By Carl Heaton

One of the most common questions beginners ask is what to do after installing WordPress or what are the 10 most important things to configure after their site is live

What To Do After Installing WordPress

1. Changing the Site Title and Tagline

This is a very obvious first step any WP site owner would wish to make and can be done via the dashboard. Just go to Settings -> General and change the title of the site and the description of what it is about with something that relates to its purpose.

what to do after installing wordpress

Some people would also like to change the additional settings below, like the Timezone or Date Format. The Timezone, for example, is important for the scheduling of posts – another useful WordPress feature.

After you make the necessary changes, don’t forget to save them.

2. The permalink structure

WordPress comes up with a permalink structure by default. However, it is not very SEO-friendly and it is recommended that you change it to something that is more descriptive of your post, like so:

what to do after installing wordpress

This is done via Settings -> Permalinks.

Although there are a number of options to set up the permalink structure, the Post Name and the Day and Name are the most commonly used ones. I prefer to use the Post Name option, since it includes actual words from the post name and is more SEO and Google-friendly. You can modify it for every individual post later.

3. The reading settings.

If you want to display a custom homepage on your site, you must do it through Settings -> Reading. This still allows you to set up a separate page to display your last posts on.

what to do after installing wordpress

Decide what suits you best and make your changes accordingly. If you are running a simple blog, displaying your latest posts on your homepage will work just as fine for you, which also means you can just skip these settings.

4. Remove the themes you won’t need.

On top of the fact that WordPress comes with several themes by default, many users are installing several more themes to test and are then leaving them to clutter their sites needlessly.

Furthermore, as themes become older, they pose a security risk to your site, especially if not updated.

What to do after installing WordPress – If you have a lot of themes you want to remove, instead of doing it the normal way via Appearance -> Themes, you can simply delete their directories with an FTP application, such as FileZilla, by navigating to your wp-content/themes folder of your WordPress installation.

5. Decide on a caching plugin.

Some people do not pay much attention to caching, although caching plugins speed up WordPress sites considerably. They do so by generating static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress site content.

what to do after installing wordpress

You can install a free caching plugin from Dashboard -> Plugins, and I recommend you install WP Super Cache if it is the first time you are using a caching plugin. All you have to do is install it, activate it, and turn the caching on through Settings -> WP Super Cache.

If you are looking for a more professional caching solution, the premium plugin WP Rocket is arguably the best one for the job.

6. WordPress security.

Security should be the number one concern for what to do after installing WordPress. There are two kinds of plugins that complement the security of your site – backup and security plugins.

Updraft is my backup plugin of choice for all my sites under WordPress. The free version of the plugin allows you to back up your site not only locally on your server but also on Dropbox and other places on the web and schedule those backups in time.

what to do after installing wordpress

Although most people prefer and use Wordfence for the security of their sites, my choice for a security plugin is All In One WP Security & Firewall. It has a vast array of security features, and with each feature you activate, its Security Strength Meter shows you how well you’re doing.

What to do after installing WordPress: There are three main things you should keep in mind in terms of WordPress security:

  • Update your plugins, themes and the WP core.
  • Install a backup plugin and schedule backups.
  • Install a security plugin and configure it properly.

Of course, you shouldn’t forget to create a strong password and never use the default “admin” user.

7. Address spam comments.

Again, you can rely on a plugin here as well. Akismet is the number one plugin for spammy comments. You will need to acquire an API key to activate it. There are both free and premium versions of the product too.

8. Decide on a SEO plugin.

what to do after installing wordpress

Yoast SEO is one of the most reliable and widely used plugins for SEO. As SEO is an important aspect of your site’s success, this is definitely what to do after installing WordPress.  The plugin itself has a learning curve but once you are comfortable using it, it will benefit you tremendously.  The generation of a sitemap with it is as easy as a mouse click.

9. Social media sharing plugin.

Do you need to have one? Yes, publishing content on your blog is not enough if you wish it to be successful. You need people to share this content.

what to do after installing wordpress

Here we have a vast array of plugins to choose from but there is one I prefer above the rest – Shareaholic. It is mainly because of its versatility in terms of options and because it allows for the placement of share buttons above or below any type of content.

This software is not only a social media share plugin but also serves as a monetization and content amplification platform that apart from social sharing, provides affiliate linking, social analytics, related content recommendations and promoted content. This serves as an example of how many features you can add to your WordPress site just by installing a single plugin and why it is necessary to compare one plugin with another before you consider which one will work best for you.

10.  Auto-Optimise plugin.

what to do after installing wordpress

It should have an auto-optimise plugin so people don’t have to download a gazillion Javascript or any CSS files, having a lot of css and Java script files will slow down your pages loading speed which will give a negative impact on the google ranking.

11.  Add a SSL certificate.

what to do after installing wordpress

You can also add a SSL certificate, this makes your website more professional and more safe for the visitor that is visiting the website.

12.Fully configurable.

Fully configurable. Such as cache, minify, combine, database cache, object cache and browser cache using files, APC or Memcached. Depending on the website and the host, it can take a bit of work to get if fully working but well worth it when you do.

13. Add xml sitemap to google webmaster tools.

Add xml sitemap to google webmaster tools for expedited spidering. Turn off “discourage search engines” from indexing in the reading settings.

14. Install Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.

what to do after installing wordpress

Although one may argue that it is either not necessary or too early to do this as the website doesn’t really have any traffic yet, this step is necessary and takes only a few minutes of your time.

Don’t forget to set up Google Search Console too. It allows you to monitor how Google estimates the significance of your content keywords.

Finally, you have it all – a complete beginner guide of what to do after installing WordPress. Check this list whenever you’re in doubt of whether you’ve forgotten something.


About The Author


He is our senior instructor and originally from Manchester UK. Carl teaches our Web Design and Online Marketing Courses.