A common question I hear from artists, “What do I do after installing WordPress?” Here is a step by step to-do list to help you get your new WordPress site optimized and ready for your posts.
What To Do After Installing WordPress
Step 1. Password
It is crucial to have a strong password for your WordPress account.
A Strong password will make it more difficult for hackers to hack your site.
You might want to consider changing your password on a regular schedule.
How to change your WordPress Password:
In your dashboard, click on the User Link on the left sidebar.
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Click on your Username to edit.
Scroll down to Account Management. Here you will see a link where you will be able to change your password.
After you have changed your password scroll down and click Update Profile.
Step 2. Title
The next step is to update your title, tagline, time zone, and favicon.
- Time zone
This can be done all at the same time by going to General Link.
Hover over the “Settings Link” on the left sidebar.
Click on “General Link”.
Now you are on the general settings page.
Here you will see:
Site Title – This should already have your title in it. If it doesn’t, type the name of your blog in there.
Tagline – The default tagline is “Just another WordPress site”. Change this to what best describes your blog.
WordPress Address URL – This is your domain name. Make sure that it has http:// in front of your domain name. Example – http://www.yourdomain.com.
Note: if you have a https;// site you will need to use https:// instead of http://
Site Address URL – You will want this to be the same as the WordPress Address URL.
Email Address – Type in your working email address.
Membership – Leave unchecked.
New User Default Role – This should already be on “subscriber“.
Timezone – Add your timezone.
Date Format – Choose the date format that you would like. I use the top one.
Time Format – Choose the time format that you would like.
Week Start On – Choose the day your week starts on. I have it set to Monday.
Language – Choose your language.
Click Save Changes.
Step 3. Permalink Structure
The next step you will want to take is to change your permalink structure.
Permalinks are important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Your permalink will determine what your URL will look like.
For example, if you write a post called “My First Post,” you will want your URL to be http://YOURSITENAME.com/my-first-post/. This will help the search engines know what your content is about.
When you are in your dashboard, hover over the Settings Link on the left sidebar. Click Permalinks link.
It will direct you to the permalink settings page.
Here you will be able to choose from:
- Day and name
- Month and name
- Post name
- Custom Structure
If you are using the default setting, you will notice a weird URL name that looks like this, http://YOURDOMAIN.com/?p=267.
This will not help the search engines find your page when someone is searching for content. The title of your post should be in the URL for better SEO.
There are many factors that go into SEO, but this is an easy way to help your content rank higher in search engines.
The best option would be to use the link that says Post Name.
If you wish to use your post name in your URL.
Click the bubble to the right of “Post Name.”
Click Save Changes.
Step 4. Reading Settings
Step four is to change the reading settings.
This will allow you to choose from a static homepage or your front page to show your recent posts.
A static homepage is like the home page of this site. I have created a menu to make it easier for you to navigate throughout the site.
If you are interested in selling your artwork as well as providing other services, a static homepage might be in your best interest.
In your dashboard go to Settings and click on the Reading Link.
Click on the option you would like then click Save.
Step 5. Upload Theme
Step five is to Upload a Theme.
A theme for WordPress is what gives your blog its look and feel.
WordPress, in my opinion, is the king of platforms for bloggers and website builders. With it being so large you will be able to find support for anything that will arise. There is a large network of people using WordPress that help each other.
Themes are another strong point that WordPress offers. I would not even want to guess how many themes there are for WordPress. You will have the option of using a free or premium theme.
Free themes are exactly what it says, they are free to use. Premium themes are themes that need to be purchased.
When you first start with WordPress, it is set up with a default theme. Themes can be changed at any time, and you will not lose the content you have posted. This makes it easy for you to change the look and feel of your blog if you wish too. You never have to be worried about being stuck with a look you are not happy with.
Before you decide on using free or premium themes, I would like to share with you some pros and cons for each. This will help make your decision easier.
WordPress offers a large variety of free themes for you to choose from.
If you are going to have a small blog, or do not have a clear vision of how you want your blog to look, a free theme might be a better decision.
Your blog will have the same look and feel as many other bloggers. If you are looking to stand out and look different, you will want to use a premium theme.
Most free themes do not offer support if you run into a problem.
More than likely you will be able to find the answers to your questions at WordPress.org forums. If you do not understand coding, some of the answers you find might be useless.
Many free templates are outdated in look and design and have not been updated in a long time. This makes it easier for hackers to hack your blog.
Malicious code and encrypted links have been found on the footer of the template. This makes it not rank as well with SEO. However, using free templates from reputable sites, such as WordPress.org, you will more than likely not find a problem.
Premium Themes have great support. When I used free themes in the past I could never get the answers I was looking for. Again, I am not good at coding so when there was a solution that used coding I turned the other way. I decided that if I was going to have a blog for my art business I needed one that I could rely on.
I purchase my themes in the past from Themeforest. They offer over 20,000 themes starting at very reasonable prices. I have always found what I was looking for, and they have great customer support. That is one important factor for me when choosing a premium theme.
I am using Executive Theme by Genesis. Genesis provides the most secure themes available and they are fully customizable.
There are many times that you can even get the answers you are looking for in their forums.
If you are looking to stand out and have a different look from the other artist blogs, you will want to purchase a premium theme. You will be able to customize them the way that you like without needing to know the code. Most themes offer drag and drop features making them easy to customize.
Premium themes are regularly updated and have to be updated with WordPress updates. the updates prevent broken templates, which will keep your site safer.
The codes are clean; you will not find any encrypted code in the premium themes’ footer.
Review Free vs Premium Themes
Free themes might be good for small blogs if they are from reputable sites.
If you are looking to build your art business, I would only recommend premium themes. You need to protect your business, and it will be money well spent.
How to Upload Themes
Purchase your favorite theme.
Download your theme.
Extract the .zip file to your hard drive.
Login to your WordPress site
In your dashboard
Hover over Appearance on the left side and click Themes.
Click Add New at the top of the page.
Click Upload Theme and find the zip file that you have just downloaded to your computer.
Click Install Now.
It might take a couple of minutes for your theme to upload and unzip. Once it is complete, you will have the option to view it before you activate it.
Click Live Preview to view your blog with the new theme. You will be the only one that will be able to view this.
Click Activate to make your site live with your newly purchased theme.
If you do run into any problems, Themeforest will be able to assist you with any questions. I am sure that every site that offers themes will have customer support, but I can only speak for Themeforest.
How to Install a Free Theme that is in WordPress
Hover over Appearance on the left side and click Themes
On this page, you will be to view the free themes that are available.
Hover over a theme’s image. You will be able to view your site by clicking the Live Preview Link.
If you like that template, you can then click Activate to make your blog live with the theme that you have chosen.
Step 6. Delete Unused Themes
After you have activated the theme you will be using, it is a good idea to delete any unused themes. This will save you the hassle of updating the themes you are not using.
Click on any themes you are not using then click Delete.
Step 7. Plugins
Plugins allow you to add to the functionality that your WordPress theme already offers.
Your Theme is the basic core of your design.
The plugins are tools that allow you to customize what you would like your blog to do.
- You could add social share buttons to make it easier for your fans to share your content.
- You could make a membership section if you are giving tutorials.
- You could have extra security so hackers have a harder time hacking your site.
WordPress is the most used blogging platform on the internet. Due to the popularity of WordPress, there are thousands of plugins available and the possibilities are endless. The plugins make it very easy for users to add features to their blogs without knowing any coding.
How To Install WordPress Plugins
Hover over the Plugin link on the left of your dashboard.
Click Add New.
You will be redirected to a page where you will see the available plugins.
You will be able to see:
If you can not locate the plugin that you wish to install, perform a search in the Search Bar.
Click Install Now.
After it is installed, click Activate.
Your plugin is now active on your site. You will need to adjust the settings of some of the WordPress plugins.
Important Plugins You Will Want to Install Now
The first plugin you will want to upload and active is a caching plugin. Caching helps make your site faster and is great for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
W3 Total Cache – This is a free powerful cache plugin available for WordPress users. It offers a lot of options for boosting your site and is a popular plugin with other bloggers.
Take caution when using this powerful plugin. If you are not careful you could easily mess things up for your site. If you are not familiar with configuring this plugin or you don’t have someone who can properly configure it, I would recommend using a more usable plugin like WP Super Cache.
WP Super Cache – This free plugin is easier to start using, and is a great cache plugin.
All you have to do is install the plugin and turn on caching. You are now one step closer to a faster site. There are other options that come with the plugin as well. Be sure you know what you’re selecting before you hit the save button
WP Rocket – This is a paid plugin and is more powerful than W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. I am now using this plugin and could not be happier. Again because of the power of this plugin, you will not want to alter any settings unless you are certain what the outcome will be.
All in One WP Security – Even though WordPress is a very secure platform, it is always a good idea to take extra security and add a firewall to your site. It is your business and you will want to take every step available to make it more difficult for hackers. I use the free All in One WP Security plugin for added security.
Akismet – This is a premium anti-spam plugin that keeps spam stuff off your site. If you use Jetpack on your site you can activate it from there, if not you will need to follow the prompts to activate the plugin after installing.
Yoast SEO – is an SEO plugin to ensure your post and pages are optimized to their fullest.
This plugin does not automatically boost your SEO but it will help you to make the best decisions. There is a free and a paid plugin available.
Social Warfare – After you have made your site secure you will want a way to make your posts shareable. Some people feel it is unnecessary to optimize their site for social shares if they are new and have no traffic.
In order for you to grow your audience, you will want to consider making it easy for your readers to share your posts with their friends and family. You can do this with social share plugins.
There are thousands of social share plugins and I have tried many of them. I am using Social Warfare and could not be happier. They offer everything I need at a very affordable cost.
The last plugin you will need to install is a plugin that will schedule backups on a regular basis. You will be working hard to write great content for your audience and you will not want to lose any of your hard work.
I have always used VaultPress for my backup service. The cost of this service will be well worth your peace of mind.
Final Thoughts On What To Do After Installing WordPress
Congratulations. Your WordPress site is now optimized for your art business. You will not need to ask, “What do I do after installing WordPress?” The next step is to build an audience.
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