WordPress Setup

No, this is not a WordPress Installation page, there is the installation instruction page on WordPress itself and some Hosting (aff) companies like Siteground (aff), Bluehost (aff), Hostgator (aff) and JustHost (aff) have made it very easy to Install WordPress using their automated installation packages.

The following pages are about the options to set or change in the general Configuration of WordPress, so that it is optimized for creating a WordPress based website.

Let’s start with an overview of what you need to do after you did your initial installation:

1.    Create a new user with administrator rights, logout from your admin account and login as that new user. Then delete the old admin user and all his posts and links. The main reason for this is security; you don’t want a user called admin in your database as it is the first account hackers will use to attack your site. Secondly deleting that user and his post and links cleans out most of WordPress example post, comments and Blogroll items leaving you with an almost empty site to work on.

2.    Remove the default about page as that is all that is left from the examples that WordPress installs on your site. You will create a new about page, but this time with your own title and page url other than /about/

3.    Change permalinks, my favorite option for permalinks is to use the field “custom structure” and then use /%postname%/ or /%postname%.html. This will give you search engine friendly URLs with the title and keywords in place.

4.   Remove or rename the default post category. The standard post category in WordPress is set to “Uncategorized” with the same for the Slug. You don’t want that, you should have the main topic of your site reflected in that category.  On this site that is set to  “WordPress CMS.”

5.    Delete or rename default and create new link categories. The default for links in WordPress is “Blogroll” and you can leave it that way, but I prefer to alter it, in my case into “Website Building”

6.    Activate and Configure the Askimet Plugin to protect you against comment spam. You can get a free Askimet key from www.wordpress.com, but check out the Askimet site first.

7.    Change the image settings. I change this for security too. The default is wp-content/uploads and I create a directory in the root called “images” and change the image settings to point to that directory. It makes it easier for me to open this directory for search engine robots to come in and index my images for image searches.  You can change this under settings->Miscellaneous->Store uploads in this folder. Ps. Make sure the folder has write permissions for WordPress uploading, be sure to test this.

8.    Check privacy settings to make sure you don’t block search engines to index your website.

9.    Check discussion settings to reflect the way you want to handle comments, if you want to have people commenting or not. For a static business website without a blog, you should disable commenting here.

10.    Change reading settings, this is where you change the settings for use as a static page or a blog page. This option may not work if you use some premium themes as they will use the file home.php for the Home page layout. In those kinds of themes, you will find a separate template for a blog page.

11.    Install “must have”plugins. There are several WordPress plugins that I consider “must haves” like of course Askimet, but also a Sitemap page generator and a Google Sitemap generator and other things like a Database handler, a page sorting plugin and an SEO Plugin like Headspace2.

12.    Install a new theme as you really don’t want to use the standard WordPress themes. And there are lots of themes that you can choose from to select a theme that will suit your site. You can search http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/ for a nice free theme. If you use the option “Add New Themes you will be taken to that site to choose your theme from.

13.    Choose and configure your widgets. Once you have a new theme you can change the behavior of your sidebar and other elements by placing and configuring those widgets.

14.    Start writing! This is the most important part as you now have nothing left to show on your website… create your first posts and pages and start building your website!

I hope I did cover all the mayor aspects of a post WordPress installation, but if I missed something, please tell me and I will add it to the list. I will also start writing about all these different aspects in more detail and once each of them gets done I will link to the relevant post or page.

P.S. Make sure you set the following files to read only (chmod 644) for security reasons after you’re done with your configuration, .htaccess, robots.txt, index.php, wp-confing.php and the files in your template directory.

WordPress Setup after Installation