I recently had the opportunity to install wordpress on a friend’s blog. The installation was really very simple with Fantastico’s 5 minute install. I went ahead and made the following changes to settings and added a few plugins that would help his blog get indexed faster in search engines.

Since I was lucky to experience this recently, thought it would be nice to write up what I’ve actually done. I’m not too sure if this would be complete and would appreciate your inputs if you think I’ve missed out on some crucial steps

11 Things To Do After Installing WordPress Blog

1. Blog Name & Tagline – Change your blog name and tagline as per your requirements. After all, who would want that their visitors look at “just another wordpress blog”

Admin Dashboard -> Settings -> General

2. Modify your permalinks – By default wordpress URL structure is not SEO friendly. You need to modify it to a custom structure to get the maximum benefit from an SEO point of view. A good option would be to go for /%postname%/ or /%postname%.html

Admin Dashboard -> Settings -> Permalinks

3. www or non www – You should decide which one you want to opt for before you publish your first post as this affects your link building activities and the way you will promote your blog.

Tip – Although there is no hard and fast rule set out there, if you have a really long domain name, go for non www & vice versa

Admin Dashboard -> Settings -> General

4. Ping Services – By default wordpress adds only one ping service. A ping is a mechanism by which a weblog notifies a server that its content has been updated. This helps your blog posts get indexed faster and helps you get a reasonable amount of traffic. We have created a text file of the list of ping services we use here

Admin Dashboard -> Settings -> Writing

5. Get the Must Have Plugins

Askimet – Although there are many SPAM plugins available out there, this one always stands up. Askimet will help you avoid a whole lot of SPAM that you will face in the coming future. You would have to sign up with wordpress.com to get your API key, which is worth the effort.

ChecklistGoogle XML SitemapThis plugin generates a XML sitemap that helps search engines easily index your site. Each time you add a post, it notifies major search engines of the new additions to your blog.

All in One SEO – This plugin will help you optimize your blog and it’s posts for search engines. It makes good SEO sense to update all the fields in the plugin settings. It will help your blog be more focused and targeted.

Contact Form – An important form and page for any site. It makes you accessible and helps your visitors, advertisers or just about anyone else get in touch with you easily.

User Sitemap – As a good rule of the thumb, all of your site links should be 2 levels deep, i.e a user should be able to reach any of your blog post within 2 clicks. A good way to do this is to have a sitemap for users where they can access just about any URL on your site. You can use the Dagon Design Sitemap Generator to achieve this.

Database Backup plugin – WP-DB-Backup plugin allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database tables. You can select how you’d like the backup to be delivered to you (email or immediate download). With this your wordpress database backup part is complete.

6. Google Webmasters – If you’re a webmaster, you better be on Google Webmaster. As you completing verifying your site with Google, you can add your xml sitemap and check out a lot of other details about your site in Google Webmasters which will help you monitor & improve performance of your site

7. Disable Post Revision – Post revisions tend up eat up a lot of space on your database making it unnecessarily large & heavy, making your blog slow and lazy. It’s always better to disable it. How to Disable Post Revision

8. Track Your Visitors – It’s always good to track your user visits. It gives you an idea on the kind of traffic (organic, referrals etc) and from which part of the world you’re receiving that traffic. You can use sitemeter for a basic and dive into Google Analytics for in-depth reporting

9. Get yourself a Gravatar – This will help build your brand across the internet as your gravatar that will be displayed whenever you comment

10. About me page – You may want to share a little about you and the objective of your site through an about me page. After all everyone’s interested in knowing a little bit of their neighbors before striking an acquaintance

11. RSS Feed – Add a Feed Burner RSS Feed so visitors can be automatically informed through Feed Readers and Email whenever you add a blog post

Please let me know if you think something needs to be added on to this list