WordPress is a fantastic content management system for building websites and there are ton of tutorials available to help you get started. But what happens after the installation?
In this post, I am going to share 8 essential tasks to complete after installing WordPress. Completing these tasks will make your blog look more professional, secure it, back it up should anything happen, get more email subscribers and more.
Note : Don’t look at this as a list of tasks in order of priority because the truth is that all of these tasks should be completed before you launch your blog. After that, everyone would be at different stages, so consider this more of a checklist. There’s also the fact that what’s more important to one blogger, isn’t as important to the other.
Install a premium theme
Design plays a crucial role on how successful your blog will be. A lot of people focus more on content, more than anything else, which is totally okay if you don’t want to be a successful blogger.
That’s not to say that great content isn’t an important component, but it all starts with how your blog looks. First impressions are important, especially since over 70-80% of your blogs visitors won’t return.
If you don’t have a nice looking design, then visitors won’t take you seriously. To find a good looking premium, check out our WordPress Themes category. Or if you don’t want to spend money on premium theme, then choose a theme from a trusted source such as WordPress.org.
- Top 20 Free and Premium WordPress Portfolio Themes
- Top 50 Premium WordPress Themes for Personal Blogs
- The Ultimate Guide for Choosing a New WordPress Theme
Start building an email list
One of the first things you need to do is to start building email list. Nothing Beats email. It’s one of the fast ways to get exposure to your new ventures.
Having an email list allows you to directly engage with your readers and promote your own products.
If you don’t have your own products, you can use email lists to promote affiliate products and make money from it. These days almost every blogger is building mailing list and sharing exclusive content with them.
To build an email list, you’d need to sign up for an auto-responder service. If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest you to go with Mail Chimp, because it’s free till 2000 subscribers and you can send up to 12000 emails per month (note – you can’t use Mail Chimp if you plan to email affiliate offers to your list, if that’s the case go with GetResponse).
You can also use a list building plugin such as OptinMonster, which adds popup box to your site to boost the number of subscribers and help you get great results.
Optimize your blog for search engines
If you ask me the default WordPress settings are pretty good for search engines, but they certainly aren’t going to increase your blog traffic or help you setup authorship markup. To build a brand presence and drive search engine traffic, you will need to make sure your site fits with best SEO practices.
There are a number of plugins available that can improve your blog’s SEO. But the one that stands out from the rest is WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast. A free plugin developed by Joost De Valk.
- A Detailed Guide on Setting up the WordPress SEO Plugin
- Top 20 Free SEO Plugins for WordPress in 2013
Make your blog spam proof
There are two ways to deal with the spam comments in WordPress. Either remove the spam comments manually or install a WordPress plugin. The best option would be to go with the latter one, and install a plugin like GASP or Akismet.
Grow map Anti spam aka GASP adds a checkbox to your comment form asking users to confirm that they are not a spammer. Personally, I use Akismet combined with Conditional captcha plugin and it works really well for me.
You can also implement another commenting system such as Disqus or Intense Debate, which improves the default WordPress comments by adding threaded comments, user profiles, social media integration, and much more.
Add social media buttons
Any beginner blogger can tell how important social media is. After search engines, social media sites are the second biggest source of traffic. Driving traffic from these sites can be easy or maybe hard, depending on how well social media is integrated in your website. Well placed social media buttons can increase the chances of getting more tweets and likes. Here are 3 of the best social media plugins to choose from:
- Floating Social Bar – The plugin was released a few months ago and has been downloaded 50,000 times. It automatically adds a vertical floating sharing bar to below the title. It currently supports five major social sites – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin.
- Digg Digg – By far the most popular social media plugin available on the internet. This fantastic plugin allows you to add social sharing buttons vertically to the left or right of your post or horizontally to below or above the content area. The buttons can also be manually added anywhere else using a simple template code.
- Flare – Another great social sharing plugin which is not in active development, but works very well with the latest version of WordPress.
Install a backup plugin
Although, you don’t have anything to backup, installing a backup plugin will make sure that your site is safe and secure. There are a number of free and premium backup solutions available on the web. Don’t take the risk by not using a backup plugin:
- VaultPress – A premium backup service by Automattic. The cost starts $5 a month.
- Backup Buddy – A backup plugin for WordPress, created by iThemes. It automatically backups your site to DropBox, Amazon S3 as well as other services.
- WP Backup to Dropbox – This is a handy plugin that will back up your media and database to your Dropbox account.
Adam has a great post on the best backup plugins for WordPress.
Make your blog more secure
Here are some simple tips that can help you to improve the security of your newly installed WordPress site.
- Backup Plugin – The first thing you need to do is to install a good backup plugin such as Backup Buddy. You cannot make your site 100% secure but you can practically guarantee its safety by ensuring regular backups are carried out.
- Update – The most important thing that you can to do secure your website is update everything. And when I say everything I mean everything including the core, themes, and plugins.
- Install Security plugins – WordFence and Better WP Security.
Track your blog progress
Once you all the important things in place, start tracking your progress by adding Google Analytics code and a heatmap solution such as Crazy Egg. This will also help you in increasing the conversion rate, which means more affiliate commission and advertisement revenue.
Google Analytics is free to setup, Crazy Egg starts at $9 a month but it will help you earn far more by improving your conversions. Take it for a spin with the 60 day free trial.
I hope that you enjoyed this post. If so, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments below. Would you add anything to the list?