WordPress is the blog platform of choice for many people. In the early days of blogging there were lots of different blog scripts that were competing for market share. Some were free and others had to be paid for, but out of that confused marketplace WordPress emerged as the market leader.
Its success was due to several things. Firstly it was free, secondly it was very highly featured, and thirdly, it was built in such a way that third-parties could easily create add-ons, or plug-ins to extend its functionality.
It didn’t hurt that WordPress was also very easy to install – and for many people, no knowledge of coding was required.
Over the years, WordPress has been updated and upgraded frequently, with many new things being built in. But it has always maintained its simplicity of use – the interface is instinctive to use and instructions are rarely needed.
However, when you first install WordPress, it may not be set up to be quite as good for Internet marketers as you would expect. The developers tend to take a different view of life and so have set some of the default options to be the very opposite of what Internet marketers would need.
For that reason, there are a few things that you should do as soon as you install your WordPress blog to correct these shortcomings.
There are also some things that you should check to ensure your blog is running securely and safely.
Here are the five things that you need to do as soon as you install a WordPress blog.
1. Make sure you are running the latest version. This sounds odd, but if you have installed via the Fantastico icon in a CPanel, there is a strong possibility that an older version will have been used.
WordPress is very easy to update and will tell you at the top of the screen if a new version is available. You only need to click on ‘Automated Update’ and the system will do all the work for you.
2. Delete the default ‘Hello World’ post and any comments that are attached to it. While you are deleting default stuff, get rid of the list of links that are stored under ‘Blogroll’. You don’t need any of that stuff because your blog needs to be set up cleanly.
3. The developers of WordPress have made it default to a setting that blocks search engines from seeing your posts. Quite why they think that is a good idea is a mystery, but you can easily correct things. Go to Privacy (under the Settings menu item) and click the radar button to make your blog visible to everyone.
4. Activate the Akismet plug-in. It is already installed by default, but you have to get a key code from the developers to make it work. It only takes a moment (and for personal blogs is free) but it can save you from being bothered by a ton of spam comments.
5. Again in the Settings menu area, go to the Permalinks page. This controls the way your links are created and is important for SEO purposes. None of the four preset options are particularly SEO friendly, so click the Custom radar button and type /%category%/%postname%/ in the text box. This will change the way you links look and will be a big improvement as far as the search engines are concerned.
6. Install a free plug-in called WordPress Database Backup. This is very handy tool that not only makes a backup copy of your blog’s database at pre-set intervals, but it also can be set to email the backup to your inbox. While WordPress is a pretty robust program, it never hurts to be safe. A backed up database can be a lifesaver if a meltdown should ever happen to your blog.
7. Find yourself a nice new theme to make your blog look the part, the new default theme is a huge improvement on the old one, but it is still pretty dull. You can get thousands of free themes online and they can be installed in seconds.
WordPress is such a powerful program because it is so flexible. Take a little time to learn what your new blog can do out of the box and then don’t be afraid to add plugins or change settings to make it look, feel and behave just how you want it.