So you’ve installed WordPress, now what? Before you get into customizing your theme and publishing blog posts, there are some important steps to take to ensure that your blog starts on the right foot. Below I’ve listed 5 things you should do after installing WordPress. But remember, it’s never too late to do these things so whether your blog is 1 minute or 1 year old, you can still benefit.
1. Uninstall Unneeded Themes & Plugins
Whenever I do a fresh WordPress install, one of the first things I usually do is uninstall all the unneeded themes and plugins. I never use any of the themes (Twenty Sixteen, Twenty Fifteen, and Twenty Fourteen) packaged with WordPress, so I delete them right away. But note, in order to delete all three of them you will need to install another theme. If you haven’t chosen a theme yet, go ahead and delete the two that aren’t in use. When you install the theme you will be using you can go ahead and delete any you’re not.
To delete a theme, go to Appearance > Themes. Hover over any of the themes and select Theme Details. Then click delete in the bottom right corner.
Similar to themes, WordPress often comes with plugins preinstalled. Usually it’s Hello Dolly and Akismet, but depending on your host and the options you selected during installation, there may be other plugins as well. Take a look at them and decide whether or not they’ll be useful to you. If not, deactivate them and them delete. I will tell you that Hello Dolly will pretty much be an instant delete for the majority of you. I find it really doesn’t serve much of a purpose besides providing a great example on how to create your own plugins, so if that’s something you don’t need, delete!
2. Delete Sample Posts & Pages
When you create a new WordPress site, WordPress automatically creates a blog post (titled “Hello World”) and a page (titled “Sample Page”). Do you really need them? Odds are, no, you don’t. Now’s the time to delete them! To be really thorough, don’t forget to empty the post and page trash as well. The respective trash pages are linked to at the top of both the posts and pages pages (next to all, drafts, private, etc).
3. Change Your Displayed Name
By default, WordPress sets your display name as your username, which is a big no-no when it comes to security. Your username should be private (or at least not broadcast all over the internet). Some themes will show your display name with each post, so if your display name is set to your username, guess what name will be displayed. Yup, your username.
So instead of having your username as your display name, choose your name or a nickname instead. You can change your display name by going to Users > Your Profile. The “display your name publicly as” field is populated by the first name, last name, and nickname fields (in addition to the username field which you can’t change). Enter your name (or a nickname) into one of those fields and then select it from the dropdown. Remember to save your changes!
4. Update Comment Moderation Settings
Depending on your comfort level, you might have to change your comment moderation settings. By default, WordPress requires any person who leaves a comment to have a previously approved comment before the comment is displayed. This means that all comments by new visitors are automatically sent to the moderation queue and will not appear until you approve them. Now this might sound good to you. If so, then no changes are necessary.
But if you’d like to moderate all comments or if you want to eliminate comment moderation all together, then you’ll have to adjust some settings. To do so, go to Settings > Discussion. Under the “Before a Comment Appears” section, check off “comment must be manually approved” in order to require all comments to be sent for moderation. If you want comments to appear automatically without having to approve them, uncheck the boxes next to “comments must be manually approved” and “comment author must also have a previously approved comment.” And of course, save your changes when complete.
5. Update Your Permalinks
Something many people don’t give much thought to (especially in the beginning) is their permalinks. But the thing is, they’re 100x easier to change in the beginning. Once you start publishing and gaining traffic, changing your permalinks becomes a lot trickier since you have to setup redirects (that is if you don’t want to lose that traffic). So the best solution is to get them setup the right way from the very beginning.
Go to Settings > Permalinks and select the option that best suites your needs. I personally use the Post Name option as most of my content is evergreen, but if your content is more time specific, choosing another option might be a better fit for you. After you’ve selected an option, click save.
And there you have it. Five things you should do after installing WordPress. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, it is never too late to do any of these things. Your site can still benefit no matter how long you’ve been blogging. In fact, deleting unused themes and plugins, should be a regular occurrence. And it doesn’t hurt to double check settings from time to time to make sure everything is exactly how you want it.