After you’ve installed WordPress, you’ll want to take a few minutes to configure some basic settings. Don’t skip this step, it’s important! You’ll want to get everything set up properly before you start creating content for your site.
This video from Hostgator does a great job of explaining the initial configuration:
After you have the initial settings squared away, there are a few more things to look at:
1. Update to the latest version of WordPress
Just click ‘Update Now’ and let it run. It’s really important to run the latest software, so be sure to update WordPress every time you see an alert for a new version.
2. Install and activate some plugins
There are a few key plugins that every WordPress site should have installed and activated:
- All-in-One SEO
- Pretty Link Lite
- iThemes Security
You might want some other plugins, depending on your need for your site. See my post ‘Top 5 Essential Free WordPress Plugins To Have Installed On Your Blog‘.
If any of the plugins that you install are out of date, be sure to update those as well.
3. Delete the “Hello World” post and “Sample Page”
WordPress comes with a sample blog post and a sample page by default. You’ll want to send those to the Trash.
4. Customize your tagline and set up your front page
In the menu, go to Appearance > customize.
Under “Site Title and Tagline” you will see a default tagline “just another WordPress site”. Be sure you delete or modify that. Some themes will not show a tagline and others will. If yours does, you can enter a tagline that is short and sweet. Keep it simple. A one liner phrase/sentence that describes your site works well.
Under “static front page” you can choose to have your website home page display a static page that you create, or have it display your latest posts. Keep it at “your latest posts” for now. You don’t have any published pages at this point so you won’t have the option to choose a static page. You can always go back later and change this if you want to, or just leave displaying your latest posts.
5. Delete the Meta Widget (and any other widgets you don’t want in the sidebar)
Go to Appearance –> Widgets. You’ll see the widgets that are in your sidebar by default. You can control the widgets by dragging and dropping them. You can arrange them in a different order, or move them over to ‘Inactive Widgets’. I’ll talk about widgets more in depth later on, but for now you should remove the Meta widget since it just takes up space, and frankly it looks unprofessional.
6. Install Useful Free Plugins
There are several free plugins that I consider essential to running a WordPress blog. See my previous blog post, Top 5 Essential Free WordPress Plugins To Have Installed On Your Blog for the full list of plugins that you should install.
OK! You’re up to date with the latest version of WordPress and your plugins are all installed and up to date. Your settings are good. Now it’s time to click ‘New Post’ and start creating content to your business on track.
I hope this guide has been useful. Did you have any problems or issues with the initial WordPress configuration? Leave your comments below.