows their spelling and grammar, you yourself might sometimes need to edit things on your website and this means you might make a mistake with spelling or grammar.
This is why it is one of the most important things after installing WordPress to install an addon to help assist you with spell checking and grammar. Grammarly is the perfect addon to assist you in this task. Grammarly will suggest fixes to your spelling and grammar while you are typing. It will also show you the tone in which you have written your article to ensure your reader will react the way you intended. It will also help you find the perfect words to express yourself.
Grammarly is easy to install an add-on for Chrome that will assist you whenever you write anything in Chrome. You can also incorporate it with a few other programs like email clients etc.
15) Create Social Media Account/Pages
This one is very straight forward. You need some kind of social media account to promote your website and content. You do not need to be on every social media network, but picking your favorite ones to have somewhere to promote your website and build up an audience can really give you the edge to push past the people that are not doing it.
There are many benefits to having social media accounts on the most popular platforms to promote your content. For one, you can build up a list of people that can easily see and visit any new part of your website when you post a new page or article. A lot of this audience can give you FREE traffic if you can manage to build up the list of people viewing your profile or page. This also gives you an environment to be socially interactive with your audience. Studies show that people are happier and are more likely to trust and buy from you if they see you actually care and interact with them. Think about it, if you walk into a store do you want to be ignored when you want to find out something? Or are you more willing to support them when they are willing to help you?
There are also so many more benefits to having social media accounts. Like running competitions and not even to mention that search engine like Google looks at the share you are getting from these social media platforms to decide where they need to rank you in the search results. While it is beneficial to have lots of Social Media accounts, I would not recommend going overboard to a point where it becomes more of a burden to manage them, than beneficial. Only choose the ones you are most comfortable with.
16) Add A Way To Receive Feedback
You need some kind of strategy to receive feedback from your viewers. If there is no way viewers can communicate with you, the website seems dead and will start frustrating viewers if they can’t communicate with you in any way or form. This is why communication is one of the most important things after installing WordPress. The most basic way most people do it is to create a Contact Us page and add a form to the contact us page that viewers can fill in. Or to add contact detail to the contact us page. You can even add things like a physical address or social media links where they can also either like/follow you’re or send messages and comment on those social media accounts.
But what if you don’t want people to irritate you constantly with emails and phone calls? Luckily there are other ways you can still allow your viewers to communicate with you without them becoming a burden and plainly just irritating. You can add something like a page that will ask them to suggest improvements to your website suggestions on future articles and content.
You can also use different methods of allowing them to communicate with you. Obviously the phone number and contact forms. But you can also use Google Forms and create a survey. This way you can ask them precisely the questions you are interested in and have them provide you with more useful feedback. This is much better than just receiving the common “Please help me” feedback on normal contact forms.
Look if you want to go to the extreme with the support you can add a chat widget to your website which will allow you to provide live chat support to your website viewers. This is statistically speaking the method that brings in the most conversions as the viewers will feel like you really care about them. For this, you might need a support team, but this can be made easier as some plugins can allow you to chat with website viewers from WhatsApp.
17) Change Basic WordPress Settings
The most common question always is, after installing WordPress what do I do?
There are a few basic WordPress settings that can be changed. I am going to combine all these settings into one heading as they are so easy.
- To change Site Title, Tagline and Timezone go to Settings > General.
- To setup WordPress, comments go to Settings > Discussion.
- To set up new categories go to Posts > Categories.
- To set up your static Home Page and Blog pages go to Settings > Reading.
- To complete your user profile go to Users > Profile
- To change your WordPress email go to Settings > General
- To create different menus including your main menu go to Appearance > Menus.
18) Delete Dummy Content
The last one on the list of the 18 Most Important Things After Installing WordPress. Sometimes there can be some dummy content on the website that either comes with the theme, a plugin, or some other source to try and give examples of how it can look and work. It is always a good practice to go through your website through every post, page, comment, and media then decide to either edit to your liking and how you want to use it on your website. Or to just delete it if you are not going to use it.
Having lots of dummy content on your website does not just make it hard to navigate between your own content and the dummy content. But it also uses up extra resources on your Webhosting that you could avoid by just removing the dummy content. It also looks spammy and unclean. A clean website is a happy website.
Conclusion On The First Things To Do For Your WordPress Website
Sometimes it can be hard not to just design and develop a website. But it can also be hard to remember what to do when you start with a new website. Bookmark this page on the 18 most important things after installing WordPress, and come back here every time you want to remember what to do after you have installed WordPress. Also, remember to sign up to Monday.com to make it easier to make notes, keep track of tasks you have done, and still need to do.
And yes. I make a commission from all the above links I have referred . I have to eat too!!!